People with access to the UK digital TV channel BBC4 should note that the channel has been showing a really outstanding series of programmes on anthropology. So far there have been four, on:
- Margaret Mead
- Bronislaw Malinowski
- Desmond Morris
- Tom Harrisson.
I missed the one on Margaret Mead, but I’ve seen the others, and they were all excellent. For me the most fascinating was the one on Tom Harrisson – titled The Barefoot Anthropologist – who was evidently a remarkable individual, though I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of him. The one on Desmond Morris was another matter: I had always vaguely dismissed him (without actually reading his books) as a pop lightweight, but Armand Leroi argued persuasively in the programme that Morris’s speculations ought to be revisited in the light of more recent theories and data. As for Malinowksi, I already knew a fair amount about him, but still learned quite a lot.
I don’t know if there will be any more programmes in the series, but they are likely to be repeated either on BBC4 or BBC2. [Added: There will be one on Carlos Castaneda next week.]
I don’t know what the prospects are outside the UK: I suspect the programmes are too serious for Discovery Channel, but you never know.