Schools television

28th January 2000 at 00:00
* PICK OF THE WEEK

France remains a favourite destination for British television crews, as well as for British tourists - not surprisingly: it is a richly varied country, with fine views and excellent catering.

Wendy Robbins and David Lowe, presenters of France Inside Out are clearly having a great time as they travel around in this series for BBC Education, exploring local customs and history. It is easy to enjoy it with them.

This week, they are in Toulouse, aviation capital of Europe, which has a connection with flying that goes back to Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Wendy tells us about Saint-Ex, author of The Little Prince, and listens to a local rock band, while David leaves town and heads into the mountains to find out about the Cathars, a rather austere medieval sect who despised the material world - but managed to settle in some of its loveliest corners.

He also discovers a lonely campsite called "Le Bout du Monde", run by a couple who say that they gave up raising sheep to raise tourists; they appear to be making a fantastic job of it, cooking, entertaining and giving riding lessons to their visitors.

There is a lot of conversation in French, with subtitles, and any group of learners which needs an incentive to get on with the language will find one here.

France Inside Out BBC2 Saturdays 11.25-11.55am

* SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

About half the people in the world now live in towns and cites, many of them recent arrivals who have been drawn away from the country by the prospect of work and a better life.

Too often, they find neither, and our image of urban development, especially in other parts of the world, is one of overcrowding, shanty towns, poverty and decay.

Changing Cities, a new series this term for nine to 11-year-olds, takes five different locations and concentrates each week on a particular problem (housing, transport, waste, energy supplies and planning), while also showing what solutions are being found: radical answers to the problem of the motor car in a German town, efforts to prevent disease in Calcutta and an industrial plant in Sio Paulo where sugar cane is used to generate electricity, and even to drive a car.

Geography Junction: Changing Cities Channel 4, Mondays until February 14, 9.30-9.45am

* BEST OF THE REST

Bjork and Britten, loud and soft, high and low, cities and seascapes: this new music series for seven to nine-year-olds encourages them to listen to sounds, relate them to different moods and make a few noises of their own.

Each programme is built around a particular event or situation, with stories, pictures, natural sounds and music, all of which is used as the inspiration for a composition task, undertaken by children and guest musicians. Well played.

The Mix: Music Search Channel 4 Unit One, Mondays to February 14. 11.15-11.30am.


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