IF a successor were ever needed to Nell, the late lamented roving collie of Radio Cleveland fame, Spectator would immediately nominate Raq.

Raq is the cheeky-faced little border terrier accompanying Eric Robson on his journeys from the Lakes to Northumberland and North Yorkshire in the Tyne Tees TV series Out of Town on Friday evenings.

Before that they had their own occasional series called Raq and Boot. They must have walked miles together.

In a preview of Out of Town recently, one newspaper called Raq a cantankerous terrier.

Cantankerous? Never in this world. Spectator considers that the charming Raq is remarkably tolerant considering that his loving master takes him up hill and down dale with nothing more than a rough bit of string attached to his collar.

Spectator would try to kick start a Raq fan club were it not for the sad fact that Out of Town - like the admirable John Grundy architectural series Grundy's Wonders - appears to be here today and gone tomorrow, no thanks to the vagaries of programme commissioning. Let's have more of both.

A splash of colour

SIGNS of the times, perhaps.

On a recent Sunday visit to and from Cragside, the colossal mansion and estate once owned by Lord Armstrong near Rothbury in the breathtaking Northumberland countryside, Spectator was taken by what appeared to be a nice individual touch to the overall white road signs in the county.

Those marking the entrances to some main road villages, as well as river crossings, had their letters and borders highlighted in a restful light blue which seemed to match a beautiful summer sky.

Spectator isn't sure know how many counties have adopted such a feature, but he thinks it's worth pursuing in individual colours if only to overcome what is a bland uniformity in modern signage.

The white rose county of North Yorkshire may have a problem in finding a suitable colour, though. Heaven forbid that it should be red.

Service point

HAS it happened to you? The rush to get an item of post into the box for the Saturday collection only to realise as the envelope drops out of reach into an empty cylinder that the collection has gone. Usually five minutes early in Spectator's experience. What happened to those little metal tags which were changed by the postman and stated the time of the next collection? If they haven't been sent for scrap, please may we have them back. As far as we know, the post is still meant to be a service.