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TV and radio

Pick of the week

Culture Fix: children's literature. BBC Knowledge, Friday, July 6 7.30-8pm.

"If there is a hell, C S Lewis is in it now," Philip Pullman says, damning his fellow author for misleading readers of the Narnia books when he showed a good child curing his mother's illness with a magic apple. The first thing we learn from this brief survey is that passions can be aroused over the question of fantasy versus reality, Christian versus pagan mythology, and violence, something Roald Dahl was especially keen on. You can get away with anything, Dahl said, as long as there is "a burst of laughter at the same time".

There are so many issues here that a half-hour programme can do little more than state them - which makes it ideal as material for classroom discussion.

Face to Face. BBC Knowledge, Fridays 8-9pm. BBC Knowledge continues its repeats of a groundbreaking series from the late Fifties and early Sixties, when there was still plenty of ground to be broken in television. It went against the received wisdom that the pictures were what counted and the words less important. "The eyes have it" was the slogan used to advertise one ITV company. In Face to Face they didn't; or so it seemed. The interviewer, John Freeman, who was seen only from behind and in silhouette, would put his questions in a gently conversational tone to the subject of the week. The close-up camera and the concentration on what the interviewee was saying made this a recipe for revealing portraits, which in one or two cases had devastating effects on the sitters. Tonight is one of the most memorable, with Martin Luther King. Next week, Freeman talks to John Osborne, considered at the time of first broadcast to be a dangerously angry young man.

Best on radio. Holden Caulfield OAP. Radio 4, Thursday, July 5 11.30am-12noon. Though not children's literature exactly, Catcher in the Rye has hit a spot for adolescents since it appeared in July 1951. Its author, J D Salinger, a recluse, refuses to speak to journalists and has published nothing since 1965. Richard Francis traces the history of the book (supposed to have inspired John Lennon's killer) and tells us the little that is known about the later Salinger.

Even As We Speak. Radio 4, Monday, July 2 9.45-10am. Book of the Week on Radio 4 is a selection from Clive James's recent collection of essays, starting with his reminiscences of Mr Russell, one of his teachers in Australia. (He remembers another, Jazz Aked, in this week's My Best Teacher, page 7.) In subsequent days, we hear about James's singing lessons, his thoughts on the first television broadcasts from the House of Lords and the Sydney Olympics.

Robin Buss Full educational programme schedules can be found online at

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