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The name's Bond... Brooke Bond. How Louis and his Twycross chums made TV history ; MONKEY BUSINESS: WE LOOK BACK AT THE TWYCROSS ZOO CHIMPS WHO SHOT...

July 13, 2013

YellowBrix

The name's Bond... Brooke Bond. How Louis and his Twycross chums made TV history ; MONKEY BUSINESS: WE LOOK BACK AT THE TWYCROSS ZOO CHIMPS WHO SHOT TO FAME IN A FONDLYREMEMBERED TV ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

So farewell then, Louis the chimp, gone to the great tea break in the sky, or whatever form the afterlife takes for a simian star of iconic TV advertising campaigns.

Louis, who died on Monday, aged 37, after a short illness, was one of the original Twycross Zoo chimpanzees who found fame in the PG Tips commercials of the 1970s and '80s. The name's Bond, Brooke Bond, said a fondly-remembered voiceover, as Louis struck a debonair pose in a white dinner jacket, playing a spy who knew the secret of making a good brew.

The story of how the Twycross chimps found TV stardom dates back to the early 1960s.

The zoo's founder, Molly Badham, and her partner, Nathalie Evans, used to have chimps in their house for tea parties, which became firm favourites with visitors to the zoo.

PG Tips had been running ad campaigns starring chimps since the mid-1950s and word reached London about the teatime antics at Twycross.

COMMERCIALS In 1968, Sam the Leicestershire chimp made his TV debut, drinking a cuppa in an advert filmed at Fazeley, near Tamworth. It was a hit and a series was born.

Over the years, chimps from the zoo would film many more commercials.

Scriptwriters would tell Molly what they wanted the chimps to do before filming was to take place - and she would set to work training them.

Even today, more than a decade after the campaign ended, the adverts are fondly remembered. The one called Mr Shifter, in which two chimps push a piano upstairs (Dad, do you know the piano's on my foot? You hum it son, I'll play it!) broke the record for the most- shown advert on British television.

By the late 1970s Sam, Louis, Gill, Choppers and Noddy had all appeared before the cameras. They stayed in swish hotels, ate the finest food, had their chums round for tea parties... and they never complained that they only got paid'' in jelly babies.

The zoo styles itself as a World Primate Centre now. The days of dressing up chimps as removal men or housewives to entertain families with their suppers on their knees are long gone.

It'sh the tashte! went the old PG Tips slogan. And public tashtes have changed.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


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