TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Observers

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The Independent Culture
Many fox hunts now resemble the Poll Tax riots - a crew of scruffy protesters battling with uniformed opponents on horseback. For this week's DISGUISES (9.30pm ITV), two reporters (Neil Henderson and Kate Stone) go undercover to report from both sides in the battle between the Barbours and the donkey jackets. The hunters hire security guards, while the saboteurs bone up on by-laws and arrive with camcorders, megaphones and walkie-talkies. In one blackly comic scene, a policeman, a hunt- follower and a saboteur all turn up at a hunt equipped to film. 'VHS must be making a fortune,' the saboteur mutters.

When the newsroom sitcom DROP THE DEAD DONKEY (10pm C4) began, it was felt that its appeal might be limited to residents of the media village. But as the third series ends tonight with a guest appearance by Neil Kinnock, the ratings are hovering around 5 million - impressive for a C4 sitcom. The secret lies in the fact that the comedy now relies less on topicality and more on character.

(Photograph omitted)

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