This is the final publisher edited version of the paper published as Bioscience Education, 2006, 7-c1. This version was first published at http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol7/beej-7-C1.aspx.We are aware from our own experience, as audience if not as lecturer, that being talked at for 50 minutes is not the most captivating form of communication. A change of dynamic, preferably involving an element of topicality, can make a significant contribution to engagement. I have found that short excerpts of television programmes and news can therefore be excellent ways to add sparkle to a lecture. I’m sure, however, that you have suffered the experience of switching on the television and finding yourself 15 minutes into a programme that would have nicely illustrated something about which you are going to be teaching. Perhaps you decide to watch the evening news as a break in your marking, and are unexpectedly confronted with a highly relevant story. In the past, we might have termed this “oh-bother-it” syndrome. Fortunately, however, increasing media sophistication means that there are both ways to prevent and to cure this nasty condition
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