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Television: Pick of the week

What's this Channel 4?


Monday-Wednesday, March 15-17, 11.35am-noon

Channel 4 takes a look in the mirror and analyses its output on one day last year (June 27) for the benefit of 14 to 19-year-olds doing media studies. The first programme surveys the day's output, concentrating on three kinds of non-fiction: the news, The Big Dig and Big Brother. The first questions involve who decides what programmes are made, how schedules are drawn up and the role of the television channel in the production process.

We also find out something about how people find the different kinds of job in television and we get a taste of the environment in which they work. In part two, we learn more about how programmes are commissioned and constructed, how they are trailed and promoted, and how advertising is sold.

Finally, the series looks at viewer reactions and the channel's own post mortem on its output. Why was The Big Dig less successful than the producers had hoped? What can be done to improve the concept? The series is an excellent starting-point for work on the television industry and a step towards a better understanding of the medium for anyone who watches it.

Science Week: Big Bang

Discovery Kids

Monday-Friday, March 15-19, 4-5pm

Science Week on the Discovery Kids channel (mainly for children up to 12-years-old) starts this Saturday with Science Frenzy, showing how National Science Week will offer viewers the chance to participate in activities around the country. In the daily "Big Bang" slot, Gareth Jones and Violet Berlin perform a series of simple experiments using household objects.

The season also includes Science Please, a series of bright, one-minute programmes shown at various times throughout the month. Made by the National Film Board of Canada and providing at least a laugh a minute, these give clear explanations of scientific concepts (electricity, lightning, magnetism and so on) with the help of animated drawings and clips of old film.

Key Stage 1 Science Clips


Thursday, March 18, 10.20-10.30am

Based on the principle behind Science Please (see above), namely that science is easier for young minds to absorb in small doses rather than double periods, this BBC series is just ending its morning broadcasts, but is now available on video (pound;34.99 from BBC Customer Services, tel: 0870 830 8000) - a form in which it will be easier to slot into that double period. The clips are taken from the BBC's own output and other sources to illustrate concepts such as growth, forces, materials and electricity.

Bitesize Revision

BBC2 March 19, 2-6am

This week's menu offers a two-parter on design and technology. It covers graphic products (how to use text to communicate a message effectively), food technology (including nutrition and health and safety), resistant materials, systems and control, electronic products and textiles. The BBC website ( has more bites on all these subjects, together with well-designed tests that allow you to check your knowledge of each topic and fill in the gaps.

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

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