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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Turns out we’re getting a fully-fledged series out of this programme from a decade ago, though having seen the first one we’re pleased to report that they’ve managed to get it down from three hours to two by, hooray, editing out all the Dead Ringers sketches. Apologies if they turn up in this one, mind.
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Points of View
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