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The worst advert of 2008, of course, needs no introduction. And only a masochist would actually click play…

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Fiver Life

RELAUNCH! Fiver, formerly Five Life, all day

You'd be forgiven for not realising that Five Life was relaunching itself today. as, *cough* Fiver. We watch Five every day (well Neighbours anyway) and we haven't seen any trails whatsoever for the relaunch of its non-Five US offshoot channel. We're not exactly calling this the most successful rebranding/relaunching in history.

We assume the Fiver branding took something from the lead of UKTVG2's successful rebranding as Dave. But that channel succeeded less on the basis of its name and more because it had a very good promotional strategy. This channel? Notsomuch. (Interestingly, the 'brand consultants' behind the rebranding are called Dave. Coincidence?)

So what IS this Fiver business anyway? Well, the limited material we have seen on the Five website suggests that it's the network's answer to BBC Three, E4, and, er, ITV2. In other words, the younger, hipper, edgier channel of the Five family. In reality? It's Five Life under another, stupider name, with fewer episodes of House Doctor, How to be a Property Developer and the like, which is silly, because, other than Neighbours evening episodes, those were the only things we ever watched on Five Life.

Its relaunch kicks off with what it hopes will be two 'big hitters': the second series of Dirt and new show Celebrity Rehab. We really liked Dirt when series one started out. But then it got a bit floundering, we forgot it was on sometimes, and our relationship gradually drifted apart. At least they promoted series one. Again, not one trailer have we seen for this second series (and we still don't understand why this isn't shown on Five US). Celebrity Rehab is a fly-on-the-wall docusoap/reality thingy set in, well, rehab. We don't know who features in this, other than perpetual reality star, Brigitte Nielsen.

The problem with 'Fiver' as a relaunched 'yoof' brand is it lacks its own identity. It has nothing that is the equivalent of The Mighty Boosh, Gavin and Stacey, Skins or even Fat Men Can't Hunt. We know E4 doesn't have that many of its 'own' shows, either, but it at least gives more 'first-looks', not just of the imports, but of the home grown comedy and drama, too. It's worrying when the new networks biggest relaunch shows are those that would seem to be more at home on Five US and ITV2 respectively.

We want to give this channel a chance: after all, if nothing else, it shows lots of Home and Away and Neighbours, which keeps us happy, but so far: must try harder. Better programming and better promotion are needed if the channel is going to be 'a contender'. Let's hope they have something up their sleeves...

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Blue Monday

OZ! Out of the Blue, BBC One, 2.15pm

Although this was touted as the Beeb's Neighbours replacement when its arrival was announced some months back, it isn't quite filling the same slot. OK, it's taking the slot its fellow Aussie soap occupied for five minutes in 2008, but everyone knows that was never proper Neighbours time. This secheduling may well be a smart move. By only showing at 2.15pm, it is rather cannily allowing those watching Harold, Susan et al on Five to still come over and catch this new soap, too. And with a rumoured 135 episodes already commissioned, the Beeb appear to be confident that this will spread some daytime goodness.

The premise of the show is intriguing. It centres around a group of thirty-something pretty Aussies (so far, so Secret Life of Us) at a school reunion. However, very early on, a murder is committed, and the sunshine soapy feel of the show takes an altogether darker twist. We like the sound of this one and wish it well, even if we can't guarantee to remember to record it every day.

You may not recognise many of the younger cast: it doesn't have quite the high proportion of former Oz soap alumni we expect from such exports, but in the older cast, there is at least one gem: Maggie Dence, who played Dorothy Burke in Neighbours. If this keeps going, no doubt all the old faves who have run the gamut of roles in Neighbours, Home and Away, Prisoner Cell Block H, Heartbreak High, The Young Doctors, The Secret Life of Us, and The Flying Doctors will no doubt appear. First one to spot an actor who's done all the Aussie soaps and dramas gets a prize*.

*May not be a prize of any monetary worth.

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Off the Pull

FINALE! Pulling, BBC Three, 9.00pm

Sunday nights are about to get rubbish again. Gavin and Stacey ended last week, and, jumping into its 9.00pm slot for no good reason whatsoever other than to confuse viewers and possibly direct them towards the iPlayer or BBC Three's video wall when they tune in at 9.30 to find a repeat of Little Britain instead, is the final episode in series two of Pulling.

What with Cockloleeze, drunken food sex, *that* cat scene (which we can't imagine will make it into the BBC Two edit), cup-of-tea-no, drunken school sex and the wondrous Oleg, this series has been just as awesome as its predecessor.

Tonight opens upon someone taking a pregnancy test, and it's all fairly chaotic from there. Karen and Billy's ongoing trauma of a relationship comes back to the forefront, Donna is still trying to get over Karl's upcoming move to Italy and hooks up with a very scary bloke instead, and Louise goes on a date. Louise. On a date.

Wet kissing, STDs, internet stalking, 'he can have my honey', 'where's my juicy fruit', pints of wine, schoolchildren's paintings and pumpkin risotto all feature tonight. How, why and with who, we won't say.

We love the girls (and guys) of this show and we're going to miss them when they're gone. However, if there is a series three (and there MUST be a series three!), it better come around a bit quicker than this one did.

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Keeping up with the Jones

STRATAGEM! Doctor Who, BBC One, 6.20pm

This is a bit of a 'people returning' kind of series of Doctor Who. We've already seen Donna, Wilf, The Ood and (briefly) Rose make their comebacks, and tonight sees three more very welcome returns.

In 'The Sontaran Stratagem', the first of a two-parter, Dame Martha Jones is BACK! We are very happy about this. We love Martha, and we love Donna and so Martha and Donna in one episode makes us very very excited indeed. And if Martha is back, then that must also mean UNIT are back. UNIT have only been mentioned briefly in New Who, although they had a slightly larger mention when Martha popped up in Torchwood last series. For the uninitiated, UNIT stands for UNified Intelligence Taskforce (formerly United Nations...) and it's a military organisation that used to involve all kinds of Who recurring characters, such as The Brigadier, and the one and only Sarah Jane Smith. Martha is now working there, and UNIT play a large role in this two-parter as old adversaries of the Doctor's return to threaten the earth.

Those adversaries are the Sontarans. Mainly seen in the 70s, and a little bit in the 80s, these 'potato-headed' villains have a penchant for war and also for cloning. Hmmmmm. The chief Sontaran in this two-parter is played by former Young Ones actor Christopher Ryan. However, we know the big casting news for some of you is the appearance of Christian Cooke as someone called Ross Jenkins.

This fourth series of New Who has been a joy so far, we've loved speculating what might happen in the future, we've loved Wilf and Sylvia (in tonight's episode as well), we've loved the aliens and we've very much loved Donna. We can only hope tonight's episode keeps up the good work - from the trailers we've seen (and yes, this is the episode with Martha in slime that caused the filthmongers of the internet to suggest she'd been involved in a deviant sexual practice beginning with B, the pervs) it looks like it will...

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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The worst advert of 2008, of course, needs no intr... :: Fiver Life :: Blue Monday :: Off the Pull :: Keeping up with the Jones :: Press Ganged :: Search for the Heroes :: Rock out with your cock out :: Crime of fashion :: Shrink Rapped ::

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