Advertising: BT and a boy in the hood

A whole minute of Quiet Jake, the Morose Middle-class Teenager, could drive you spare. He's worse than monosyllabic; it's sign language – nods and shakes – for everything. His family are worried already. At home – it's got that white southern middle-class feel, the Barnes/Twickenham/updated Brit sitcom look – you can see his mother's wondering if he's got a big problem.

A whole minute of Quiet Jake, the Morose Middle-class Teenager, could drive you spare. He's worse than monosyllabic; it's sign language – nods and shakes – for everything. His family are worried already. At home – it's got that white southern middle-class feel, the Barnes/Twickenham/updated Brit sitcom look – you can see his mother's wondering if he's got a big problem.

And he's the same at school, dreamy and removed. At the chippie, in a hoodie plus a woolly (the middle-class romance of the last surviving prole caterer in SW18), he's just as bad. And when his mother picks him up in the car, he stares out the window while she natters on, his woolly pulled down over his ears. He can't say a thing to a soul.

And back home in the evening it's no better. He's into the middle distance like the fish in the tank (project for culture studies: examine the role of domestic fish tanks as symbols of alienation in British television commercials 1993-2003).

But at the end of this immensely long (60-second) commercial, Jake's on a brown leather sofa, on the telephone, totally thawed out, jabbering away like a girlie, involved and gossipy. "Oh, it was so good, and then Johnny had to go..." And only BT telephones can do this – it's the latest in the BT "bringing people together" series.

So if you've got a mid-teen boy, confused by surging hormones, paralysed with shyness, utterly unable to look anyone in the face, find him a phone pal and let him develop a massive telephone habit. Let him monopolise the line as your daughter used to, and let him get in touch with his feelings. Indeed, get downright incontinent.

It's powerfully affecting, a familiar problem, nicely cast and nicely made. But, but, 200 per cent of mid-teens have mobiles and that's what he's going to be doing, surely, in the garage or the shed.

And now that there are so many telephone providers it's getting harder – not impossible but harder – to brand the generic advantages, as against service, schemes and new tech.

Harry Enfield's Kevin and Perry are central to all this. They seem to have borrowed the family (Mum could even be the same actress) and social setting, the mood swings and the hoodies and woollies. But Jake, pale, goofy-toothed and floppy blond, is an absolute ringer for the young Robin Gibb.

peter@sru.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Manager

£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Analyst

£50,000 - £60,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with previou...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor