The Christmas advert they filmed outside my house - in August
- Credit: Archant
The magic is rather lost on David Clayton when it comes to Christmas TV adverts - probably because he has seen the fake snow!
I'm bracing myself for the forthcoming televisual onslaught. No, not the general election overload we're all about to experience, it's worse than that, in my view. It's the premature arrival of the annual festive period. (I'm not using the C word just yet, if it's all right with you).
It's the commercials which have fired the starting gun and are already piling on the pressure for us to deliver the prefect Christmas. Help, I'm not ready and being a typical bloke, I won't be for ages yet!
I take nothing away from the outstanding production values lavished on these longer than usual TV adverts.
The creative and talented people behind them are also, I hope, producing longer visual feasts for us. I hardly dare speculate on the cost of these extravaganzas but here's a personal for-example.
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After many years of hoping to, I am now the very lucky owner of a cottage in The Dales, an area of the country I've been visiting since I was a baby. A couple of years ago we were there in August when a man knocked on the door.
He explained there was some filming about to happen right by our cottage and we might be slightly inconvenienced, for which he apologised, but hoped we didn't mind. He declined to tell us what was being filmed, but the village rumour-mill suggested it was a national supermarket's festive advert. I recall there was the suggestion of a bottle of wine for our troubles.
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Anyway, the filming day arrived and in the August bank holiday week, to the bemusement of walkers, a snowy winter wonderland was created around the back of us and down a little side lane. I hope I'm not spoiling any illusion for you, but down went some white sheeting purporting to be snow drifts, and out came a spray gun contraption and huge fan which peppered a fallen snow effect over ours, and adjacent properties.
It looked jolly convincing, if I'm honest. Visually speaking, August disappeared for a while and December turned up.
It was all fascinating to watch and it took at least a couple of days to complete and then clear-up. Even though the bulk of the fake effect had gone, our cottage retained a smattering of "snow" over the roof.
The many holidaymakers strolling past during that peak summer week in Yorkshire must have glanced up and concluded all manner of theories about the wonderfully unpredictable Dales weather.
We forgot all about it until we spotted the advert on TV, almost certainly halfway through November and were delighted to see our cottage featuring in it for all of two seconds.
More computerised snow had been added to the pictures. The story line was some people walking through a bleak, but beautiful, winter wonderland to a pub where they were eventually snowed-in, but fortunately the cupboards were groaning with this supermarket's produce. When rescuers arrived, just as they were about to eat, they all looked mightily disappointed.
We know filming carried on for a good few more days around the Dale.
The ad was atmospheric and beautifully shot. Goodness knows what it cost to make, let alone the cost of the TV slots to show it.
Please don't get me wrong, I'm not doing a "Bah humbug" about the up and coming festive season. I enjoy the family gatherings and the fact we all put the brakes on for a few days, I would just rather we waited a bit to unleash the tinsel and turkey.
The "snow" on my cottage roof turned out to be something akin to papier mache so was completely biodegradable. Given the Dales can throw good quantities of rain around, it soon washed away, clogging up the downpipe from my guttering. Nothing a strategically poked metal coat hanger couldn't put right.
We never got the bottle of wine. Merry Ch*****as!