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Box of Delights

The life of being a previewer for your favourite website is not easy, you know. Sometimes we look at the next week's TV listings, full of despair because there is nothing good to talk about that we haven't already previewed. And yet like buses, the law seems to be that you wait for ages for something exciting to come along, then it all comes along at once. Tonight sees such a ridiculous embarrassment of riches on the box that Steve and Rad needed to collaborate together (in a move that hasn't been seen since, oooh, Christmas) to get it all in. So get a cup of tea and a biccy and plan your evening with us....


RETURNING! EastEnders, BBC1, 8pm

It's good to see that Gemma Bissix's lucrative career of playing scheming bitches called Clare didn't end when she finally bowed out from Hollyoaks last year (and boy, does the show miss her. It's never the same without a good villain, and no, Jake Dean certainly does not count), as she reappears tonight in the TV alter ego we all knew before Clare Devine ever set foot in Chester: Clare Bates (née Tyler), in EastEnders on BBC1 at 8.00pm. Having been last seen as a rosy-cheeked schoolgirl heading off to Scotland with adoptive dad Nigel, she makes her entrance tonight in fine style - being thrown out of a car while wearing a skimpy dress and not looking not wholly unlike archetypal soap bitch-with-a-soft-centre Izzy Hoyland. Clare quickly reconnects with Dot, who's in dire need of a project at the moment, and then sets her sights on Ian, as everyone in the Square eventually does. Seriously, even the gays are going to be after him in a couple of weeks. When will this madness end?



ENDING! Jam and Jerusalem, BBC1, 8:30pm
We know that this series is never going to go down in the comedy annals in the same way that Absolutely Fabulous or The Vicar of Dibley have. However, we still love it, and it's a darn sight better than recent episodes of French and Saunders. This gentle, warm and still pretty darn funny series ends tonight when we see whether Tash will marry Spike. We'd like to see a Jam and Jerusalem wedding, so let's hope she says yes, eh?



SINGING! The Choir: Boys Don't Sing, BBC2, 9pm
We loved The Choir last year and we're very pleased to see it back. For the uninitiated amongst you, the series featured loveable, geeky and slightly hot choirmaster Gareth Malone (who has a touch of the Tennant about him, we think) in his attempts to transform a bunch of inner-city 'yoofs' into a choir to sing at the World Choir Olympics (if only they would integrate that into the ACTUAL Olympics, we would be so into that). This year, he's trying to repeat the same trick, only the 2008 twist is that it's an all-boys choir and they're competing in something at the Albert Hall instead. So there's a few echoes of The History Boys there, too. Only, we hope, without all the slightly creepy sexual undertones. This is your standard life-affirming fare, but none the worse for it.


JAW-DROPPING! Hey Paula!, ITV2, 10pm
Someone over at ITV2 has clearly broken into our top-secret personal diary, the one where we write our topmost secret telly wishes. While they couldn't quite see fit to give us "The Paula Abdul and Janice Dickinson Crazy Medicated Bitch Channel", they've done the next best thing, and got hold of Paula's very own reality show Hey Paula! to play directly after American Idol at 10.00pm. It doesn't take a genius to guess that the Paula in this show is Idol Paula, with the car-crash level upped by a factor of 20, so it will either be the greatest programme ever or the absolute worst. Possibly it will somehow manage to be both at once, thereby snapping the space-time continuum cleanly in two and killing us all where we stand. But let's hope not, eh?



COMPETING! Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong, Channel 4, 10pm
If you're not a Paula Abdul fan, get the hell out of here and never come back. Sorry, that should read: "why not try Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong on Channel 4 at 10.00pm instead?" - our mistake. We've read an interview with Alan Carr, seen a few trailers and looked at the listings, and yet we're still not really sure how on earth this show works, except that it pits celebrities versus civilians (no doubt inspired by Liz Hurley's famous clanger about the vast chasm between the two species) in a series of zany questions. It's got legs, certainly, but we'll wait until after the first episode before our final judgement.


REMINISCING! The Law of the Playground, Channel 4, 10:30pm
There was a time at the end of the last decade and the start of this one when you couldn't turn on your telly without a bunch of talking heads babbling on about the wonders of growing up in the 70s and 80s. Which was fine, because we all know that any conversation between 20 or 30 somethings always turns to the things of our childhood in the end. But there are only so many conversations you can have about all things retro before you get all meta and starthaving retrospectives of the retrospectives and the aforementioned space-time continuum comes and gets us. So what we are trying to say is that we are quite surprised to seeThe Law of the Playground returning for a second series. Perhaps Channel 4 decided it had been long enough without a nostalgia-fest that they could get away with it (or perhaps they were just desperate for some cheap filler whilst they wait for new episodes of Ugly Betty). The usual suspects are here: Justin Lee Collins, Vic Reeves, and, ooh, look who it is! Myleene Klass! Who'da thunk it, eh?


JAMMING! Later...200, BBC2, 11:35pm
The institution that is Later... With Jools Holland returns for a new series, and kicks off with its 200th episode. Although there is often a bit too much boogie-woogie jamming for our liking, the series is always guaranteed to pull off a few corkers from established artsists and is renowned for launching some great talent to boot. Tonight the big draw is a set from Radiohead, but there are other goodies to be had as well, including Cat Power, Dionne Warwick, Mary J Blige and Feist, a booking that will make at least one lowculture user very happy indeed.

So there you have it. Phew. We're going for a nice lie down now.

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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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