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The Independent Culture
Queensberry rules OK... Not

Saturday night is "Wilde Night" on BBC2, to commemorate Oscar's Old Bailey trial 100 years ago, also recently marked by the new stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey (right). Timewatch (Sat 9pm) interviews Wilde's grandson and the great-grandniece of Lord Alfred Douglas. There's also the Open Space Special that glories in the atrocious subtitle "A Fear to Appear Queer, Oscar Dear" (8.20pm): Alan Sinfield argues that Wilde's campery has led to a restricted spectrum of identities and media images for gay men. And for a possibly record-breakingly long 10 minutes, thespian extraordinaire Simon Callow gives us Oscar and Me (8.50pm), a grammatically challenged account of his "lifelong romance" with the playwright's memory. Then, to top it all, we've got two films: The Trials of Oscar Wilde (10pm) and Albert Lewin's classic 1945 adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray (12m'nt). All together now: "I could Wilde away the hours..."

It's loud and it's tasteless

And I've heard it before. Yes, it's fashion, a pursuit which, with giddy deconstructionist irony, is now itself fashionable.

Sprint down to Dixons now and buy a satellite dish so you can catch Cindy Crawford's Style Weekend on MTV. I kid you not: Cindy will be hosting her first "entertainment special" (like, cool; will she be doing it in a bikini? a-hurr hurr hurr), and she'll be chairing A Model Conversation - a round-table symposium on matters ethical, philosophical, and frankly babelicious, with fellow coathangers Lauren Hutton, Beverly Johnson, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. Absolutely extraordinary. Can somebody tape it for me, please?

Balls, damned balls and statistics

Lottery fever is gripping the nation in its sweaty, hairy palms, and a mere £4.99 buys you the new video, It Could Be You (Audiovisual Enterprises). This is not, sadly, a film showing numerous members of the public dressing up as Anthea Turner (right). Nor is it even a tape of mad berobed loons telling you how you can win the lottery by examining your used tea-bags or cutting up your neighbour's dog. No, get this: it's half an hour of flashing numbers. That's right: flashing multicoloured numbers (1 through 49, natch) - all you do is press pause randomly and write down the number that appears on the screen. Do this a further five times and then give some more money directly to the Treasury - oops, I mean "you too could become one of the 171 winners that have shared a jackpot of £132 million". 'Scuse me? Bizarrely enough, the manufacturers trumpet the idiocy of their own product on the sleeve. "How do you beat the system? The answer is you can't." Well, yes. It Could Be You costs £4.99, but for the same fiver you could buy yourself five extra Lottery tickets and quintuple your chances. Or you could get a nice bottle of Chianti and talk to your friends, if you still have any.

If you go down to the woods today

A glance at the title of Gerald Durrell: The Man Who Built the Ark (Mon 6.10pm BBC2) might prompt an instant flashback to `O' Level Religious Education - hang on, wasn't that Noah? Well, strictly speaking, yes, but this film is about the extraordinary work done by the late Durrell in protecting animals - not against God's wrath, this time, but against the rapacious folly of other human beings. He founded the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in the 1960s solely for the purpose of breeding endangered species. Their survival was already being compromised by rainforest destruction, which Durrell campaigned against long before Sting acquired a bass guitar and cod-Jamaican accent. Naturally, Durrell loathed the idea of keeping impressive large animals just for show, and this circus lion (above) would no doubt agree. Mind you, as a rather Wildean philosopher once said: "If a lion could speak, we wouldn't be able to understand him." But that's no reason to force the noble cat to do tricks in sawdust for the rest of his life.

Compiled by Steven Poole

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