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The fascinating story behind the new ‘I’m a Secret Lemonade Licker’ ad

One of the most famous adverts on UK television is being resurrected after a successful campaign to track down its original stars.

The Secret Lemonade Drinker, which famously featured Elvis Costello’s father Ross MacManus singing a jingle, was first shown in 1973 and starred actor Julian Chagrin as a man sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to feed his addiction to fizzy drinks before being discovered by his wife.

The Secret Lemonade Drinker and his wife featured in an R White’s TV advert ran for more than a decade

Chagrin, who moved to Israel 20 years ago, was easily found by advertising executives wanting to make a new version for an ice-lolly but they struggled to track down his co-star Harriet Philpin.

The actress, who now lives in Ireland, said she only found out about the plan when her son spotted an appeal for her whereabouts in a London newspaper.

She said: “My son rang me up and said ‘you won’t believe it mum, you’re in the papers over here, R White’s has spent months searching for you’.

“I got straight on the phone and was thrilled to be invited back on set with Julian to recreate the magic of the 70s for the new lolly.”

The new advert, with opens with 72-year-old Chagrin creeping down the stairs in the middle of the night to a new ‘I’m a Secret Lemonade Licker’ song before being caught by his wife, will be shown tonight on retro TV channel Gold at 8.15pm.

Chagrin said: “It is amazing if not a little surreal to be recreating this R White’s advert. It has been an honour to be a part of a campaign which was taken to the nations’ hearts and I hope that this revival will mean that a new generation can also enjoy it.”

– Robert Dex


2 thoughts on “The fascinating story behind the new ‘I’m a Secret Lemonade Licker’ ad”

  1. The original commercial was filmed in my house in Weybridge, Surrey, I was co Producer for Abacus Film Productions who were the company commisioend to prodcue this commercial for Advertising Agency Allen Brady & March. The Dog used was my Afghan Hound – Bonny.
    Happy Memories.

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