Rats make perfect TV characters: audacious, amazingly adaptable, cute when viewed in the eye and, yes, disgusting in some of their habits. It is strange that natural history programme makers have ignored them for so long. Rats are, after all, the second most successful mammal living on this planet. But Australian film maker Mark Lewis has a wonderful eye for the obvious story, as we see in his brilliant film Rat (Cable, National Geographic, 8pm). The maker of the much-celebrated Cane Toads was the ideal candidate to reveal the secret life of New York's rat population and its relationship with its diverse human residents. With much style, humour and drama, Lewis follows the exploits of rats to reveal the underside of the city: its sewers, plumbing, basements, attics and garbage bins. Sharing centre stage, though, are a select cross-section of New Yorkers plagued by them, along with the rat catchers and health officers who deal with the problem. Luckily for rats, Lewis has unusual admiration for the species. He says that while making the film the creepiest encounters were with creepy people, not rodents. His film leaves viewers with a new understanding of rats and a highly entertaining view of the prejudices of those they live too close to. There is no commentary but the essential facts are displayed across the screen. For instance, in the year before the film was made, 184 New Yorkers were bitten by rats while the number of New Yorkers bitten by other New Yorkers was 1,102. Moreover, they were 50 times more likely to be bitten by their beloved, disease-spreading dogs. Some of the disgust, though, come across as understandable. Who would want to wake up to find an uninvited rat on their belly? And from now on I'll keep my toilet lid firmly down. But as for the old rat minding its own business in my garden which I, like some of the women in this film, haven't the guts to kill, I'll now try to view it as a pet, as long as it does not come near my door. Rat kicks off National Geographic's Filmmaker Focus on Lewis' films, with Cane Toads following tomorrow and The Wonderful Dogs on Wednesday. Lewis hails from Australia and these films reflect the best of the offbeat from down-under. For National Geographic, it is the type of programming that is needed to ensure it has a fresh eye on the world. For a subversive look at the corporate world look out for Dilbert (World, 8.30pm), created as a cartoon strip by former bank teller and business administration worker Scott Adams and adapted for television with producer and comedy writer Larry Charles, of Seinfeld and Mad About You. The series, shown for some time on CNBC, kicks off tonight with The Name, a hilarious view of business priorities. Single-minded planning and money-making have to go on at Path-E-Tech despite the deadly effect of its 'all-natural' anthrax-based throat lozenge. Humble computer engineer Dilbert's problem is to find a name for a replacement flagship product, and one that doesn't offend his poorly-endowed boss.