The Christmas I was on TV

For several years the eagerly awaited Christmas TV commercials from some of the UK’s biggest retailers have kick-started the festive season all across the country. Many companies spend a fortune trying to outdo one another or even improve on their own advertisement from the previous year. Around 10 years ago, there was one in particular that I couldn´t wait to see; this would be the year I featured in one!

´BE ON A CHRISTMAS AD´ was the email my friend responded to with a selfie of us amid a pile of paperwork. Only a day later we were on a videocall with an advertising agency who told us the client was one of the biggest clothing and food retailers in the country. We waited eagerly to see if we had been successful and lo and behold, they wanted us to go down to London for an audition.

With no expense spared, they put us on a first-class train to the capital. I was feeling really apprehensive, I’d never done anything like this before. We arrived at the audition to find a room filled with bottles of champagne and prosecco, at least a year’s supply of dry turkey and an abundance of starters and desserts including scallops, cheeses, chocolate tarts and trifles. 

The aim of the day was to try everything and audition in front of the camera with a description of what we liked best. I didn’t think we had any chance of making the final selection as they had invited so many people to the casting. I was really shocked when we received the call that they were inviting us to film! To this day I’m still not sure how they thought we could boost their sales that Christmas, but we obviously had some star quality.

Filming day began with a full makeover. We were dressed in clothing from the company’s latest range and got our hair and makeup done. I’d never been so intimidated as there must have been around 40 cameras in the room. We then sat for almost an hour while someone fired questions at us. “What is your Christmas favourite?” is something they wanted to know, and my famous line became “Oh the pressure!” as I couldn’t choose. We’d tried mince pies, chocolate acorns, trifle, scallops… I loved everything, but the best part was yet to come: seeing if any of our footage had made the cut.

I remember sitting with my family one night watching a popular chat show on TV. The ad break began and suddenly there we were on the telly! It seems ridiculous, but I felt so proud of that half-second clip. I hadn’t even told most of my friends so I received lots of messages that night, “I’m sure I just saw you on the telly!” It was such a great experience, although sadly my acting career never took off and it didn’t make me a star!


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