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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

image for Saudi TV version of "Footballers Wives" cancelled due to "too many characters"
Complex chalkboard showing where each of the 20 wives will stand during each scene

Saudi Arabian TV has announced that it has cancelled production of a drama series based on Britain's "Footballers' Wives". The series was due to be aired in 2008.

"Footballers' Wives" was a popular television drama series in Britain, which was made by Channel 5 and went into 5 seasons before being cancelled. ABC purchased the rights to make an American version of the programme, starring Lucy Lawless.

Football is a very popular sport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose Western-style leaders encourage European pastimes. It was therefore only a matter of time before a Saudi version of the programme was made. However, Saudi culture remains very strict and all men are required to have 4 wives. Therefore, allowing for 11 players in the main squad (ignoring substitutes) would have produced 44 wives.

To make matters worse, all of the female characters would have to cover their faces, in accordance with Saudi custom, so it would be practically impossible to distinguish one character from the other 43.

Nevertheless, the "Footballers' Wives" idea has not been completely abandoned and Saudi TV bosses have decided to air a watered down version of the show, called "5-aside Footballers' Wives", which will feature a mere 20 players' wives. Each character will wear a different coloured armband so viewers can tell them apart.

Story lines will be very different from the British series, where characters spend all their time drinking alcohol. In Saudi Arabia, it is against the law to drink alcohol or have a good time, unless you are a Sheikh. Therefore, to appease cultural sensibilities, the footballers' wives will spend all their time reading the Koran and discussing it with one another.

Channel 5 has already discounted the idea of buying the series, on the basis that it "could be a bit boring".

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