TODAY'S TELEVISION

Gerard Gilbert recommends Sleaze, Wives and Videotape Sun 6.30pm C5
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The makers of that definitively awful soap Triangle - the one starring Kate O'Mara and set aboard a North Sea ferry - got it all wrong. Triangle should never have been a soap in the first place. Ferry Tales (Sun C5), a new documentary series about life on board the Brittany Ferries fleet, proves what any regular ferry passenger would have told them. The material is pure comedy.

One could start with the on-board entertainment, where eager ingenues rub shoulders with the white-haired and defeated. "Here I am, still at the bottom, working the ferries," says Saxon (or was it Saxo or Sugsie? I couldn't quite make it out despite several rewinds), as he prepares to run his magic act past a scattering of bleary-eyed toddlers and their minders. Meanwhile, another youngster has left part of his scalp on the playroom ceiling, and, below decks, an engine has to be shut down. Add drunks (the bar apparently takes pounds 20,000 on a good crossing), stroppy truckers and an air-sea rescue practice, and suddenly MV Normandie's six-hour crossing from Portsmouth to Caen looks like rich territory for a Ben Elton or an Andy Hamilton.

From the potentially ridiculous to the sublimely awful, this year's Eurovision Song Contest (Sat BBC1) apparently contains the United Kingdom's best chance of winning since Buck's Fizz in 1981 (remember the skirt-ripping finale?). Hitherto one-hit wonders Katrina and the Waves ("Walking on Sunshine") represent us with a song originally written to celebrate the Samaritans' 30th birthday. The charity apparently turned it down for being too up-tempo. Let's hope the Bosnians and Estonians like it, although Eurovision usually confirms one in the suspicion that no one really likes the British.

Dr John Collee used to write an entertaining medical column for the Observer, which suggests he might have penned an amusing swipe at the excesses of the organ transplant industry rather than the silly drama The Heart Surgeon (Sun BBC1). This is another of those screenplays in which successful middle-aged professionals embark on passionate roller- coaster romances with pretty young women - and which seem to give commissioning editors such vicarious pleasure.

David Niven-soundalike Nigel Havers - acting's equivalent of a Holiday Inn: you know exactly what you are going to get and he never fails to disappoint - plays the eponymous cardiac mechanic, a dapper smoothie with the aspirational lifestyle of a shaving-foam advert (designer pad in London; weekends on his Shropshire hill farm where he spends evenings in front of a log fire, playing guitar with his head shepherd. As you do. Havers then beds the shepherd's wife, the shepherd gets angina and... oh please, don't make me go on.

Wanted returns (Sun C4) - without Richard Littlejohn and the former KGB operator Oleg Gordievsky, and with ex-MTV presenter Ray Cokes (I don't know, ask a teenager). Having failed to enlist sufficient support from the British public to snitch on the runners last time, Channel 4 has introduced naked market forces. A positive sighting which leads directly to a "capture" will win viewers pounds 1,000. "Can runners trust their friends and family this time?" asks the PI blurb. Nasty - but probably not as nasty as life down in Tatton during the past six weeks. Sleaze, Wives and Videotapes (Sun C5) brings us the inside story on the battle for the Cheshire constituency between Neil Hamilton and white-suited former BBC reporter, Martin Bell. With "straight" material like this, who needs satire?

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