There's So Much More In TV Times Part 5: Tea Time Is Butter Time

Commercial Television - it might well not be 'biased' against whoever's decided the BBC is 'biased' against them this week, but it sure never stops trying to flog you junk food. Whether it's some girl in a bath trying to go down on a Flake while a lizard looks on askance for some reason, a swanky sophisticate in a Little Black Dress reclining on a leather sofa to the sound of Rhapsody In Blue in the hope of flogging Suchard Moments, a grand piano full of talking hamburgers proclaiming Ronald McDonald to be 'the bun clown', children who should have their chirpily requested 'Sunny D' thrown into their faces with extreme force, or the sheer bafflement of Pyramint, you can't so much as sit through an episode of Stuff The Week without being coerced into wanting upwards of five fat-and-sugar-heavy 'treats'.

Needless to say, TV Times took to the associated advertising revenue with great enthusiasm. Crisps, sweets, fizzy drinks, biscuits, chocolates and 'adult' beverages took up such a large percentage of the available page space that you half expected Pig to somehow emerge from the listing for Pipkins and scoff the whole magazine in one go. Or indeed that elsewhere in the issue, you'd find Bruce Forsyth in an oversized comedy chef's hat making a meal from sweetshop-skewed 'leftovers'. And here are just some of the delights on the menu...

Years before the not even remotely racist or sexist advert stressing that you can stand it with Bandit (which, crucially, was "as big as jail door"), everyone's favourite trapezoid wafer bar opted for a much simpler telling-it-like-it-is approach, with particular emphasis given to the all-important flavour-enhancing hue of the wrapper. It's certainly putting a smile on the face of that Millicent Martin-a-gram, at any rate. Note also that it was still being made at that point by original manufacturers Macdonalds, before they joined forces with McVitie's and Crawfords to form the gigantic Doctor Who Christmas Special-esque supermarket aisle straddling behemoth United Biscuits.

Quite how 'marvellous' Mars really is when it's making Bob Monkhouse adopt a frenzied expression and go totally off-the-scale alliteration-crazy is open to question. Note also how the tagline seems more like a threat than an enticement.

Huntley & Palmers Ltd, esteemed manufacturers of the Lemon Puff, The Butter Shortie, and the satire-inviting 'Butter Osborne', here risk the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority, not with any false promises about their wares but with the idea that anyone in their right mind could consider this a 'lovable' clown. Even in a decade when TV was absolutely awash with the fuckers, it still stands out as a particularly evil-looking example of the genre and it's likely that even punters with two appropriate biscuit wrappers to spare politely declined the offer.

Advertisers were quick to capitalise on the newly-minted purchasing power of the 'teenager', though some were quicker than others. Here Corn Flakes make a half-hearted I Have A Horsey Neigh Neigh-level attempt to counter Rice Krispies' phenomenally successful deployment of a blistering Rolling Stones jingle by attempting to convince parents that what their check-shirted daughter really wants while listening to her decade-old record player and swooning over discarded photos of generic 'dreamboats' is to wolf down a load of dry Corn Flakes straight from the packet. They've even included a special song she can sing while doing so, daddy-o! Hang on, what do you mean, 'they were both made by Kellogg's'?

Now then. Here's the ever-exotic Fry's inviting purchasers of the 'Big Fry' range - Crunchie, Picnic, Chocolate Cream and Turkish Delight - to win either an Austin Mini or a 'magnificent' record player, simply by stating the order in which they would play certain records if they were a bona fide Disc Jockey. Given that even the Light Programme would probably have baulked at placing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones alongside Marcello Minerva and, erm, Glenn Miller by the mid-sixties, this must have taken some doing. Note also that the competition rules stress the need to behave like a real life DJ and put together a 'truly balanced family programme'. Moving rapidly on...

Not to be outdone, 'froth'-fixated polar bear 'Cresta' is moving with the format-upgrading times and offering a free cassette recorder on the condition that you can reassemble the lyrics of his signature song into the correct order. And of course purchase at least two bottles of a drink of such water pollution-threatening viscocity that they turned it into a key advertising point. Sorry, did we not mention that?

Yes, you heard. Whether you're settling down for The Generation Game, Parkinson and Match Of The Day, or Credo, Highway and Seal Morning, grab yourself a great big slab of butter and get scoffing. It's the law.

I have no idea what these two have been surprised in the middle of, but I suspect that it's best left that way.

Anyway, let's stop avoiding the elephant in the sweetshop. Surely there was a time before Nestle became enthusiastic sponsors of global evil and the focus of a billion Mark Thomas rants and dystopian rap songs and overall the sort of foodstuff manufacturer Skeletor might approve of, and were content to simply plug their taste-tastic wares in a nice, polite and wholly inoffensive way?

Yeah, good luck with that. Nice to see The Queen asked for her eyes to be blocked out to prevent identification, though.

For no reason other than a bit of a distraction from all that unpleasantness, here's a rare colour photo of Julian Chagrin and 'E.R.I.C', the man and the computer from, erm, TV's A Man And A Dog. Anyway, this is all just the tip of the Toblerone, so join us again next time for a second helping of glutinous sugary muck...