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Jul. 13th, 2010

It’s not the first ad campaign that has tried to stimulate the audience’s interest by encouraging them to intervene in its storyline, but it’s certainly the most lacklustre. It’s apparently five years since Kris Marshall (him off My Family) and Esther Hall (her off Spooks and Waking the Dead, it says here) started making ads showing how BT products could be seamlessly integrated into the chaos of contemporary family life. He had moved in with her and her kids, the storyline went, and whatever challenges and obstacles this domestic situation might produce, at least they would all be able to rely on the phone and internet connectivity of a BT Home Hub.

This campaign rumbled on for about three years, troubling no-one particularly, and then Marshall, in real life, was hit by a car. At first there were fears that he had been seriously injured, but he made a full recovery. After that, though, something went very weird. The ads continued to be made but, as far as I can remember, at no point after Marshall's physical recovery did he and Hall appear on screen at the same time. The storyline took a new turn: his character had to move a long way away due to work and their long-distance relationship got a bit awkward for a while, but they were determined to make it work (in their separately filmed sequences). Eventually she asked his character (on the phone) to marry her, and around that time it became clear that the writers were trying to inject a note of suspense—would he say yes? Would he turn her down? Would the Home Hub keep disconnecting because the data limit had been exceeded? Was anyone actually invested in this thing?

By now, I was hooked. What was really going on with this situation? It seemed clear that Marshall’s real-life accident had had some kind of impact on his fictional character’s life. What would be the twist? Were the ads subsequent to the collision all just “Adam’s” dying thoughts about his newly adopted family? The episode where “Jane” appeared to tell people she was getting married didn’t even mention “Adam’s” name; was this a cruel flash-forward to her rebuilding her life after his untimely death and marrying someone else? Was some kind of alternate reality involved? Where, basically, was M Night Shymalan?

Now BT is apparently offering us the chance to decide this couple’s future. Rather than going the full Web 2.0, though, the makers are staying firmly in the 90s and offering us only two options to choose between, so we don’t have carte blanche to write in with something like “They can’t get married—he’s clearly her son”. If neither of the storylines on offer involves, at a minimum, “Adam” falling into a parallel dimension in 2008 and struggling ever since to find his way back, I will officially lose interest.

EDIT FEB 2011: BT's latest transmissions from inside Kris Marshall's head don't bode well:


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2010 10:07 am (UTC)
I think they should switch service providers.
Jul. 13th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
I particularly liked the break-up one where he was living in a grotty bedsit with studenty flatmate eating beans out of a tin, and he had a crap broadband connection, but hey presto, as soon as he switched to BT it was all spacious riverfront apartment and wood floors.
Jul. 13th, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
I always thought all the interiors are lit like the room they are in is floating in heaven and that I must have missed the first ad where the guy from My Family hangs himself with a new kind of telephone cord or something. Maybe God will turn out to be Buzzby?
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
A man who - as far as I can tell - spends his stag night watching 2 Girls 1 Cup with a bunch of fellow geeks? Creepy.
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
I hate the actors, the ads, and everyone who was involved in the ads, from conception to delivery. I have special wrath in my heart for the "dad" who calls his "daughter" Lucy Liu.
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC)
The comments are ace.

12 Jul 2010, 4:45PM
How about this for an ending...

Maureen Lipman (aka ''Beattie'') has been in prison for the last 20 years. We open on her in her cell doing press ups, with tattoos on her back depicting the horrible vengeance she is going to unleash on Adam and Jane for taking her place in the nation's favourite adverts. Adam and Jane have to go into hiding in the witness protection scheme. They end up together at last on an island in the middle of the Shetlands. Arh. But what's this...

The final shot is Maureen Lipman coming out of the sea like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.

Do I win a phone or something?

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12 Jul 2010, 4:46PM
How about Adam answers call from Jane on his mobile while driving, and has a fatal accident, ideally hitting a bike ridden by one of the children too.

Gets over the message about road safety and mobile phone usage.

In the followup, guilt-ridden Jane is attempting to call the Samaritans, but because she's moved to a cheaper phone provider is unable to get through, and instead kills herself and the remaining child.

Gets over the message that it's good to talk.

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12 Jul 2010, 4:46PM
On one hand I'd like to see them both hit by a bus on the way to the church, but on the other I think they should get married as they deserve a life of hell together.

He could catch a dose off a Thai hooker on his stag do and pass it to her on their honeymoon. I could live with that.
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)

BT is keeping the exact storyline that sets up the "choose the ending" dilemma under lock and key. But it involves something to do with a problem that Hall's character Jane is confronted with that is hinted at in an instant messaging session between her teenage son and Adam.

Jul. 13th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
Just as they are about to tie the knot, a BT spokesman shows up and presents them with an ENORMOUS phone bill.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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