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Thing of the week:
By Ian Grant
Perhaps it's Channel Four attempting to get back into the nation's good books after The Chris Morris Cowardly Spineless Bastards Incident or maybe I've been in an unusually charitable mood this week, but it does seem that Brookside has finally emerged from the doldrums.

With Coronation Street unapologetically canvassing for the pipe 'n' slippers vote and Eastenders lurching from one half-interesting crisis to another (does anyone really care about Peggy Mitchell?), Brookside appears to be back to its mercenary best. As usual, just as things start to get dull, the producers make an assault on the ratings by raining misery upon their characters...

With the incest storyline thankfully put on the back-burner for a while (no doubt Mary Whitehouse was having fits about it - I must confess that I found it all rather tedious), we've been back onto that old stalwart, Jimmy Corkhill. An episode every night for a week and the pace has barely flagged once.

The week started with Jimmy Corkhill Junior and his heroin addiction (did anyone else spot the Grange Hill reference or am I just a pathetic sad person?). Last night's installment ended with Jackie walking out on Jimmy Senior, leaving him pathetically on his knees begging her to stay. Oh, and Ron Dixon finally did the sensible thing by splitting up with Bev.

Tonight, when presumably Ron and Jackie will attempt to leave the Close, promises to be a vintage episode, yet more hysteria and shouting and tears and stuff like that.

People criticise soap operas for making their limited number of characters suffer trials and tribulations that would usually be spread among millions of people. Which is, of course, exactly the point.