Open Eye: Where you can find truth, beauty and big ideas

Simon Newton previews the OU on TV

The new OU Saturday morning series, Open Minds, aims to trap the passing interest of the weekend viewer and transform it into more active learning.

The successor to the pioneering magazine programme open.saturday, this series hopes to give fresh insights into current issues and engage the viewer with even more opportunities to respond to the programme.

OU academics will leave the studio sofa in search of ideas, issues and stories. Presenters Dan Rowland and Anita McNaught move between rooms as the conversation develops and subjects change.

Early series guests include jazz guitarist Antonio Forcione on music, comedian Mark Thomas debating the nature of truth with philosophers and former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman on the idea of beauty.

Each programme features a core OU programme. These include fresh showings of Romans in Britain, Digital Planet, web.story.com and Cities. Discussions begin on subjects and topics related to the main programme.

Following Romans in Britain, for example, guests include chef Antonio Carluccio on Roman cooking, a discussion about Roman board games, Roman clothing and the impact of the Roman invasion on the plants we now find in our gardens.

Regular features will include open. saturday presenter David Goldblatt returning to look at a Green history of the modern world. The Big Idea will look at issues such as truth, nationalism and post-modernism and consider the practical difficulties of putting such ideas into practice.

What makes for good thinking and good argument? The OU's Nigel Warburton analyses certain forms of argument, how mistakes happen and how we can all improve.

In The Mind's Eye, Dr Raj Persaud presents his observations of how human behaviour adjusts in everyday situations and reveals surprising sides of the mind.

The Open Minds web-site will be rich in content linked to each distinctive section of the programme. The open.saturday site harnessed some of the latest multimedia on the web to enable viewers to take part in interactive experiments.

The new production team will be developing this further during the series showing that the promise of interactive digital television can mean much more than on-line shopping and game shows. Through on-line feedback, experiments, opinion polls and possibly live interaction with the programme, viewers will be able to connect with the issues and begin to shape the programme content.

Open Minds 09.00 Saturdays BBC2 www.open.ac.uk/bbc/openminds

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