TV and radio

5th May 2006 at 01:00
Robin Buss's pick of the week

Watch: Art Start BBC2, Monday, May 8, 11.45am-12noon

A four-part series for five to seven-year-olds, dealing with the creative use of materials. Last week we did painting, this week, it's printing, followed by collage and, finally, clay. In the course of the film, children exhibit and explain their own work and there are short sequences about materials.

BBC Primary History: Britain Since 1948

BBC2, Fridays to June 2, 10.30-10.50am

This enjoyable modern history series for 7 to 11-year-olds has now taken us out from the gloom of the post-war years: this week, it recalls the prosperous 1950s and next Friday we move on to the Swinging Sixties.

Unfortunately, the swings were followed by roundabouts, which brought industrial strife, then Thatcherism. The series should leave your class with a clear outline of the nation's life over the past 50 years, but probably without much faith in progress.

Instrument Tales BBCRadio 4, Monday, May 8, 11.30-11.45am

Trombones and marches herald the start of a new five-part series featuring the National Orchestra of Wales and designed to introduce the instruments of the orchestra, to show how they are used in a performance of a work by Stravinsky, and to encourage music-making in the classroom. Next week, we have violins and waltzes, then clarinets and phantoms, symphonies and stories and, finally, drums and wild dances. Rousing stuff.

The Impressionists BBC1, Sundays to May 14, 6.30pm

This rollicking three-part factual drama series recaptures the struggles of the Impressionist painters in the far-off days when their art could be described as a "war on beauty". The story is based on primary sources: letters and other documents from the mid-19th century. Starring Julian Glover, Richard Armitage and Amanda Root, it was filmed largely on location (Monet's garden, Cezanne's Provence and other attractive spots) and should have lots of educational applications for art, art history and creative writing.

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