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Reliving the past; Wild New World BBC2, 9.00pm.

THE second instalment of the digitally animated series bringing Ice Age animals to life visits the very heart of America's south-west.

Canyonlands takes viewers to where the dramatic landscapes of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River and the giant cactus forests of the Arizona desert formed the backdrop of North America in pre-historic times.

This region has not always been as arid and desolate as it is today.

It had lakes and lush vegetation that was home to a menagerie of strange beasts, including the Colombian mammoth and other huge herbivores such as ground sloths, bison and camels.

Giant condors scavenged on the remains of prey killed by predators such as the American lion and sabre-toothed cats.

These might seem like creatures from another world - a very distant past - but it really wasn't that long ago that these fantastical beasts were alive and sharing the land with our own ancestors.

Incredibly, 400 generations separate humans from these first American explorers. Evidence of their lives litters the region.

From California to Colorado, the dry desert air has preserved some clues to the lives and deaths of these people and creatures.

These ghosts of the past include skeletons, mammoth dungballs as big as footballs, pellets from long-extinct mountain goats, skin and fur from ground sloths, footprints from all manner of strange creatures and feathers and eggshells from long-lost condors.

A unique element of Wild New World is the interaction of living animals with extinct animals that have been recreated using computer-generated imagery.

In this episode, a sabre-toothed cat appears to stalk, ambush and kill a real camel.

By compressing thousands of years of vegetation changes into just a few seconds, viewers see habitats evolve before their eyes - lakes turn into deserts, red-rock canyons fill with trees and forests of strange cacti and Joshua trees spread across the desert plains.

Forever Summer

with Nigella

Ch4, 8.30pm

IN her quest to bring mouth-watering culinary delights to couch potatoes, Nigella serves some spicy treats.

This week the domestic goddess embarks on a magic carpet ride through the culinary treasure trove of the Middle-East, starting with Za'tar Chicken with Fatoush Salad.

She says: "I make this every other time friends come over in the summer."

Next are Figs for 1001 Nights but these are not a cruel medical remedy, but a heavenly recipe of grilled figs with cinnamon and mascarpone.

Her transcontinental journey continues to Japan, featuring cold soba noodles with sesame seeds and a ruby pink seared tuna.

The circuit of the global kitchen is completed somewhere between Sydney and Rome with a chewy chocolate and raspberry pavlova.

The League

Of Gentlemen

BBC2, 10.00pm

ROYSTON VASEY bids bon voyage to a few of its locals as they head for the bright lights and big city.

Fired from his job, Geoff leaves his life in plastic-injection mouldings for the heady world of the London stand-up comedy scene, where he hopes that his long- cherished dream to be Royston Vasey's leading entertainer will finally come true.

The Legz Akimbo theatre company stages some seriously sensitive dramatics when it mounts its latest production, and fag-hag Tish descends on Camden Town.

The twisted world of Royston Vasey has become the focus of attention turning the off- beat comedy series into cult viewing.

Regular characters in the surreal world include brother and sister Edwards and Tubbs, who run a shop and murder anyone from out of town. Charming.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 5, 2002
Words:570
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