There has been an unwelcome slide in the otherwise excellent Ally McBeal (World, 8.30pm) recently. The action has been moving away from the funny, accurate stuff about life as a single woman, and towards the kind of sentimental lawyer-client slush that ruined shows like LA Law and The Practice. In tonight's episode, Boy to the World, we should be getting a witty deconstruction of the dual perils of the Christmas season for single women: too many parties to go to, and not enough parties to go to. We could have had the traditional end of year angst, with Ally wondering how she could get through yet another year without having a proper relationship. Instead, apart from an excellent early dose of slapstick when she falls onto the over-large Christmas tree she has been decorating at home, and has to be rescued by her wonderful flat mate Renee, who shrieks, 'Now I have seen it all, you're humping the Christmas tree?', we get a story about Ally getting personally involved. With a client. Fish's girlfriend the Judge (Dyan Cannon) gives her a public defender case, the equivalent of a legal aid client, who has been arrested three times for soliciting. Stephanie faces jail this time for picking up an undercover cop. Ally is so ill-equipped to deal with a real 'criminal' that she completely fails to notice that Stephanie is actually a rather beautiful young man who prefers dressing as a woman and looking 'pretty'. By the time she does work out what sex her client really is, she is halfway to coming up with a thoroughly patronising defence which is basically that Stephanie is barking mad to prefer frocks. Almost exactly a year ago, when the whole world was weeping for Princess Diana and rumours leaked out that her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II was the only woman in Britain who wasn't in tears, the very foundations of the British constitution shook. Just who were these over-paid, out of touch upper-class idiots who were reluctant to give the People's Princess a proper send-off, roared the British press, for once reflecting the feelings of the great British public. The inhabitants of Buckingham Palace heard the rumpus, and relented. The Queen herself made that remarkable speech to the nation in which she tried to sound sad about Diana's death, and even said that she admired her. And the British monarchy survived. Twelve months later, and Prince Charles is almost the People's Prince, wringing hands with the poor residents of Omagh, and publicly embracing Camilla Parker Bowles, formerly the most hated woman in Britain. The British Royal family have a remarkable ability to get through almost every crisis, as is shown in tonight's documentary on the current branch of the Windsor family, The Firm (World, 9.30pm). The name was apparently coined by Queenie herself, who to be fair has always seen her position as a job, with extremely long hours, and relatively short holidays, but very good housing thrown in. Here we get to see some of the behind-the-scenes advisers and assistants who keep the family business on the road.