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I have come to dread the words "As himself". You see them more often on the credits for comedies than any other form of television, because there is a general air of jollity about and the relevant celebrities probably feel it is best not to look like a party-pooper. "It can't do any harm to be a good sport," their agents probably tell them. It bloody can.

I take it that the idea is to add authenticity to the drama but it almost never works, as demonstrated by a particularly gruesome moment in The Perfect Match (ITV), a football romance. Phil puts the big question to Bridget by flashing up his proposal on the Wembley Stadium electronic scoreboard. Phil is so far over the moon that he doesn't notice that Bridget looks as if she has gone down with a sudden bout of psittacosis. Then we cut to Denis Law and Bob Wilson, gamely pretending to be what they actually are, sports presenters. I can't comment on all of their performance because shortly after it began I was to be found distractedly studying an old copy of the Radio Times with a cushion stuffed in my mouth to stifle my moans. The best way I can describe it is to say that it made Gary Lineker's cameo appearance in All In The Game look like acting. The goalposts would have been more convincing.

What made it even more painful was that it was completely gratuitous. Despite the Cup Final opening and general footballing bric-a-brac the drama turned out to be about marriage and the media, rather than the beautiful game. Phil's romantic gesture attracts the attention of The Sun (presumably also deigning to make a special guest appearance) and before long the impending wedding has become a national event, sponsored by the "paper with a heart". The only problem is Bridget's sinking heart, which settles a little lower in the water with every coo and congratulation. "What is it you most love about Phil?" asks Keith Chegwin, fronting up a Sky documentary about the happy couple. "Can you ask me an easier one?" replies Bridget after a queasy pause. It all ends happily of course, with the couple eloping from their 15 minutes of fame to wed in private on the pitch at Wembley.

The Day That Changed My Life (BBC 2) came closer to meeting the promissary note of its title this week with the story of Mark Rees, a female-to-male transsexual - though he almost immediately corrected your casual assumption about what the red-letter day would have been; he could remember exactly when he began living as a man but couldn't recall when he'd had surgery. After two years of living as a man he had had the obvious excisions though he declined constructive surgery, taking the view that there was no merit in ending up looking as if he'd "been run over by a lawn-mower". Now he is fighting for the right to alter his legal status, for the right to tick M rather than F on bureaucratic forms.

Rees spoke movingly of the pain of living as a woman - a time when he was always the object of curiosity, if nothing worse. "It was wonderful to be ignored," he said about his decision to live as a man, a moment when his physique and his public appearance were brought into alignment for the first time. He still has to endure verbal assaults from the louts on his local recreation ground, though, and from some who should know better. The more decorous form of this moronic bullying comes in the shape of Dr Adrian Rogers, a Dickensian creep with rimless glasses who runs the Tory Family Association - a body apparently dedicated to making anybody they disapprove of as unhappy as possible. "They tend to lead disordered lives," said Dr Rogers with icy complacency. Marginally better, I suppose, than yobs shouting "Oy, poof!" across a playground, but it amounts to pretty much the same thing in the end.

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