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The Independent Culture
Quaint but cool Quentin Tarantino is a film geek and proud of it. He is, as a matter of fact, such a nutter that in his not-so-distant youth he filled a scrapbook with Brian de Palma interviews. This genius/ trainspotter/director of Pulp Fiction can even find virtues in James McBride's 1983 Breathless. Omnibus (Tue, 10.25pm BBC1) explores the doings of 'Hollywood's Boy Wonder', who emerges as an engaging, logorrhoeic lump of grinning meat whose bruiser's face is more suggestive of a career in bare-knuckle boxing than in writing some of the most intelligent comic dialogue to come out of Hollywood in recent years. Interspersing hand-waving rants from the gilded youth himself are clips from colleagues ('Other people,' says Terry Gilliam, 'are cannier, cleverer; they play more games. Quentin just goes 'bleeagh'. ') and clips from films you're unlikely, our censors not having the sense they were born with, ever to see in the privacy of your own home, Palme d'Or or no Palme d'Or. Gems include a clip from the unfinished My Best Friend's Birthday (1986), in which he raves about how The Partridge Family saved him from suicide and Michael Madsen's unforgettable razor-dance to Stealer's Wheel in Reservoir Dogs. Little-known Tarantino fact: Clarence was supposed to die at the end of True Romance. Another little-known fact: his name is an anagram of 'rent quaint nation'.

Esther: that's rife The chat continues. Relieved at last of the onerous responsibilities of milking laughs from carrots and patronising younger men, Esther Rantzen follows in the footsteps of Goodyear, Frostrup, Feltz et al and launches a talk show, (Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, 5pm BBC2) entitled Esther. Topics up for discussion in the 10-week, 40-programme (no one could ever accuse the sainted one of indolence) series include women who leave their children, older parents, the cost of beauty and accents: all meaty afternoon programming topics relying on the tried-and-tested invited-guests-plus-audience-participation formula. Also coming up: sperm banks, a phrase which devotees of Esther's slow, clearly enunciated delivery will just have to tune in to hear.

You ain't seen nothing yet If you've ever wondered what it's actually like watching paint dry, and A Year in Provence didn't quite do the trick, now's your chance to find out.

'John Major's Grey Collection', a series of four of the dullest videos ever made, is released on Monday by Paradox and looks set to bore the pants off anyone mug enough to shell out pounds 5.99 on one of them. By far the most tedious is Watching Grass Grow, 40 minutes of scintillating grass growth, invisible to the naked eye, though you might just detect some movement with your fast-forward button. Waiting for the Kettle to Boil is a steamy 43-minute thriller, with all the action compressed into its gripping will-it-won't-it denouement, while Waiting for Christmas is 34 minutes of clock-watching over a tinselly fireplace as the hands creep ever closer to midnight. Surprisingly, Watching Paint Dry (if you're still reading) is the most action-packed of all. For a full seven minutes a decorator swishes his brush, before abandoning the screen for 32 minutes of paint drying that any Eastern European art-house movie director would kill for (highlight: a blob forms, ever so slowly, top right). Then, just when you think it's all over and the screen's beginning to fade, the decorator returns to see if the paint's dry. Talk about a plot twist.

In the pipeline: Looking for a Needle in a Haystack.

New shirts, old jokes You lucky, lucky people: from tomorrow there's another 22 weeks of sight-gags and sartorial splendour (Noel's traffic-stopping shirts mostly courtesy of Cecil Gee and Harvey Nichols) at Noel's House Party. Games include finding a phone booth and dialling a number. Viewers' repulsive spawn will make their parents gawp in pantomime rage on the sofa. This is entertainment at its highest-rated. Millions of people will be dribbling in anticipation.

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