East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at two gloriously 1980s ads on Telford

Once upon a time, quite some time ago, sub-par funk music was used to sell the joys of our New Towns. In our first clip, this was exactly what you got about Telford in the mid-to-late 1980s.

In the video, Telford is trumpeted as “a great start to a wonderful day”. A day trip which sees a 2.4 child family unit in a car on the M54 to the Shropshire New Town. As the video continues it send out a message that you have a Bullseye-style Fashion Spree in C&A, watch dancing barmaids dispensing your flat pint of Brew XI, or a squash match. Yes, a great place to look at some shops you may find at the Bull Ring, Mander or Arndale shopping centres.

Telford is predominantly an expanded version of two smaller towns, Dawley and Wellington. Before 1986, the New Town’s main station was in Wellington. Part of the Telford and Wrekin Borough Council boundary covers the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge and its most famous iron bridge. If you’re ever in Telford, I fully recommend the Blist’s Hill Open Air Museum. As a football fan, the main stand at The New Bucks Head offers a great view of the pitch at AFC Telford United’s games.

What is most unbelievable (not!) is how dated the electro-funk soundtrack is with today’s ears. It has that sort of Dad At The Disco (more specifically in the video clip, Cascades and Quenchers) schtick. In 1987, it lacked the sheen we were used to with groups like Imagination and Linx. Perhaps the real weakness lay in its lyrics instead of its musical arrangement.

On the other hand, the disco-funk version was a change from its previous ad seen below. That of typical Development Corporation style Telly Selly Time* filler material, boasting about distances from the nearest big city. Also its sports and recreation facilities and the boast you could always find something to do without leaving the New Town itself. Which is no bad thing, though on some occasions you wouldn’t mind seeing your grandma in Bloxwich (via the M54 or Telford Central railway station).

Behind the next door, we shall be going to Scotland, to a town that inspired a classic 1980s film. Don’t touch that dial!

S.V., 05 December 2021.

* If you remember TISWAS, that was what they used to call the ad breaks instead of End of Part One, Part Two, End of Part Two, etc.

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