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Thread: Mr Shifter and his Removal Men

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Nottingham, UK
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    Default Mr Shifter and his Removal Men

    Does anyone remember a promotional LP that was probably given away in an offer with PG Tips teabags in probably the late 1970s or early 1980s - probably closer to the early 1980s? It was one that was aimed at children I assume, and was a story and nursery rhyme song LP which was obviously part speech, part music - I believe that it was played at 33⅓ RPM, lasting around 22 to 23 minutes each side, totalling around 45 minutes in total. With regards to tea, I usually drink Tetley rather than PG Tips so I would be none the wiser in any case!

    I saw an album on Ebay a few years back which proved to me that it existed. A member of my family probably borrowed a copy from a friend and recorded it onto one side of a C120 audiotape, probably because I have never seen the LP in my former home anyway - this must have been from around August 1982 when she did this as the final 15 minutes of that side of the tape was made up of Sunday teatime chart hits on Radio 1 with a few seconds of Tommy Vance's voice in between the songs (Yazoo, Irene Cara, etc), and so as a result of that, I assume that the offer was on in early 1982? My family never really drank PG Tips - (my late mother usually drank Camp Coffee and only drank tea if she was at a café when visiting Skegness or somewhere like that). It was probably one of those "send six tokens" or something to Brooke Bond to get the LP delivered to your address.

    I believe that the LP in question was a promotion on behalf of PG Tips and it had stories which was based on the classic "Tour de France" and "Mr Shifter" PG Tips adverts which were running on TV in the 1970s and early 1980s.

    There were three stories on the LP which were read by Bernard Cribbins: -

    1) The first story was called "Cyril the Cyclist" which of course fitted in with the Tour de France PG tips advert - Cyril takes part in the Tour de France - he wins the cycle race even though it looks as everyone else will beat him as he gets a puncture on his bike. A girl in the crowd notices him - he used French to speak to this French girl who he later proposed to and had replied positively to the proposal in broken English.

    2) The second story was about a Greek, Spanish or Italian couple or family who ran a fish and chip shop who went on holiday for two weeks - I can't imagine the subject of fish and chips actually fitting within a PG Tips advert unless it was something which was shown before I was born - I know that people enjoy a cup of tea with a fish and chip meal but that is where the comparisons seem to end.

    3) The third story about Mr Shifter and his Removal Men which of course was the title name of the LP itself and was based on the Mr Shifter TV advert. Shifter's son was someone who wanted to leave school and join a pop band or something - and he was also heard during the final nursery rhyme song towards the end of the LP.

    In between those stories we had "Arnold Shifter" who happened to be the late John Junkin, and was supposed to be the Mr Shifter from the TV adverts who was singing nursery rhyme-type songs such as "London Bridge is Falling Down", "Pop Goes the Weasel", and probably "The Grand Old Duke of York" - although I haven't heard it for 30 years now and so my memory of it isn't that good now. The noise wasn't too good even though it was probably recorded from a hi-fi directly to tape at the time - the sound distorts a bit during the songs from what I remember listening to the tape back in the mid 1980s when they were mostly Low Noise ones.

    I don't know whether any of you drank PG Tips back in the late 1970s or early 1980s but did anyone on here actually send off for the offer and had owned a Mr Shifter LP as a result, or even have pictures of the record? Perhaps you remember the offer of the LP appearing on packs of PG Tips teabags as well and the pictures of that are online somewhere? Anyone with memories of the LP or pictures of it please post them as I would be interested to see them!
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    UK
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    Default Re: Mr Shifter and his Removal Men

    There was a similar, but updated thing in the 00s - a DVD featuring Johnny Vegas and his sidekick, Monkey, with an accompanying tea towel - which had to be sent off for
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    2,066

    Default Re: Mr Shifter and his Removal Men

    I might write to Unilever UK (makers of PG Tips) and see if they remember it - I assume however that their archives don't go back that far.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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