Neil MacGregor, director of the National Gallery, uses television at least as skilfully as his predecessor, Kenneth Clark (or "Lord Clark of Civilisation", as he was popularly known).
MacGregor spends less time on camera, doesn't say "I am standing ..." and coins a memorable phrase. Early representations of Christ, he says, were so unlike the image that was to become traditional, that "you could not possibly hope to recognise Him if you went to meet Him off a train at Victoria Station."
Seeing Salvation is about this changing image, which presented artists with a unique problem: how does one depict a figure who is at once God and man? Attempts to solve this problem, MacGregor claims, led to the creation of "a universal language in which the great artists speak to us about the things that really matter: love and suffering, loss and hope ..."
The four films discuss representations of the face of Christ, the Christ child, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. They tie in not only with the current exhibition at the National Gallery (until May 7), but also with MacGregor's lecture tour of Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff and Belfast (from April 10-13) and a book. The television programmes are a good starting point for a wide-ranging exploration of this major theme in Western art.
Seeing Salvation BBC2
Sundays, April 2 to 23, 8-8.50pm
There have been many documentaries following a reprsentative group of children through their lives, including Channel 4's Citizen 2000 and the BBC's latest project, Child of Our Time.
But the very first of the genre was 7UP, filmed in 1964. Much used since in schools and further education colleges as an exemplary social documentary, which gathers interest rather with passing time, it is being shown as a prelude to a forthcoming new film about today's seven-year olds, 7UP 2000. Here is a chance to recall what it was like to be seven in the early Sixties.
April 2, 10-10.40pm
BBC Knowledge has chosen to launch its spring schedule next Friday with a whole evening devoted to Shakespeare.
It starts with a documentary about the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe, followed at 7.50pm by Michael Bogdanov's film record of the three weeks he spent with residents of the Ladywood Estate in Birmingham in an experiment to see if he could persuade them to perform one of the plays.
After that, the Reduced Shakespeare Company offers a leaner, fitter, outdoor version of Romeo and Juliet (8.45-9pm).
Then, from 9pm onwards, Sir Richard Eyre introduces his choice of the best film adaptation of Shakespeare's work, Trevor Nunn's Macbeth, with Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench. Let's hope it doesn't all prove to be too much of a Bard thing.
A Night in with Shakespeare
April 7, from 7pm