Bringing home the bread

Shot of the original 1970's Hovis 'Boy on Bike' advert. Picture: Hovis/PA Wire

Shot of the original 1970's Hovis 'Boy on Bike' advert. Picture: Hovis/PA Wire - Credit: PA

It is 46 years since ITV first aired the Hovis “boy on a bike” commercial. Even then, it struck a chord of nostalgia - can it do it again in 2019?

Tony the Tiger extolled the virtue of Frosties breakfast cereal: " They're grrrrrreat! . Picture: P

Tony the Tiger extolled the virtue of Frosties breakfast cereal: " They're grrrrrreat!. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Hovis's classic "Boy on the Bike" advert has returned too TV screens across the country, 46 years after it was first seen.

The short film, from 1973, which was last month crowned the "most iconic UK advert of all time" is back on ITV.

Director Ridley Scott, who launched his career with the original advert in 1973, has re-mastered it in conjunction with the British Film Institute (BFI) national archive.

I suspect I am not the only one who felt a pang of sympathy for the lad pushing a bike loaded with bread up a cobbled hill. Nor, I suspect, am I the only person who craves brown bread and butter every time they hear the Largo movement from Dvorak's New World Symphony.

It is an iconic piece of music for more than its association with a loaf. Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a tape recording of the New World Symphony along during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.

Hovis said it hopes to introduce the advert to a new generation who still appreciate its "core message of hard-work, family and the strength of community".

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"We are seeing a mass movement across the country celebrating craftsmanship, traditional products and UK produce, and this advert is one of the most iconic examples of a brand celebrating the ties that bind us as communities and as a country, drawing on tradition but informing our future."

Well, all I can say to that is: "Bom, bom, bom, bom, Esso Blue."

Those who celebrate the values of times when delivery boys pushed bikes uphill to deliver bread may have, just possibly, have romanticised the idea of a warm and caring society some time in the past.

Yes, people may have been able to leave their back doors open without fear of being burgled but this was usually because they had nothing worth stealing.

What else were they advertising on TV in the Seventies? Findus crispy pancakes with steak and kidney: "Now every day is pancake day." A man sneaks downstairs in the night to swig White's lemonade: "I'm a secret lemonade drinker." Dudley Moore smoking Tom Thumb mild cigars - tagline: "You don't have to be big to be beautiful." A man in a suit and tie drives, while another man in a suit and tie is in the passenger seat, the woman is in the back. The driver steers fast and furious (always with both hands on the steering wheel per Highway Code instructions) over rocky terrain. This is "The new driving force from Austin" - the Allegro. Three chimpanzees on a boat drink PG Tips. Four nice-looking young guys at the bus stop... the one who shares his Twix gets the girl.

Well, you get the idea. It's cool to drive an Austin Allegro; a Twix will spice up your love life and lemonade can be addictive.

By contrast, the gentle Hovis commercial was a breath of fresh air as many of the advertising agencies groaned under the weight of trying to be trendy. Will we love it as much this time around?

Yes, I think we will.

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