It’s amazing what a lot of fuss an advert can create, isn’t it? Some people simply see an advert: others see something sinister and malevolent, which is full of subliminal and symbolic messages. So, what’s the advert is question? Well, it’s the BBC Christmas ‘Consider yourself at home’ advertisement, featuring a host of television stars, and a grand piano and a traditional chesterfield sofa. The aim of the advert presumably, is to draw attention to the Christmas scheduling and emphasise the homely, all-inclusive feel of the BBC family. Nothing wrong with that you might say, and you’d be quite right.
The problem is others don’t see it quite like that: the odd one, like David Icke actually thinks the advert hides some dark, symbolic and overly-commercial message. Now we’re not prepared to sit down with the remote control, watch each frame in minute detail and analyse every single shot, because we’d probably just freeze frame on the sofa. The Chesterfield Sofa Company would rather just take it at face value– a festive advert with lots of TV celebrities and a rather fetching crimson velvet coloured chesterfield sofa. Granted, we’d probably say the real star of the advert is the chesterfield settee, but we’re more than a little biased on that score. As the advert says, ‘consider yourself part of the furniture’: now we’ll drink a Christmas toast to that, as long as the furniture is chesterfield furniture.
Leaving David Icke and his conspiracy theories aside, the advert does have one or two anomalies that have set tongues wagging. For instance, why is David Jason the main character when he’s mainly associated with ITV these days? What’s Doctor Who up to with the Cyberman? Does Lenny Henry always try to kiss someone by falling on top of them? Why are Frank Skinner, Kevin Bridges and Lee Mack in the advert when they’re not part of the BBC Christmas scheduling? And, perhaps most importantly of all, why aren’t Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley featured? After all, the Absolutely Fabulous special is the main draw of the BBC’s Christmas programming. The simple answer is no, one knows, and frankly most of us don’t really care one way or another.
Perhaps we should just accept the advert for what it is – a harmless piece of festive fun, set in a typical living room with all the creature-comforts you’d expect in the twenty first century: a blazing fire, a Christmas tree and an inviting-looking chesterfield sofa. Ok, we’d accept that most typical living rooms might not have the space or the wherewithal to run to the cost of a grand piano, and even if we did, we wouldn’t necessarily pay Graham Norton to play it for us. Other than that, it rings true. If you could picture the ideal festive living room, then it would probably look something like that, especially if there was a traditional chesterfield sofa to curl up on.