Television: pick of the week

5th March 2004 at 00:00
What's So Good About Jacqueline Wilson?

C4, Thursday and Friday, March 11 and 12, 11.25-11.40am

Jacqueline Wilson has overtaken Catherine Cookson as the writer whose books are most borrowed from British public libraries. This film helps explain why two million copies of Wilson's novels went to the issue desks in 2003.

One reason is the author's ability to find humour in difficult real-life situations, while another could be the influence of television: The Story of Tracey Beaker, Cliffhanger and Double Act have been convincingly adapted as films for schools or for children's entertainment, and 4Learning repeated its adaptation of The Illustrated Mum only last month. In these two programmes, for seven to 11-year-olds, the writer talks about her life, tells us where she gets her ideas and how she invents her characters, and answers readers' questions. The progamme is available on video (pound;14.99 from 4Learning, PO Box 400, Wetherby, LS23 7LG), and notes are online at www.channel4.comprimary).

Portrait of Europe

BBC2, Fridays, March 5 to April 2, 11.40am-noon

Jamie and Charlotte head across the continent from south to north, looking at the landscape, climate and lifestyle of each country, with an emphasis on environmental issues. They start in Spain, where they discover holiday resorts, desert and a solar power station. Next week, they travel to France, then up the Rhine, through the Netherlands and onwards to the Arctic north of Sweden. Their travel diaries make an attractive geography series for seven to 11-year-olds, also available in a video-plus pack (at pound;34.99 from BBC Customer Services, tel: 0870 830 8000).

Bitesize Revision: RE

BBC2, Friday, March 12, 2-6am

This week's Bitesize Revision falls into two parts, covering the main areas of the religious studies curriculum: philosophy and ethics, followed by world religions - in short: how we formulate the big questions and how no one can agree on the answers.

Forum: All Together Now

C4, March 8-12, 9.55-10.15pm

A five-part series on citizenship for 11 to 14-year-olds which looks at key concepts: fairness, freedom of speech, democracy, services and justice.

Dramatisations introduce the ideas and show how human rights questions affect pupils at the most basic level. Then, with the help of celebrity presenters, the programmes look at key historical moments in the achievement of rights and children talk about their own responsibilities in the community.

La Tienda de Luis

C4, Tuesdays, March 9-23, 5-5.15am

In the light of the Government's drive to encourage the teaching of languages in primary schools, here is a chance to pay a visit to the shop which Luis runs in Oviedo, Spain, together with his eccentric Aunt Maria and some young friends. The stories are amusing and cover a lot of basic language. The series has started already, but you can still catch the last three episodes if you are prepared to get up early; and, if not, the whole lot is available on video (pound;14.99), from the usual source, as well as a teachers' guide (pound;3.95) and a jolly pupils' activity book (pound;6.95, with a reduction for sets of 20 or more). Una ganga!

Full listings can be found at:;NIPgt; shtmlwww.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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