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Recommended viewing this weekend
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The Independent Culture
You can tell that theme nights have well and trully become part of the TV landscape when that most conservative of broadcasters, ITV, starts joining in. They have brought together a rag-bag of programmes under the title A Night Down Under (Sat ITV - except Scottish, which has wisely opted out) - although it is theming at its most debased: a Mad Max movie here, an episode of Skippy there - a rather meaningless act of cataloguing rather than what is surely the true aim of a theme night.

This - to broaden and deepen one's appreciation of a given subject - is delivered up by BBC2's Country Night (Sat), a mixture of documentaries about country music and Jools Holland compering live acts from Nashville. Jools's emphasis is on the younger artists - Reba McEntire, Alison Kraus, BR5-49 - the new blood that's making country cool, perhaps for the very first time. His co-host, Dolly Parton, looking ravishing at 50 in an expensively burnished sort of way - and the subject of one of the night's documentaries, Dolly Parton - She Ain't No Dumb Blonde, represents the older generation.

Another not-so-dumb blonde, Eva Peron, may have been many things - but an expensively preserved necrophiliac's sex toy? It's true, as the extraordinary documentary Evita: the Unquiet Grave (Sat C4) confirms. After her death from cancer of the womb in 1952, Peron spent $100,000 having his wife's corpse embalmed with its internal organs intact. The mummified body was to have been the centrepiece of some monstrous mausoleum dedicated to Eva's beloved workers. This, however, never came to pass, as Peron was soon exiled in Madrid while his wife's body was in the hands of the new regime's head of intelligence - literally. He was dismissed for what his successor describes as "serious, not to say un-Christian acts against the body", and the subsequent story of what happened to this perfectly preserved relic is like some Hitchcock screenplay out of Jorge Luis Borges

I wonder if television presenters who spend their lives interviewing celebrities have a secret yearning to be interviewed in such a way themselves. The thought occurred during Bragg on America (Sun ITV), in which the well- groomed South Bank Show supremo ponders the relationship between Britain and America through the filter of his own experience, half the time addressing the camera, while in the other half - the personal bits - talking to an unseen interrogant. Perhaps it's a mirror. Anyhow, nothing much of startling originality in this somewhat solipsistic series, and, although not strictly covering the same ground, it suffers from coming so soon after Robert Hughes's masterful American Visions.

Last Chance Lottery (Sat C4) goes out live, so that I cannot reliably tell you much about its "sumptuous mixture of games, songs and comedy"... "celebrating life's losers" except that it is presented by Patrick Kielty, the young Ulster comic who was such an ill-suited frontman for one of life's losers, BBC1's After the Break. Fully recommended, though, is the continuing series The Great Sell Off (Sun BBC2), which unearths a hero in this week's tawdry tale of popular capitalism, British Gas's Sir Denis Rooke. Any man who can earn the description "irksome" from Nigel Lawson must have been doing something right.

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