Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

Heads up North America

In the global village with the continents linked by the information superhighway there exists a wonderful symbiotic relationship between British and American television. You send us award-winning comedy shows and gritty police dramas and we send you naff gameshows and apalling reality shows Pop Idol, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, The Weakest Link, Big Brother.

And so to continue in this tradition you will soon be receiving Wife Swap. Now before all you right-wing fundamentalists get all panicky, don't worry, there's no sex involved and the wives are returned 2 weeks later. The basic premise is simple, take two families, preferably polar opposites, and transplant the wives. The first week is a settling-in period but in the second it's the new 'wife' who gets to make the rules!

It can be horrific viewing, in the I-just-can't-watch-but-can't-seem-to-tear-myself-away but does seem to have a slight moral success in that the perpertrators (whether husband, kids or the wife herself) at least see the error of their ways or re-evaluate how much they were taken for granted before.

I just hope they pick carefully, cos tensions run higher in the US and they have guns!