Thursday, 17 July 2008

Telly Selly Time #4: A Nice Repast

It's the easiest thing in the world to poke fun at the telly of a quarter of a century ago for its antediluvian attitudes and plethora of offensive stereotypes, unlike today's enlightened world where snobbery and prejudice are nowhere to be seen, hem hem. Having said that, this choice 1983 promotion on behalf of the British Lamb Marketing Board was, and remains, something else.

The format of choice is, natch, is the cockney oompah rap, which did well for Kwik Fit, Do-It-All, George Cole's Leeds building society campaign and countless others. Where it came from, God knows. Chas and Dave may have something to do with it, but this sort of stuff is to the likes of Rabbit what Jamiroquai is to Parliament. Where's the cockney soul, you cowson?

One thing that really does seem odd from a modern viewpoint is the whole point of the ad - the idea that the fashion for vegetarianism would take over the nation, bankrupting farmers and sending tinfoil shares into a downward spiral. It's a threat to our very way of life! About this time, you also got ads for tea - not any particular brand, just the concept of having a cup of tea in general. Which shadowy organisation decides these things?

I'll always have a soft spot for the old 'copper with flashing blue light on helmet' bit.

Nosey neighbour with telescope doubles as outraged Mary Whitehouse figure on mention of 'meatballs'! Two stereotypes for the price of one, nice work.

Turns out moussaka was a Mexican dish all along. Who knew?

The hippie, of course. After punk knocked all that bearded wooliness on the head he was the number one cultural joke for the best part of a decade, though by '83 the main reason for ridicule seems to be his lack of awareness of hair gel and/or Yamaha keyboards.
FACT: Every joke hippie in an '80s ad not played by Nigel Planer was, for some reason, modelled closely on Van Der Graaf Generator's David Jackson. [ For example - see here. ]

'Could've had it barbecued!': Is this the most confused gay stereotype ever committed to the screen? Bodybuilding, bondage, lisp, pink thong, blonde woman on rowing machine... yes, that just about covers, um, something.

Say what you like about this ad, but at least it gets over in 30 seconds what Little Britain managed to stretch over three series.


Planet Mondo said...

I'M getting closer to a unifying theory of cockney rap, I think the key lies somewhere between the embers of The Monks 'Nice Legs', Streetband 'Toast', Ian Dury and Chas and Dave's single first single 'Strummin'(which I had - it's on EMI). Old matey with the drain on his head seems to be modelled on this chap from Cheeky Weekly

Phil Norman said...

Good call! I'd add Cool for Cats by Squeeze (reworded for a milk advert some time in the '80s) and Sham 69's Hersham Boys (what *is* a mudtown slasher?)