Old TV

UK television adverts 1955–1990

Services & Finance

The AA (1): 1977

Music!If the journey’s short or long —
Just in case things might go wrong,
Ah, you’ll do just fine with the AA sign —
It’s great to feel that you belong!Music!

Voiceover: (There are so many ways the AA can help you. If you break down on the road we’ll be there with the answer. And if we can’t get you moving our relay service could help you — Whether your journey’s for business or pleasure.

Music!You’ll do just fine with the AA sign —
It’s great to feel that you belong!Music!

The AA (2): Late 1970s

A family are at the beach: small boy is digging large holes in the sand

Father: Where exactly did you bury the car, Kevin?!

Kevin: IT’s IN THE SAND! I’m not helping very much am I, Dad?

Father: No! But I know a man who can!

The AA (3)

To our members we’re the fourth emergency service.

The AA (4)

He’s a nice man. He’s a very nice man. He’s a very, very nice man.

Abbey National Building Society

Get the Abbey habit!

Access: 1990

Your flexible friend

Does you does or does you don’t take Access?

Alliance & Leicester Building Society

You get a smarter investor at Alliance & Leicester!

Allied Dunbar Insurance

For the future you don’t yet know

American Express (1): 1970s

(Car rental desk)

Customer: Is it too late for a car?

Assistant: You’ll need a deposit! …
American Express! That will do nicely! [1970s]

American Express (2): 1970s


Waiter: Your bill sir …
… American Express! Thank you sir!

American Express (3): early 1980s

Don’t leave home without it!

Barclaycard (1): 1970s

Music!If I had a hammer,
I’d hammer in the morning,
I’d hammer in the evening — all over this land,
I’d hammer out danger,
I’d hammer out a warning….Music!

Voice-over: Don’t put it off, put it on Barclaycard!

Barclaycard (2)

One day you’ll wish you had a Barclaycard. Don’t wait for it to arrive.

Barclaycard: 1984

Alan Whicker: The sizzle of English holiday-makers enjoying their Sunday roast. But, if you’re thinking of joining them this Summer — do take care!
Will your card help you turn brown? (no) or an uncomfortable red? (mm)
If you want a breeze round your knees, will your plastic provide it? (no)
The fact is: Barclaycard is welcome at three times as many places as
certain charge cards I could mention!
Well, if you’ve taken that much trouble to tan your hide— why bother to hide your tan!

Voice-over: No matter where you bank — apply for a Barclaycard now!

[Alan Whicker appeared in a series of these Barclaycard adverts —
from various locations around the world]

Bradford & Bingley: 1970s

A secure home for your money, with Bradford and Bingley!

Bradford & Bingley: 1984

Open an account with Bradford and Bingley and it can open all sorts of doors for you. The door to your very first home … nearly half of our mortgages go to first-time-buyers! The door to savings and security for your growing family. Our Premium Access Account pays one and three quarter per cent extra interest … with instant access!

At Bradford and Bingley we open MORE doors for you!

British Gas: 1970s

Man standing in front of his house in the pouring rain and freezing cold

Poor cold Fred: doesn't have central heating.

British Gas: 1986

[Re privatization]: If you see Sid, tell him.

(See also Gas Council below)

British Insurance Association (BIA): 1950s

Cartoon character called Fred drives home humming to himself

Voiceover: Home sweet home, Fred — or is it? The fact is, Fred, you’ve only got half a home — half a hall, half a bedroom. Forgot it had gone up in value, didn’t you. Fred — you’re under-insured!

Fred (waking up): What a nightmare! But half a minute — I am under-insured!

Voiceover: But not for long.

Fred (with his wife and two children protected by an insurance policy shaped like a castle:
Get the full strength of the insurance companies around you!

The piece of paper folds into a castle with Fred on top and he reaches down and knocks on the wall and says:

Strong stuff this Insurance!

British Telecom (1)

Quasimodo: Oh why was I born so ugly? (Phone rings) The bells?

Voice off: It’s for you-hoo!

Quasimodo: For me?

Crowd: It’s for you-hoo!

Quasimodo: Esmeralda — she loves me!

Voice-over: The phone, it’s for you to make someone feel wanted.

