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Hundreds of Valerie Singletons celebrate lost McCain ad

LONDON – Hundreds of people descended on London's Soho wearing Valerie Singleton masks yesterday to promote 25 years of McCain oven chips and the screening of a lost ad that the former 'Blue Peter' presenter starred in 25 years ago.

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The ad, which airs this Sunday during 'Coronation Street', is a three-and-a-half minute digitally remastered version of a short film Singleton made in 1979 to mark the launch of oven chips, then an innovation.

The film showed Singleton speculating about what the future may hold and was only designed to be screened internally to staff at McCain as a way to mark the launch and never received a wider audience. The company is reported to have come across the film while preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of oven chips.

Naomi Tinkler, a spokesperson for McCain, said: "No one in 1979 could have predicted the bizarre story of this film's loss, re-discovery and how, 25 years later, it would finally make its TV debut."

Singleton said she was surprised that McCain contacted her because she had forgotten about making the film.

TBWA\London won the £15m McCain Foods account in May 2003 following the closure of D'Arcy and a subsequent pitch. Some of McCain's best known products include HomeFries oven chips, Stringfellows, Southern Fries, Micro Chips, Mega Micro Chips, Home Roasts, Savoury Wedges, mashed potato Smiles and Hash Browns.

Singleton joined 'Blue Peter' in 1962 and was with the show for 11 years. After leaving Blue Peter in 1973, she continued to make TV appearances and presented Radio 4's 'The Money Programme'.

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