Biscuits, beaks and bad hair. (My first ever TV commercial.)

My first foray into the world of TV advertising happened at the tender age of seven. No, I wasn’t a child genius. I was an extra in a commercial for Penguin biscuits. Back in the days when P-P-PICK UP A PENGUIN was part of the national vernacular.

The shoot was over two days in a rather grim seaside fairground in Portobello, Edinburgh.

The reason why my school was chosen is now lost in the mists of time. But I do remember each of us was to be paid the princely sum of £5. In 1974 a fiver bought you a lot of Penguin biscuits.

Unfortunately that longed-for crisp fiver never came within a mile of my grubby schoolboy palm. My wily headmaster sent a letter to all parents saying that while of course they were perfectly entitled to accept the fiver for their offspring’s thespian endeavours, wouldn’t it be better spent as a donation to the school?

How could they refuse.

So I was screwed on the fee, but thanks to the genius of YouTube, I’m ensured a tiny space in the history of TV advertising.


And by the way, I’m the fair-haired kid in the red shirt, waving as the dodgem cars go past.

Those were the days.

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