TV Cream

Bric-a-Brac: M is for...

Midland Griffin, The

Ah, those friendly, big-nosed cashpoints...The Midland (or, as the jaunty calypso song in the ads had it, ‘Midd-er-land’) Bank’s bizarre, intimidating choice of a mythological lion/eagle monster for its emblem was softened in the early 1980s with a series of animated ads in which said griffin, quaintly rendered like a big-beaked Country Life butter man and speaking with the voice of Richard Briers, helped various customers get the most out of the listening bank. Quick to note the child-friendliness of all this, Midland launched the Griffin Savers account, in which juvenile capitalists were treated to griffin-branded pencil cases, folders, wallets and the Oxford Griffin Savers Dictionary, a copy of which could at one time be found in the school bags of one in three children.



  1. Richard Davies

    August 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    One of the Spitting Image books has a good send-up of a Midland Griffin print ad.

    My brother had one of the young savers packs, & might still have the dictionary.

  2. Danforth

    August 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Early editions of the Griffin Savers dictionary, such as that owned by one of my classmate, had a few unusual definitions slip through the editor’s net. I remember standing in the playground, sniggering at “Knackered, adj. Tired of sex.”

  3. paulus - bangkok

    August 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I think I left 50p in mine, back in the day.
    Owing to the wonder of compound interest my dinner at “the restaurant at the end of the universe” should be assured

  4. David Smith

    August 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Commemorated in this afternoon’s Countdown where one of the end-of-part “teasers” was SNIFFRIG, with the clue “These mythical creatures used to inhabit the Midlands”.

  5. Tom Ronson

    November 13, 2022 at 4:11 am

    Parodied in one of Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones’s books in an advert for the Midland Sperm Bank, complete with chucklesome picture of the Griffin having a quick one off the wrist.

  6. George White

    January 14, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Midland Bank also alongside MFI Furniture co-produced Never Say Never Again, bizarrely.

  7. Richardpd

    January 14, 2023 at 2:16 pm

    I remember The Midland Bank used the slogan in the 1980s of The Listening Bank, and the TSB used “The Bank That Likes To Say Yes!”

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