Robin Buss's pick of the week

11th March 2005 at 00:00
London: the Greatest City C4, Monday March 14, 9.30-11.10am

Resurrection after destruction has been a recurrent feature of London life: this must be the only city to erect a monument to someone who tried to destroy it. Boudicca, who now rides triumphant beside Westminster Bridge, razed London shortly after the Romans got here. However, geography proved stronger, London being well situated on a tidal river, so the Romans soon repaired the damage, remembering to put a wall round the new Londinium. This didn't stop plagues, fire, the Luftwaffe or post-war developers having a go at finishing what Boudicca started, so far with only partial success.

London is no longer the largest city on Earth, nor can it boast (as formerly) the best transport system. It may often seem that its greatness is in the past, but the monster keeps stirring. This feature-length film, designed for 14-19 history, is a good summary with unexpected details: our debt to the Czech engraver Wenceslas Holler, for example, or the observation that, as a result of the Blitz, the image of the Cockney as shifty and unreliable was replaced by one more flattering. There is material here for lots of auxiliary uses, or as a topic in itself.

Stopping Distance;ID Citizenship;A-Z of Politics; Active Citizenship; Lifeschool: C for Citizen BBC2, Wednesday March 16, 2-6am

The keyword this week is "citizenship", with a bunch of programmes tonight, followed by more on the same theme tomorrow - all of which could be timely if the General Election is this spring, even though the intended 11 to 16-year-old audience will have to wait a few years to vote.

Stopping Distance is a drama for the older part of that age group; it deals with a gang rape and comes with a swearing-and-violence warning. ID Citizenship, A-Z of Politics, Active Citizenship and C for Citizen are all about taking a role in society, as well as understanding how it works.

Additional resources are available for the first two titles.

Pathways of Belief: Christianity BBC2, Thursday March 17, 11.15-11.30am

The last four parts of this series on Christian belief are being shown in the summer term, but the first programme, on Easter, comes appropriately before the holiday. Designed chiefly for seven to nine-year-olds, the series could also be suitable for older children. The symbols of light and darkness serve as the framework for an account of the death and resurrection of Jesus, which is linked by songs and stories to the theme of renewal and new life.

Science Frenzy Discovery Kids, Monday-Friday March 14-18, 6-8.30am and 3.30-5.30pm

The Discovery Kids channel is marking National Science Week with five days of programming to encourage interest in science, linked to activities on science-related themes. The highlights include: Blast Off, a competition at the US Space Camp for children from around the world, with physical and mental challenges; Brainbounce, in which experts illustrate discoveries in science, art and music; and Awesome Guides: Extreme Weather.

Full listings can be found at:


* www.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm


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