TONY ON TV: Going back in time to the golden days of ad breaks

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VISITING Kirkby library, I espied a DVD that took me back in time to a simpler world of TV.

‘Classic TV Commercials of the 50, 60s and 70s’ was a near two-hour breeze through the golden days of advertising on television (much of it from the USA), which in Britain started in September 1955 when ITV marked its opening night with its first on-air advert - 70 seconds given over to Gibbs SR toothpaste, the extra initials denoting Sodium Ricinoleate used by dentists to treat gum infection.

The ad, featuring a tube of toothpaste frozen in a block of ice with the voiceover ‘It’s tingling fresh. It’s fresh as ice’, might have been seen by only a small number of viewers, but Gibbs got their message over first, having beaten off competition from more than 20 would-be advertisers, including Guinness, Surf, National Benzole petrol, Brown & Polson custard and Summer County margarine. Fast forward nearly 60 years and it seems at times as if the ads are longer and/or more annoying than of recent years, although some do manage to say so much in so little time.

My current favourite is the Aldi ad as the old woman says ‘my husband likes this champagne and this champagne/ I don’t like my husband/ I like waiters’, a simple message that’s in contrast to some of the wordy and weird ads with exploding paint pots, rainbow-coloured smoke and speeding couples oblivious of other motorists or road safety.

Back at base, it’s time to get ready for the next episode of ‘Broadchurch’ (ITV1, Monday), a series exploring what happens to a small community in Dorset when it comes under the media spotlight after the mysterious death of an 11-year-old boy.

Leading the police investigation is David Tennant as Det Insp Alec Hardy, an out-of-town, newly promoted police detective who takes the job local girl Det Sgt Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) believes should have been hers. Ellie has to find reserves of patience and toughness to negotiate a professional relationship with Hardy. Yet as the drama progresses, Hardy’s own secrets are laid bare.

Today at 10pm on BBC2, it’s the final for ‘Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe,’ a quirky look at news, film, TV and online offerings, while over on C4 Caroline Aherne hosts the first of a four-part ‘Googlebox,’a Royle Family-style look at the best and worst of TV as seen from her sofa-bound know-alls.