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Telly: The oddball Osbournes; The Osbournes (C4,9.30pm).

NOW recovering from his life threatening quad bike accident, heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne is firmly established as one of the nation's favourite stars.

They may be a far cry from the Waltons, but The Osbournes have had viewers warming to the oddball family,making their TV show one of MTV's and now Channel 4's greatest hits.

Despite the often offensive language, it's difficult to dislike the programme.

For a start,Ozzy is a constant source of hilarity.

He may be rich, but the Black Sabbath veteran has lost little of the down-to-earth appeal that made him such a star.

In this week's edition, Ozzy reaches the end of his tether with the Osbourne menagerie and his very dirty dog.

Sharon's immune system is low due to her chemotherapy and her doting husband worries she will develop an infection from the little `presents'deposited around the house by the dogs.

She's also a terrible patient, insisting on having the hounds on the bed and going out for dinner when she should be resting.

Later, Sharon explains why the clan have decided to take in Kelly's friend Robert after the death of his mother and Jack bonds with the newcomer over a plate of beans on toast before the family celebrate some exciting news.

It's the sort of stuff that would be declared unbelievable and ridiculous if it were a sitcom.

But how did anybody get the idea of turning the Osbourne lifestyle into arguably the world's most popular docusoap?

It's all thanks to a documentary about broadcast in the UK as part of five's Fame and Fortune series.

In it, we met Ozzy,Sharon and the kids (includingeldest daughter Aimee, who declined an invitation to take part in The Osbournes).

Eccentric but lovable, their oddball lifestyle seemed too good to be true for MTV chiefs. Back then, Jack and Kelly were sweet little things who delighted in telling their permanently bemused father not to swear.

Now they're teenagers with their own personal fortunes, business managers and lucrative careers.

In fact, the whole family has done well from the show. Sharon has her own chat show on US TV,Jack is presenting a programme for Channel 4, while Kelly and Ozzy had a No 1 hit with their version of Changes.

Only the latter's recent quad bike fall has spoiled their run of success,but thankfully he's now on the mend.

No doubt once he's back on his feet,Ozzy will shamble about the house as usual,coming to life in front of thousands of fans at his concerts.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2004
Words:432
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