Arguably the two greatest documentary series ever shown on British TV - Civilisation, presented by Sir Kenneth Clarke, and The Ascent of Man, presented by Prof Jacob Bronowski, are now out on R2. For those who don't know, Civilisation is the history of art, written and presented by the most eminent art historian of his generation. TAOM is the history of science and its place in civilisation, presented by a brilliant polymath who alas was only really well-known in the UK during his lifetime (amongst other things he was a leading expert on the poet Blake, worked on crucial wartime science projects, and of all things, invented a widely-used smokeless coal). Both titles have been available for some time in R1 (TAOM at a pretty steep price), but these are relatively cheap (I got mine for 25 pnds each by early pre-ordering, which is cheap by Brit standards). The quality of the picture on either set isn't exactly demonstration quality, but for programmes hailing from the late 60s/early 70s it's acceptable. Sound is mono but clear. Extras on both sets are fairly short interviews with David Attenborough (best known for his excellent nature programmes, but at one time Director of BBC2, which commissioned these series). If you are losing faith in TV as a medium for intelligent discussion and exposition, then you owe it to yourself to get these releases. Civilisation has arguably dated slightly. Sir K Clarke has a habit of sounding rather patrician and patronising at times, but what he says is insightful, and even if you don't agree with all of his views, he will at least get you thinking about art. TAOM, on the other hand, is still as vibrant as ever. If you can watch the programme on eugenics and the brilliant speech by Bronowski standing in the grounds of Auschwitz without simultaneously being moved and inspired, then there is little hope for you.