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Byline: Rachel Mainwaring

I've long been a champion of Saturday night TV. With annoyingly catchy series like The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, it's easy to convince yourself that staying in is the new going out.

But after watching Dermot O'Leary's new prime-time show The Marriage Ref (ITV1 Wales, Saturday, 9pm) I'm digging out my diary and filling it with exciting social events for the next several weeks... or for as long as this is on.

It was truly dreadful, an American idea done very badly for the British audience and was, quite possibly, the worst programme I've had the misfortune to watch for a very long time.

The idea of the show is simple: get three celebrities - this week it was the turn of Geri Halliwell, Jimmy Carr and the delightful Sarah Millican - to help solve a dispute between married couples.

The disputes were mind-numbingly trivial, with the first couple arguing over to-do lists, the second over skateboards and the third over pickled walnuts, although admittedly they had been married for 53 years and were quite sweet.

But all in all, this show was completely cringe-worthy and just so utterly pointless.

Carr and Millican were vaguely funny but Halliwell wasn't, and had nothing entertaining or noteworthy to add.

And Dermot looked slightly bemused as he pondered the couples' disputes - and was no doubt preparing for one of his own with his agent on why he allowed him to become involved in such a pointless programme - that he looked as if he just wanted to disappear in a puff of smoke.

And, indeed, that might not have been so surprising if he'd appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, where the famous Las Vegas magicians challenge guest illusionists to outwit them with mind-boggling tricks (ITV1 Wales, Saturday, 8pm).

But again, this show just seems, well, a little pointless because if the two magicians decide they have NOT been fooled, and know exactly how the illusion was done, they say so... though without actually bothering to explain to the audience how it was done.

One guy did have success in tricking them and will fly off to Las Vegas to perform on their show but still I felt short-changed by the whole thing.

I'm not particularly into magic or illusion, but if I'm going to invest an hour of my time on the weekend, it would be nice to be in on the secret.

Someone with a big secret under his sleeve is the lovely Oliver Valentine in Holby City (BBC One Wales, Tuesday, 8pm).

This week's episode largely centred around Oliver, who is coming to terms with the untimely death of his sister Penny.

She died after being squashed by a train when she was trying to rescue someone trapped underneath it and if that wasn't bad enough Oliver had to deal with the fact that he had swapped her exam papers with his, meaning he passed and she failed.

This episode was all about his return to work, and his guilt at living with the knowledge that it was she who was a success, and not him.

I haven't tuned into Holby City for weeks but what I love about this show is that it's so easy to catch up on past events really quickly.

It's easy viewing (apart from the odd gooey scene) and full of moral as well as medical issues that leaves you shouting at the screen, "Do the right thing Oliver, tell them the truth."

Gosh, maybe I should be on the panel of the Marriage Ref after all.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 25, 2011
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