Column Eight: The Street where he lives

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The Independent Online
It can't be a bad career move to go from catering-sized jars of salad cream to chief executive of Granada Television. Charles Allen used to run Compass Services, the catering company that operates BT's canteens. Now he will occupy the job once held by the much admired David Plowright, who departed in February amidst much media hair-tearing after a boardroom row.

Allen, deciding brutal honesty was his best path forward, admitted yesterday: 'Television is new to me.' Asked for his favourite programme, a spokesman said: 'Um, well, like a lot of busy people he doesn't get to see a lot (tone quickens urgently) but he did watch Coronation Street as recently as last Friday and his girlfriend is manic about it.'

Allen was also revealed as a World in Action fan, but why this obsession with Coronation Street? Is it related to the petition, signed by more than 1,000 Granada employees and the all-important Coronation Street cast, protesting about Plowright's removal?

Lloyd's Bank is on a drive to encourage savers. Not only do billboards carry advertisements urging thrift, but the bank has taken to telephoning account holders, unprompted, to offer investment advice. One somewhat hard-up customer was unimpressed to receive a call from her branch at 8pm. 'I just wanted to make sure your savings are in exactly the right place,' the lady trilled. 'If you look at your records you can see I haven't got any ***** savings at all,' came the disgruntled response.

George Cole, in Arthur Daley-mode, is the lovably roguish star of television advertisements run by Leeds Permanent Building Society. Now Leeds has realised that 17.5 million viewers (aka potential savers) who are hard of hearing could be missing out.

'As it's a voice-over, viewers with hearing difficulties miss out on the humour - and our message,' says Leeds. Its solution is not to advise these viewers to twist up the volume control to 10, but to provide sub- titles instead.

A WH Smith spokesman mounts a spirited defence of 'Niceday', its new office products brand name launched yesterday.

The name is based on America's second-favourite way of saying farewell, as in 'Have a . . .' 'I found it a bit corny when I first heard it, but it's really grown on me,' he insists. 'Believe me, our market research shows it's a good name.' He assures us there are absolutely no plans for a 'MissingYouAlready' brand.

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