Go To Work On An Egg Toast and Juice

The British Egg Information Service (BEIS) has been planning to relaunch a series of TV adverts featuring comedians Tony Hancock, Patricia Hayes and Pat Coombs, fifty years since the campaign first broke. However the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), which vets television advertisements before they are screened, said the campaign breached current Ofcom rules on promoting a varied diet. Eggs are OK but must be served with toast and fruit juice, ingredients missing in the original TV advertisements.

Tony Hancock and Patricia Hayes


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BEIS spokeswoman Amanda Cryer told The Guardian that the organisation was baffled by the watchdog’s decision.

“We have been shocked by this ruling, as eggs are a healthy, natural food which are recommended by nutritionists,” she said. “What’s more, there are no restrictions on the number of eggs people can eat, which was recently confirmed by the Food Standards Agency, and between five and seven eggs a week would be totally acceptable for most people. Many other advertisers clearly promote their products to be eaten every day, such as breakfast cereals, so we are very surprised that eggs have been singled out in this way.”

Writer Fay Weldon, the manager of the team that devised the campaign, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the miserable tone of Hancock’s character in the advertisements was based firmly on real life. “He hated doing them; he felt it was a great comedown; he didn’t want to do them, and did them as a kind of mockery,” she told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme. “I sat in the studio listening to him moaning and complaining, so we just wrote what he wanted … we just thought the truth might work best.”

Hancock’s Half Hour started on radio in November 1954. The series, set in 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, starred Hancock in a number of skits with comedians Sid James, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams. By 1956, the series had become so successful it transferred to Hancock’s Half Hour on TV. The radio show continued to run concurrently with the television version until 1959. The Go To Work On An Egg campaign was launched in 1957.

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The Go To Work On An Egg campaign can be viewed online at www.gotoworkonanegg.co.uk BEIS is giving away 250 commemorative DVDs featuring the ads at the end of July 2007. Send your name and address to gotoworkonanegg@britegg.co.uk to enter the draw.

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