Channel 5 is to air a documentary which will celebrate the biggest superstars in advertising history – the PG Tips chimps whose iconic adverts ran for almost 50 years and caught the imagination of the nation.
‘The Secrets of the Tea Chimps’ is the untold story of the simian stars who won our hearts aping humans to hilarious comic effect. The doc is packed with archive footage and candid testimonies from a former keeper and the writer and director that made some of the most famous tea chimps ads including Mr Shifter, the hapless removal ‘man’.
“From the 1950s to the 1980s the PG chimps made a huge impact on our national consciousness, but the extraordinary story of their rise to mega-stardom – and, indeed, the story of what happened to them afterwards – has remained something of a mystery. What this wonderful, warm-hearted documentary reveals will both charm and shock us.” – Simon Raikes, Commissioning Editor, Factual, Channel 5
The documentary tells the story of how the chimps came to be on our screens and what happened to them when the cameras stopped rolling and the problems they faced once the limelight faded.
The film is also a nostalgic look at a half-century social shift, harking back to an era when people accepted chimps being dressed up in clothes, riding bikes and smoking cigarettes. The PG Tips campaigns show the evolution of our national preoccupations and chart the rising aspirations of the working class as we see the chimps playing golf, tackling DIY and watching television.
‘The Secrets of the Tea Chimps’ takes a look at the woman at the heart of these endearing creatures lives, Molly Badham and her 18-year association with Brooke Bond. The end of the relationship, which cleverly paired these adorable primates and our national drink, led to problems of what to do with these out-of-work performers. The story follows the chimps’ retirement and what happened when one of the chimps came face-to-face with someone from their past!
Richard Osborne from Angel Eye Media, who exec produced the show, added:
“We’re thrilled to make this program for Channel 5 and hope it will captivate viewers as much as the original ads once did. They’re the most loved adverts in history but the story of how they came about has never been properly told.”
The programme has yet to be given an air date with the broadcaster only confirming the show will air ‘soon’.