What would you do for a bag of Tu-dah? As those of us old to remember these Tudor Crisps adverts from the 70s and 80s know only too well – they are worth climbing a mountain for.
Tudor Crisps were, of course, a north-east brand – if you hadn’t guessed from these extremely canny ads featuring crisp-obsessed likely lad Terry – that featured unlikely flavours such as Spring Onion, Pickled Onion and Tomato Sauce.
AdTurds – who still savours flavour – still has fond memories of the Spring Onion Tudors. They were later joined by ‘something a bit special’ in the shape of the ridged Tudor specials, featuring even less likely combos such as Roast Beef & Pickle, Gammon & Pineapple and Sour Cream & Chives.
I’m not sure whether to believe the Wikipedia entry on Tudor Crisps, but other flavours apparently included some foul offerings as Fried Onion, Fried Tomato & Bacon, Hot Dog & Mustard and even Kipper. Kipper-flavoured crisps. Fucking hell.
All the ads feature Terry, first as a wily paperboy conning a younger mate to deliver his papers to the Dunston Rocket, an incredible 29-storey brutalist tower block, now sadly demolished, in Newcastle. In exchange of a “bag ‘o Tu-dah” of course.
Next Terry returns as a fully-grown, though still snack-crazed, man to see his old boss and learn about the new flavours offered by Tudor Crisps. Having scoffed his way through a bag of the specials, Terry reveals he’s not exactly making his way in the world – instead he’s a chauffeur. There’s more than a whiff of Clement & Le Fenais to these ads – and that impression is confirmed when we hear who’s doing the voiceovers at the end.
Next up on Terry’s crisp-orientated rampage around his old haunts is a young floppy-haired student, who gets exactly what he deserves for not displaying the local lingo by having Terry scoff all his crisps and leave him high and dry on the A1 hard shoulder. What a bastard.
Still, it’s hard to stay angry at Terry and soon he has a hot date. It seems some pyar canny Geordie rumpy-pumpy is likely to take place in the back of Terry’s Rolls. And what could be better than a shag in a limo with the Tyne bridge lit up in the background?
I’ll tell you what could be better – a bag of Tudor Crisps Tomato Sauce flavour. Sharon is, understandably, disappointed at first, probably expecting something involving sausage at least. But she soon relents – and her moans of passion soon give way to the unmistakeable sound of Terry’s salty morsels being enthusiastically masticated.
The message? Well, clearly the love of Tudor Crisps can lead to sociopathic behaviour – and even to passing up clear offers of penetrative sex. To be fair, they must be some bloody good snacks.
The Geordie references? Count ’em. First there’s the all-toon cast, including Allen Mechen (spotted in such Tyneside classics as Spender and later as a Geordie baddie in Brookside) as Adult Terry. Then the homely voiceover of James Bolam, aka Terry Collier of The Likely Lads (and sequel Whatever Happened To…). The numerous shots of Newcastle landmarks of course. And finally the soundtrack to these Tudor Crisps adverts – The Blaydon Races, a song probably incomprehensible to anyone born outside a 50-mile radius of Gateshead.
Sadly Tudor went the way of all things in the early 90s, lost in the product mix of Walkers. In a final indignity the Tudors blue Salt & Vinegar and green Cheese & Onion bags were made to bow down to the Walkers cognitively-dissonant reverse branding. A bit like Henry VIII making Catholic bishops recant their religion, only with crisp packets.
Anyway, here’s the full gamut of Tudor Crisps adverts. Watch them – and I challenge you not to feel like it’s nearing teatime on a Friday afternoon in between Batfink and Rainbow.