Impressions will be vital in leaders' debate
Spare a thought for messers Brown and Cameron and Clegg this morning. They've been told again and again that their performance under the hot studio lights in Britain's first ever prime ministerial debate could change not just their fortunes, but the course of history.
The rehearsals with stand in candidates are at an end. The role of American advisors flown in specially has finished too. Soon, they will be on their own. The hype is inevitable, given that it's taken half a century since America's first presidential debate, to stage an equivalent here.
There is more though than the Atlantic that separates our two political systems. Presidential candidates are often barely known to American voters, British prime ministerial contenders are very familiar to us though. With one exception of course - Nick Clegg receives a huge boost tonight by being given equal billing with Gordon Brown and David Cameron. How they treat him and he treats them, may be as significant as the predictable focus on the soap opera of who has the winning put down or the losing grimace, when the three men who want to prime minister take to the stage tonight at the home of Coronation Street.
Just like a gripping episode of Corrie, the nation's verdict will come not from the pundits and the commentators, but in the days to come, in canteens, coffee shops and pubs, the length and breadth of the land.