TV and radio

Robin Buss's pick of the week

TV Programme

Let's Write Non-Fiction

BBC2, Monday, January 24, 11.10am-12.10pm

This is three programmes in one, in a strand for nine to 11-year-olds that concentrates on non-fiction writing. The first part looks at biography and autobiography, dramatising Charles Dickens's long unpublished account of his childhood and relating it to his novels. Next, we turn to advertising as comedians Kim Noble and Stuart Silver mount a campaign to give some allure to the Brussels sprout. Finally, experts discuss the ethical aspects of cloning, with arguments for and against.


C4, Wednesday and Thursday, January 26 and 27, 9.30-10.20am; Friday, January 28, 9.30-9.55am

Six as yet unsigned British artists set out to prove that the UK urban sound can cut it in New York, where they are helped by DJ Fatman Scoop - a tougher cookie than he looks. There is no shortage of advice for the hopefuls ("presentation is half of it", and so on), as well as truck-loads of generalisations about music, success, records and life (a lot on the level of: "if you go in a record shop you want the best record" and "hip hop is the voice of the struggle"). All in all, though, a fascinating insight into the business, its methods, its language, the difference between producers and programmers, and how they get the sounds that you get on the CD when you walk into that record shop.

Rough Guide to Choreographers

C4, Wednesday and Thursday, January 26 and 27, 10.40-11.05am; Friday, January 28, 11.05-11.55am

We follow dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt as they set out to become choreographers, creating new works for their company, George Piper Dancers. They have given themselves a limited amount of time to create a new work from scratch and start by looking for advice from Christopher Wheeldon of the New York City Ballet, and others. Along the way, they answer some basic questions about the nature of choreography and suggest the challenges of making the transition from dancer to choreographer. Not for balletophobes, though.

Science: Energy Foresight

BBC2, Thursday, January 27, 4-5am

This is a new programme for GCSE science on different forms of energy: radioactive materials in medicine, nuclear power, fossil fuels, wind and solar power. What are the costs and benefits of each of these, and how are we to dispose of the waste materials they produce? This is followed by "Designing Your Future" (5-6am): careers in technology and the creation of products to make a better world.

GCSE Bitesize Revision: English and Maths

BBC2, Fridays, January 21 and 28, 2-6am

The spring term is the vital one in preparation for GCSE, and the BBC revision series offers a helpful guide to the exam, an outline of what students need to know for each subject and tests to assess gaps in their knowledge. For the next two weeks we have English in the first half of the night, followed by maths. We start with poetry and algebra, then non-fiction writing and shape, space and data handling. If students miss the overnight transmissions, the Bitesize website (

co.ukschoolsgcsebitesize) gives them a digest to explore.

Full listings can be found at:

* www.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm


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