British Telecom (2)

With Buzby (voice: Bernard Cribbins):

Music!You need wings to hold a little babyMusic!

British Telecom (3)

It’s good to talk.

British Telecom (4): c.1982

But for this landmark [a telephone kiosk], many people in remote communities would be shut off from the world. Through it, they can reach their families, their friends, medical and emergency services — and have all the support of a modern society.

It’s a service that British Telecom is constantly improving, and one of the ways now, and in the future, it will continue to help people.

In the out of the way places of a push-button world, British Telecom is the power behind the button!

British Telecom (5)

Maureen Lipman as “Beattie” [=BT] did a whole series of advertisements on the launch of British Telecom

Here she has an elaborate “Congratulations” cake on the table and phones her grandson:

A gloomy Anthony: Hello.

Grandma: Anthony? Oh congratulations on your exam results!

Anthony: Grandma! I failed!

Grandma: You failed! what do you mean you failed?

Anthony: I mean I failed! — maths, English, physics, geography, German, woodwork, art … I failed!

Grandma: You didn’t pass anything!

Anthony: Pottery …

Grandma: Pottery! Very useful! Anthony, people will always need plates! Anything else?

Anthony: And sociology …

Grandma: An ology! He gets an ology and he says he’s failed!! You get an ology — you’re a scientist!!

Voice-over: Whether it’s “well done!” or “hard luck!” a phone call says a lot!

Grandma: … and the most brilliant boys, and if you ask me it’s the teachers who are wrong — you know a lot of them can’t mark … a lot of them can’t see….

Voice-over: British Telecom — it’s you we answer to!

British Telecom (6)

Melvyn [ringing his mother from work]: Mum, it’s Melvyn. Look I’m afraid we’re going to be late.

Beattie: You’re going to be late [to her husband]: He’s going to be late. [To Melvyn]: Your father says your sister’s never late.

Father: She’s got more consideration.

Melvyn: I’ve got to work.

Beattie [to her husband]: He’s got to work. [to Melvyn] I’ll tell you this: they’re working you too hard, they’re slave-drivers those people.

Melvyn: I’ll be an hour.

Beattie [To Melvyn]: I’ll come down, I’ll bring you a sandwich. Your father will run me. [To her husband]: You’ll run me.

Melvyn: No sandwich.

Beattie: I’ll bring you a jumper, [whispered] one of your father’s.

Melvyn (shouts): I don’t want a sandwich! I don’t want a jumper! This is a modern air-conditioned building.

Voiceover: It’s never easy explaining why you’re late, but a call shows you care.

Beattie: You never told me it was air-conditioned.

Melvyn: Why would I tell you?

Beattie: Now then, some children talk to their parents. Now, what do you want in your sandwich? I’ve got some of that matured Canadian cheddar you like. [Swings open door of enormous fridge, which is stuffed to capacity with lovely food, and surveys contents] I wish I’d known, I haven’t got a lot in. Still, thanks for the call.

Voice-over: British Telecom — it’s you we answer to!

British Telecom (7)

Beattie’s husband is reluctantly trying on the half-finished jumper she’s knitting for him. The phone rings.

Beattie (to husband): That’ll be the phone – don’t move!

Beattie: Hello.

Melvyn: Mum! It’s Melvyn – I’m wearing it now! It’s great!

Beattie: And what do you think of the turtle neck? I’m making one for your father … but … er … I don’t think he’s got the neck for it.

Melvyn: The neck’s fine!

Beattie: And the colour?

Melvyn: Camel – I like camel!

Beattie: It’s taupe! They call it taupe!

Melvyn: OK – so I like taupe!

Beattie:But you’d have preferred the camel …

Melvyn: Mu-um – I love it! It’s terrific!

Beattie: Oh but what about the motif? Your brother has a motif – you ask your Anthony – he’s with it.

Melvyn: It’s all fine! I love it! I’m ecstatic! I’m over the moon!

Beattie: So you like it – you’re pleased? Oh good-bye bye.

Beattie (to her husband): He doesn’t like it.

Voiceover: Phone and say thank you: it’s always appreciated.

Beattie (to husband): He will like it – it’ll grow on him …when he gets the matching socks – the whole ensemble.

