on the box

Click to follow
Having peeked behind the doors of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in True Brits, the BBC is now training its cameras on the Ministry of Defence. Broadcast in five parts on BBC1 from 8 August, Defence of the Realm explores some of the country's most secretive organisations. Series producer Richard Bradley has filmed the nuclear bunker below Whitehall and the firing-room of a Trident submarine. Nicholas Soames MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces and apologist for Prince Charles on the night of Diana's Panorama interview, gives another typically robust performance. "We are blessed by our armed forces," he says. "If British industry was run by the armed services, we'd be bloody Japan!"

Further evidence of our love for all things military is provided by the viewing figures for the week ending 24 June. Channel 4's second most popular programme (after Brookside) was Foreign Legion, which signed up 4.82 million viewers. Marching not far behind with 3.92 million was Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam war film, Full Metal Jacket.

This month sees the 40th anniversary of the conception of the longest- running British TV advertising campaign: the PG Tips chimps. In July 1956, a bright-spark adman was racking his brains for a way to promote Brooke Bond tea when he happened to witness a chimpanzees' tea party on a stroll through London Zoo. A (simian) star was born. Since then, the chimps (above) have featured in more than 100 commercials and been voiced by performers as diverse as Peter Sellers and Kenneth Williams. The 1971 "Mr Shifter" ad - featuring the classic exchange: "Dad, do you know the piano's on my foot?", "You hum it, son, I'll play it." - has made the Guinness Book of Records as the most-shown commerical on British TV, with more than 2,000 screenings. Campaign magazine summed up its success: "Animals. We love 'em all, especially those sweet, furry chimps."

Comments