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Regional trade adverts

Available in full-size version for detailed transmitter browsingSadly, with ITV regions practically extinct, the humble local telly ad’s becoming a rare species. The most basic was the still picture plus voiceover, exemplified by the Wigan Market campaign, which in its entirety consisted of a still of said location over which a voice implored ‘come to Wigan Market!’ Every region had these, be they for Yeovil Sheepskin or four-in-one Scottish electrical goods merchants Glens, Hutchinsons, Robertson and Stepek. Slightly more sophisticated ads employed a mascot: the animated lion who declared Don Amott ‘king of caravans’, the old lady who espoused the loveliness of Shackleton’s high seat chairs, or the Superman clone with enormous packet who strode through a furniture store as the jingle proclaimed, ‘when you walk through the door/your pound’s worth more/at Williams… where else?’ Next step up was to rope in someone famous. Manchester’s BOC Cars hired an ermine-clad Bernard Manning (‘we’re the Earls Court of the North!’), while Frank ‘Captain Peacock’ Thornton played a store manager for Welsh furniture shop Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins. Most glamorous of all was Midlands Yugo outlet Swithland Motors, who hired Sam Fox for a series of stilted skits with comical loser Wally, who fainted in awe of Sam’s spoilers, sunroof and trendy white paintjob. If you couldn’t afford a celeb, why not become one yourself? Many local entrepreneurs went before the cameras flogging their wares. In Ulster, it was Crazy Prices’ perpetually terrified Jim Megaw. Colindale Volkswagen was plugged by parachuting proprietor Ray Thacker. The North West was treated to the spectacle of estate agent Owen Oyston falling backwards into a swimming pool. And we’re supposed to be in the middle of the age of ‘make do and mend’ right now? Pah!



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    There was something quite cosy and reassuring about the ‘still picture plus voice over’ variety of adverts, usually for theatre productions or touring shows. Victor Lewis Smith revived a couple of them in his TV Offal series, if memory serves.

  2. Topov

    July 22, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Logo? LOGO? These little pieces of brilliant design and jingle were/are known as “idents.”

    School jotter? JOTTER? Busy book, if you please.


  3. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I remember some nationally produced car adverts used to have a local dealership network’s details tacked on the end. Granadaland (not North West) Ford comes to mind.

  4. Matty

    September 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    “Glens, Hutchinsons, Robertson and Stepeck! You can’t get better… guaranteed!”

    Strangely, and I only recall seeing it once but am sure it wasn’t some kind of fevered dream, there was an advert in the same region just for Stepeck. “Come to Stepeck, for a great range of television sets and VHS recorders. Stepeck” it said (or something similar); it was weird, like Sid Little doing a solo stand-up routine or something.

  5. Alf

    July 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    BOC = Blackburn Oldham and Cleveleys

    I can still hear the jingle, ‘B-O-C-eeee – better people to buy from – yeah!’

  6. Frank

    December 2, 2013 at 10:36 am

    “Where the customer is still … king”

    Cue jingle, “B-O-C, better peoople to buy from”, cut to Bernard in Rolls Royce. An all-time cheap advertising classic. Thank you BOC. Thank you Bernard. And thank you youtube.

  7. Joanne Gray

    May 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Some of these can still be seen at your local multiplex before the previews play, though mostly without a voiceover.

  8. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Channel Islanders will remember Major Stuart Benest, an ex-military man who ran a couple of supermarkets and insisted on narrating his own television advertisements – apparently against the advice of the local ITV company who created them. His voice-overs are predictably bizarre and lacking in warmth, but not without a kind of shonky charm.
    ‘GORN are the days when bacon was exclusive to breakfast…’
    ‘Pure pork sawsagehs…’
    ‘Wine, the great enemy!’

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 25, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    People in the Border region will probably remember Tom Wrathall, a Hyundai dealer in the sticks, and a ditty that went, Tom Wrathall, he’s such a grand feller to deal with, over a still of a Hyundai Stellar.

  10. Richardpd

    June 25, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    The Ian Skelly centre was advertised a lot in the North West for anyone interested in a Volkswagen. Also seen a lot in Granadaland were joint adverts for Norweb & Manweb, back when electricity suppliers had their own showrooms. They would plug some appliances on offer, like the Sizzling Six range of electric cookers or the Red Hot Eight electric fires, with some cheaply made clips of grilles being turned on & such.

  11. Glenn Aylett

    June 26, 2022 at 11:04 am

    There was an even cheaper advert for a local bingo hall in the nineties where a woman with a strong local accent would promote the Gaiety Bingo in Whitehaven over a still of the bingo hall. Git down to the Gaiety Bingo and win.

  12. Richardpd

    June 26, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    I’m too young to really remember them, but it was common on the period between Christmas & the New Year to have a lot of cheap local adverts.

    Furniture shops and the latest offers for holidays by a travel agent usuakky got the still & voiceover treatment.

  13. Adrian

    August 11, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Parodied by McDonalds in a series of TV adverts in 1999..

  14. Richardpd

    August 11, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    I remember McDonalds spoofing a chintzy 1970s advert for an Indian restaurant when they had a range of Indian inspired food. This was in the period at the end of the 1990s when everything Indian seemed trendy & Goodness Gracious Me was a fountain of memes.

  15. Droogie

    August 12, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    I remember seeing a really cheap advert in the late 80’s by Spike Milligan when he had a novelty calypso song out about about a fly that pooed everywhere. It consisted of a still of a bad caricature drawing of Spike with his voiceover. I can’t believe it was solely for the HTV West region, but it still had the look of a cheap regional TV ad.

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