TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Last of the lager louts

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The Independent Culture
The characters of Viz come to life to star in 'Away the Lads', tonight's 40 MINUTES (9.50pm BBC2). A crew of nine Geordie boys spend a fortnight crammed into a four-person flat - nicknamed 'apartos apigsty' - in Benidorm. By day, they swill lager and ogle women on the beaches; by night, they swill lager and ogle women in the discos. Occasionally they break the routine by having a heart-attack-sized full English breakfast, displaying their privates to the camera or head-butting a punchbag. Covering much the same territory as 'The Sex Hunters', a recent Short Stories on C4, John Alexander's film intercuts scenes of the lads' holiday high jinks with shots of their mundane lives as carpet-fitters and welders back home. They revel in the male bonding, laugh about leaving their 'lasses' at home, and lament those friends who have been lost to marriage. Sid the Sexist, eat your heart out.

At other times the schedules seem to be hooked on drugs this evening. As Without Walls on C4 examines 'The Art of Tripping', tonight's FIRST TUESDAY (10.45pm ITV) goes on a 'Bad Trip to Edgewood'. Michael Bilton's documentary uncovers disturbing evidence that in the Fifties and Sixties the US Army subjected thousands of soldiers to tests with psychedelic drugs. Many are still suffering from the after-effects.

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