The Hammer Horror and Carry On star appears in the sort of TV commercial that would not be allowed today.
Madeline Smith was one of – if not the – sexiest of the 1970s British glamour girls, known for her work in both Hammer and Carry On films as well as iconic appearances in movies like Theatre of Blood, Up Pompeii, Live and Let Die and The Amazing Mr Blunden. Her talent for comedy – often sending up the whole dolly bird image while simultaneously living up to it – and an actual acting ability that was above and beyond that of many of her 1970s rivals – ensured that she maintained a career beyond that of many Seventies glamour girls and was only wound down by her own decision to scale back work in order to raise her family. She would remain a cult icon throughout subsequent years and could be found in more recent years on Blu-ray extras and at cult movie festivals – and in 2011 she returned to acting. Having worked with her some years ago, I can confirm that she is genuinely lovely – everything you hope that the glamour girls of the 1970s would be.
Back in 1975, she appeared in a gloriously kitsch TV commercial for SuperSoft shampoo, the like of which would be unthinkable today. The basis of the commercial is that Maddy is about to be kidnapped and.. erm… ‘pillaged and plundered’ by Vikings. Indeed, a lusty Viking breaks into her hut and takes her away, ensuring that as much cleavage as was acceptable in a 1975 TV ad is exposed in the process. As dubious narratives go, the idea that washing your hair in a certain shampoo prepares you for a night of ‘pillaging’ is certainly up (or down) there with the most dubious. But let’s not take this too seriously – clearly, the ad is spoofing the whole Viking mythology and is not an apology for sexual assault. Nevertheless, you would imagine that today this would be yanked off air immediately should any ad agency be foolish enough to pitch it in the first place.
Maddy is, as you might expect, effortlessly sexy throughout. How this sold shampoo to women is open to question. It didn’t do any harm to the brand though – SuperSoft is still available to this day.
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