PICK OF THE WEEK
The Blue Peter Book Awards BBC1. Sunday, November 263.45-4.25pm.
With categories that include the Best Book With Facts In, the Best Book to Read Aloud, and the Book That Made Me Laugh the Loudest, the first Blue Peter book awards promise better entertainment than most such occasions, as well as some useful tips for Christmas presents.
Chosen from children's paperback titles published over the past year, the categories were judged by two panels: celebrities (Ian Hislop, Malorie Blackman, Keith Gray, Steve Hocking and Lindsey Fraser) who drew up the shortlists; and experts (nine children, chosen from among 20,000 entrants for a Blue Peter competition) who made the final choices.
The contenders for overall winner include books by Nina Bawden, Jacqueline Wilson, Allan Ahlberg, Brian Patten and - needless to say - J K Rowling. "The winning book was a surprise to us," says Lindsey Fraser, executive director of the Scottish Book Trust. "But the children were very thoughtful in their choices. They were judging the books on behalf of their peers and understood what we were trying to do with the categories."
Some publishers were more bewildered when asked to submit a Special Book to Keep Forever or the Best Book to Share. "it was a lovely thing to be involved in," says Lindsey Fraser, "in a world that can be quite cynical." Definitely an Award Ceremony Not to Be Missed.
Everyman: In the Shadow of a Saint. BBC1. Tuesday, November 2810.35-11.25pm
"It's a pity children can't choose their parents," Ken Saro-Wiwa once told his son; and there are times when Ken, junior, is inclined to agree.
He was at school in England when, five years ago, the Nigerian government executed his father after a farcical show trial, and he has since made a life for himself in Canada. Now a change of government has allowed Ken to go back to the country and his fathe to be reburied in his native village.
This documentary movingly records his feelings about the event and about what he feels is expected of him by his people, the Ogoni, as the son of their martyred leader; and he talks to the son of the late South African activist, Steve Biko, who has faced similar dilemmas.
In the end, after writing a book and making this film, he feels reconciled with his father's memory. Earlier in the week, on Radio 4 (Sunday, 5.40-6pm), Ken's sister, Zina Saro-Wiwa, talks about her love for the music and culture of Brazil, suggesting that she, too, has tried to carve out an independent identity for herself.
My Brilliant Career. C4. Tuesday, November 284-4.50am.
This new series of five-minute programmes offers 14 to-19-year-olds a glimpse of what it's like to work in a variety of jobs from advertising to surveying, web design, make-up, and music.
Broadcast on Friday mornings from September 1, this term's 10 programmes are being repeated in night-block transmission on November 28 (the whole series of 25 ends in June). While the films may occasionally be short on information about the drawbacks of a particular line of work, they do suggest the possibilities on offer for school leavers and some of the pleasures of each field. You might not have guessed, for example, that a make-up artist has to know about different kinds and colours of blood when working on a television drama, or that surveying can be about planning permission and finance, as well as standing around in the cold with a theodolite.
Of course, teaching is one of the brilliant careers (though you'll have to wait until February 2 to find out why). Apparently you need patience and a good sense of humour - oh, and no one's pretending that the pay is good, by the way. Perhaps you should have watched My Brilliant Career before taking that PGCE.