He had a big sword and a round table, and he was cuckolded by his right- hand man. But did King Arthur really exist? Excalibur - the Search for Arthur (Wed 7pm BBC2) is the first of a two-part documentary hosted by Professor Gwyn A Williams, self-styled "people's remembrancer". The Welsh have a pretty good claim to the Arthurian legend, at least since it first takes shape in Welsh oral literature of the Dark Ages - it's then hijacked by various monks of a French persuasion before flitting back across the channel to a dissolute English knight and sundry poets, finally landing in the apt hands of Richard Gere (right), whose First Knight (in which he plays Lancelot) was made in Wales last year. Anyway, this programme weaves "serious historical analysis" with "powerful dramatic scenes", and will probably be a hoot for those obsessed with the once and future king. Even if conclusive proof were to turn up that Arthur was a sword- waving midget with massive delusions of grandeur and no followers at all, it wouldn't matter. The poetry of legend transcends fact. But is it just a spooky coincidence that the lottery organisation is called Camelot?
All in the best possible taste
Now that Channel 4 have finished with the Red Light Zone, what is the innocent voyeur to do of a Saturday night? Fortunately the BBC, being in the business of servicing the public, have stepped in with a Forbidden Weekend of schlock, skin and censorship. Highlights will include Doing Rude Things, a hand-in-pocket trip through the British sex film industry with the unflappable Angus Deayton, Empire of the Censors, a two-part exploration of just what the Lord Chamberlain does with that blue pencil, and Children of the Video, which explores the effect of horror movies on the pre-pubescent psyche. Plus, a whole line-up of excellent films, starting (Sat 12.10am BBC2) with Bad Taste, Peter "Heavenly Creatures" Jackson's magnificent low-budget bloodbath comedy in which alien invaders cook up homo sapiens as lo-cal snacks for an intergalactic fast-food restaurant. Well, makes a change from world domination.
Dial P for profit
The 0891 number was a brilliant business invention, and business minds have been inventing ways of capitalising on it ever since. It's amazing that Camelot haven't thought of having an 0891 number for lottery prize claimants. The BBC, meanwhile, can cover the costs of a 25-minute Sunday morning slot by calling it FOT. FOT stands for False or True? (11.20am BBC2) and viewers are invited to ring up and say whether they think that ludicrous stories on screen are for real or not. This week, for instance, they have an apiarist who claims to have increased his honey yield by 40 per cent by giving a stress-relieving massage to his bees: treatment that will come a bit late for any bee trapped in amber (below) for more than a couple of million years. You won't waste more than 20 pence, so why not try dialling 0891 555301 to register a false vote, or 0891 555302 for true. Or not calling for five weeks and spending your savings on a lottery ticket.
Everything's big in America
Especially the financial rewards of being the top man. Pete Wilson, the new Governor of California, wants to be President because of the money. Enter stage left, brandishing the sword of truth and justice, Christopher Hitchens (right), lank-haired and rumple-suited as all good commentators are, to give Wilson a thorough knocking in Without Walls: Letter from America (Tue 9pm C4). Being a Republican, Wilson likes law and order and low tax. So he slashes the education budget to spend more on prisons, while ranting on about immigrants to anyone who hasn't already gone deaf. Hitchens's description of Wilson as "a dismal smudge of anti-charisma" is lovely, but Chris - stick to the written word, darling. The camera does not love a puffy-faced hack droning on in a strangled monotone, however good the cause.
Compiled by Steven Poole
and Serena Mackesy
Chelsea Flower Show Some "style guru" describes "the gardening social trends". Well, flay my nostrils with a rusty lawnmower and throw me in a haystack if this is entertainment. Sat 6pm BBC2
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Some things are way, way beneath contempt. Luckily, that means you can gob on them all you like. Sat 9pm ITV
The Pick of Punt and Dennis You mean, a pointy climbing tool to indulge our fantasies regarding these two wibbling morons? Yes, please. Sat 10.10pm BBC1
Out of the Blue Much in the same way as an aircraft carrier plummeting from the sky onto your head would be out of the blue - that is, not necessarily a good thing. Idiotic and grimy NYPD wannabe. Tue 9.30pm BBC1Reuse content