Television: Pick of the week

16th January 2004 at 00:00
Postcards: Bangladesh BBC2 Thursdays, January 15-29, 11.20-11.30am

These three new programmes for primary geography (ages seven to 11) focus on water resources and flooding in Bangladesh. The first part looks at the reasons for flooding: the country's geographical location and the annual monsoon that leaves at least one-third of the land under water for a part of every year. Are the floods a good or bad thing? Each programme develops aspects of this question, inviting children to explore the effects of the floods on everyday life, and the benefits as well as the problems brought by the floods.

The Alan Clark Diaries BBC4 Thursdays, from January 15, 10-10.30pm

Though often far from edifying, the BBC's dramatisation of Alan Clark's diaries may none the less prove instructive; they are also a reminder that politics can be fun. The series illustrates a good deal of what a junior minister does, and even more what happens when he fails to do it, because Clark often found that he had better things to do than doing prep - he seems to have seen political life as, in some ways, very like public school. John Hurt nicely captures the spirit of the man and gives him a human face (though not one much like Clark's own), and the background of the Thatcher years is economically sketched in. There could well be fodder here for older students of history, government and politics.

Pathways of Belief: the Bible and the Qu'ran BBC2 Fridays, January 16-February 6,11-11.20am

These four new programmes for religious studies with seven to nine-year-olds look at the sacred texts of Christianity and Islam. The first two parts consider the Old and New Testaments, the third and fourth discuss the origins of the Qu'ran in the life of the Prophet Muhammed and its significance for Muslims today. The films include examples of the texts as works of art, in the case of the Qu'ran from one of the earliest copies of the Muslim scriptures to the work of a modern artist who uses the Arabic script and the Qu'ranic verses as the basis for his paintings. Sounds, images and testimony by young believers help convey the essence of the two faiths, with particular significance for those who have not been brought up in them.

Scientific Eye: Materials and Their Properties C4 Monday-Friday, January 19-23, 9.55-10.15am

Good solid stuff: a series for 11 to 14-year-olds about the properties of liquids and gases, mixtures and solutions, gas pressure and diffusion, fossil fuels and the elements. Programme notes are available online at www.channel4. comsecondary Full listings:;NIPgt; shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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