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EATING! Hollyoaks, Channel 4, 6.30pm

HollyoaksA few lowculture-ites had the honour last week of attending a screening and panel discussion of Hollyoaks at the BFI. It was certainly an interesting evening, because we got to enjoy the somewhat surreal experience of watching an episode on a massive cinema screen, and we were reminded, just in case we were in any danger of forgetting, that the show is on at 6.30pm. But the overall lesson we were given to take away was that Hollyoaks was emerging from the wilderness to become a contender, with proper storylines and proper actors and even the odd award or two. And apparently key to this is building up characters that the viewers will love.

One such character has recently returned from an extended absence - Hannah Ashworth (played by the lovely Emma Rigby, who was also present at the panel and who couldn't have been more charming), having been in hospital recovering from the debilitating eating disorder bulimorexia, is now back in the family home, despite having been temporarily deposed by a robot claiming to be Rhys's half-sister. Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of Hollyoaks, they've decided that her rehabilitation can only be achieved by pairing her with a rubbish character, namely Danny Valentine. This show seems obsessed with such unbalanced couplings (see also: John Paul/Katy, Summer/Rubbish Tranny, Jacqui/Tony...), and we're never quite sure why.

But even if she comes with the moonface man in tow, we're at least glad to have Hannah back, because other characters that we like are thin on the ground at the moment. Tonight's episode sees some spectacularly repellent behaviour from Swimbint (accusing Beth of being "full of herself", shortly before phoning the kettle to point out those unsightly burn marks), Nancy (impressive total absence of tact when dealing with friend who's just come out of hospital, making bitchy comments about John Paul yet again), Jake (sudden onset of dementia making him think he was supportive to Craig when it was revealed that Craig was having an affair with John Paul) and Rubbish Tranny.

Rubbish Tranny, in particular, has been spectacularly vile over the past few weeks - being Chester's answer to Lily Allen in his indefatigable belief that he has every right to make snide comments about whomever he chooses, but acting wounded and hounded the second anyone turns it around on him. It speaks volumes that in his battle of witlessness with his nasty, bigoted brother, we're firmly on the side of the latter and long for the day that the poorly-dressed cretin is found battered and in pieces in a cement mixer. Actually, if the war could just end with both of the stupid gits killing each other, we could all get on with our lives and that would be brilliant. Some hopes. This show is on at 6.30, after all.

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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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