PRODUCT placement is now allowed on commercial television. Which makes you think.

When I read this, I wondered how long it would be before The Rovers Return becomes a Boddington house and the Queen Vic starts serving Fullers ESB.

Unfortunately, they won’t, any time soon.

Ofcom, TV’s independent regulator, stipulates that alcohol, gambling, tobacco and certain other sensitive items will not be allowed to participate.

Children’s programmes, news, current affairs, consumer advice and religious programmes are also exempt. As is the BBC.

The first programme to use product placement was This Morning. They have a Nescafe coffee machine in their on-screen kitchen on a three month deal worth, it is said, £100,000.

Commercial television stations are hoping to earn £100 million a year from the scheme.

I have often thought it daft that no real products are shown or mentioned in TV soaps, for instance. I mean, I always thought it was daft when Mike Baldwin went in The Cabin for cigars and Rita would say, “A packet of your usual?” instead of “Five Castellas, Mike?”

Of course, product placement has been around for years without being acknowledged. Lady Penelope was driven around in a pink Rolls Royce in Thunderbirds, Arthur Daley and Mike Baldwin both had Jaguars, and Dennis Waterman had a Capri in Minder and drives a 1977 Triumph Stag in New Tricks, although, admittedly, that is a bit old to qualify.

It will be interesting to see how it develops now Ofcom has given it the green light. Presumably Dev’s shop will not suddenly be stocking only Heinz Beans and Coca Cola and nothing else.

I can see it might be fun spotting the placement, until the novelty wears off, and I don’t really mind as long as it doesn’t get in the way of reality.

Mind you, having said that, reality regularly takes a break in Coronation Street when the machinists from the knicker factory drink pints with gusto in their lunch hour before going back to work half cut.

“How long have we been doing French panties with red polka dots?”

“Ever since Janice stitched her finger.”