Higher channels

John Davies studies the broadcasting schedules (all times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week.

Themes from episode four of the excellent The Day the World Took Off (Sunday 8.00) are echoed in other Channel 4 documentaries this week. We learn, for instance, that clock and glass-making skills gave western technological development an advantage over the civilisations of the East. Glass windows also helped create hygienic environments in which, says Cambridge anthropology professor Alan MacFarlane, "cleaning became an important ritual in everyday life". Which brings us to Eat Dirt (Tuesday 9.00), whose hypothesis is that too much "blanket-bombing" of bacteria by modern cleaners is lowering resistance to asthma and other diseases. As for Chinese expertise, the bridge-builders of the Song dynasty were centuries ahead of the West, we learn in this week's Mysteries of the Lost Empires (Thursday 9.00).

FRIDAY June 16

Shadow Trade (8.30 World Service, repeated Monday 3.30). First in series on the international drugs trade Rough Science (7.30 BBC2).The stranded scientists make soap and toothpaste.

SUNDAY June 18

The Nude (12 noon C5). The Enlightenment era and beyond: Tim Marlow talks about Rembrandt, Ingres, Rodin and others.

5 Live Report - Danger in the Air (12 noon R5). The threat to England of a French nuclear reprocessing plant.

Waterloo (from 1.00 History Channel). To mark the Battle of Waterloo's 185th anniversary, five documentaries on the Napoleonic Wars: Nelson at Trafalgar (1.00), Biography: Lord Nelson (2.00), Royal Warships (3.00), Biography: Napoleon (4.00) and Line of Fire - Waterloo 1815 (5.00).

Sunday Feature: The Romantic Road (5.45 R3). German poet-novelist Heinrich von Kleist's influence examined by Julian Evans.

The Day the World Took Off (8.00 C4). See pick of the week.

South Bank Show (10.45 ITV). Amis on Amis. Martin talks about his father.

Soul of Britain (11.00 BBC1). The traditional family today, with debate from psychotherapist Andrew Samuels, Zahi Bedawi, Linda Bellos and Melanie Philips.

MONDAY June 19

Night Waves (10.00 R3). Decay, death and art.

TUESDAY June 20

Afternoon Play - A Higher Education (2.15 R4). What happens when a male lecturer locks himself in a drama studio with a female student, a copy of Hamlet and a gun? Comedy by Salford University's Lloyd Peters.

Eat Dirt (9.00 C4). See pick of the week.

WEDNESDAY June 21

Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Cambridge social anthropologist Julia Lawton on death and dying in today's society.

Frontiers (9.00 R4). Tracking the radiation from the "big bang".

Wilderness Men (9.00 BBC2). In the Antarctic with Ernest Shackleton, "last of the heroic polar explorers". Original film footage, stills and docu-drama.

THURSDAY June 22

Melvyn Bragg - In Our Time (9.00am R4). This week's subject is biography, with Richard Holmes among those talking.

The Material World (4.30 R4). The physics and chemistry of salt, with Sheffield University's Jim Thomas and Graham McGregor of St George's Medical School.

Leading Edge (9.00 R4). With an item on the evidence of Stone Age settlement discovered underwater off the Isle of Wight.

Mysteries of the Lost Empires: China Bridge (9.00 C4). See pick of the week.

More programme information at: www.thesis.co.uk.Email: Davieses@aol.com.

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