TVRadio: Pick of the week


BBC2 Tuesdays, January 21 to February 4, 10.50-11.10am; Radio 3 Fridays, January 17 to February 7, 3-3.30am.

Designed to help five to seven-year-olds deal with the English and maths curriculum at key stage 1, this multimedia series prepares pupils for tests while avoiding the pressures associated with exam revision. The animated characters, Star, Sky and Hutch, visit planets in their starship and learn how to write sentences, handle data, do calculations and deal with shapes and spaces. The TV programmes take them to Zoofaria, where everything rhymes. The radio programmes, which are aired early in the morning to be recorded overnight, provide help with writing stories, developing vocabulary and solving problems on the planet Mathematica Major. There is also a range of resources to accompany the series, including books, a video, CD-Roms and a website (

Arrows of Desire

C4 Thursdays, from January 23, 10-10.25am

This flexible resource for secondary English is made up of a number of short modules in which a modern poet reads then comments on English-language poetry taken from all periods. Wherever possible, the visuals include the poem's manuscript and the programmes are designed to build into a televisual anthology for use by teachers and pupils. The work covered this term includes Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est.

Numbertime Mental Maths Booster

Radio 3 Wednesdays, January 22 to March 26, 4.25-4.40am

This radio series, devised by Peter Patilla, is intended for Year 1 five and six-year-olds and involves maths games, puzzles and other activities. Each programme is split into four sections and can be used by teachers to help pupils with mental maths.

Twelfth Night

C4 Friday, January 17, 9.30-11.15am

This terrific new production of Shakespeare's play features settings that suggest his Illyria may be lurking somewhere in London's Docklands. Directed by Tim Supple, the play features a multicultural cast, starring Parminder Nagra and Chiwetel Ejifor; Nagra makes a touching Viola. Another outstanding member of the cast is Michael Maloney, a Malvolio who always manages to remain more melancholy than fatuous and is believable even when cross-gartered (in a kilt, naturally) and is sorely abused enough to bring out the essential nastiness of Sir Toby Belch and his pals. This production is up to date and a gift for anyone who has to teach the play. It is scheduled to be screened again soon for those who miss this transmission.

For full schedules: programmesspring2003.cfm

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