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Record tv; The mane event.

Byline: Jane Simon; Brian McIver

LION COUNTRY ITV1, 7.30pm

WERE you aware that lions barked? No, me neither.

But when one of the furry subjects in this new wildlife series is hit by a tranquilliser dart, they sound more dog than giant cat. It's very bizarre.

The series follows life at Antelope Park - home to a controversial breeding programme that aims to boost the numbers of African lions (and I love the fact the place is named after the food they'll one day be eating).

Captive-bred lions are taught all the skills they need in the wild before being housed in man-free enclosures where it's hoped they will breed naturally and then have their cubs released.

In the first programme, we meet British conservationist David Youldon and two of his charges - adorable five-month-old cub brothers Jabari and Jelani. The fluff balls are cuteness personified - especially when David and his colleague take them for one of their regular walks.

Imagine bumping into them while walking your dog in the woods - talk about scary.

Across the other side of the reserve, there is a nasty problem with a 13-month-old cub, who has a pus-filled face boo-boo after getting beaten up by her brother (she's the one who thinks she's a dog).

Don't eat while watching the vet operate on it - you risk barking up your dinner.

INCREDIBLE BULKS

FAT FAMILIES SKY1, 8pm

WE are a growing into a nation of fatties - not my words but those of weight-loss expert Steve Miller, who is a cross between Gok Wan and Marjorie Dawes.

If you're a salad-dodger, don't expect any sympathy from Steve - who will call it as he sees it.

If you're overweight, you're a massive fatty living a massive fatty life.

In this unintentionally comical series, (at least I think it's unintentional - I don't think programme-makers could be that cruel) he aims to transform some of the nation's lard-arses "one massive family at a time".

He'll eat their diet for one day then put them under a 10-week diet and fitness regime.

Tonight, it's the turn of the Cuff family, who hope to lose a few stone for a forthcoming trip to Florida.

While many of us like to get in shape for our holiday bikinis, they just want room to be able to put the food tray down on the plane.

Presumably so they can stuff their faces some more.

SUPERB PLUMAGE

NATURAL WORLD: BIRDS OF PARADISE BBC2, 8pm

FOR the first Natural World of the year, we visit New Guinea and its birds of paradise - those feathered beings that look like they've raided a make-up box.

The boy birds, anyway. The females are brown and boring, and could have escaped from a British back garden.

It's their menfolk who have evolved to be bright and shiny, with the kind of fancy plumage not normally seen outside of a Las Vegas show.

Their behaviour is more akin to a cabaret setting, too. David Attenborough, who first visited New Guinea in 1957, calls their pre-mating actions dotty and bonkers - and he's not wrong.

They put on a full song and dance show just to get their end away.

The dance of the Superb bird (show-off by name and nature) is particularly flamboyant.

But when you see the effort they go to and compare it to human dating rituals ("get yer coat, love, you've pulled") you do wonder if we're actually the more evolved species.

ALL THE GOSS FROM YOUR SOAPS

EMMERDALE ITV1, 7pm

TONIGHT Matthew, John and Moira Barton are going to be Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet and the one on the end in Bananarama.

They're celebrating their wedding anniversary by recreating the 80s outfits they were wearing on their first date.

And if that's really what they looked like it's a miracle there was a second date, never mind 20 years of wedded bliss.

In contrast, Ashley is surveying the wreck of his own marriage and perusing some holiday brochures in the unlikely event that he and Laurel are ever on mini-break terms again.

Perhaps he should take this chance to prepare his next sermon on the subject of brotherly love.

It's everywhere you turn at the moment as the brothers make it their business to make sure their sisters don't get hurt by their own best mates.

Tonight, Adam demands that Aaron finish with his sister Holly on account of his possible gayness and Nathan is congratulating Ryan on dumping Katie so that he can go out properly with Maisie - although that's a different kind of brotherly love altogether.

Don't miss your FREE TV mag in Saturday's Record

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CAPTION(S):

BROWNIE CUBS David Youldon with Jelani and Jabari WEIGH TO GO The Cuff Family FLIGHT OF FANCY Bird of paradise CLINCHER Adam (left) tells Holly that Aaron tried to kiss him
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 6, 2010
Words:810
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