When marriages break up, husbands and wives may well be delighted to get rid of an unwanted partner; but for their children it can mean the loss of a much-loved father or mother, with lasting psychological consequences.
Carole Cressey strongly believes that, even when families fall apart, children need to keep in touch with both parents, and her Contact Centre in Leeds provides an environment where they can do so. Here, for example, mothers who have been the victims of domestic violence can safely leave their children for supervised visits, without even having to see the father.
Carole started the centre as a result of her own experience as a child whose parents broke up when she was very young; she talks about her faith and the recovery of a sense of identity when, as a grown woman, she traced her father. This Everyman documentary follows the story of three divided families at the centre, intercut with dramatisations of Carole's childhood, against a background of eerie music - the usual television code to suggest loneliness and loss.
At its heart, the film shows the working of a service that could well provide the model for similar initiatives elsewhere.
SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT. AS Guru: Biology. BBC2. Saturday, November 18, 3-5am.
AS Guru is a new, multimedia service from the BBC that offers online study support for students on AS courses starting this year.
It combines a website, printed materials and these television programmes, broadcast in the Learning Zone. The first series will cover English, biology, general studies and study skills, with the television element including extracts from programmes on the subject, interviews with experts, teachers and students, and graphic resumes of key points. This week's biology programmewill cover molecules, organs, systems and ecology, the aim of the project being to ease the passage from GCSE to AS and develop the necessary study skills for the sixth-form.
BEST OF THE REST. State of the Planet. BBC1. Wednesday, November 229.10-10pm.
David Attenborough's state-of-the-planet report looks like being an invaluable resource for teaching about conservation and the environment. Last week, he asked: Is There a Crisis?
You have probably only needed to watch the weather forecast in recent weeks to answer that one, but anyone who had advance information about the series already knew that Part Two is entitled: Why Is There a Crisis? - so there were no prizes for guessing.
Pollution, over-harvesting and other activities are responsible for some recent changes, but evidence from many thousands of years ago shows that even before the elephant gun, let alone the motor car, human migrations led to the extinction of other species, including the large mammals that used to roam the plains of North America. Even global warming is nothing new. The challenge for the coming century, Attenborough says, is to "provide a good living standard for a growing number of people, without inflicting grave impoverishment on the planet". Younger viewers will be the ones who have to meet that challenge.
BEST ON RADIO. Routes of English. Radio 4. Thursday, November 23 9-9.30am.
This third series of Radio 4's history of English concentrates on dialects, from ancient Cornish to Estuary English.
This week, Melvyn Bragg focuses on Northumberland, where the disappearance of coal mining has affected the language of many communities. Twenty years ago, Stanley Ellis recorded samples of local speech which provide a fascinating comparison with today. Miners, their wives and children are among those who talk about how they talk.