Virtual Picks for the week ahead 21st – 28th May 2020

With half term nearly upon us (who can tell the difference!) we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do this coming week to keep you and the kids inspired and entertained.

Watch Meryl Streep take part in James and the Giant Peach reading from her living room, or for the teens – Gillian Anderson in the highly acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire. Or get the kids inspired with the Natural History Museum at home! 

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Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and more in Roald Dahl Lockdown (Readings on Mon, Wed and Fri at 6pm)

Not to be missed! Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has lined up some of his Hollywood friends by videolink from their living rooms for a coronavirus lockdown charity reading of Roald Dahl’s classic “James and the Giant Peach”.

Waititi, director of “Jojo Rabbit” and “Thor: Ragnarok”, reads the British author’s 1961 children’s novel while his friends chime in, voicing characters and having fun.

Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson and Archie Yates are among the cast. Plus Chris Hemsworth and brother Liam, in what is billed as their first performance together! 

National Theatre at Home: A Streetcar Named Desire (Thursday 21st May, 7pm until until 28 May)

Don’t miss this highly acclaimed adaptation of the famous play. Gillian Anderson (All About Eve, The X-Files, The Fall, Sex Education) plays Blanche DuBois with Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, Kill Your Darlings) as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby (Julie, The Crown, Mission Impossible) as Stella.

As Blanche’s fragile world crumbles, she turns to her sister Stella for solace – but her downward spiral brings her face to face with the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski.

Running Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes with a very short interval 

Note: BBFC rating 15 when released in cinema. Contains scenes featuring sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Julia Donaldson and Friends! (Thursday 4pm) 

Scholastic are delighted to share Julia Donaldson’s weekly broadcast, where she will be performing her much-loved stories, songs and poems every Thursday at 4pm while we are all staying at home!  With the likes of Alex Scheffler, Lydia Monks, Nick Durrant and many more! 

What’s more. Scholastic have got their favourite authors to read one chapter from their books to help you keep children engaged and excited about reading. They also include links to free teaching resources. There’s readings from Middle Grade books and Young Adult – so there’s something for everyone! 

Secret Cinema Secret Sofa (Friday 22nd May, 7.30pm)

Sign up to get character  and costume suggestions to era-defining music and activities to food and drink ideas (and ice cream, obviously) – how far you go is up to you.

At 7.30pm (BST) on Friday, thousands of households hit play at the same time to watch some of the greatest films together. This Friday the no.1 film is Shawshank Redemption. 

Sign up here. 

Free Week Junior Magazine to Download (Free until Monday 25th May)  and The Week Junior Activity Hub

Enjoy the brand new digital edition of The Week Junior absolutely FREE! It contains all the content of the magazine and is fast to download, easy to use and publishes every Friday.

To access, to access, simply search “The Week Junior” in the iOS App Store or google play and download the app or view online on your desktop here. But hurry access is free to everyone until May 22nd so give it a try today!

The Week Junior team have also compiled some fun experiments and exciting activities you can do at home, to help keep children exploring, learning and creating. 

These include creating your version of the Week Junior cover, making cardboard animals, how to make delicious cheesy clouds or create your own self-portrait collage! They’d love to see your creations – email them to

Everyman Cinema Nights 

Everyman is streaming a film every Saturday night. This week’s film is the seminal award-winning documentary Senna. Plus on their facebook page you can watch an interview with the director Asif Kapadia. 

This gripping documentary chronicles the monumental life and tragic death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing champion, Ayrton Senna. Spanning the decade from his arrival in Formula One in the mid 80’s, the film follows Senna’s struggles both on track and off, depicting a dynamic and complex public figure who could be both spiritual and ruthless, all while becoming a global superstar.

YouTube Movies

Google Play

Amazon Prime

Apple TV

The Wizarding World Team – Celebrities Read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The Wizarding World team have asked some much loved celebrities to lend their voices to the story they love by recording videos of themselves reading the timeless first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone. Stars include Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry, David Beckham, Dakota Fanning and Eddie Redmayne, with more surprises and special appearances from across the Wizarding World and beyond to come. 

See Daniel Radcliffe’s Chapter one here. 

Natural History Museum Online (Tuesday 19th May, 12pm) 

Meet the NHM scientists and discover the fascinating work carried out behind the scenes at the Museum.

Hang out with the Nature Live Online team on Tuesdays at 12.00 and Fridays at 10.30 for interactive talks featuring topical discussions with scientists.

From meteorites to mammoths, evolution to the climate crisis, Nature Live Online is a great way to explore the natural world. All events are free to watch online.

This coming Tuesday: Plants That Bite Back: Don’t be fooled by their calm exterior, plants have a dark side. You’ll hear about the different ways carnivorous plants catch their food and discover the ones you can see growing wild in Britain.

You can ask questions in real-time while the talk is happening. Head to the video on YouTube and type your question into the chat box.

Hay Festival Digital #IMAGINETHEWORLD (18th  – 31st MAY)

Hay Festival Programme for Schools will be broadcast on Hay Player 18–22 May. Aimed at inspiring creative reading, this programme has events for children in both primary and secondary school and learning resources to accompany the sessions.

The main programme runs 22–31 May and features free live broadcasts and interactive events from more than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators, celebrating the best new fiction and non-fiction, and interrogating some of the biggest issues of our time.

Live Q&A with Steve Backshall (09.30 Wednesdays) 

Live Wildlife Homeschool with Steve Backshall.. There are no silly questions! (But you can try!…)  Live Lessons every Wednesday morning 09.30 UK time on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Youtube is probably the least technically challenging. Check it out here 

English National Ballet – Swan Lake (27th until 29th May) 

This production of Swan Lake captures all the magic of the classic ballet, from the ballerinas in white tutus moving in unison, to the captivating romance between Prince Siegfried and the Swan Queen Odette. This performance of Swan Lake was recorded at the Liverpool Empire in 2018 as part of the English National Ballet’s annual Autumn UK tour and features Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

Watch here 


CBeebies Radio Podcast, Updated Everyday 

CBeebies Radio takes you to a world of sound and music, where you can share imaginative adventures and listen to stories with your favourite CBeebies friends and characters.

Punkbox Free Downloads – Keep the Kids Entertained this Half Term

Punkbox know how tough it is to keep the kids entertained in these challenging times. So, those lovers of turning trash into treasure have created a whole range of fun FREE eco-friendly download activities on their website. Check it out, and turn those discarded toilet roll tubes into pirate telescopes, magical wands, and even superheroes!

You just need to subscribe to get inspiration and downloads and here. 

NASA’s Virtual tours

NASA is really stepping it up these days, finding creative ways to entertain folks under quarantine without having to leave the comfort of their couch. There’s lots of Virtual tours you can take 

International Space Station

Take this awesome tour of the International Space Station. Did you know that people have lived and worked here for over two decades?

Go for Flight

You’ll get to visit the main building home to the Armstrong Flight Research Center, plus a control room, an aircraft hangar and the back-ramp area where last-minute preparations take place before a blastoff.

See more virtual tours here

Highest-resolution panorama of planet Mars and its surface with Video footage! 

To go along with the stunning 1.8-billion-pixel image, a new video offers a sweeping view of the Red Planet.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape.

Watch the video of Mars footage here 

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