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Gold Blend couple go into print

IT IS the ultimate coffee-table book. It may also prove to be the ultimate naff novel, but it is almost certain to be a bestseller.

The book, to be launched this week and published in paperback in February, draws its inspiration, characters and storyline from a series of 30-second television commercials for instant coffee.

Love Over Gold will be the latest in what is becoming an entire genre - the book of the advert. Described as romantic fiction - but 'more Jilly Cooper than Mills and Boon' - by Transworld Publishers, the 312-page novel will reveal all you ever longed to know about the yuppie couple in the Gold Blend commercials.

The characters, played by Sharon Maughan and Tony Head, are - according to the advertisers - loved by millions. Others find them the most irksome figures in television. In 1990, their on-off-on romance came second in a poll for the worst advert of the year.

Transworld intends to print a minimum of 100,000 copies of the book - 50,000 sales are usually enough to make the paperback bestseller list. Larry Finlay, its marketing director, said: 'Everybody feels they know the Gold Blend characters, but we don't even know their names. I think the public has a real hunger to know more.'

The novel will follow the storyline so far - a man meets his female neighbour and has coffee, bumps into her at a party and talks about coffee, goes to her flat to borrow some coffee, goes to New York but flies back because he misses the coffee, and so on, and on.

The book, by Susannah James - a pseudonym - is expected to reveal whether the couple progress beyond kissing.

The 'book of the advert' was launched into prominence when Fly Fishing By J R Hartley was published a year ago. Until then, it had been a fictional book in a Yellow Pages commercial. It sold more than 80,000 copies, at pounds 8.99 each, and has been published in the United States and Japan. A sequel, J R Hartley Casts Again, was published on Thursday.