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Bill's hat-trick of wives draws in the viewers; Big Love, Five, Monday.

Byline: PaulEnglish

ONE man,64 World Cup football matches and three wives willing to cook, clean, chase after children and provide conjugal rights on a daily basis.

Carlsberg don't do summer TV schedules, but if they did...

With the arrival of Big Love, the latest quality American drama import, the telly listings read more like the pages of Playboy.

Well, on a Monday anyway.

One husband, three sex-hungry wives and an over-reliance on a hefty prescription for industrial strength Viagra. All on at the same time as the footy.

Yep, those canny bosses down at Channel Five (I spit in the eye of your "no capital letters" nonsense) have come to the conclusion that the only way to prise guys away from the World Cup is to launch a s**g-fest double bill at the same time.

Big Love is a story about the polygamous Juniper Creek commune in the Mormon-heavy state of Utah, middle America.

Husband (Thunderbirds' Bill Paxton) and three wives - Chloe Sevigny (Broken Flowers), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Basic Instinct) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) lead otherwise conventional lives in every way but one - the girls share the guy.

Stud Bill runs a successful hardware store' first wife Babs (Tripplehorn) is a cancer-surviving mum of a teenage boy' second Nicki (Sevigny) is a shopaholic and third Margie (Goodwin) "screams like a tractor trailer" in bed.

On top of that, there are multi-married grandparents (a notion that might drive those of usually sound mind to watch even Big Brother) and a convoluted web of weans. In short, it's a raunchy recipe for, ahem, treble and strife.

Germany 2006 only lasts for five weeks while Big Love is stretched over 12, giving it the potential to add to our levels of "schedule stress" - what US psychologists say comes from a fear of missing episodes of long-running dramas like Lost and Prison Break.

But I'm not so sure. Monday's first episode built so slowly it was like watching England v Paraguay all over again, although that night's follow-up - with the wives clamouring for attention and action - was more promising and still vastly preferable to the late-night episode of Emmerdale on ITV. And any programme which uses the Beach Boys' God Only Knows as a theme tune must surely be expected to deliver the goods.

The first instalment tailed off with the explanation that the Mormon church has long-since outlawed bigamy, but that around 40,000 Yanks still play away from home at home.

Which, depending on your point of view, is either heaven or hell.

After all, as Oscar Wilde said: "Bigamy is one wife too many - the same as monogamy."

Especially when the football's on...
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 15, 2006
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