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Five Hail Marys

So what do you watch TV for? Do you want to be entertained and informed, as Lord Reith put it when founding the BBC all those years ago? Or do you want to squirm before the bottomless well of vulgarity that moistly beckons in the back garden of the country's television producers? If you answered "No" to the first and a feckless "Yes please!" to the second, you really deserve the latest in cringe broadcasting, Simon Mayo's Confessions (Sat 7.10pm BBC 1). The idea is that each programme will humiliate three audience members, set up by their "friends". Mayo (right) gives them clues, and they then have to guess which of their dark, guilty secrets Mayo has been told, in order to win a holiday. Cue much hysteria as contestants let on more about themselves than they need to. Of course, real schadenfreude is a no-no: we won't get any really interesting secrets, like "I'm having a passionate and possibly fatal affair with my sister" (or "I think Simon Mayo's a genius"). No, instead we'll be privy to such rib-tickling confessions as "that time I stuck a Coke bottle down my trousers to impress the girls". It's like being stuck in a pub full of merchant bankers.

Hope, faith but no charity

The other big-news American medical series, Chicago Hope, starts its run over here on Saturday (9.55pm BBC1), having already shifted slotwise Stateside because it couldn't compete with ER in the ratings. The main problem, it seems, is that people don't like their medicine glossy: consultants on large salaries who deal in unlimited budgets on sufficient sleep are not really what the public want. Chicago Hope is a cutting-edge Blue Cross miracle where the curtains are clean and only the latest technology will do. The staff in ER and our own Saturday night delight, Casualty (which suffers in comparison only in its production budget) deal with power cuts, lousy air conditioning and trying to rest in places decorated by the colour blind. Those noble doctors in the windy city may separate Siamese twins, but they're unlikely ever to have the appeal of Charlie's heaved sighs in the face of heartbreak and budget cuts.

Reg's side

The last part of the Without Walls mini-series, "My Generation" (Tue 9.30pm C4), ends with a look at the Troggs (right, with Oliver Reed and Alex Higgins), those lovable bumpkins who made it big as ironic sex symbols. Lead singer Reg Presley (no relation to Elvis) fondly recalls the time when he was working in his shed and heard that their first single, "Wild Thing", had gone to number 11 in the charts. "Oi threw down moi tools!" he exclaims, for he knew that stardom awaited. As a rock 'n' roll story, the Troggs' career has everything: an incandescent two years in the charts with seven Top 10 hits; an unscrupulous manager who wears bad-guy tinted spectacles, and later on, drugs, discord and tragedy. But it all went horribly right again for Reg last year, when Wet Wet Wet's absurd rendition of his sweet "Love Is All Around" sold enough copies to make him a millionaire. The Troggs even released a collaboration with REM called Athens Andover, and the famous Troggs Tapes - the band arguing obscenely in a studio - are a fitting memorial to a band who really were Spinal Tap.

A whole new ball game?

You can, yet again, blame the Americans. While other kids were getting on with their proper activities of experimenting with sex and alcohol, the multiple-choice style of US education left the jocks at Columbia High School, New Jersey, with enough time on their hands to formalise frisbee throwing into a team sport with a set of rules half-way between netball and ping-pong. Now Channel 4 brings you the world championships, Ultimate Frisbee (Sun 1.45pm), held against the background of Constable country at Colchester. Thrill as men in shorts shout and jump. Gasp as the Japanese take on the Australians. Gag as you visit the world's biggest frisbee shop. Essex has never been so exciting.

Compiled by Serena Mackesy

and Steven Poole

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