Television preview

Branded Sat 8.05pm BBC2 Gobble Sat 9pm BBC1 Windows on the World Sat 12.25am BBC2 On the Record Sun 12.30pm BBC1 The Natural World Sun 6pm BBC2
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The Independent Culture
It looks like a tick - the sort of tick children get in their homework when they have answered a question correctly. In the trade it is called a "swoosh". To you and me, however, this affirmative symbol on the hats, shirt-sleeves, shorts, socks, shoes and, for all I know, the jock-straps of sports stars and fashion victims means only one thing - Nike.

The rise and rise of this American sportswear operation is the first subject in a new series called Branded (Sat BBC2), with future episodes encompassing the Levis label and Heinz 57 Varieties. The story begins with Reebock dominating the market catering to the 1980s aerobics boom. Suitably chastened, Nike's Phil Knight (personal worth: $5 billion and rising) decided to embrace real sport and teamed aggressive advertising ("Just Do It", etc) with a canny choice in stars to carry his logo, from John McEnroe to Eric Cantona. Their advertising slogan for the Atlanta Olympics was "just taking part is for wimps". Nike herself, of course, was the Greek goddess of victory. We're not told whether she sports a swoosh.

Unfortunately, this tough attitude doesn't just stop in their ad campaigns, but extends to the manufacturing side of the business. Nike are notorious for hiring cheap Asian labour, at the moment in a country with an unattractive regime, Indonesia. Workers are paid less than $3 a day, which is the going rate in Indonesia, to make pairs of trainers that will retail for anything up to pounds 110 in this country. But that's cool, because Michael Jordan wears them.

Gobble (Sat BBC1) is the last of the Christmas leftovers, a postponed satire about an outbreak of food-poisoning which was deemed distasteful in the immediate aftermath of the E. coli deaths. Kevin Whateley plays a civil servant dispatched to investigate an outbreak of "mad turkey disease" - albeit not too quickly - and soon finding himself immersed in a BSE- type food scare. There's something depressing about the cosy cynicism at work here, especially disappointing given Ian Hislop's co-authorship. You'd expect some sharper revelations from the editor of Private Eye. Maybe the BBC lawyers are simply more nervous.

Wildlife programming is still the most dependable of TV genres; perhaps a bit too dependable. When you get down to it, there's something remorseless about the food chain - the lion-eats-wildebeest continuum that every landscape conceals. The landscape in this week's The Natural World (Sun BBC2) is the Grand Canyon, which, having never visited Arizona, I had hitherto dismissed as a rather kitschy tourist destination. As for the food chain, the battle between the tarantula hawk moth and the tarantula has to go down as the most riveting encounter of the week. John Humphrys versus John Gummer in On the Record (Sun BBC1) clearly has nothing on it.

Windows on the World (Sat BBC2) is a new series of international documentaries exploring aspects of music. Karl-Heinz Kafer's film, "Songs of Seduction", looks at the way music and songs can be used in political indoctrination, comparing Hitler Youth marching songs with skinheads slam-dancing at a neo-Nazi punk concert. The creepiest mental picture is conjured up by Frank Rennicke, a right-wing folk-singer - or should that be volk singer - who includes a lyric sheet for people to sing along with at home. Time to get the black shirt out of the attic, obviously.

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