For a study on the anx­i­eties of mod­ern life, The Truth About Stress (TVNZ 1, Tues­day, 9.30pm) is pretty re­laxed. The BBC ­pro­gramme is fronted by Fiona Phillips, who has a very calm de­meanour and voice.

But it wasn’t al­ways this way. In the doco, Phillips is ex­am­ined to see whether a par­tic­u­larly stress­ful episode in her life cre­ated long-last­ing health is­sues. Else­where, she’s sur­vey­ing ex­perts on the ­trig­gers and ef­fects of stress and dis­cussing “mind­ful­ness”.

The pro­gramme, which ­fol­lows ear­lier “Truth” ­ex­plo­rations of other haz­ards to us, also pulls stunts to test

vol­un­teers’ fight-or-flight re­sponses when sub­jected to snakes, spi­ders and that ter­ror of the mod­ern age, karaoke.

“This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whim­per”. Trust TS Eliot to talk about Ar­maged­don in such a sub­tle way. No com­puter ­graph­ics needed there, eh Tom?

The se­ries Dooms­day: 10 Ways the World Will End (Duke, Wed­nes­day, 9.25pm) of­fers much nois­ier op­tions, start­ing

with an as­ter­oid in the first episode, then work­ing its way through black holes, rogue plan­ets, so­lar storms and more.

“The show also ex­plores if it’s pos­si­ble to pre­pare for the hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tions,” says the pub­lic­ity, “and if any­one would be able to sur­vive.” After some in­de­pen­dent re­search, mostly in­volv­ing movies this se­ries re­sem­bles, an an­swer: Yes, but only if Mor­gan Free­man is Pres­i­dent.

The Truth about Stress, Tues­day.

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