Many of you have taken me aside at parties in the past few months to ask me deeply personal questions about my TV viewing habits. This is very bad manners. What I watch in the privacy of my own den, and for how long, is a matter between me and Rupert Murdoch alone, it is none of your business. That information is also worth a lot of money to ratings agencies, I am told by those in the know, and they have advised me never to give out such classified information for free. Unh-huh. But if you make me an offer I can't refuse, I may be tempted to part with that intelligence.
OK. Deal. We will be saving ourselves a lot of bother by answering all your queries at one go. So, totally off the record and on deep background, here is my strictly confidential and deeply personal Top Three programmes on cable these days with a short blurb to guide you through the intricacies of the plots:
1. Bold and the Beautiful.
STAR World, Weekdays, 1300
Sally is horrified when Lauren considers going to Eric's wedding. Thorne and Taylor are also flummoxed, but they have to get back to Chicago during a blizzard. Ridge refuses to be made love to by Brooke, and vice versa. Ruthanne arrives in town for the wedding just as Brooke is telling Katie she is going to win Ridge back before Thorne and Taylor get to LA to meet Amber so that they (Thorne and Taylor) can work with Stephanie to get Darla reunited with Ridge. All this would have been fairly straightforward had Thorne not got dead drunk after catching Brooke and Ridge making love in the jacuzzi. That is why Sally and Darla had no other recourse but to send Lauren and Eric's sex video to the local TV station. The rest, as they say, is historical.
2. The X-Files STAR World, Sunday 1830
In "Transgenic", Scully and Mulder are called in to investigate the strange case of hermaphrodite extraterrestrials who reproduce by parthenogenesis and are replicating like mad. If something isn't done, they may soon move into the White House and rule the world. Which may not have been such a bad thing, since this is a Canadian serial. But Mulder suddenly finds that hobnobbing with aliens has started turning him into a woman. "Do something, Scully!" he screams as he begins to sprout a chest. Meanwhile, Scully is grappling with her own problem: she is turning into a he-man. "Do something Mulder!" she screams, "I'm, growing a moustache." Both suspect this may be the handiwork of aerosol-borne hormones from Planet Voth, but it is too late and there is nothing they can do about it till the forthcoming episode at the same time next Sunday.
3. Discovery, Animal Sex Channel (X-rated)
In last week's episode we left Cheetah on the branch of a baobab tree scouring the Serengeti Plains for meat and mate. Carnal carnivore that she is, after a brief chase she found the meat: a large hunk with nice fat assets and rippling shoulder muscles who could beat the land speed record in the Chase-the-Gnu category. Oops, sorry, that was the mate. Good thing she didn't mistake him for prey. Anyway, in this episode, Cheetah is chasing a particularly yummy gnu named Jenna who never wears anything other than a revealing red one-piece lycra swimsuit. Meanwhile JD and Jason (dressed in red boxer shorts) go on a guys-only trip to the South Bay Lifeguard Annual Ball and meet Neely and Caroline. Stephanie is so jealous they left her behind that she sets fire to the lifeguard station. Wait a minute, who's fiddling with the remote? Why didn't you tell me I was watching Baywatch?