TV and radio - Robin Buss's pick of the week
BBC2, December 13, 10.30-11.10am
Two 20-minute programmes for primary history, giving 7 to 11-year-olds a glimpse of life in the Indus valley around 2500bc. Seen through the eyes of modern Pakistani girls, the programmes make comparisons with Pakistan as it is today and examine the legacy of the Indus civilisation. The programmes are available in a Video Plus pack and there is a website on which you can assist the turbaned archaeologist Professor Indus in his search for the city of Mohenjo-Daro.
BBC2, Wednesday-Friday, December 14-16, 2-6am
Three programmes that offer young people the opportunity to give a fresh perspective on some issues, including relationships and families. And, from Scotland, Edith Bowman introduces Teen Commandments, which has a Scottish slant on the same questions.
The Story of God
BBC1, Sundays, December 11 and 18, 7-8pm
Professor Robert Winston continues his investigation into the religious impulse and this week moves on to the great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He continues to speculate on why human beings believe in God, the link between religious belief and an awareness of death, and the problem of evil and pain: if a benevolent supreme being created the world, why is there evil in it?
Christmas and beyond
Schools' broadcasting takes a holiday until the start of the spring term (and I intend to do the same), but this doesn't mean there is nothing interesting for teachers on television. Christmas, oddly, is a time that schedulers associate with bloody murder and frightful ghosts (which is probably why all those long-dead TV series come back to haunt us in their terrifying Christmas specials). Alongside a drama about demon barber Sweeney Todd, the BBC promises an adaptation of a ghost story by the best-known practitioner of the genre, MR James, A View from a Hill, and a season of programmes on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
There are the usual reviews of the year, from Blue Peter, The Culture Show and others, while BBC Radio 3 is having a Bach Christmas, with performances of all the composer's known works, starting on December 16. Look out, too, on various BBC channels for the documentary-drama on the writer CS Lewis (starring Anton Rogers as Lewis and Diane Venora as his American wife, Joy Gresham); an adaptation of Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals; and for the Christmas episode of the charming children's animation Charlie and Lola.