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Television: Pick of the week

LET'S WRITE NON-FICTION. BBC2 Fridays, February 13, March 5-26, 11-11.20am

English is not only about literature; using the language for communicating in letters, reports, notices and even recipes, is just as important as telling stories. These two series, consisting of three programmes for seven to nine-year-olds, followed by three for nine to 11-year-olds, give examples of a variety of non-fiction texts and lots of useful hints on how to compose your own.

Also available in two video packs (pound;34.99 each) from BBC Customer ServicesTel: 0870 830 8000.

STOP LOOK LISTEN: Famous People 2. C4 Tuesdays, February 10 to March 16, 2-6am

This repeated series of biographies for five to nine-year-olds started last week with Boudicca's failed rebellion and continues on February 24 with Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot - another damp squib.

The remaining three subjects are a good deal less bellicose: Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi and Amy Johnson. A mixed bunch, perhaps, but good entry points for exploring history topics from the 1st to the 20th centuries.

WATCH: THE LAND OF ALL WEATHERS. BBC2 Friday, February 13, 10.35-10.50am

William Walton's music for the film Henry V, his settings for "Facade" and an excerpt from his "First Symphony" provide the accompaniment to this animated version of Paul Miller's story for five to seven-year-olds about snow, sun and rain. The film is intended as a stimulus for exploring the theme of weather through music, movement and poetry.

This morning's broadcast is available on video (pound;24.99 from BBC Customer Services).


Anyone who has nothing better to do next Friday morning, in the early hours, might take the opportunity to revise these two GCSE syllabuses; or, alternatively, set the video. Modern British History covers everything from Lloyd George's Liberal budget and the Suffragette movement, down to the home front during the Second World War and the creation of the welfare state. Human Geography takes us through cities, weather and climate, and economic and industrial change. After that, you should be ready for breakfast - and the exam.

TERRY JONES'S MEDIEVAL LIVES. BBC2 Mondays, to March 29, 8-8.30pm

Medieval society was highly structured: not many people, for example, started their careers as jesters and went on to write historical chronicles. But, as former Python Terry Jones shows in the first of these programmes, there was more social mobility than we may imagine; it depended a great deal on luck and good schooling. With the latter, a man like William of Wyckham could escape from his peasant origins to become one of the wealthiest people in England and found a famous school, so passing on the opportunity for learning and advancement to others. Jones packs a lot of information into these eight programmes, as well as demonstrating that he has not lost his skill at clowning. The chief danger is that the series might perpetuate the image of the Middle Ages as a single 500-year chunk, with not much historical, cultural or social change inside it.

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

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