Voiceover: British Telecom: it’s you we answer to.

British Telecom (8)

Shop assistant (played by Richard Wilson), answers the phone : Yes, yes, we have a 12 in the blue.

Beattie: With the scalloped neck?

Assistant: Yes, a 12 in the blue with the scalloped neck.

Beattie: And in the white?

Assistant: Yes, we have a 12 in the white.

Beattie: And do you have a 14 in the blue?

Assistant: I thought Madam was a 12.

Beattie: Well, normally, yes, but you see if the cut is on the smallish size, they’re not generous these days, you know what I mean, skimpy around arm-holes.

Assistant: Yes, we have a 14 in the blue.

Beattie: And in the white?

Assistant: And in the white and in the green, and in the pink.

Beattie: Green? Oh, now do you have a twelve in the green.

Assistant: Yes, we have a twelve in the green.

Beattie: And in …

Assistant (getting irritated) : And in the pink.

Voiceover: Before you shop why don’t you make sure they’ve got what you want.

Beattie: So you have got all of the colours in both of the sizes.

Assistant: All of the colours in all of the sizes.

Beattie: You haven’t sold out of anything?

Assistant: Nothing at all.

Beattie: It’s not what you’d call all the rage, is it?

Voice-over: British Telecom — it’s you we answer to!

British Telecom (9)

Beattie (answering phone): Hello.

Grandson sings “Happy Birthday to you”.

Beattie: A voice like an angel.

Beattie’s husband: Your grandma’s very happy.

British Telecom (10)

Beattie: So you can’t phone. You can’t pick up a phone and dial. You got maybe something wrong with your finger, an allergic reaction to telephones. A phobia. You are telephobic…

Son rings: Hello, Mum.

Beattie: So you can’t visit, you can’t come around, you can only phone.

Voicoever: Phone home, be appreciated.

Beattie strokes her son’s photograph: It’s a pleasure to hear your voice; a little more often wouldn’t hurt.

British Telecom (11): 1986

A male camel makes a call to a female llama

Camel: Music!Are you lonesome tonight?Music!
Llama: No …

Camel: Music!Do you miss me tonight?Music!
Llama: Not a lot …

Camel: Music!Are you sad that we drifted apart?Music!
Llama: Erm …

Camel: Music!Does your memory stray to a bright sunny day…Music!
Llama: Well …

CamelMusic!When you kissed me and called me sweetheart?Music!
The llama sheds a tear.

Voiceover: For all things great … and small, make that call.

[To the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Are you Lonesome Tonight?”]

Commercial Union Insurance: early 1980s

We won’t make a drama out of a crisis.

DER: 1985

Music!Come into DER (come and play),
Try our new TV or vide-o,
You can have a go (have a go),
Press the button … and see what happens!
D — E — R
The people who invite you in to play!Music!

Wife (to husband): What do you think you’re playing at, Barbirolli?

Music!Tomorrow’s world is here for you today!Music!

Electricity (1)

Better things are electric!

Electricity (2)

Electricity —
Clean simplicity.

Electricity (3)

Music! Seven — we live on Economy Seven,
Cheaper electricity — heaven!Music!

Gas council (1): 1960s

High-speed gas.

Gas council (2)

Music!Cook, cook, cook, cookability: that’s the beauty of gas!Music!

Don’t you just love being in control?

General Accident Insurance: 1985

When it comes to Life Insurance you can’t afford to take risks — so talk to General Accident. In an uncertain world, it could well be your best policy!

GPO telephone service (1)

Make someone happy with a phone call!

GPO telephone service (2): 1976

Music!Oh he flies through the air with the greatest of ease
The daring young bird on the tenpenny piece.Music!

Bird: Oh hello. If anyone ever says you can’t do much on 10p these days, you just tell them to make a cheap-rate phone call. If you dial a long-distance call direct on your own phone you can chat for as long three minutes for less than 10p, and local calls are even cheaper.

Music!Oh he flies through the air with the greatest of ease….Music!

Granada TV rental: 1977

Music!It’s great service you get
Renting your colour set
From Granada!Music!

Our latest slimline TV’s feature sharp, natural Granada colour, Hi-Fi sound, touch channel change … have a free home trial!

