PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 12:00am

Tobacco Wars

BBC World, 5.10pm

The BBC analyses some of the many sins of our modern lifestyles and beliefs in a series of probing documentaries. The modern food industry makes us fat. The cigarette industry has been killing us, and science, beginning with Darwin's evolution theory, has made us doubt the existence of God. Alive or dead, there is little hope.

This programme charts the history of smoking, this week focusing on the battles waged in the 1960s and 70s, including the secret efforts to keep people smoking. A bronchoscope is used to examine the lungs of TV journalist and anchor Michael Buerk, to find out if he has cancer, while former snooker champion Alex Higgins, who has throat cancer, shares his sobering thoughts about the relationship between tobacco and sport.

The Darwin Debate

BBC World, 8.10pm

Author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg chairs this show, the climax of the series exploring the work and legacy of Charles Darwin. Sexual behaviour and even creative activities like opera directing might all be explained by evolutionary pressures, according to some who take part in the debate, including opera director and psychologist Dr Jonathan Miller.

Science Friction: Miracles

BBC World, 10.10pm

If Darwin's theory of evolution has damaged the evidence for a God-created world, the final episode of this particular series explores the hope offered by miracles. More miracles are being reported than at any other time since medieval history, though 'miracle-busting' scientists are quick to debunk them. This programme explores the debate. At a Vatican conference top scientists and Catholic theologians ask if evidence of God's existence can still be found in the natural world and if their different visions can be brought together.

Fat Files

Pearl, 8.30pm

Part two of Fat Files, a series made by the BBC's Horizon team, examines the solutions offered by the slimming industry to the problems partially created by the mass marketing of unhealthy foods. An operation which reduces the stomach to the size of an egg cup is one solution, but most overweight people prefer to take drugs to shed their fat. But such medicines, as we have learned from cases in Hong Kong, can have dangerous side effects.

Star Trek: First Contact

Pearl, 9.30pm

Patrick Stewart (above) returns to the helm of the Star Ship Enterprise, for his eighth voyage, travelling back to 2063 and another battle against the evil Borg, a race of half-machines, half-organic aliens who seek to assimilate all they conquer. Alice Krige stands out as the Borg queen. Jonathan Frakes, better known as Riker, makes his directing debut, and also plays the trombone in a 1940s-style big band in the film. Superior special effects and story-line ensure this Star Trek movie goes where others have not always gone before. Fans will be satisfied (1996).


HBO, 9pm

Mega-budget pop entertainment of the highest standard, based on the Marvel Comics series, about a stalker of vampires (Wesley Snipes, above), who has the misfortune of being half-vampire himself. The rebel Blade is consumed by the desire to avenge the curse of his birth and save the human race from Armageddon.

He does not only confront the dark lords of the vampire world, but also his own darker side as he grows weaker for resisting the taste of blood. Kris Kristofferson is his guardian and mentor. Stephen Norrington directs and offers fine imagery and animation-style special effects inspired by the movie's comic-book heritage (1998).

On The Inside: Cheating Las Vegas

Discovery, 8pm

Mini-cameras, recording devices, buzzers and infrared lights are just some of the tools of the trade used by those who cheat in Las Vegas, beat the system and win big. Long gone are the days when an ace hidden up a sleeve was enough. Today the cheaters work in organisations bringing in millions of dollars a week. This film shows how they work, and what happens when they get caught. The odds are not always in their favour.