small screen

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Everybody needs good neighbours

Two milestones in television history are celebrated this week. The less mossy one is the first decade of Neighbours. Neighbours 10th Anniversary Special (pounds 10.99 Game Entertainment) is the place where you can forage for such reassuring factoids as its average global audience (50 million per day) and just how many weddings have occurred (17). Gazing down regally on such footling achievements, meanwhile, is Coronation Street: Behind Closed Doors (pounds 12.99 Astrion, released 1 April), last year's South Bank Show special on the world's longest-running fictional TV series. Criminally, though, there is nary a mention of the godlike Eric Spear, composer of Coronation Street's beautiful theme tune. Considering how many homes have echoed to that lazy, melancholic cornet, Spear's contribution to popular culture is madly unrecognized.

Back on track

John Gordon Sinclair has a lot going for him, being Scottish, messily cute, and the star of that classic Eighties teen movie, Gregory's Girl. But his career sputtered, and he was last spotted on our tubes skulking around in the execrable "comedy", Nelson's Column. So let's all cross fingers in the hope that his new series will see him back on top. Provisionally entitled Loved By You, it's a new sitcom, currently in Carlton's production pipeline, "about newly-weds learning to keep the romance alive in their marriage". The series has been adapted for the UK by Gary Sinyor, of Leon the Pig Farmer fame, so the lineage looks entirely promising. Hooray!

Confetti overdose

Small screen was almost apoplectic with rage on his long-overdue homecoming to the fecund pastures of these pages, thanks to the evil machinations of Shane Richie (right). Well, one appreciates that Richie is probably not personally to blame for the fact that his minions filled their latest press pack with loose confetti, but the fact is that small screen likes to keep his abode in a Zen-like state of clutter-free calm. Still, Shane deserves a break, having suffered the indignity of being named "wanker of the week" on last week's Girlie Show, so I'm going to plug this week's edition of his lovably romantic The Shane Richie Experience (Sat 7.15pm ITV).

Anyone for coffee?

To instigate a series about the feats of TV advertising, which small screen plans to name "Blimey! You've got me by the ads!", let's talk about coffee. Coffee advertising has always spanned both the sublime ("Not on your Van Nelle") and the ridiculous. And now we can thrill to the campaign for Carte Noire, in which two semi-naked young things swoon over a cup of instant. The slogan is "Carte Noire - un cafe nomme desir". Well hang on - if it's called "desire" then it isn't called "Carte Noire", is it? And: if carte blanche is the ability to do anything you please, then carte noire is, logically, the inability to do anything at all. "Drink this coffee," they seem to be saying, "and you will be rendered utterly incapable." Um, maybe it's ironic.