Music! Great service, great sets —
That’s what you get
From Granada
It’s better TV,
That’s why millions agree —
Rent Grana-a-da.Music!

Great service, great sets — that’s Granada!

[Tune: “Granada”, with Kenneth MacDonald ]


Music!Get a little Xtra help
With the Halifax!Music!

Hanson Trust

A company from over here that is also doing rather well over there.


Say it with flowers

Kay’s catalogue: 1970s

Ask for freephone 2361 O-Kay!

Kosan Gas

Kosangas: cheaper because it's faster.

Legal & General insurance, c.1980)

Legal & General cover the things you care for.

Lloyds Bank

At the sign of the Black Horse.

Midland Bank

Cartoon starring the Midland Bank Griffin

Voice-over: The Listening Bank!

The Griffin cups his hand/claw to his ear then returns to being the Midland Bank logo

National Giro (late 1960s)

Be a Girofirst!

National and Provincial: 1960s

At the National and Provincial your money’s as safe as little red houses!

Nationwide: 1976

Come inside Nationwide. The building society of a lifetime.

The Northern Bank: 1984

Music!It’s a great bank — the Northern!
That’s what all of our customers say —
It’s a great, great bank!
From the farmer who works on the land
To the student who needs a helping hand
Businesses and families
Yes, everyone all agrees —
It’s a great bank the Northern
And we’re adding more people day by day!Music!

Pickford’s Removals

We carry everything!

Post Office (1): 1964

Someone, somewhere,
wants a letter from you!

Post Office (2)

Post early for Christmas

Post Office (3): from mid-1980s

The postcode. You’re not properly addressed without it.

Post Office Savings Bank: late 1960s

Voiceover: Richard Briers

Small savers grow big with the Post Office Savings Bank.

Post Office telephones

It’s so cheap to phone your friends
After six and at weekends.

Premium Bonds: early 1970s

You could wind up rich!

Prudential Insurance Company

The Prudential has the strength of Gibraltar.

Radio Rentals (1)

Stay contented — get Radio Rented!

Radio Rentals (2)

Radio Rentals – should have gone to radio rentals.

Red Star parcel delivery service

Send your parcels Red Star and pull out all the stops.

Scottish Widows

Looking good for your future.

Sketchley Dry Cleaners

Music!We know the meaning of cleaning!Music!

TSB: mid-1970s

To the tune of “Button Up Your Overcoat”

Music!… Take good care of yourself
With the TSB
– It’s the bank for me!Music!

TSB: 1984

Music!TSB: The bank that likes to say Yes!Music!

Building up •• bit by bit
Brick by brick •• TSB (Music!TSBMusic!)
Wedding bells, grand hotels,
Treat yourself, save TSB,
Looking back •• you’ll agree
It pays to save •• TSB (Music!TSBMusic!).
When you want your pounds to grow
You need a bank that’s in the know.

Music!Come and see •• TSB,
TSB: the bank that likes to say Yes!Music!

Yellow Pages (1): 1964

Music!Let your fingers do the walking.Music!

Yellow Pages (2): 1983

(Elderly gentleman visits a book shop)

He: I don’t suppose you have a copy of Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley … it is rather old.

Assistant: Nothing I’m afraid…. I’m sorry.

(He tries another book shop)

He: It’s by J. R. Hartley….

(Then he tries a few more without success before returning home)

Daughter: No luck Dad? Never mind — you can always give this a try:
(she hands him the Yellow pages)

Voice-over: Good old Yellow Pages! We don’t just help with the nasty things in life, like a blocked drain— we’re here for the nice things too!

He (speaking on the phone): You do! Oh, that’s wonderful! Er…can you keep it for me? …
My name? Oh yes … it’s J. R. Hartley.

[With Norman Lumsden]

Yellow Pages (3)

Good old Yellow Pages!

Adverts wanted

Barclays Bank advertisements with Captain Mainwaring and Pike from “Dad’s Army”

Barrett Homes: aeroplane flying over new developments

Green Shield stamps

Midland Bank

Radio Rentals


S&H pink stamps


© Stephanie Jenkins
& Joan Williams

Visitors since January 2006: