Schools television

14th January 2000 at 00:00

Now that the millennium is underway at last, the enduring image of that night, to my mind at least, was the way that television united everyone in an enormous transglobal knees up. The sheer spectacle of the New Year's Eve parties erupting around the world was a sight to behold even if the pictures themselves did not arrive entirely without hiccups.

Perhaps the most unexpected revellers were to be found in Beijing, where the Chinese were ringing in Y2K with as much gusto as anyone else and the fireworks as you might expect, were eye-poppingly good. Who'd have thought it? The Chinese don't usually celebrate New Year until much later and you might have expected them to shun what was after all a fundamentally "Western" occasion. Which only goes to show that perhaps it's high time we began to get to know this most enigmatic country on closer terms.

Channel 4 kicks off the term with a marvellous new series for Eureka! called China: fun and firecrackers. It's an intimate and vivid portrait of Chinese life viewed from a child's perspective, whether it's learning the painstaking drill of calligraphy, or the ancient martial art of kung fu. At turns illuminating and fascinating and yes, the firecrackers are fantastic.

Eureka! China: fun and firecrackers Channel 4 Tuesdays 9.30-9.45am January 18 to February 8 (Nightime broadcasts March 28 and 29)


World religions are undeniably rich in stories but retelling the using the principle texts can be daunting for teachers, especially if the faith concerned is unfamiliar.

The latest series from the BBC Schools series Watch gives several key episodes a fresh interpretation. Events in the lives of Jesus, Guru Nanak, Bilal and Judah are recalled by believers who have been transported to the communities in which the original tale might have taken place - the shores of the Sea of Galilee for instance, or a souk in Arabia. This helps to put the story, and its corresponding religious framework, vividly into context. It is supported by an excellent resource pack which includes posters.

Watch: faith stories, BBC2, Tuesdays 9.45-10am, January 18 - February 8


The growing number of teenage pregnancies in Britain is a scandal. With nearly 100,000 girls becoming pregnant every year, it is the highest rate in Europe. Should these young mothers-in-waiting be encouraged to consider an abortion as an alternative?

BBC2's Counterblast looks at the issue from the personal viewpoint of Fiona McGee of Education for Choice, who argues that teenagers should have more information about abortion as an option. She visits Holland which not only has one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe but also one of the lowest abortion rates to find out how they manage to get the balance right.

Counterblast: teenage abortion, an educated choice, BBC2 Monday, January 17 7.30-8.00pm


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