Michael J. Fox and the other producers of Spin City (Pearl, 8pm) might have been a little cold-blooded about the sacking of co-star Carla Gugino, who played Fox's on-screen live-in lover, Ashley. But as he said at the time, her career was skyrocketing anyway (she has a role in the new Brian De Palma movie), and the show was better without her. Mike's broken-hearted reaction to her leaving him was actually quite moving. And the whole drama gave script writers the chance to create some excellent scenes in which the team compared horrific dumping stories. Since, we have had on-going, Mike-learning-to-date-again jokes, which culminated last week in his discovery that the girl he was prepared to fall in love with had a part-time job as a stripper. Mike does not go out with every new woman who appears on the show, but there is plenty of sexual tension which gets milked for every possible laugh. In tonight's episode the excellent Marlee Matlin makes a guest appearance as Sara Edelman, a forceful deaf rights activist enraged when the mayor's new sign language interpreter turns out to be less fluent than he had claimed. Matlin broke into Hollywood with her Oscar-winning performance in Children of a Lesser God, and then pretty much disappeared from the big screen. Decent roles for women are hard to come by, and decent roles for deaf women harder still. But as she has told several journalists, the small screen is a different matter entirely. She has her own mini-series, playing a hearing impaired DA, regular cameos in top-rated sitcoms like Seinfeld and Larry Sanders, and she played mayor Laurie Bey in Picket Fences. She also had some success presenting a chat show, Fox After Breakfast. 'They liked it so much, they asked me to come back,' Matlin told the American press. She enjoyed it, but wondered whether the producers were really making the most of her talents. 'I did find it funny that I was interviewing Aretha Franklin. Hello? A deaf woman interviewing a singer?' You have to hand it to Kenneth Branagh: he knows how to make Shakespeare into entertaining cinema, and Much Ado About Nothing (Pearl, 9.30pm) is arguably the most entertaining of all his Shakespeare films. It is certainly a lot more fun than Christine Edzard's contemporary version of As You Like It, screened on local television last year, and more confident and convincing than either of Franco Zeffirelli's efforts. In Much Ado About Nothing Branagh and his then-wife Emma Thompson spar marvellously as Benedick and Beatrice, two fiercely proud, independent, and sharp-tongued characters who, from the first scene, are so at odds that the audience knows they are made for one another. But there are a lot of verbal duels to be fought before they get there. They must have still been in love with one another off-screen as well then, and their scenes crackle along with the kind of irresistible force that propelled all those mad-cap romances of the 1930s, It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story and especially all the Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn joint ventures. Branagh deserves credit for not allowing this relationship to hog the screen. He made a big effort to cast not just fellow British thespians like Richard Briers, but Hollywood faces too. His adaptation makes plenty of space for the other romance, between Hero (Kate Beckinsdale) and Claudio (good effort by Robert Sean Leonard), and even the withering of the fool, Dogberry, played strangely, but not badly, by Michael Keaton. Denzel Washington is tremendously noble as Don Pedro, the man trying to make sure Claudio gets his girl. The only weak link is Keanu Reeves as the crosspatch Don John who wants Hero for himself.