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It is heavy, it ain't Big Brother

Not Big BrotherA slight change of tactics today - rather than recommending one specific show to watch, we're recommending things you might wish to try instead if you're trying to avoid getting sucked into watching a specific show. You know the one we're talking about. Comes back every summer. Gets longer and more ridiculous every year. Makes you despair for humanity. That one.

So, if you share our noble but possibly futile ambition to devote your summer to something a little less horrifying, here are your options during the horror slot between 10pm and approximately 10.15pm this evening. You could watch The Apprentice on BBC1 (and half of The Apprentice: You're Fired! on BBC2, which promises to be good because it's the obligatory hawking-stuff-on-a-TV-shopping-channel challenge, and we've all seen the clips that promise repeated jokes relating to Simon's genitalia. All we need is for Katie to get fired in the most definitive way possible and this may well be the best episode ever.

If that doesn't appeal, there's Natural World on BBC2, which is all about lion cubs struggling to survive in the Namib Desert in west Africa. Which is a bit like That Show in some ways, but without the alcohol and the eviction votes and the ubiquitous media penetration. ITV1 is showing The British Soap Awards, where you can enjoy watching EastEnders get the trouncing it richly deserves, and do some good old-fashioned pantomime booing when James Sutton does not win Best Actor (oops, spoiler).

Five's effort at counter-programming is Saving Private Ryan, which is frankly lacklustre and we expect better, so we shall move into the multichannel arena. BBC3 is showing Species, which is a slight improvement but not much. BBC4 has far more of the right idea with Children's TV on Trial, focusing on the best kids shows of the 1980s including vintage Grange Hill. ITV2 is showing American Pie 2, ITV3 has a Poirot and ITV4 has Police, Camera, Action!, all of which are infinitely more edifying than That Show is likely to be. Especially that last one.

A final sweep suggests that More4 is exploring the child sex trade in True Stories, E4 celebrates one of its few remaining programme hours of the summer with the penultimate episode of the ace Ugly Betty, Five Life has some vintage Bad Girls, Living has CSI, and Sky One is offering Pandemic. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, so you know, if you really want to avoid You-Know-What, it can be done. Just do your best, eh?

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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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