Not tonight, Melinda, I'm, er, watching telly

No 200: THE SUN
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The Independent Culture
Dale Winton and Melinda Messenger are core Sun people - a daytime TV star and a personality glamour model. So it's sheer genius to cast them together in a stagey bower set against obvious green flats as a potential item. Rather Pierre et Gilles in fact.

As you might expect, it's Melinda making all the running. Sitting next to her man on a white garden bench, she edges closer and asks, "But Dale, why won't you go out with me?" Now, a number of Sun readers may feel they know the answer to this one. They seem to think - God knows why - that Dale isn't 100 per cent a woman's man, not the dating kind.

And it's this bit of Dale's public persona that the commercial plays with. His answer suggests a revelation is about to emerge, the more so as Dale's pleasantly flashy face starts to contort: "Melinda, there's something I ought to tell you,"he says, leaving it hanging for some time, getting the girls at home laughing themselves silly; all big girls' blouses together. And he plays it out: I can't go out with you because ... (the great Z ... I ... P sound, like tearing Velcro, or taking the needle off the vinyl) "because there's so much good stuff on the TV". And it's all there in the Sun's listings and supplements: the fantastic TV magazine, the 48-page superguide. Half of Britain's been on the edge of its seats (the other half pretends not to know who Dale Winton is).

It's all rounded off with one of the niftier television branding devices ever - "No Sun, No Fun", forming itself in white from crimson space to a swift "Get up" blast of James Brown. This device has been running for years; but historically, the messages it has had to bookend have been event- and competition-driven, short-term and cheaply filmed, straight from the Wapping brief. This time, the ad-makers have had a little fun. And they just might have found a template too.