Peter York on Ads: In the gravel drives of Freeland the car is not the star

Freelander
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The Independent Online

Where exactly is Freeland? Obviously it's that territory of the mind where you think you need a Freelander, which is a kind of Range Rover sub-brand of car/tank cross-breed. But do you see it as, say, Botswana? Or the muddier bits of Gloucestershire? Or perhaps the urban jungle, your missus up high and protected in her leather trousers taking your little darlings to their Hampstead prep school? (Did you know that Hampstead is the prep school centre of the western world? - those massive Norman Shaw houses are naturals for New Victorian Values private education.)

Where exactly is Freeland? Obviously it's that territory of the mind where you think you need a Freelander, which is a kind of Range Rover sub-brand of car/tank cross-breed. But do you see it as, say, Botswana? Or the muddier bits of Gloucestershire? Or perhaps the urban jungle, your missus up high and protected in her leather trousers taking your little darlings to their Hampstead prep school? (Did you know that Hampstead is the prep school centre of the western world? - those massive Norman Shaw houses are naturals for New Victorian Values private education.)

The Freelander people themselves seem to think it's in one of the broodier bits of Surrey, judging by their new commercial. It's a Home Counties beauty spot where no one farms or shoots and the land's parcelled up into biggish detached houses with a third of an acre each.

It's popular murder territory too. Second only to Midsomer Worthy in the British TV crime rate figures. And if you look at your TV homicide trends, you'll know there are a lot more homicidal women around now. Women commit something between 20 and 30 per cent of all TV murders on a good day. David Blunkett's altogether too complacent about it. He should do something about the lesbians too. They're responsible for a steeply rising proportion of UK TV land female homicides.

It follows that the woman in the Freelander commercial is clutching a Psycho-sized kitchen knife when we first see her in the kitchen. And that they're using that dark green filter called Menace. And that there's some slo-mo as she runs upstairs for her gun, which is in one of those lovely transparent Perspex drawers where you see all your scarves at a glance. Then she's rushing back down to the door, deadheading some black tulips on the way - it's neo-noir territory.

And then she's in the gravelled drive, the spiritual dead centre of the Home Counties sensibility. Her husband - it's the only possible term - is ahead of her in the driving seat of the Freelander thing. And she's pointing the gun at his ear. At this point there's only one thing you'll be wanting to know - so what was the house like? Thirties sub-Modernist in white-painted rendering with black Crittall metal windows, vaguely modish. Interior with Sixties revivalist big repeat wallpaper panels - very modish.

After a bit of second-hand movie business with gun cocking and ear cocking, she fires in the air, of course, starting-pistol fashion, and he's off down the lane grinning. Down past Amersham or Marlow, Hindhead or Horsham, on to the open road to the sea. She's got early Christine Keeler hair and the voice-over is what we entertainment industry insiders call "New Irish". As for the car, I can't help you there matey.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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