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BT - the Bob Hoskins adverts from the mid 1990s

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  • BT - the Bob Hoskins adverts from the mid 1990s

    British Telecom (its 1980s name), or of course, BT (its 1990s-to-present name), was shaking off its mustard yellow van and "yuppie" image inherited from the late 1980s of hand-held phones, (and sadly its GPO inherited red telephone boxes, a British institution), not to mention Maureen "an ology" Lipman (long before she inherited Duckworth Towers in Corrie) insisting that if it wasn't good enough for Mrs Jones, it wasn't good enough for her and so by the mid 1990s, who else but Roger Rabbit star the late Bob Hoskins appeared in the ad break of, what is now, many an off-air recording from 25 years ago, insisting that "it's good to talk", trying to defend himself from all the rival cable and mobile companies that were cropping up. Not to be confused with stalker Robert Hoskins from around the same time.

    My family had been with BT since the mid 1990s and I had even got myself a Chargecard - use in a phone box, call your Mother to say that you will be late because of a bad weather, traffic jam, detention etc, and it will appear on your telephone bill in the same was as making the call at home. Not to mention the Friends and Family service - except that not all numbers dialed were of friends or family. Around 1994 we were on the Friends and Family scheme and around the same time we were experiencing some anti-social behaviour by some local youths - we had called our pre-101 local police station number so many times to report it that the police station telephone number was on the top five of most dialed telephone numbers, and so we got a bit of a discount by BT when we had to report some anti-social behaviour, and so we should have thought of it as a form of compensation for what we had suffered back then.

    Going back to the mid 1990s BT ads, (which seem to crop up on so many mid 1990s off-airs of films and all that on ITV and Channel 4), I have to admit that Hoskins was a bit like Marmite in the ads - part of me liked him while part of me didn't, but then when Rory McGrath (the Jeremy Beadle lookalike who appeared in that vulgar sports quiz They Think It's All Over), it was a case of "out of the frying pan". Still, Hoskins did seem to be the face of BT for a couple of years and helped uphold the brand. And that "Happy Talk" music which was played during the final seconds of each advert, but at least Captain Sensible didn't sing it. Did Hoskins have a BT account himself? We will probably never know that. Just like a lot of people, I did wish that Bob Hoskins could pay my telephone bill back then (Premium Rate numbers, no way).

    I don't suppose that it influenced anyone to join BT? I am certain that people joined back then for reasons other than Hoskins promoting them.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    I suppose he was better in Who Framed Roger Rabbit...
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

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