Dom Joly: Judith Chalmers' powers work on my Canadian in-laws

 

Share
Related Topics

I remember reading an article about major celebrities raking in the money by doing naff adverts in Japan which they thought nobody would ever see.

I can totally understand the appeal – Japan is the kind of place that sees nothing weird in mixing cool and cash. Things in North America, particularly Canada, are slightly different. Here, they use Brits or Europeans in ads to try to persuade consumers that we know about things that they don't. This was why I was quite surprised to see an ad last night featuring Judith Chalmers.

"Hello, I'm Judith Chalmers," said Judith Chalmers.

"Have you ever heard of Judith Chalmers?" I asked my in-laws. They had never heard of Judith Chalmers. Judith Chalmers was on Canadian television to tell them about some dodgy-looking machine that did something to encourage circulation. Judith Chalmers started to talk to some British couples who all nodded enthusiastically at Judith Chalmers and professed that the circulation machine really helped their... circulation. It looked as if nobody in Britain was without one of these miracle machines in their sitting room.

"Is this machine big in the UK, then?" asked my in-laws. The powers of Judith Chalmers were obviously working. "I don't think so," I replied, admittedly without knowing much about the world of circulation machines that looked a little like foot spas. Judith Chalmers had obviously been picked because she looked like a trustworthy type of Brit.

In the past, there used to be a channel that ran "infomercials" – full half-hour ads masquerading as some kind of daytime "home" show. The star of these was a skinny little cockney "fella" who looked as though he had spent most of his life in petty crime before having to escape UK shores and relocate to North America. This guy would sell everything.

Thinking about it, he might be partly responsible for the way Canadians view us as characters from Mary Poppins (something I alluded to a couple of columns back). He used to wear a Union Jack waistcoat and looked to me like the most untrustworthy man I'd ever seen. He was a classic Del Boy character, but I think this was lost on Canadian audiences who seemed to think he was "charming" and "fun" as he danced about like some monkey on a barrel organ.

Once again, the implication was that everyone in the UK was using the machines he used to demonstrate: miracle vacuum cleaners that could suck up oil slicks in 10 seconds or kitchen knives that could cut through solid brick with no pressure. The general theme was why have the Brits been hiding all these amazing innovations from Canadians?

But despite the British chef invasion of Jamie and Gordon, et al, we are still, as a nation, not really trusted in the kitchen. In the world of Canadian advertising, this is given over almost entirely to huge fat Italian chefs whose grasp of the English language is non-existent. There seems to be some unwritten TV law over here that chefs must be incomprehensible in order to appear genuine. I watched one guy speak to us from his "Tuscan Kitchen"– clearly a set in downtown Toronto. "Theeeesss eees maripananzi cuminangine feeerst you streen thee eeegplanta," he intoned. I didn't get it.

My mother-in-law, however, was absolutely transfixed. "This guy is a genius," she said.

I've been sitting watching this stuff for too long, my circulation is getting sluggish. If only there was a machine that could help me out...



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement