TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Wheels of fortune

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The Independent Culture
John Peel moves effortlessly from fringe music to fringe transport as narrator on 'The Bike', the first in a new series of the science strand, QED (9.30pm BBC1). Linda McDougall's documentary follows in the slipstream of 'mad professor' Mike Burrows - complete with the mandatory wild hairdo - who created the bike on which Chris Boardman won a gold medal at the Olympics. By morning, Burrows is a mild-mannered coin-packager, by afternoon an eccentric inventor. He first tested his one-piece carbon fibre bicycle, with its aerodynamically-friendly 'monocoque' shape, on May Day 1982. 'Nice for a revolutionary bike,' he reckons. The governing bodies of cycling, however, refused to recognise it, until Burrows bumped into a Lotus employee who offered to develop his design two years ago. Sadly, relations between Burrows and Lotus have cooled since the Olympics, with each party telling the other 'on your bike'.

Tonight's DISPATCHES (9pm C4), on the costly government U- turn over the poll tax, features the last television interview given by the late Nicholas Ridley, who as Secretary of State for the Environment pushed through the community charge legislation. 'They hated the rates, they hated the community charge and in due course, they'll hate the council tax,' he said. Will his words prove prophetic?

(Photograph omitted)

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