Friday, October 22, 2004

CBS TV Week: Science & Nature

This week's theme is science and nature. Looking around the schedules, it is really only the BBC that gives us anything much to choose from. The only programme on any of the other three channels that fits the bill is 'Nigel Marven's Bull Shark: The Search for the Deadliest Shark' on Five (Tue 8 p.m.). Somehow I don't think I'll be watching that one. By contrast, the Beeb has over a dozen hours of programming devoted to science and nature across its two channels.

If it's nature you're after, then you can't get much better than The Blue Planet (BBC1 Sun 3.25 p.m.). Even if you saw it all when it was first on, it will still awe and delight you. An absolute masterpiece of documentary filming.

Later in the week, there's the current show de jour in the genre; British Isles: A Natural History (BBC1 Wed 9 p.m.). This has been a fascinating look at how this land of ours developed and next week's show takes us from the Stone Age right up to the Industrial Revolution. Definitely worth catching if you can. The only downside to the show so far has been the ten-minute segment at the end that comes from your local area. The problem is that my local BBC area is London and all the segments so far have been based within London and therefore don't really seem terribly relevant.

There rest of the schedule is peppered with nature programmes, from Countryfile on Sunday (BBC1 11.30 a.m.) to Gardener's World on Friday (BBC2 8.30 p.m.), stopping of at The Natural World (BBC2 Thu 8 p.m.) on the way.

If, on the other hand, you want a little bit of science to try and get your head around, you could do worse than to tune into the two showings of Horizon this week. The first, Making Millions The Easy Way is early on Wednesday morning (BBC1 1.45 a.m.) and tells the story of a mathematician who worked out that Blackjack odds work differently to other forms of gambling and could be turned to his advantage. Of course, he went off to Las Vegas to make his fortune. I'm definitely setting the video for that.

The second is on BBC2 - The Hunt for the Supertwister (Thu 9 p.m.) is about the search for a way to forecast when and where supertwisters (tornadoes with winds of 300 mph) will strike. Expect some spectacular shooting and some mind-numbing science.

This sort of programming is what the BBC, in particular, does best. It is informative, interesting and at times makes darn good television.

If you want me to look at a genre or type of TV show, then let me know in the comments and I'll look at doing it one week soon.

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