TELEVISION / BRIEFING: From porters to portfolios

Any American sitcom will sooner or later be measured against the golden yardstick of Cheers, but not every one has the misfortune to be broadcast directly after it. NURSES (10pm C4) - from the same creator as Soap and The Golden Girls - is an unexceptionable ensemble comedy, but you just can't stop yourself thinking that it isn't Cheers. The end credits reveal that Nurses is a Witt Thomas Harris Production; Thomas and Harris would appear to be the dominant partners. Nevertheless, this is still a thoroughbred beside the majority of clapped-out nags stabled in British TV comedy departments.

'Slime and Punishment', the first of a new 24-part run, ushers two new arrivals into the ward run by Annie (Arnetia Walker). Luke Fitzgerald (Markus Flanagan) is a gung-ho paramedic, while Jack Trenton (David Rasche) is a cross between Ted Danson and Ivan Boesky, a charming insider trader sentenced - very much against his will - to 8,000 hours community service as an orderly in the hospital. Within minutes he is avoiding vomit duty to clinch four-million- dollar deals on the payphone and trying to interest the nurses in his investment portfolio.

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