Sid the Salesman

As one of the most beloved stars of his generation, Sid James was the perfect choice when advertising executives were looking for a famous face to feature in their latest ad campaigns. Let's take a look at some of the publicity campaigns that Sid was a part of.

Unigate Dairies

On of the most fondly remembered advertising campaigns of the seventies, Unigate Dairies struck gold with the unseen characters The Humphreys. Anchored by the memorable slogan "Watch out, watch out, there's a Humphrey about!", this classic series of adverts saw a number of familiar stars of the time desperately trying to stop the Humphreys, armed with the familiar red and white-striped straws. from stealing their milk.

Along with our man Sid, seen in the video above, the Humphrey adverts also featured the likes of Benny Hill, Henry McGee, Barbara Windsor and, astonishingly, Muhammad Ali

Sparklets Beer

In real life, although he would often frequent whichever pub was nearest the film studio, Sid was more partial to spirits than beer. However, his enduring screen image of the lovable rogue - softened slightly by his role as Sid Abbott in Bless This House when he became everyone's ideal next door neighbour -  made Sid the ideal man to front a press campaign for Sparklets Home Brew Kits in the early seventies.

Murphy Televisions

 When you are looking to launch a brand spanking new television model, with a nineteen inch screen no less (!), it makes perfect sense to find the most popular small-screen stars of the day to act as the faces of your publicity campaign. By the time the Murphy Nineteen was ready to launch, Sid James was one of the most familiar faces on British television, with both Hancock's Half Hour and Citizen James attracting huge viewer numbers.

Shooter Snooker

There is little doubt that Bless This House marked a new chapter in Sid's career. Not only was the Thames show the most successful sitcom Sid had ever starred in, it changed his long-standing screen image from bird-chasing rogue to domesticated family man. This more family-friendly image, further heightened by Bless This House appearing in comic strip form in the hugely popular kid's magazine Look-In, led to toy manufacturer Aurora asking Sid to be the face of their new game Shooter Snooker.

Aurora also released a variation of the game called Pot-Shot Snooker, with Sid featured on the box once more, this time dressed in traditional snooker player garb, complete with bow-tie and waistcoat.


The British public found it easy to identify with Sidney James. His easy-going charm and in-built likeability, intertwined with a twinkling zest for life, made him one of the most loved stars of the time. Who better than Sid to open this brand new Tesco supermarket in Leicester?

The opening of this so-called 'wonder store' was a huge deal in 1961. Not only was this the first Tesco to open outside of the south of England, it was also the very first to offer homeware in addition to groceries. As reported in the Leicester Mercury, the revolutionary aspects of the store, coupled with the huge drawing power of Sid James, ensured that over 2000 people turned up for the grand opening, with police being called to keep things under control.

Whether he was playing a black-hatted villain in the Wild West or opening a supermarket in Leicester as himself, Sid was always, reassuringly, 'Sid'. And that's why we still love him so much.


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