Schools broadcasting;Television

14th May 1999 at 01:00
* Pick of the week

On your marks, get set. . . The next time you see champion sprinter Jamie Baulch leap off the blocks, just remember that behind every sporting hero, there's a teacher. In Baulch's case, his career started when a junior school teacher suggested he join a local athletics club. Baulch was just 10 years old - and he's been sprinting ever since.

Now he's presenting a new 10-part sports show for young people called Energize. This week sees him still racing - but this time using a radio-controlled car. At least it's a break from all that running.

The programme also features 16-year-old Chemmy Alcott, Britain's top teenage skier, on the slopes at the Tamworth Snow Dome. And three teams of volleyball players from Edinburgh, London and Bristol compete in the Energize Challenge Course.

Baulch's all-time inspiration was Linford Christie, now his manager and coach. Well aware that dreams of success can sometimes come true, Baulch is spreading the word among the many talented kids who love playing sport. This show will run and run.

Energize, ITV, Wednesdays, 4.35pm

* SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

No need to race when you're on a pilgrimage. In the new series of The Animated Epics, you can join the medieval pilgrims on their trip from London to Canterbury. The stories they tell each other to while away the time were recorded by Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales.

Animation is a really good way of showing these stories - no need for naff costumed actors and fakey locations. Instead, the colourful cartoon images bring the characters from the Nun's Priest's tale, the Knight's tale and the Wife of Bath's tale vividly to life.

And just in case some pupils think this is an easy option, the stories are told in Middle English - so all the energy and jokes of Chaucer's materpiece will need a bit of work.

The Animated Epics, BBC2, Friday, 21 May, 11.30am-12.00

* BEST OF THE REST

Actress Caroline Quentin takes a biographical and sentimental journey in Places of the Heart when she revisits the exclusive Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire, which she attended for five years from the age of 10. With presenter Arthur Smith, she relives the intense homesickness she suffered as a boarder after winning a grant to study classical ballet.

Quentin - who can be seen in repeats of Men Behaving Badly and in the new series of Kiss Me Kate - loved the beautiful environment of the school, which was housed in a stately home. She also took to the discipline of ballet classes.

But tragedy struck when her mother suffered two strokes and her father left the family. At the age of 15, Quentin had to abandon ballet. She subsequently became a successful actress, but still sometimes dreams about her old school.

Places of the Heart, BBC 1, Sunday, 16 May, 8.30-9pm

Aleks Sierz

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