Television: Pick of the week

6th February 2004 at 00:00
BBC Primary Geography: Mexico

BBC2 Fridays, February 6 and 13, 11.20-11.40am

Two new films about the Aztecs complete this series on Mexico for seven to 11-year-olds. After the contrasting faces of the modern country, presenter Jayne Consantinis burrows under the streets of Mexico City to discover remnants of Aztec culture, and recalls the beliefs and customs of a civilisation that is impressive, if remarkably hard to like.

The second programme describes the fall of the Aztec Empire and explains why modern Mexico is Spanish-speaking and Catholic, rather than sun-worshipping and addicted to human sacrifice. The whole series of five programmes is available on video (pound;34.99 from BBC Customer Services, tel: 0870 830 8000).

GCSE Bitesize Revision

BBC2 Fridays, February 6 and 13, 2-6am

Science is the topic for the pre-half-term weeks in this reliable series for GCSE students. The first week covers biology and chemistry, the second physics and higher tier science - the latter concentrates on covering selected items from the curriculum for all three sciences in greater depth for higher aspirations, while the earlier programmes are targeted at ensuring a worthy grade C.

Everything from cells to electricity is clearly explained, and the accompanying website (www.bbc.co.uklearningzone) has simple tests to make sure you have grasped the material.

Decisions

C4 Tuesday-Thursday, February 10-12, 10.40-11.05am

Three dramas about life decisions for 14 to 19-year-olds, which are enjoyable to watch and should provide the basis for discussion about issues of relationships and morality. In the second, "Steve's Heartache", Steve and Nasreen are starting a relationship; but how will their respective families react? Nasreen's parents have already got a nice Asian boy lined up for her. And how serious is Steve anyway? There are more questions than answers in this thought-provoking series.

Timewatch

BBC2 Friday, February 6, 9-10pm

This week's Timewatch features the present Prince of Wales, contributing to a portrait of his ancestor, King George III. Britain's longest-reigning king, George presided over a period of considerable achievement and prosperity, but is remembered for two things: the loss of the American colonies and the mental instability caused by the illness from which he suffered in his final years. His descendant can probably sympathise with a monarch who has received an undeservedly bad press.

Betrayal

History Channel Thursdays, to February 26, 8-9pm

"The Mosley story is a hidden corner of British history, never taught in schools," said the commentator on last week's opening programme in this series, which recalled the rise of the British Union of Fascists in the interwar years.

It is often in the interest of both traitors and the betrayed to keep quiet about dis-loyalty: this week's subject is the case of the British businessman, Gerald Bull, and the Iraqi "supergun".

Then we have the Israeli Mordechai Vanunu, who published details of his country's nuclear weapons programme and KGB spy Karl Koechner, perhaps the most successful Soviet agent to infiltrate the CIA.

The drawbacks in this Canadian coproduction may be the undifferentiated mixture of documentary and reconstruction, but on the whole, the series throws light into some interesting corners.

Full listings:

www.bbc.co.ukschoolsguidewww.bbc.co.ukschoolswhatsontvsecondary_month.lt;NIPgt; shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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