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


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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home