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No strings attached

ARE GO! Thunderbirds Night, BBC4, from 7.00pm

ThunderbirdsFirst of all, lowculture would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year, and we hope that you all saw 2008 arrive in suitably debauched fashion. If, like us, you awoke yesterday morning with a defiant headache and wondered precisely what you'd done the night before to make the vision in your left eye go so blurry, you're probably hoping that the holiday spirit would last a few days longer, to give you a bit more time to settle back into your normal routine. Happily, it would seem that BBC4 agrees with you, since tonight they have forsaken their usual erudite documentaries in favour of something far more lowculture-friendly - a whole evening of programmes about Thunderbirds. Hooray!

Obviously there is a documentary in the middle of all of this - at 9.10pm, focusing on everything one could possibly want to know about the show and Gerry Anderson - and the BBC archives have provided an edition of Mastermind where the show was one of the specialist subjects to serve as a coda to the evening, but around these there's puppetry aplenty, all presented in glorious Supermarionation. (And just to clarify, that's not the latest Mario game due to arrive on the Nintendo Wii.)

There's a double bill of the show in question to kick off at 7pm, followed by an episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and as an added bonus, a previously unseen episode of Stingray at 10.10pm. It might seem a little quaint by our modern tastes, but at least being able to see the strings helps us to understand why the acting is so wooden, which is something that we still have trouble explaining when we watch Hollyoaks. (Nothing like a cheap, wholly predictable and slightly unfair joke to get the year started as we mean to go on, 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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