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TV and radio

Pick of the week

In Pursuit of Pleasure

BBC2, March 5, 7.30-8pm

The standard view of a woman's life in the 18th century is that it was one of drudgery and submission, with little room for pleasure.

Historian Amanda Vickery challenges this in a fascinating series based on women's diaries, from an age that was discovering the concept of "polite society". This was essentially a feminine realm, in contrast to the masculine one of drinking and swearing. The two marriages of Elizabeth Parker, a middle-class Lancashire housewife, illustrate how women could flourish at such a time but also how vulnerable they were if they made a bad marriage.

School spotlight

Revisewise: science

BBC2, March 4, 2-4am

This new revision slot is aimed at 10 to 11-year-olds preparing for national tests in science, maths and English.

The science programme is timecoded, so teachers can easily find the segment they need. The pupils are given a multi-choice question and are then supplied with further information before answering the same question again (and, with luck, getting it right). The television programme is supported by written materials and a CD-Rom.

English and Drama: The Magic Key

BBC2, March 5, 9.30-9.45am

Year 1 pupils have long been familiar with The Magic Key series, from the Oxford Reading Tree.

The adventures of Kipper, Biff, Chip, Wilma and Floppy the Dog have now been superbly animated and are the starting point for a range f language activities that involve commands, descriptions and questions, as well as how to construct a story. The accompanying teacher's pack has suggestions for follow-up work.

Best of the rest


BBC2, March 8, 9-9.50pm

Dr Ron Federici is an American psychologist who believes in a "tough love" regime for children with severe behavioural problems. Horizon follows the cases of an English girl who throws temper tantrums and a Russian boy who is violent and withdrawn; his American adoptive parents are afraid he may soon turn into one of those who takes out a gun and shoots his classmates.

But not everyone approves of Dr Federici's radical solution, stage one of which involves keeping the children in constant contact with their parents for a month, 24 hours a day, and pinning them to the floor if they misbehave.

But do the children internalise the lessons, or just learn to play the game?

Best on radio

Melvyn Bragg: in our time

Radio 4, March 8, 9-9.45pm

Professor John Sutherland joins Lord Bragg to discuss whether Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him - and why anyone should have doubted his authorship.

They analyse the claims of Bacon and Marlowe (not to mention that other suspect, the Arab bard, Sheikh Zubair).

Robin Buss

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

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