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Ridley Scott Associates was 40 years old last week. It was founded by Geordie Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner, Alien and Gladiator and currently working on ‘Nottingham’, a Robin Hood remake.
Scott’s break into the big time came in 1973 with what became one of the all-time classic TV adverts, a delivery boy freewheeling down a cobbled northern hill.
However, the director’s first film was ‘Boy and Bicycle’ (1965), starring Scott’s father and Tony Scott, his brother. This was shot on a budget of £65 using a 16mm cine-camera, borrowed from the Royal College of Art in London, where Scott was a student.
The film follows a boy as he decides to play truant and visits various locations around a northern seaside town on his bicycle. The film was on YouTube last year but was taken down. However, a short snippet has reappeared:
The full short can be found on the DVD of Scott’s first commercial movie, The Duellists.
The Hovis ad featured the cycling talents of Carl Barlow, then 13, now a 48-year-old fireman.
He said: “It was pure fate that I got the part as the Hovis boy. I was down to the last three, and it turned out that one of the two boys couldn’t ride a bike, and the other wouldn’t cut his hair into the pudding bowl style - it was the Seventies after all. As the only boy who could ride a bike and would cut his hair, I got the part.”
The ad is also famous for its soundtrack. In Britain at least, Dvorak’s ‘New World’ symphony - rearranged for brass - says ‘Hovis’ and ‘good, old, plain Northern values.’