'Baldy' is no longer the face of fortune

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A bald man with a mesmerising stare who has dominated Christmas ads for Spain's biggest lottery, El Gordo, for eight years has been dumped for being too successful.

The Spanish state lottery said the mysterious, silent figure played by the British actor Clive Arrindell had begun to eclipse his message. In the ads he blows bubbles of fortune on to thrilled bystanders so that lottery tickets, then prizes, materialise in their hands.

Baldy ("El Calvo") had become synonymous with the festive season and the lucky spirit of its annual El Gordo draw, worth £1.7bn to the company. On the actor's rare public appearances, people rubbed their lottery tickets against him for luck.

Instead, this year's campaign will feature young people from Peru, China and the Caribbean in "a multicultural setting."