documentary watch

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:00am

Man's Heritage: Nick's Quest In Search Of The Polar Bear

Pearl, 8.30pm

Intrepid naturalist Nick Baker (above) sets off for the remote Canadian town, Churchill, on the western shores of Hudson Bay, in the hope of a rare encounter with some wild polar bears. In early winter, the local population of approximately 1,200 white-coated beasts congregate around the edge of the bay, waiting for it to freeze so they can journey across the ice in search of seals.

Baker joins the local bear patrol in their search for hungry animals that have strayed into town and then meets two scientists who have been studying the species. Through their research during the past 20 years, Nick Lunn and Ian Stirling have uncovered a disturbing trend: steadily rising temperatures are melting the ice floes earlier each year, threatening the bears' chances of survival.


Pearl, 10.40pm

After the assault on SD-6 by an unnamed organisation, Sydney (Jennifer Garner, above) discovers that rivals FTL were attacked and wiped out and their leader executed on the same day. The impact of another, priceless Rambaldi artefact being stolen has a profound influence upon Sloane (Ron Rifkin), who explains that this unknown group has contacted K-Directorate, proposing to share information. Sydney and Dixon (Carl Lumbly) travel to Las Vegas to try and track down the mystery group and to determine the time and location of the meeting with K-Directorate.

Tennis: Australian Open

Cable Sports, 8am, 2pm and 11pm

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, already has players sweltering. And, lo and behold, who should be one of the first to wilt but Russia's Anna Kournikova. Has there ever been a more over-hyped under-performer in the history of world sport? Ski-jumping joke Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards springs to mind but, as he never really looked that good in a skirt, our patience with him ran out pretty quickly.

On the more serious side of the draw, the two players most likely to win, Australia's Lleyton Hewitt (above) and American Serena Williams, battled through the first day's play but showed enough to suggest they could both go far in the tournament. There's more pressure on 'Little Lleyton', of course, as the Aussies haven't saluted a home-town hero since 1976. That's when Mark Edmondson beat John Newcombe, in what was the last Grand Slam final contested between two men with moustaches.

Last year's women's winner, Jennifer Capriati, couldn't find her feet on day one and has already packed her bags, so it may well be up to Belgian Kim Clijsters to challenge Serena Williams. Or we could look forward to another Serena Williams-Venus Williams clash (they have met in the past three Grand Slam finals). And there's nothing quite like a surprise, is there?