Peter York On Ads

Mum hopes that till-death-us-do-part sex will sell even to Britons

Men had always believed they could make first-class babies until they croaked it. They'd cite 'Star Trek' Scotty (James Doohan) or Des O'Connor, who were both fertilising in their 70s and beyond, and ignore the rest. Leave aside the question of equipment failure – crucial until the Viagra decade – men sustained themselves with the idea that there was no male menopause and it was all there, power in reserve. Hyperactive teenage sperm thrashing around just waiting to get out there and in there. So last week's big report showing men go mouldy from 35, producing fewer, lower-quality sperm with every passing year, must have been a downer for every fat baldy in denial.

The idea of Everlasting Love, with that side of life continuing despite stress, bad backs, morbid obesity or terminal boredom, is a nice one in principle but worrying in practice. It's the stuff of Euro-comedy and European advertising. But it's not 100 per cent us.

'No Sex Please, We're British' – one of the more brilliant lines of the post-war world – actually opened in 1971 as a West End farce. It ran for nearly a decade. It's about as relevant to 21st century British behaviour as the book 'Major Thompson Lives in France' (1959) or a 'Carry On' film.

But there's a legacy. While our behaviour has moved towards the downright barbaric – mainstream Europeans are shocked at our bottom-flashing, pavement-sicking, predatory bike-shed, bunk-up teens – we still find continental romantic soft-porn a bit much. We'd rather they played it for laughs. Euro-trash, with its unfeasibly giant boobies and silly willies, presented by that unstoppably supercilious "ironic" Frog, Antoine de Caunes, initially with Jean-Paul Gaultier in a kilt, showed they'd got our number.

The 'Newsweek' account of the Max Mosley affair was headlined "Kinky Sex Please, We're British". All British gents of a certain age, so this Do-They-Mean-Us view goes, like spanking and 'Allo Allo' costumes. Depend on them for satisfying outcomes.

That's why increasing numbers of British viewers will find themselves thoroughly rattled by the new Mum commercials. They propose Everlasting Love with a definite physical side to things and a plangent piano music track. They start like an old-fashioned film trailer with young Kim and Fernando getting it on in a car while the rain buckets down outside. They're young and gorgeous, so tongues seem OK. They've been together for eight years. Then it's Anna and Marc, clamped together, out on the front step. They look pretty much the same age but they must be owner-occupiers because they've been together for 16 years.

Mick and Zoe, well-dressed 40-somethings, have clearly made it. Their kitchen location is wall-to-wall stainless steel. You'd think that would be distracting but they're still at it after 23 years. But there's more. Mick and Helena seem to be on the cash-out "liquidity event", long-haul retirement holiday of a lifetime, silhouetted against the sea and the sky, framed by palm trees. They've done 34 years together. At this point viewers all over Ambridge are starting to fret and turn away from the TV. And terrible thoughts are coming unbidden. Plummeting dentures. rock-star seizures, that kind of thing.

But there's worse. Mary and Frank – locked in bed together after 59 years. Him apparently naked. What's their secret? Mum deodorant has apparently kept the home fires burning since the Forties. How insanely romantic is that?

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments