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Television: pick of the week

La Tienda de Luis C4 Learning. Video: pound;14.99

This primary school Spanish series ended last week with a birthday party - una sorpresa for Luis's mad aunt Maria - and a recipe for how not to cook tortilla de patatas. Don't worry if you've missed the final episode, you can catch up with Luis on the C4 website and the video of all five programmes will be available this month.

The series uses simple language and is lots of fun, with Luis apparently moving faster than the rest of us as he bustles about his cafe attending to the pack of children who seem to be his only regular customers.

The Birth of Horror BBC2 Tuesday, June 4, 2am

Starting with the famous evening in Swizterland when Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley decided to give each other a fright, and Mary scared herself as much as anyone with her waking vision of a monster, this programme explores the origin and underlying significance of the most famous horror stories in English literature, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Bitesize Revision: RE BBC2 Sunday, June 2, 2-4am

All the really big questions are considered this week: God, death, relationships, right and wrong, religion and science, prejudice, war, where it all began and where it is all going.

The whole feast is reduced to neat bite-size snacks, first for revision, then to test what you have learned.

What do Islam, Hinduism and Christianity teach about the origin of the universe and the theory of evolution? What are the classical and modern arguments for the existence of God? How do Islam, Judaism and Christianity regard the idea of euthanasia?

The BBC website supports the programme and allows students to revise the topics and test themselves on them.

The English Programme: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight C4 Learning. Video: pound;12.99

This animated version of the story told in the great Middle English poem takes its inspiration from stained glass windows. You may feel, though, it is the wrong time of year for a tale about a mysterious green giant arriving at King Arthur's court at Christmas time and challenging any of the round table knights to strike a single blow against him - the blow to be returned in 12 months' time.

Sir Gawain takes on the challenge and finds himself tested not only on his ability to survive hardships, but also in the courtly virtues of chastity and honesty.

The alliterative poem itself emphasises the contrasts between the freezing weather and the warmth of the knights' castles, and these are evoked by the colours of Tim Fermee's imaginative animation.

Designed for 14 to 19-year-olds as an introduction to the original, the film is supported by online programme notes (www.channel4.comlearningshop) and is available on video. In that form it will keep until the Christmas term, when the weather may be more befitting to the mood of the piece.

Full educational programme schedules can be found online at:


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