TV and radio
C4, May 13, 20, 23 and 25; June 6 and 7, 11.55am-12pm
This series of 10 short films, narrated by Tom Baker, answers the question: what if? What if women had never got the vote: would Margaret Thatcher have found fulfilment in the Women's Institute? Suppose Britain had lost the Falklands War: could Michael Foot have become Prime Minister? Would football still be a real sport if players were paid sensible wages? Imagine the consequences if the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded. Maybe, in a parallel universe, that's what really happened...
Voces EspanolasTalk the TalkJeunes Francophones BBC2, Wednesday, May 18, 2-6am
One part of the curriculum that has benefited more than any other from broadcasting has to be modern languages. Television means that in place of a grammar book and a middle-aged teacher with an accent closer to Birmingham than Berlin or Bordeaux, you can bring into the classroom a huge range of visual aids, authentic language and different voices - such as the Voces Espanolas in the first part of this night's transmission for 14 to 16 year-olds: Spanish speakers from three continents talk about home and school, what they like to eat and how they enjoy themselves. What could be more motivating? Motivation is the topic on Talk the Talk, as various language-learners discuss what makes them want to. Finally, we have the six-parter, Jeunes Francophones, a French version of Voces Espanolas which continues on Thursday evening (when it is followed by France 2000, two 20-minute documentaries on the Massif Central and Brittany). The week ends with German, including Hallo aus Berlin (Thursday, May 20, 2-4am) aimed at 11 to 14-year-olds, and six programmes of songs in German, French and Spanish.
Stop, Look, Listen: Famous People 2 C4, Wednesdays to June 15, 5.15-5.30am (June 8, 5.10-5.25am; June 15, 5.25-5.40am)
Famous people in this batch include Mary Seacole (June 8) and Grace Darling (May 18). A book and resource pack accompany the series, which is meant to interest 7 to 11-year-olds in people from the past.
Soul Deep BBC2, Saturdays to June 11, 9-10pm
The BBC's six-part history of soul music started last week with a previously unseen interview with Ray Charles, tracing the origins of soul in rhythm'n'blues and its relationship to rock'n'roll. This week, The Gospel Highway recalls the legacy of Sam Cooke (left) whose "You Send Me" achieved a significant crossover from gospel to pop. The series goes on to explore Motown, southern soul, funk and hip-hop. An important slice of musical and social history.
Maths Challenge: Mental Booster Year 5 BBC Radio 4, Fridays, May 13-27, 3.20-3.50am
Visual distraction is the enemy of mental arithmetic (which is probably best done with the eyes closed), so radio is an ideal medium for this series for 11-year-olds. Halving, doubling and multiplying are followed by lots of work on 10s and 100ths, and we learn some useful strategies for adding and subtracting near multiples of 10 and 100. The programmes are also available on BBC School Radio tapes (pound;2.65 from Customer Services, tel: 0870 830 8000).