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October 13, 1985|HOWARD ROSENBERG

PUBLIC TELEVISION--Several new arrivals highlight a varied week on public TV.

Among the most promising is WNET's eight-part "Rockschool" series (2:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 28) hosted by Herbie Hancock.

Filling in some of the gaps left by MTV, "Rockschool" explores the techniques, theory and craft behind today's music. Each half-hour episode features musicians who explore the interaction of their instruments in a rock band. John Taylor of Duran Duran and Stanley Clarke and Gary Moore of the Gary Moore Band are guests on the premiere.

Another of this week's newcomers is "The Skin Horse" (10 p.m. Wednesday on Channels 28, 15, 24 and 50), an award-winning British film about the sexual needs of severely disabled persons. Betty Rollin narrates a follow-up discussion.

And still another change of pace is provided by "Olympic Challenge" (7 p.m. Sunday on Channels 50 and 15, and 9 p.m. Monday on Channel 28), a chronicle of the various behind-the-scenes workers at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Meanwhile, the week's continuing series are headed by the outstanding science program "Nova" (8 p.m. Tuesday on Channels 28 and 15, and 9 p.m. on Channel 50), which explores the effect of aggressive agricultural techniques.

And the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is featured on "Great Performances" (8 p.m. Friday on Channel 24, 9 p.m. on Channel 15 and 10 p.m. on Channel 28).

When it comes to the week's best rerun, it's no contest. The honors go to "Masterpiece Theatre," which offers a splendid rendering of Ford Maddox Ford's intriguing classic "The Good Soldier" (7 p.m. Sunday on Channel 28, and 8 p.m. on Channels 15, 24 and 50). Jeremy Brett, Robin Ellis, Susan Fleetwood and Vickery Turner are superb in this story about two couples who meet annually in a fashionable German spa.

Good soldier, great drama.

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