Brainchild of boss Peter ‘Mitsubishi’ Parker, British Rail’s first proper TV ad campaign was a whistles-and-bells extravaganza of cut-price offers and posh cinematic entreaties. Dozens of Inter-City fleets, bodywork glistening in a perpetual rainstorm, plied forever-rolling countryside. Their cargo: the honourable Sir Jim’ll Savile. His armoury: a dark suit, a Maxpax coffee, shockingly sensible hair and an endless amount of paperwork that had to be done before that pressing engagement with the man who makes the machines for the hospitals. Wine-bar funk played while the kid who sang ‘Walking in the Air’ (Not Aled Jones, The Other One) belted out, ‘this is the age of the train.’ From a time when audiences were impressed by extended sequences of carriage exteriors, the ads did their job in leaving the slogan – somewhat meaningless out of context – in everyone’s heads.
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Very soon on BBC4 we’ll be hearing two of the best singles of 1979 courtesy of Sparks, and wonderfully Ron and Russell are still going strong to this day, forty years after their first hit. They’re another act who were far more popular here in the UK than in their home country, as we took the pair to our hearts and made them proper pop stars even though they were one of the oddest acts you’ll ever see. Given they’ve just released a new greatest hits album which we think is the first time all their best stuff across all their albums has been on one record (though it doesn’t have Now That I Own The BBC on it, alas), it’s the perfect occasion for Stuart Maconie to pay tribute with a host of celebrity fans.
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Points of View
- In 'Tiswas', Paul Hughes says: "Great article about a great show, but it’s a shame there’s no mention of Matthew Butler, the little lad who used to sing Bright Eyes dressed..."
- In 'Pages from Ceefax', Mick says: "BBC Micro graphics ordered to resemble mid-70s resolutions and typeset for in-computer compatibility using bolt-on tuner. Interesting case of..."
- In 'Paddington', Mick says: "When Mr. Curry barges into the family’s new ‘shedna’ to hog its maiden voyage, Paddington pours snow down the chimney in well-deserved..."
- In 'Five to Eleven', Mick says: "Well, come on, it made me think. Titles came on, I’d say ‘Right, nearly lunchtime’."
- In 'Open All Hours', Mick says: "2013 remake as fresh and sharp as the best of them, to great relief and surprise. G-G-Granville taking over miser duties in perhaps the wise move of..."