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Television: Pick of the week

War Game

C4 Tuesday, October 21, 9.30-10am

War Game is a remarkable animated film for nine to 14-year-olds. It tells the story of three young men who play in the same Suffolk football team and join up to fight in the trenches during World War I. The narrative centres on the Christmas Truce of 1914, when soldiers from both sides of the line met in No Man's Land to chat, exchange cigarettes and, in some cases, play football.

The message, not unexpectedly, is about the futility of war; but the striking thing is the effectiveness of animated film in conveying emotions and involving the viewer in the fate of the characters. There is work here for both history and English, in the latter case as background to the study of the First World War poets and as a stimulus to imaginative writing about the period.

Programme notes can be found online at the C4 website ( primary).

Short Circuit: Physics

BBC2 Tuesday, October 21, 2-4am

More science for GCSE in the wee small hours from an award-winning series which uses film, 3D graphics and experiments, tonight for physics, tomorrow for biology, with plenty of radioactivity, earthquakes, electromagnetic waves, cells, photosynthesis and the rest. On Thursday, at the same time, a final unit sums up everything from aluminium and ammonia to energy changes and electromagnetism. All your students have to do is to remember it.

So What's So Good About Jacqueline Wilson?

C4 Fridays, October 17 and 24, 9.55-10.10am

In answer to a rather impertinent question, the popular children's author talks about her life and her own childhood, before describing how she gets ideas for her novels and develops the characters. An excellent series to start seven to 11-year-olds on the path towards a more critical appreciation of literature.

This Land: Snowdonia

BBC2 Friday, October 17, 7.30-8pm

Snowdonia is one of the most spectacular landscapes in Britain. This programme in the This Land series discovers that it is not just a pretty place: there's copper in them thar hills. The film does enjoy the views, though, and talks to some of the people who live and work around here, including a mountain rescuer, a potholer, a photographer and an expert on wildflowers and grasses.

Pompeii: The Last Day

BBC1 Monday, October 20, 9-10pm

Using dramatic reconstruction and computer visualisations, based on the archaeological evidence and the written record left by Pliny the Younger, this film evokes the final hours in the life of the city. It would provide good background for a school visit to Pompeii, as well as offering material for history and classical studies.

Full listings can be found;NIPgt; shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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