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A right conundrum

VERBAL! Countdown, Channel 4, 3.30pm
It's the end of the week, and to the best of our knowledge, the world has not stopped turning. This can only mean one thing: Des Lynam is actually doing an okay job replacing Richard Whitely. It's not a position we particularly envy - trying to imagine Countdown without Richard and his luminous jackets is like trying to imagine a talent contest without Simon Cowell - something just seems wrong, somehow.

In the best terms of showbiz adage, however, the show must go on, and Des got the nod from all kinds of people, including recent queen of gameshows Carol Vorderman, and was appointed as host of the show. The good thing is that very little else has changed, and that's probably the best way of honouring Richard Whitely's memory in the first place - not to trifle with the format he helped craft into a winner. There's still plenty of scope for amusing obscenities to come up in the letters round, there will still be a bizarre and often disappointing anecdote from dictionary corner, and Carol will continue to delight all with her mathematical prowess. We wouldn't want it any other way.

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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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