Robin Buss's pick of the week

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Howard Goodall's 20th Century Giants C4, Monday-Thursday, June 6-9, 9.30-10.20am

Goodall's superb programmes on Cole Porter, Bernard Herrmann, Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles have been adapted for use with 16 to 19-year-olds. They should appeal to a wide audience, including the not-so-musical. He argues that, in the 20th century, classical and popular music turned from partners into enemies, as "serious" composers headed for avant-garde formalism and it was left to a few popular musicians to make serious music. He puts a good case for all his subjects, linking them to other 20th-century art forms such as cinema and the musical; but his highest praise is reserved for The Beatles. In a persuasive essay, he shows how, in a few years, the Fab Four learned how to use the armoury of Western music (harmony, modulation, and so on) and apply it to truly popular music, with revolutionary effect.

The School of Hard Knocks C4, Wednesday to Friday, June 8-10, 11.25-11.55am

Three teenagers set out to overcome their very different problems by gloving-up and stepping into the ring, in this short series for 14 to 19-year-olds studying citizenship and PSHE. One boy has a quick temper, another suffers from learning difficulties and the third, a Traveller, is finding it hard to settle in school and to live with bullying. Can boxing help them to control their lives?

The World 2000 BBC2, Wednesday, June 8, 2-6am and Thursday, June 9, 2-3am

This 10-parter on global issues starts a week of programming for 11 to 16-year-olds studying geography (though the problems it tackles are of much wider interest). It looks at questions of globalisation, urbanisation, trade and aid, agriculture, ecosystems, energy and climate change. The series is available on video from BBC Learning (Tel: 0870 830 8000), and is followed by three more programmes on globalisation and its effects on our lives, and by two programmes on France, including Flightpaths, an aerial film on the different regions of the country (these are on June 9). Then, on June 10, there will be three programmes about Australia, Japan and Brazil as they face the new millennium.

Watch: Bullying BBC2, Tuesday, June 7 and 14, 1-1.30pm

The term's work in citizenship for primary school children ends on this (unfortunately) ever-topical subject. Children who have been the victims of bullies talk about their experience and say how they managed to overcome it with the help of friends and teachers. Three sketches on "how to be a bully" illustrate how the pests operate, and the final part discusses wider issues, such as spreading rumours and less obvious forms of unkindness and victimisation. All three are available on video and come with a pack (Pounds 37.99).

Dinosaur Planet Discovery Kids, Sunday, June 5, 8.35-9.25am and 1-1.50pm

A four-part animated film about a young velociraptor in the Gobi desert 80 million years ago. The only survivor of her pack, she has to search for another group to hunt with. The press information promised commentary by palaeontologist Scott Sampson, explaining how experts use fossil evidence to deduce appearance and behaviour, but this wasn't on the preview tape. Perhaps it will find its way into the actual broadcast, making this a more educational experience for primary pupils.

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