TV and radio. Robin Buss's pick of the week

13th January 2006 at 00:00
Seven Journeys in the American WestThe Arab-Israeli Conflict Black Peoples of the Americas The World Since 1945 BBC2, Wednesday, January 18, 2-6am

These four programmes for secondary history cover specific topics, starting with the settlement of the American West. This is followed by an analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. "Black Peoples of the Americas" consists of five 20-minute films in which a young British boy searches for his roots in the history of the slave trade. Finally, the night ends with a 20-minute documentary about apartheid in South Africa. The first three programmes are available on video (from BBC Schools' Broadcasting Recordings, tel: 08701 272 272).

Primary History: Time Lines

BBC2, Fridays, January 13-February 10, 11.10-11.30am

The past for younger viewers. The aim of the five programmes, for 7 to 11-year-olds, is to show how the world has changed with time and to examine some of our evidence for how people lived. We start with Cleopatra's Needle, a rather large and solid witness to the survival of artefacts from a long time ago. Part two is about how a modern city shows evidence of past habitation. The series continues with work, transport and the lives of children in Ancient Greece, Anglo-Saxon England, and Tudor and Victorian times. A useful additional resource is the website, "A Walk Through Time"

(on www.bbc.co.ukhistorywalk), which younger students can use to find out how places looked at different periods in the past and play games that involve spotting anachronisms.

Selected Chapters from A History of Britain

BBC2, Thursday, January 19, 2-5am

Nine episodes from Simon Schama's "A History of Britain" specially adapted to fit the needs of the 11-14 curriculum and covering topics from the Norman conquest to the place of women in Victorian society. Schama explains all the momentous events in-between with his usual clarity and urbanity.

The Garage

Discovery Channel, Mondays, from January 16, 10-11pm

For the past 18 years, Jock has been running a garage on the Costa del Sol, specialising in classic cars and ex-pat owners. Now he is expanding and recruits five new mechanics: Sandy, Wayne, Stefan, Claire and Danielle.

This documentary series tells us a good deal about repairing cars, the working environment and living abroad. It could find a place in some careers, PSHE or other classes for older students, though teachers should be warned that in a few places the language is the kind one would expect to hear from stressed workers in a busy garage.

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