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Weekend free-to-air TV: March 2

Peppa Pig, ABC2, 5pm

IN A sea of kids' cartoons where the latest anthropomorphic creation looks and sounds almost exactly the same as every other, Peppa Pig is something of a revelation. The same bright colours are there but instead of slathering on the educational elements to the point where even a three-year-old can see he's being lectured to, this is fun. It's unlikely, for example, that anyone's going to learn the alphabet by singing along with Peppa's ''bing bong'' song but it's a hoot nonetheless. And keep an eye on the credits at the end - there's a slew of well-known British actors lending their voices. Brian Blessed, for example, is the appropriately shouty Grampy Rabbit.

David Attenborough's Africa: Congo, Channel Ten, 6.30pm

IT'S fair to say any episode of any series that has the name ''David Attenborough'' attached is going to be eminently watchable, but this week's instalment of his latest venture is particularly interesting. This time he's visiting the Congo, where there's more animal and plant diversity than pretty much anywhere else. What Attenborough finds, however, is that all that competition is pretty tough on the inhabitants, with just about everything fighting for survival. But he also finds examples of co-operation and kindness, often from unexpected sources. Who knew, for example, that the African rock python is actually one of the world's most caring mothers? Watching a mother snake care for her young is a reminder to never judge a book by its cover, and it's moments such as these that keep us coming back to the series.

Delicious Iceland, SBS Two, 6pm

IN THE great pantheon of cuisines Icelandic is rarely mentioned, and more's the pity as chef Volli Volundarson shows off his skills and some dishes that look utterly mouth-watering. This week he's all about dairy, knocking out a traditional beef and cheese sandwich, visiting a cheesemaker and finishing off with a recipe I'd have thought would be the last thing an Icelander would want to eat - ice-cream. Not so, he says, whipping up a blackcurrant-mint concoction.



The Paradise, ABC1, 7.30pm

AFTER weeks of being held back from ''having ideas'', Denise grasps the harness by suggesting ''ladies after dark'' evenings where ''an elegant experience'' awaits their more superior customers. Mrs Audrey of course is threatened by Denise's ideas. Away from that it's game on: Katherine decides to take her custom to Edmond, who is thrilled to have an opportunity to compete with Moray; Moray makes Bradley Burroughs an offer he can't refuse for the barbershop; and Burroughs finds himself strangely offended when one of the shop assistants rejects his offer of going to a dog fight. Because isn't a night of barbarism everyone's idea of a fun time? No, and sadly neither is this series.



Dig 1940, ABC1, 6pm

JULES Hudson, the fresh-faced presenter from Escape to the Country, is also an archaeologist. Who knew? And, as it turns out, he's also pretty engaging and articulate when it comes to explaining events from the past. In the first episode of this new series, Hudson is digging holes in northern France, recovering bits of Luftwaffe hardware and relating some of the history of the early part of World War II. Necessarily, it is a superficial skate across the horrors of the time, but Hudson does a good job in bringing them alive.

Great Ormond Street, ABC2, 8.30pm

IN GENERAL, reality shows are little more than advertising disguised as cut-price soap operas. Great Ormond Street is real. Gut-wrenchingly, emotionally, can't-sleep-for-thinking-about-it real. This episode revolves around the work of the heart-transplant team at the leading children's hospital. The children, their parents and the doctors are largely left to tell their own stories, giving the program a raw intensity. Who could fail to be moved by the sight of a surgeon opening up the chest of a two-year-old? Or by a conversation between doctors and the parents of an 11-year-old boy in which they discuss how long their son is likely to live after a transplant? Then there is the irony that, for the toddlers on Ladybird Ward to be given a chance at life, another child of about the same age has to be snatched from his or her parents in a sudden accident. Just like the term ''reality TV'', ''inspiring'' is a much overused word, but there is inspiration to be derived from the stoicism with which children face their situation.

Lyndey Milan's Taste of Ireland, 7Two, noon

THE title tells you exactly what to expect. Veteran foodie Lyndey Milan wanders around the west of Ireland listening to yarns from the locals, doing a bit of cooking and watching other chefs do their thing. Inevitably, this is all done to the accompaniment of traditional Celtic music, as well as Milan's own, rather stilted, narration. Just like large parts of Ireland, the show is a little like stepping back in time to an era before the obsession with recasting food and cooking as competition, science experiment or status symbol. This is the TV equivalent of comfort food - predictable and ritualised - and, sometimes, comfort food is exactly what you need.

Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home, ABC1, 7.30pm

THIS is the last in a four-part series in which Kev and his mates lark about in the woods. The central conceit - to build a cabin on 0.8 hectares by ''making and doing rather than shopping and consuming'' - could, in other hands, become rather too po-faced and worthy. But the always affable and entertaining McCloud makes the project much lighter and much more … fun. One suspects he would be a good teacher, bringing to proceedings just the right amount of eccentricity, plus a very British capacity for self-deprecation. Then there is his boundless enthusiasm. A repurposed 737 jet engine casing (he turns it into a spa) is described as ''gorgeous'' and ''woodland bling''. The final stages of the project are completed with a gang of helpers, including the delightful ladies from the local weavers' guild. Finishing touches include a monolithic drop-down verandah that requires Heath Robinson-esque ingenuity to raise and lower and, for reasons not quite clear, a kimono-style dressing gown made from alpaca wool. It being England, it also pours for days, turning the site into a quagmire, not that this dampens Kev's enthusiasm.