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Fanny pack

SAUCY! Fanny Hill, BBC4, 9.00pm

Fanny HillGood morning, everyone! So, did everyone have a great weekend? Disappointed about the rugby result? Sickened by the absolute dearth of talent on display in the first live show of The X Factor, but still nursing a slightly embarrassed liking for the unashamed cheesiness of Same Difference? Yes, that just about sums ours up too. But now it's another week, and lots more fine television for us all to talk about. Hooray!

We're going slightly more upmarket today (not too much, don't worry) with some historial lowculture, since you surely can't get more low, culture-wise, than the first ever smutty novel, Fanny Hill. Well, in this day and age you probably can, but try to think about the seedy Georgian citizens, reading it by candlelight with their cheeks flushed, and how it was probably the nearest they got to Nuts magazine. In a nutshell, it tells the story of Fanny, who moves to London and falls into the world of prostitution, but through being a wily sort, manages to turn the vices of her clients to her advantage. There's quite a lot of sex in it, as you might imagine.

It's been adapted for TV by Andrew Davies, well known for drawing out the sexier side of even the most repressed classic novels, so this should be a proper bodice-ripper. Plus it's got Alison Steadman as a madam with Samantha Bond as her rival, which has us squeeing with delight even before we deal with Hugo Speer as one of Fanny's many "benefactors". So, essentially we can watch a romp, and yet because it's on BBC4 we can be sure we're probably learning something at the same time. We just hope there won't be a test at the end.

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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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