“Let me enlighten you!”

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IN THE SUMMER of 1990, there was but one question on the nation’s lips. Not ‘can England win the World Cup?’ Not even ‘will Robson go with three at the back against Belgium, Emlyn?’ No, during that year’s footballing fiesta, one single conundrum echoed across England (and Wales). Where did the power that was working our TV actually come from?

Fortunately, one man had the answer. And that man was PETER PURVES. In a prime piece of pre-privatisation propaganda, the newly-formed National Power conscripted the amiable frontman from Blue Peter, Kickstart and the darts to reassure a restless people fallen to wondering just who was responsible for generating electricity for England (and Wales).

Striding out beneath the Twin Towers as stirring music swelled, Pete commandeered the Wembley floodlights to reveal the answer. If you tot up the electricity produced by everybody else, it comes to a derisory 56%, explained Pete, leaving the famous pitch in semi-darkness. So who was responsible for the rest, he asked rhetorically, before lighting up half of the London Borough of Brent to demonstrate the current-generating majesty of National Power. And just in time to get the thoughts of Graham Taylor before the second half of Cameroon v Romania.

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4 responses to ““Let me enlighten you!””

  1. Simon Tyers says:

    As reproduced by George Weah on Fantasy Football League’s Phoenix From The Flames. National Power were ITV’s sponsors for the tournament but weren’t yet allowed to run break bumpers, something sorted out for Sega’s sponsorship of Euro 92, most notable for What Happened Next?-styled bumpers which Welsby and, usually, Jack Charlton actually commented on.

  2. pessoa says:

    Selling England (and Wales) by the pound…In any case, I think Mr Purves’ cameo on The Office exactly 10 years later owed as much to this as it did to Blue Peter.

  3. Matthew Rudd says:

    “He can’t say the word ‘enlighten’, he can’t! His tongue comes out of his mouth a bit!”

  4. Applemask says:

    You’re welcome for the video. I will take the Simon Cadell reference as payment. Incidentally, this was the first time the World Cup was sponsored, but since they hadn’t thought up break bumpers yet, Brian Moore had to mention National Power every ten minutes during the games. And they showed this thing every single commercial break. After Turin it must have seemed like Peter Purves was mocking us. I know I would have genuinely wanted to kill him.

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