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Channel hop

Mark Peters

 

Girl Rising (CNN, today at 9pm) is a critically acclaimed two-hour documentary from the social action campaign group 10x10, which seeks educational equality for underprivileged girls. The film, first shown last night, follows the lives of nine girls in nine countries. All of them have faced hardship and injustice - poverty, arranged marriages, abuse - yet they also share a simple dream: to attend school. Narrated by actor Liam Neeson, Girl Rising tells their stories via re-enactments featuring the young women themselves and demonstrates how, through determination and strength, they have managed to effect radical change in their lives.

Also including voice roles for Hollywood A-listers such as Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, Girl Rising highlights the crucial role schooling plays in the empowerment of young women and offers hope and inspiration to the other 66 million girls worldwide who share the dream of attending classes.

It's a documentary full of good intentions and with an obviously important message, and it mostly succeeds in walking the fine line between poignancy and overt emotional manipulation. It may feel at times like a lavishly produced public service announcement film (each segment is given its own stylistic treatment) but if that's what it takes to raise awareness of this pressing social issue, let Girl Rising do its preaching.

Continuing the theme, A Girl's World (CNN, Monday at 7pm) introduces seven more young ladies - from Argentina, Germany, Hong Kong, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and the United States - all 16-year-olds and all with their own stories, motivations and obstacles to overcome. The series will be aired as segments within CNN's news programmes and besides education it explores issues of culture, environment, community, faith and family.

If you're one of the 1.5 million dogs currently residing in New York, then, first of all, congratulations on your reading skills and discerning choice of reading matter. But, more importantly, a word of warning: there's a new pack leader in town. In Dogs in the City (TVB Pearl, Friday at 8.30pm), Justin Silver (pictured top), a self-described "dog guru", brings his knack for canine communication to the Big Apple. Thankfully, though, his priority is to educate animals of the two-legged variety. And boy does he have his work cut out.

Silver is no Cesar Millan - he's equal parts dog trainer, GQ model and marriage counsellor - but the show is fluffy and entertaining and once again shows that most dogs are far smarter than their owners. Cuter, too.

Now I know what you're thinking: there simply aren't enough cooking shows on television these days. Well, cheffing hell, you're in for a treat, my foodie freaks, with The Little Paris Kitchen (BBC Lifestyle, Wednesday at 8pm). Step aside Nigella - former fashion publicist Rachel Khoo, a chic and bubbly Londoner who moved to France to study patisserie, is television's newest celebrity chef. From her tiny studio flat in the fashionable Belleville district of Paris, where, for a while, she also ran a hugely successful two-seater restaurant, the endearingly quirky Khoo (see below) gives a British-Asian twist to traditional French dishes.

With only two gas rings and a few chipped plates to play with, Khoo's cooking is rough around the edges, but while her culinary delights may not rival those of Oliver, Ramsay et al, her homey, feel-good recipes are as charming and down to earth as their creator. What's the French for "totally scrumptious"?

 

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