23rd June 2000 at 01:00
The first series of Hope and Glory, BBC1's tale of life in a troubled inner-city comprehensive, drew many positive responses from teachers; several said it had reaffirmed their belief in the profession and reminded them why they had gone into teaching. Of course, the storyline was particularly uplifting. High-flying teacher Ian George (Lenny Henry) was persuaded to sacrifice a career in the educational Establishment and take over as head of low-achieving (and ironically titled) Hope Park comprehensive. He saved it from closure (within a few hours of TV drama) and started to nudge it up the league tables. Now view on.

What follows was probably bound to be, if not an anticlimax, at least a less well-rounded story. Hope Park, it seems, is not doing quite so well in the league tables. The chief education officer (played by Richard Griffiths) is breathing down Ian George's neck, and the head has many problems to occupy him in the coming weeks: a star footballer who ought to be excluded for stealing - on the eve of a vital fixture; a disruptive pupil with a gift for drawing; some lost GCSE papers; a member of staff accused of manhandling a pupil; and the threat that his own budding romance with his deputy (played by Amanda Redman) may come to the attention of the staffroom.

The relationship is already an open secret for millions of viewers, who know that a drama series such as this can't rely on termly assessments and meetings of the PTA.

In the first episode, George has to deal with the case of Liana, a disabled black pupil who has been excluded from her previous school and shows high ability in English. George is keen to give Liana the benefit of the doubt, but her disability means all her classes will have to be scheduled on the ground floor, causing major logistical problems. Meanwhile, the CEO is wondering why George is happy to take on Liana, when he has refused two other excluded pupils. Could it be because Liana is black?

Viewers will have to make up their own minds about how authentic all this is, but at least Hope and Glory demonstrates that teaching can provide as rich a source of drama as any other profession - as if you didn't know that.

Hope and Glory. BBC1. Tuesdays from June 27, 9.30-10.20pm

Sunday's special edition of Omnibus, "Wallace and Gromit go Chicken", is about the background to the full-length animated film Chicken Run released this week.

Animation is a form of filmmaking almost anyone can do - all you need is a camera, a kitchen table and endless patience. Peter Lord and David Sproxton, who founded Aardman Animation in Bristol in the 1970s, talk about the firm's development from the early days when they first made the Plasticine character Morph for children's television.

Aardman's greatest success has, of couse, been with the characters of Wallace, the cheese-loving inventor, and his dog, Gromit, created by Nick Park, who joined Aardman in the mid-1980s straight from art school. The firm is now Britain's leading animated film company, employing 300 people and playing an important role in training new animators.

The Omnibus documentary is partly about how this very British enterprise has resisted absorption by Hollywood. Underlying that is an implicit story about the nature of work. The people employed at the Aardman studios clearly operate as a team, from the directors and key animators down to those who make the chickens' spare rubber feet. Work, it seems, can be creative and hard, but it should also be fun. This is a message heard all too rarely.

Omnibus BBC1 June 25, 10.30-11.20pm

Generation Sex, a major season of programmes about young people's sexuality, starts this week on Channel 4. It includes a three-part documentary, Sex From 8 to 18, which presents the results of research into young people's sexual attitudes and experiences, partly through interviews conducted by young reporters from Children's Express (an organisation that involves pupils in learning through journalism). The first part is broadcast on June 27.

Some viewers may be surprised at the evidence in the films which shows that children mature physically at a younger age than they used to, which could be one factor leading to earlier sexual experience.

A stand-alone documentary, Teenage Sex Lives on June 29, looks at case studies that suggest young people need much more guidance from parents, teachers and other adults if they are to avoid unwanted pregnancies and disease. In particular the documentary focuses on sex education, which 14-year-old Naomi says in her case came too little, too late. She should know - she had a baby after a one-night stand with a 17-year-old. And Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe.

Generation Sex Channel Four 'Sex from 8 to 18', from June 27, 9pm. 'Teenage Sex Lives', June 29, 9pm

BBC Knowledge is devoting a whole evening on June 27 to the planet Mars, including a Mars guide and a documentary presented by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury which explores our obsession with the idea of Martians and their planet. The evening starts with A Traveller's Guide, presented by Peter Snow, which anticipates regular travel between Earth and Mars, and looks at the effects on the human organism of taking a holiday on the RedPlanet (will tourists be able to relax with a cocktail in a Mars bar?). This is followed by a film about the scientists who are working towards landing the first humans on Mars within 15 years.

A Night on Mars. BBC Knowledge. June 27, 8-11pm. Schools television listings return on September 8

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