Living Channel

The Living Channel has teamed up with Lynda Hallinan to produce some online videos of summer gardening tips. The videos are hidden unless you know the link.  Here’s the second one in the series of Living Garden.

Does anyone else know the links to the rest?

To mark Dyslexia Action Week in New Zealand (June 15-21), the Living Channel is screening Can’t Read, Can’t Write, a shocking and moving series which reveals the heartbreak of adult illiteracy.

Dyslexia affects an estimated one in ten New Zealanders, and Guy Pope-Mayell from the Dyslexia Foundation says that in many ways, the situation is even worse in this country than it is in the UK where the series was filmed.

“Dyslexia wasn’t even officially recognised in New Zealand until 2007. At any given time there are at least 70,000 dyslexic schoolchildren in our classrooms. This series shows the low-self esteem, alienation and depression that can result when dyslexic kids grow up without their learning differences being addressed.”

Can’t Read, Can’t Write follows ‘super teacher’ Phil Beadle’s attempts to teach six adults basic reading and writing skills. In doing so, he uncovers the shame, fear and frustration that have haunted these individuals throughout their lives.

Pope-Mayell says that sadly, these emotions are a common theme among those that the school system has failed:

“For children with dyslexia, the excitement of heading off to school quickly turns to confusion and frustration when they discover that something is holding them back from achieving the same results as their classmates. Without the right support from teachers and parents, these children learn to do everything they can to avoid this feeling of constant failure – sadly, this often means disrupting the rest of the class or avoiding school altogether. It’s not surprising that teaching them to read as adults uncovers all sorts of negative emotions.”

But the series has some uplifting moments as well – like when 58-year-old Teresa, who burst into tears when faced with a reading test in her first lesson is able to grapple with reading a children’s book after just three weeks. Or when single mother Kelly’s skills improve to a point where she’s not only able to help her dyslexic son, but also prove her own talent as a writer.

The theme of Dyslexia Action Week this year is ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’, in recognition of the urgent need for action in New Zealand schools. Pope-Mayell says that as well as challenges, dyslexia brings creative gifts, and some of New Zealand’s leading creative thinkers and entrepreneurs are dyslexic.

“By acting at an early age to celebrate these gifts, we can ensure that our children grow up to contribute to society, and don’t end up facing the same failures and disappointments as the adults featured in this series. On behalf of the Foundation, I thank The Living Channel for screening Can’t Read, Can’t Write in the lead up to Dyslexia Action Week.”

Can’t Read, Can’t Write is a three-part series, screening on the Living Channel, SKY Digital Channel 8, at 10.30pm on Tuesday 2nd, 9th and 16th June.

Sundays at 10.30pm from March 29 on The Living Channel


Ptolemy Dean is going in search of Britain’s finest period homes. He’ll be tracking down fine Georgian squares, delightful Victorian semis and romantic Tudor farmhouses. At all times on his journey from coast to city he’ll be taking his trusty sketchbook to record the details of materials, the setting of the landscape and the intricacies of the homes. Ptolemy will be meeting the owners of these homes and discovering what makes them so special in design to live in… and for a global audience obsessed with houses and house-building he’ll be finding out what lessons we can learn for the future from the homes of the past.

Sundays at 8.30pm from March 29 on The Living Channel


After his journey through the 20th Century, James May returns to explore what the future might hold. James test drives the aerocar (the legendary flying car from the 1950s) and ponders the question of flying vehicles as a solution to road congestion. James also explores the fusion of man and machine and the invention of the robot. Finally, James questions why our sources of energy are so last century. A trip to Mexico gives him the opportunity to explore how a car might run on thin air.

Mondays at 10pm from March 23 on The Living Channel


A group of students at Tulane University’s prestigious School of Architecture participate in a programme to design and build a house in a low-income neighbourhood of New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The entire process is followed from academic design criticism through to the physical build and the response of the neighbourhood to modern architecture appearing on their corner. The series opens a window onto the art and science of the architecture while telling a unique and uplifting story about the literal rebuilding of New Orleans.

Weekdays at 6pm from March 23 on The Living Channel

All New Episodes

In this series two house hunters decide if they would like to buy a property in the UK or abroad. A UK property expert shows them three properties in different areas of one county at home, and then the house hunters go abroad and meet a foreign expert who takes them to see three properties in the country of their choice. Since there are no estate agents showing them around, the house hunters can tell the experts exactly what they think of each property and receive the benefit of their objectivity and knowledge of each house. After sampling the different lifestyles and weighing up the pros and cons of both locations they are asked to choose between home or away.

Fridays at 10pm from March 20 on The Living Channel


Italy is a place of refuge and inspiration for ex-chart topping front man Suggs, just as it has been for many other artists and performers over the centuries. But usually his visits are high-speed affairs before he jets back to his work commitments in the UK. In this series he’ll have the opportunity to make a more leisurely journey from north to south, absorbing the rich variety of Italy’s cultural life along the way. Travelling in a classic Mini Cooper, Suggs’ grand tour will take him to the iconic cities (Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples) and through the spectacular landscapes which have inspired so many artists. But he’ll also make regular detours along the way, straying off the beaten track to discover many unfamiliar places with surprising stories to reveal. As he zig-zags his way south, he’ll investigate the stories behind some of the masterpieces of the Renaissance, go behind the scenes at some of Italy’s most celebrated cultural venues and events, meet modern day artists and craftsmen keeping Italy’s arts heritage alive, and track down experts with a passion for performance, art and design who are keen to share their enthusiasm and knowledge.

Mondays at 10.30pm from March 16 on The Living Channel

Once a year, something very special happens, as 5,000 landmark buildings in the UK declare ‘Open House’! Each September, the most amazing pieces of British architecture, engineering and heritage are opened up to the public. The main event and the focus of the series is the London Open House architecture event, which offers the chance to visit some very special buildings, many of which are usually closed to the public. Presenter Charlie Luxton (Vertical City) travels the length and breadth of the UK to discover hidden gems- from the Bank of England to a top secret Second World War bunker used by Churchill; Gladstone’s St Deiniols library in Wales to the cutting edge life-saving research laboratories at Queen Mary’s university and the Victorian Crossness Pumping Station with original James Watt engines. It’s a once in a year opportunity to go Behind Closed Doors…

Mondays at 9pm from March 16 on The Living Channel

New Series

British designers Justin Ryan and Colin McAllister are given £100,000 and in just seven property purchasing moves, they have to make it to a property worth £1million. All proceeds go to Children in Need, but it’s a venture destined to be fraught with difficulties… It all begins in Harborne, Birmingham as Justin and Colin buy a two-bedroom terraced house, planning to modernise it whilst retaining its Victorian charm. They make a profit of £15,000 and are on the first rung of the property ladder. Following purchases in Stratford, Bristol, Harrogate and Edinburgh, the dynamic duos’ last challenge falls on Belgravia, London. Here they buy a dated three-bedroom terraced cottage and turn it into a bright, spacious, two-bedder with extended living space. Can the boys pull off the challenge and top the million-pound mark? While the dynamic duo’s unique design skills are inspiring and innovative, watching Justin and Colin’s behaviour is just as compelling. Over-dramatic, loud, highly-opinionated and prone to hissy fits, this is the programme that helped establish them as one of TV’s most watchable couples.

Saturdays at 9.30pm from March 7 on The Living Channel


Discover the natural and social history of the UK coastline. Coast celebrates the unique character of the UK’s coastal communities, exploring a wealth of fascinating human stories through a mixture of expert comment, contemporary storytelling and computer-generated images. This is the coast as its never been seen before.