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

7th July 2006 at 01:00

Teachers' TV

Saturday, July 8, 7am-12noon

"It's very much trial and error," says Andy Smith, a teacher who has a definite Passion for Physics (7.45-8am). "You see what works and what doesn't." Andy, who was last year's North-West Teacher of the Year, is constantly trying out new ideas for getting his points across and achieves remarkable results with mixed ability classes. What impresses his pupils is the evidence that he comes to each lesson well-prepared and eager to teach.

His example is intended to be an inspiration to others, so try not to be discouraged if you feel that you cannot always match his level of energy, joule for joule.

Inspirations is the title that Teachers' TV gives to the strand in its output that is supposed to rekindle the flagging fires of enthusiasm for teaching. This Saturday, the channel is devoting a day mainly to this series, with programmes about landscaping a barren playground, getting children to study orchids, involving fathers in their sons' education, a French scheme for healthier eating, teaching subjects through the medium of foreign languages and even teaching children to teach. The best thing about Teachers' TV is that, if you have access to the internet, you can watch all these programmes in your own time, online at This particular strand could well give you a few ideas to work on over the summer break.

That Summer Day


Friday, July 7, 4.30-5.30pm

If you can, try to watch this play about a London comprehensive on the day of last July's bombings.

As it opens, a group of children is preparing to set off by coach to give a concert, others are playing in the gym, Ben has just had an argument with his dad and Kelly is bullying another girl in the art class. Then the news of the bombings starts to come in and the concert is cancelled. By the end, everyone will be affected in some way by the attacks in Clive Bradley's well-observed and understated drama. There is material here for discussion about many aspects of personal and social relations, including bullying, discrimination and terrorism.

Al Murray's Road to Berlin

Discovery Civilisation Channel

Friday, July 7- Wednesday, July 12, 10-11am, 4-5pm.

Comedian Al Murray follows the progress of the Allies from the Normandy Landings to Berlin, talking to survivors and looking at archive footage.

As well as the bigger picture, which Murray explains with the help of maps and graphics, he constantly makes us aware of the effect of events on the ordinary soldiers involved: how it feels to jump out of a landing craft on to a well-defended beach, for example. And he is not afraid to get his feet wet, literally and otherwise, in what amounts to an effective account of the final stages of the Second World War.

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