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Lawd luv-a-duck

That's it, then. After more than a decade of glam and suffering, Letitia Dean (below) packs up her earrings and traipses out of the Queen Vic and EastEnders this week. Leaving is very much in vogue at the moment - we're all doing it, darling - but on the evidence of recent soap departures, it's likely to involve more bathos than pathos. Debs, who bought the farm last week under the wheels of a car, simply left in the morning and the next thing you knew Grant and Phil were sitting around Nige's kitchen looking morose with their elbows on the table. Meanwhile, over on Coronation Street, we wept-along-a-Deidre when Samir was found down by the canal: but did we see any blood? Contusions? Bodies on bonnets? Is there a stunt strike on at the moment, or is this another money-saving exercise? At this rate, Susan Tully will simply get a nice council job in Milton Keynes.

Good for a laugh

And the good news: although the divine Roseanne may have ground to a halt, Channel 4 keeps up its bombardment of American comedy tonight with the return of both Frasier (Kelsey Grammer, right) (10pm) and Ellen (9pm). La DeGeneres has joined the ranks of stroppy comediennes by demanding, and getting, more control over content and scripting of her show, so we can look forward to an improvement in the hitherto patchy product: mawkish bits involving people learning lessons or making correct moral decisions, can usually be accompanied by screams of "Studio!". Frasier has never suffered from the same degree of toning down. The cracked celeb psychiatrist, being in effect Son of Cheers, had a ready-made audience with a taste for the black. The series will feature guest appearances by Sam and Diane from his barfly days and his Morticia-ish ex, Lilith, whose therapeutic style would make a big impact in Transylvania. Joy, joy, joy.

The laws of physics

The subjects of Citizen 2000 (Tue 8pm C4) are 12 years old now, some of them 13. In less than the twinkling of a bat's eye, they will be able to vote Portillo with the rest of them. Being 12, they are showing interest in the opposite sex beyond the "boys are soppy" stage, and have also started falling out with their best friends. No surprises there. This concept is worthy, but actually is probably mostly interesting to social historians ("so that's how they grew up to vote Portillo"). And the historians themselves will be disappointed. According to Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty, anything that is observed is affected by the interaction involved. So, though it's likely that one in 20 of the children involved would, in a normal world, have grown up to be a bit of a thug, the chances are that all of them will stop just before the commission of a crime and think "oh, gawd, but I'm going to be on telly next year". Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

Stop enjoying yourselves

Fancy a bit of "state-sponsored selfishness" or "Government-led worship at the shrine of godless gain"? If you buy a lottery ticket every week then, as far as the Rev Dr Alan Clifford is concerned, you indulge already. The Rev is one of Joan Bakewell's guests on Heart of the Matter: Gambling Fever (Sun 10.35pm BBC1), which wheels the great lottery debate on to the road once more. The programme kicks off with a short film about gambling addicts in Iowa, and examines the damage done by scratch cards and other seemingly innocent devices of mammon like Guinevere (above right). Ten years after their introduction in Iowa, the cards carry a health warning in the form of a helpline number for gambling addicts. Money for this and a counselling scheme comes from funds generated by the lottery. This should provide the studio guests (the usual line-up of experts, MPs, counsellors and ex-gamblers) with plenty of ammunition.

Compiled by Serena Mackesy and Charlotte Packer

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