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Checking out

POST-WATERSHED! The Hotel Inspector, Five, 9.00pm

The Hotel InspectorWe're here today to mourn the end of an era. No, not the last episode in the current series, not just yet. Instead, we're here to mull over some slightly old news (our finger being ever on the pulse): that of Ruth Watson moving to Channel 4. Obviously it's good news in the sense that somebody had the sense to sign up our current favourite lifestyle guru in a golden handcuffs deal, but we can't help worrying about some of the possible after-effects.

First of all, The Hotel Inspector will continue next year without her. Obviously Five are well within their rights to do this, and we can see why they would want to hold on to a successful programme, but we worry about what the show will be like without Ruth? Who will fill her shoes, or perhaps more aptly, her seemingly limitless collection of brightly-coloured blazers? Who will have the same balance of genuine empathy and no-nonsense business sense? Who else can wander around a B&B and surprise you with an unexpected f-bomb every now and then in quite the way that she does?

Which brings us to another point: what if Channel 4 - horror of horrors - put her on before the watershed? Surely such a move would be foolhardy. The brilliance of the Hotel Inspector format is that it's one of the very few programmes of its ilk that regularly screens in a post-9pm slot, and since we've all been indoctrinated to expect a certain type of language from lifestyle shows, that's why you forget that Ruth's allowed to swear, and why it's even more awesome when she does. Censoring Ruth would be like censoring Gordon Ramsay.

However, these are concerns for the future, and we can do little else but hope that someone somewhere is heeding them. In the meantime, Ruth fulfils her contractual obligation to Five by doing a revisit to the Key West Hotel in Newquay, which was once savaged by countless careless stag and hen parties. Ruth pops back to see how proprietors Brian and Gill Scott are getting on, and probably to say "fuck" a lot while she still can. God speed, Ms Watson.

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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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