Around The World In 80 Treasures (BBC2); Wire In The Blood (ITV1)

DAN Cruickshank has the sort of assignment of which many people dream. He's travelling the world selecting treasures, both well-known and not so well-known, for our appreciation.

He'll be visiting 40 countries in 150 days, taking 90 flights as well as travelling by land and sea, as he covers some 80,000 miles. It's a hell of a journey and I fear that I'm going to be fed up - through boredom or jealousy, I'm uncertain - with Cruickshank muttering on while wandering in front of his latest treasure. I was already exhausted by the end of the first hour's worth of TV covering Latin America.

He comes over as a cross between Michael Palin and any TV historian/archaeologist you'd care to name. Unlike Palin, he doesn't interact with the locals. No-one else is allowed to be the star. Already we've watched him hang-gliding over a sacred valley, eating guinea pig ("mmm, delicious, very tasty"), seeing the mysterious Easter Island statues and venturing by plane, car and boat deep into the Amazon rainforest.

The sights are, needless to say, stunning. More importantly, they're not always the obvious ones. The lost city of Machu Picchu is familiar enough but the spider necklace of Sipan in north Peru was new to me. And the Nazca Lines, huge images carved into pampas and only visible from the air, were truly amazing.

It was good to see that not everything went according to plan. After all, one of the pleasures of travel shows is the unexpected happening to the presenter. Here, he was nattering away in front of the statue of Christ on a mountain top in Rio de Janeiro when the massive statue disappeared before our very eyes as a thick fog descended.

Much of the time you're peering into the dark in Wire In The Blood, the gruesome detective series featuring Robson Green as a smug psychologist who's always annoyingly right. Perhaps he could persuade someone to put a 50p in the meter so the lights could be turned on. He advises detective Hermione Norris, who had a spot of bad luck in this opener. She was mugged, and then run down by a car as she picked herself up. Confined to a hospital bed, she begged him to bring her the investigation papers. "It's the case or daytime TV," she said (a little tactlessly as Green has been starring in Afternoon Plays on the BBC). The distasteful case involved runaway children being found dead, the position of the bodies suggesting some sort of ritual. Clever clogs Green knew immediately that the police had got the wrong man. Even his bedroom ceiling falling in on him failed to dent his confidence.

This was a grim tale, what with child abusers, wife beaters and paedophiles, not to mention the murder of children. The only light relief was the pleasure of seeing the smug psychologist get soaked to the skin when the ceiling fell in on him. That was one thing he didn't see coming.

Bouncers, Harrogate Theatre

TWO years ago director Hannah Chissick went to the top of the class with a reworking of John Godber's Teechers. Now she gives much the same breath of life to his earlier award-winning comedy, Bouncers. It's Friday night and everyone is out on the town for a good time. Stag and hen parties go clubbing for a night of dancing, drinking and chatting up the talent. Welcome to 90s urban nightlife. Outside Xanadu club four bouncers - Les, Ralph, Judd and Lucky Eric - are on guard at the entrance to the pleasure dome. The actors doing the bouncing are also called upon to play everyone else who crosses their path, both men on the pull and women eager to be pulled. Chissick's production is suitably loud and brash, played out against a disco background of classic 90s songs and culminating in an hilarious Abba tribute. Lighting, design and choreography are used brilliantly to conjure up time and place. The cast of four - Andy Brady, Grant Burgin, Pete Dunwell and Jonathan Magnanti - get to show off their versatility by switching from bouncers to drunken blokes to sexy girls and back to bouncers again faster than you can say Saturday Night Fever. Godber's observations about young people at play are wickedly observant and often extremely funny. This is a show that's rude, crude and not exactly high art. But Chissick's vastly entertaining, crowd-pleasing production ensures it's always great fun to watch.

* Until March 5. Tickets (01423) 502 116.

Steve Pratt

Northern Sinfonia/Howard Shelley, The Sage, Gateshead

AS a first-time visitor to this relatively new venue, I couldn't help but be impressed by its sheer majesty. In a prime position overlooking the Tyne, it's as spectacular inside as out, with breathtaking views. Apart from its growing reputation as a world-class music centre, it's definitely worth a visit for the building alone. On this snowy February night, however, what had drawn most people was the presence of conductor and pianist Howard Shelley. An internationally renowned performer, broadcaster and recording artist, he led Northern Sinfonia in works by Haydn and Mozart. While enjoyable enough, the opening symphony, Haydn's no.83 in G minor, 'La Poule', was a little short on dynamism. This was nothing to do with its execution - which was precise - more that it lacks a strong theme. In the second work, Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 21 in C, however, the orchestra really came into its own. The clever device of a Perspex screen enabled Shelley to be seen by those behind it while still projecting the piano's sound. He led the musicians confidently, seeming completely in control, while also performing. At times he was executing an intricate passage with one hand while conducting and page-turning with the other - a highly impressive feat. But what really made the evening sparkle was the quality of his playing - sensuous and deeply-felt, and always with the lightest touch.

Sarah Foster