Television: Pick of the week

30th January 2004 at 00:00
L8r BBC2 Thursdays, February 5 and 26, March 11 and 25, 5.50-6am

Six characters in search of authors: Ben, Katy, Misha, James, Danny and Tilly are young teenagers with very different outlooks, whose relationship and lifestyle problems are the subject of this interactive drama. The programme is designed for 14 to 16-year-olds in schools and community groups so they will have no problem deciphering the texting savvy title. A website ( allows them to vote on critical developments in the drama and to advise the characters, ideally as the starting-point for debate on the issues. The plausible situations and dialogues make this excellent material for PSHE, but it could also be a productive starting-point for work in English and drama.

English Programme: Dark Tales C4 Thursday and Friday, February 5 and 6, 11-11.35am

The English Programme's mini-series on sombre themes from 19th and 20th-century literature starts with "Outsiders", those lonely outcasts who have been such popular heroes and anti-heroes in literature, from Byron onwards. Tomorrow, Dickens's London features strongly among "Cities at Night" (down those dark streetsI) The strength of the two films is the way in which they manage to lead from more accessible, but perhaps lesser-known 20th-century texts to the 19th-century classics. There's supplementary information online (www.channel4.comsecondary) with activities and suggestions for using the material for interpretation, analysis and written or oral work. The series is available on video for pound;19.99 Tel: 08701 246 444

Postcards: Kenya BBC2 Thursdays, February 5 and 12, 12.20-12.30pm

An early repeat for two films from a series first broadcast last autumn, about life in rural and urban Kenya. Evangeline lives on a farm up country, Nana in a pleasant suburb of Nairobi. The story of their everyday activities introduces us to their homeland and to the contrasting lifestyles in a developing country. The set, on video, together with a teachers' book, activity sheets and other materials, is available for pound;34.99 from BBC Customer Services Tel: 0870 830 8000

War Surgeons Discovery Channel Wednesdays, February 4-18, 10-11pm

There is nothing new about the idea that warfare has been the motor for beneficial developments, particularly in medicine - though some military commanders have been happy enough to accept heavy casualties as an inevitable consequence of their search for glory; but in the end even Napoleon's army came to see the advantage of patching up its wounded. This documentary starts much earlier, in Ancient Greece, and traces the development of surgery to modern times. It will be useful for coursework on the history of medicine, though viewers should be warned that there are scenes in a modern operating theatre which graphically illustrate wounds and surgical procedures; these could be distressing to anyone who does not like the sight of blood. Programme two looks at developments in the first half of the 20th-century, including plastic surgery and blood transfusion; and the final part considers the lessons of Korea and Vietnam, as well as the future of military medicine.

Full listings can be found th.shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htmwww.discove

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