TV Tea

It's not normally the done thing around here to just post a load of photos with very little context or explanation, as, frankly, we're more about Buzzfax than Buzzfeed. But just recently I've come across this frankly bizarre running ad campaign in some old issues Radio Times, and I thought that it deserved a bit of a wider audience.

It's one of those ads for a generic product rather than an individual brand of the sort that you don't really see any more, in this case an attempt by the Tea Marketing Board to extend their 'Join The Tea Set' campaign - once so widely known as a slogan that it was namechecked in a single by mod/psych band The Eyes - to anyone who'd plonked themselves down in front of the telly for a good old watch of Quick Before They Catch Us. What's more, on at least one occasion, it explicitly references the BBC as the best accompaniment to a quick bit of tannin-slurping.

Quite what link they're trying to make between TV and Tea here is spectacularly unclear. There are some vague hints about how it might help to pass the time while TV 'Clown' and 'Girl' are pissing about for eight million years while you wait for your programme to start, or that drinking it might provide a sufficiently tranquilising dosage to prevent you from becoming too scandalised by the latest taboo-challenging instalment of The Wednesday Play, but in all honesty you could equally have placed an advert about how whiskey in general will enhance your ability to figure out what in the name of superfluous full stops was going on in the average episode of R.3. Or, as some wag is no doubt chortling to themselves by now, a sub-Rutles advert for drugs to take so you are all drugs when The Magic Roundabout is drugs on drugs, lol. And anyway, Blur might not have had quite so much success with a song called Tea And TV.

There have of course been many TV shows that tried punning on 'tea' as a titular gambit, from Dee Time and Rich Tea And Sympathy to Teetime And Claudia and Children's ITV's enduring sci-fantasy sitcom T-Bag And The Many Changes Of Title. Then there was of course TTV, which started as an insert in the disastrous early eighties Here Come The Zanies-era Play School reboot with a load of sub-Guy Smiley puppets parodying the recently-launched Breakfast Time, and subsequently inexplicably mutated into a programme in its own right featuring rancid puppet cat Scragtag introducing filmed inserts from on top of a bin. Yeah, so thanks for reminding me of that, Don Draper.

Anyway, here are all of the members of the purported 'Tea-V' set that I've been able to find so far, so why not stick the kettle on, put your feet up, and watch the tel... have yourself a read of some of the fine articles on this here site? You will, you will, you will, you will...

UPDATE! More examples of the ad campaign have now come to light, both of them with a bizarrely unrealistic 'tannins and Telegoons will get you in her pants' vibe...

And finally, as a bit of a bonus, here's a letter to Radio Times about the tea-drinking habits of your Top TV Pals:

You can find a lot more about a lot more obscure and forgotten TV shows in Not On Your Telly, which is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.