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Highlights: the week ahead.

ARTS

The South Bank Show,

Sunday, ITV, 10.45pm

GOING behind the scenes on cult American TV series The Sopranos, Melvyn Bragg finds out what makes this show such a hit.

Described by the New York Times as "the greatest work of American popular culture of the last quarter century", The Sopranos has proved to be a phenomenal success the world over.

Melvyn interviews the director and cast of the show as they work on the production of the fourth series.

The Sopranos proved to be an instant hit on its first showing on US television in 1999. In its first year, it scooped 16 Emmy nominations, and won Emmys in 1999 and 2000 for Outstanding Drama Series.

Its portrayal of a dysfunctional domestic life rubbing up against the brutal demands of the mob business has turned it into an international triumph, tapping into the Italian-American mythology built up by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorcese.

Creator and director David Chase chats to Melvyn on the set of the new series and talks about his career in TV, the genesis of the programme and the history of the mob genre.

DRAMA

Footballers' Wives,

Tuesday, ITV, 9.00pm

AFTER fainting at the gym, Chardonnay's (Susie Amy) subsequent blood tests reveal that she is pregnant. But all is not as it seems.

As it turns out, it's Kyle's mum Jackie (Gillian Taylforth), the other Mrs Pascoe, who is the expectant mum - the result of her fling with Jason Turner (Cristian Solimeno).

After proudly announcing their happy news to the Press, Kyle (Gary Lucy) and Chardonnay are horrified to discover that it was all a false alarm and that parenthood isn't on the cards - for them anyway.

Meanwhile, Jason is unsympathetic about Jackie's plight, so she promises to terminate the pregnancy.

Soon afterwards she has a change of heart and suggests to her son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law Chardonay that they bring up the child as their own.

Ian Walmsley (Nathan Constance) is made the Sparks' vice-captain but humiliates himself by getting sent off.

Fed up with Ian's increasing obsession with his career, Donna (Katharine Monaghan) finds herself having a passionate encounter with Sal (Daniel Schutzmann).

Jason's fortunes finally take a turn for the better when he hooks up with top agent Hazel Bailey (Alison Newman).

Meanwhile, Kyle tries to tell Sheena (Ruth Millar) that he's happily married and not interested in having an affair - but will she take no for an answer?

DOCUMENTARY

Masters Of Darkness,

Tuesday, Ch4, 10.00pm

LABELLED "the wickedest man in the world", Aleister Crowley's dark memory still lives on nearly 50 years after his death.

Born in 1875, Aleister went from being the son of a wealthy brewer and staunch Christian fundamentalist to become the notorious Black Magician and public enemy number one as well as the first tabloid hate figure in the early 20th century.

A man of many talents, he scaled some of the world's highest peaks and is recognised as being one of the founding fathers of modern mountaineering. But Crowley was obsessed with the dark side of life - the occult, sex and drugs.

Naming himself the Great Beast 666, Crowley travelled the world recording his exploits with prostitutes and he developed a complex system of ritual magic known as Sex Magic, which he believed helped those who practised it reach high levels of magical awareness.

He became a black magician and founded a new occult religion, setting up a commune known as the Abbey in Sicily where he practised the most extreme Satanic rituals.

Although Crowley died a lonely chronic heroin addict in 1947, his extreme life-style and beliefs intrigued rock stars such as John Lennon, who put him on the front cover of the Sgt Pepper album. Jimmy Page is a collector of all things Crowley and he bought the Great Beast's old house on the banks of Loch Ness in the '70s.

SOAP

Home & Away's 3000th Episode,

Friday, Ch5, 6.00pm

HIT Aussie soap celebrates it's 3000th episode with a week of hot storylines guaranteed to satisfy even the biggest soap addict.

Excitement is in the air as love-birds Leah (Ada Nicodemou) and Vinnie (Ryan Kwanten) get set to tie the knot; lust reaches boiling point between Will (Zac Drayson) and Gypsy (Kimberley Cooper), and Mitch (Cameron Welsh) bids Summer Bay farewell.

As the big day approaches, events appear to conspire against a hassle-free celebration for the happy couple.

Sally (Kate Ritchie) becomes more anxious about her role in the proceedings while a spat between Leah's dad, brother and uncle have quite an impact on Tom's (Graeme Squires) speech.

Since the Australian soap moved to Channel 5 in July last year, nearly six million viewers have been tuning in each week to follow the lives and loves of the residents of Summer Bay.

The show has also been the launch pad for top international stars, including Guy Pearce (LA confidential, Memento) and singer Dannii Minogue.
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Title Annotation:Highlights of the Week Ahead
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 16, 2002
Words:823
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