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

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Barnaby Bear 1

BBC2, Thursdays, 10.30-10.45am

Barnaby has already been to Dublin and Poole in this series for five to seven-year-olds; now he ventures across the Channel to Brittany - his first experience of continental Europe. Here, he discovers the local food, looks at the sights of Roscoff and makes friends with some Breton children. Next week, he is badger watching in the New Forest. An enjoyable series that should broaden the horizons of its target audience. This first series is available on video (pound;37.99) or DVD (pound;44.99) from BBC Children's Learning (0870 830 8000).

And there is a website ( where you can find out more about Barnaby's trip and learn a few words of French as you help him do his shopping in a supermarket.

BBC Primary History: Saxons and Vikings

BBC2, Friday, June 23, 10.30-11.10am

The history series for seven to 11-year-olds puts Sid the Saxon and Vik the Viking on board the Time Travel Express, so that they can let us know what life was like in their Britain, before the Norman Conquest.

They started last week at the site of the Sutton Hoo ship burial, then moved on to Ipswich, an important Saxon market town. This week they head north to Lindisfarne and York, before crossing the sea to Ireland. The programmes are available in a Video-plus pack (pound;37.99) and there are rival websites, to be found at and at vikings, with games, puzzles and additional information about pre-Conquest Britain.

Better still, you can take the whole subject further by using Writing Across the Curriculum (BBC2, June 23, 11.10-11.30am) which shows how this topic can be developed to teach students how to write a historical report.

Birth, Care and GrowthOurselves

BBC2, Fridays to June 30, 11.30am-12noon

Two series, each of three 15-minute programmes: the first is designed to introduce five to seven-year-olds to the stages in the physical and emotional growth of babies, the second to help children in the same age group to acquire a sense of their own identity and to understand their relationships with other people.

Francesco's Italy Top to Toe

BBC2, Sundays, 9-10pm

You may remember the archetypal Italian, Francesco da Mosto, who last year did a series on his native Venice. The BBC has now decided to let him loose on the rest of Italy and the surprise, once you get past the accent, is how interesting are the things he has to say.

This week, he visits that favourite playground of British Italophiles:

Tuscany. Here, he shows us how to prepare pasta, looks at some art treasures with Dame Maggie Smith and visits a garden created by an early English exile.

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