TV and radio

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Pick of the week. The Dog Listener Channel 5, Tuesday, February 20, 8.30-9pm

Jan Fennell believes all it takes to train a dog is a little canine psychology. She demonstrates on three hard cases - a bossy St Bernard, a yappy chihuahua and a German shepherd with a phobia about crossing bridges.

The results are impressive and the technique is simple enough to be applied by anyone, so the programme should interest all teachers and pupils with troublesome pets. In fact, the no-nonsense approach and the basic lesson - how to get your message across to rowdy pack animals - might have applications in dealing with any class up to about Year 8.

* School spotlight. Short Circuit. BBC2, Tuesday, February 20, 2-4am.

A new unit in a terrific science series for 14 to 16-year-olds that puts physics, biology and chemistry into the context of everyday life, with stories about a man who collects pinball machines, an eye operation, a rocket-builder and a record-breaking foil ball made out of sweet wrappers.

The visual material is stunning and the graphics excellent. The only danger could be the slight tendency to reinforce the image of scientists as dotty boffins - the sort of people who launch rockets from the back garden and set fire to kitchen foil.

* Best of the rest

Wild Reeds. BBC Knowledge. Thursday, February 22, 10.35pm-12.25am.

The BBC Knowledge slot "Kino" continues its season of classic European films with Andre Techine's 1994 story of adolescent love. As the affectin deepens between two schoolfriends, Francois and Serge, they discover the divergent sexual orientation that will eventually drive them apart.

Set in 1962, in the final days of the Algerian war of independence, the film catches the pains of first love in times more innocent than our own.

* Steps to the Stars

BBC1, Fridays, 4.35-5pm.

This is a young talent show, often entertaining, and a lot less cringe-making than Stars in Their Eyes.

Each week, four acts, chosen from thousands across the United Kingdom, compete for viewers' votes; tonight, we have a dancer, two solo singers and a band performing one of their own compositions. Every week, too, a professional pop group closes the show.

* Best on radio

The Bayeux Tapestry. Radio 4, Monday-Friday, February 19-23, 10.45-11am

A single panel of the Bayeux Tapestry provides the inspiration for each of the 15-minute plays in this series, written in verse and prose (respectively) by Simon Armitage and Jeff Young, and culminating in a full-length drama on Sunday, February 25.

It tells the story of the conflict between William of Normandy and King Harold from the point of view of both the protagonists and the common people on each side of the Channel. The result is one of those sound narratives that only radio can do.

Robin Buss

Full education programme schedules can be found online at programmesspring2001.cfm

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