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Television: pick of the week

Writing About the Weather

BBC2 Friday, December 12, 11.40am-12noon

This programme in the primary geography series Place and People, designed for seven-to-nine-year olds, offers a good example of cross-curricular work, using a geography topic to stimulate writing and teach literacy skills.

Andy Kane (from Changing Rooms) revisits Grenada, Lapland, Spain and Death Valley, California, to write a description of a tropical rainstorm, a holiday brochure and a set of instructions about staying safe in the desert. The programme is included in the Weather, Place and People video-plus pack, available from BBC Customer Services (tel: 0870 830 8000) at pound;34.99, which also provides the four original films about baking and freezing in widely differing climates.

Interpretations The French Revolution

BBC2 Tuesday, December 9, 2-4am

This week's midnight chunk of history for secondary schools starts with an investigation into the factors that may influence our interpretation of the past. The programme revolves around a series of questions (Was Oliver Cromwell a war criminal? Why was the slave trade abolished?) that challenge modern assumptions about historical events. The second half of the night is devoted to the French Revolution, a piece of history that was interpreted in conflicting ways even at the time. On Wednesday, in the same slot, there is a programme for slightly older pupils on the collapse of the USSR, followed by another on international relations in the interwar years. Both include interesting archive footage, together with dramatic reconstructions.

The Romans in Britain

BBC2 Fridays, to December 12, 11.20-11.40am

Like Place and People, this new series of history programmes for primary pupils between the ages of seven and 11 includes a literacy element. The four parts deal with the Roman invasion of Britain, roads and cities, the army and how the Romans spent their leisure time.

Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster

BBC1 Sunday, December 7, 8-9pm

The story of how Mary Shelley cobbled together the ideal part for Boris Karloff out of a mishmash of revolutionary ideas, scientific theories and grave misgivings about her nearest and dearest is pretty familiar, but makes a good story and one that bears retelling. Professor Robert Winston does the hard science, Lucy Davenport and David Schofield play Mary and her monster in the dramatic reconstructions.

Full listings:;NIPgt; shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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