One Man, Six Wives And Twenty Nine Children

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am

We know that in many parts of the developing world polygamy is alive and well. But it comes as something of a surprise that a man from Utah, USA, can brazenly run a household of many wives and dozens of children.

In One Man, Six Wives And Twenty Nine Children (Pearl, 8.30pm) Tom Green defends his lifestyle in a way that modern women will find totally offensive. As far as he is concerned, polygamy is God's way of running a family, and women thrive on it. Patriarchy, or male dominance, is essential for the arrangement to work.

In his household there are rotas for everything. Thirty-five family members have to be cooked for. Washing clothes is a full time job, and then there is the matter of who will share Tom's bed each night. His wives include two sets of sisters and some were only 14 when he married them. While this film was being made he had his eye on a 16-year-old, hoping she would become wife number six. He faces a rival for her affections, though, in his son. He plans eventually to have 10 wives and 100 children.

Mr Green, heaven help us, believes he is creating a new type of society. Many Americans have been repulsed by this kind of story, apparently all too common in Utah and now widely known as its dirty little secret. Mr Green hoped to quell the backlash by displaying the joys of his marriage, providing us with one more bizarre story from a country where anything seems possible.

Two weeks ago, Tom Hanks was unable to keep me awake as he made his way to his romantic destiny with Meg Ryan in Sleepless In Seattle. But where he failed, the entertainers that followed succeeded. They were England's rugby hunks, who enthralled their regular fans and casual football viewers like myself well into the small hours of the morning in their record slaughter of Ireland.

Tonight, the team promises more excitement, though they will have a tougher battle in their meeting with the French (pictured in training), who scored so ruthlessly against Scotland. The teams clash in the second round of the Six Nations Championships (Star Sports, 9pm), a Saturday afternoon institution at this time of the year in Britain, Ireland, France and now Italy. This live match from Paris is followed by Ireland v Scotland (11.30pm) and a delayed showing of Wales v Italy (2am).