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RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND
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The Independent Culture
The Diane Modahl Story Sat 6.25pm BBC2

Timewatch Sun 7.30pm BBC2

The Tourist Sun 9pm BBC2

Ruby Wax Meets... Sun 10pm BBC1

Everyman Sun 10.40pm BBC1

Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. No, we're not talking some New Labour boot camp, but a thoroughly liberal-progressive establishment that takes young offenders, makes them face their feelings and take responsibility for their actions. I should say took, since Peper Harow in Surrey, a centre that promoted treatment rather than punishment, closed down a couple of years ago. We meet it in 1973, through a Man Alive report, and the experiment conducted in Timewatch (Sun BBC2) is quite simple: to randomly select six boys from that 1973 film and meet them now - seeing if their re-conviction rates are any better than the depressing three out of four young offenders who return to crime after a spell in conventional remand centres.

One of the six was last heard of leaving prison in 1991, but he's the exception. The others have respectably filled out into their late thirties now: one a psychiatric nurse, another director of a similar establishment to Peper Harow. All five have stable families and have broken the cycle that, one of them says, would have led him to murder. The film is a short, sharp, pleasant surprise, and opposition parties should take a look. Presumably, such a regime would be anathema to Michael Howard. Sadly, it just might smack too much of the 1960s for Jack Straw.

Ruby Wax is on safer ground this week, Malibu to be precise, in Ruby Wax Meets... Pamela Anderson (Sun BBC2). Actually, we get precious little insight into the Sun's favourite actress, except that she speaks as if pumped hard full of helium instead of breast-enhancing materials. Most of the film is spent with Ruby bravely cavorting in a bikini on the Baywatch set, creating a comic discrepancy between her own imperfect form and those of the bouncy extras.

Thousands of miles from this sun-drenched hedonism, Everyman (Sun BBC1) goes inside a Benedictine convent in the suburbs of Chester to see what drives women to a life of getting up before the milkman, sewing wimples and prayer. A fascinating, typically thoughtful film discovers a variation on the old joke that travel narrows the mind; the outside world, believe the nuns, squashes the soul.

In a world full of horrific injustice, the career of one international athlete might not amount to a whole hill of beans, but even if sport is another country to you, you'll still be intrigued by The Diane Modahl Story (Sat BBC2). This is not just because Modahl (the 800 metre runner, who was sent home from the 1994 Commonwealth Games after a drug test pointed to testosterone abuse) and her husband, Vincente, are such plausibly nice people; but also because it's a satisfying medical mystery story. How did the male hormone get into the urine sample? (This is, if you don't believe Modahl injected herself with the performance enhancer.)

Now, maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, but I could never understand why anyone would want to take a holiday in the nation's capital. The sheer hell of it - but then maybe that's what Parisians think of the Eurostar weekenders clogging up the Boulevard St Germain. The Tourist (Sun BBC2) looks at how London caters to its 10 million or so annual visitors, and what they want out of their (on average) six-day visit. A clue: it begins with "h" - and I don't mean the Hammersmith fly-over or the Harrow Road.

The big picture

sex, lies and videotape

Sun 10.25pm C4

The word "Wunderkind" was flourished when sex, lies and videotape (no doubt Peter York would tell us the lower-case title is very 1980s) was released in 1989. Steven Soderbergh, the director of this steamy, Deep South love rectangle, displayed a sureness of touch way beyond his 26 years, and seemed destined for greatness. Sadly, he may have peaked too soon, as his subsequent work has failed to live up to the promise of this arresting story of sex and sensibility, starring James Spader and Andie MacDowell (above).

The big match

The Five Nations Championship

Sat 2.15pm BBC1

After the first round, Scotland vs France, the latter led by the tenacious Philippe Saint-Andre (above), is already taking on the look of a Championship decider. Scotland, under the inspirational leadership of Rob Wainwright, exceeded everyone's expectations but their own in beating Ireland two weeks ago in Dublin. Can they do the same to the resurgent French at Murrayfield? England, meanwhile, must again attempt to put their theories of expansive rugby into practice, against a new-look Welsh line- up at Twickenham.

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