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'Hovis boy' returns to push bike up iconic Gold Hill
THE child star of the famous Hovis TV advert has marked its 40th anniversary by pushing his bike up the iconic cobbled hill again.
Now 54, Carl Barlow required a bit more puff to ascend Gold Hill in Shaftesbury than he did as a 13-year- old, when he played a bakery delivery boy for the commercial.
He was filmed struggling to push a bike laden with freshly baked bread up the steep hill to 'Old Ma Peggotty's house', the last customer on his round.
The advert, which has been named the nation’s favourite, saw Shaftesbury standing in for a northern industrial town.
It was directed by Ridley Scott, who went on to make Alien, Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise.
Carl, a recently retired firefighter, returned to Shaftesbury after being asked to switch on the town's Christmas lights.
While there he took the opportunity to recreate the 1973 ad.
Carl, from Stratford, east London, recalled how he spent two days pushing the bike up and down the hill before Ridley Scott was happy.
He said: “I was 13 at the time and attending stage school when I was asked to audition for the part.
“Three boys were auditioned. One couldn’t ride a bike, one wasn't prepared to cut his hair and I was happy to do both.
“I seem to remember it was cold, but I soon warmed up as I had to push the bike up the hill many times for the best part of the two days filming on Gold Hill.
“After the advert I had some teasing at school due to the pudding basin- type haircut, but it was mostly in good fun.
“At the time I thought it was just an acting job and I had no idea it would grow to become the top advert in Britain, but it has got that nostalgic look that people like.”
Carl attended stage school but eventually gave up acting and joined the London Fire Service.
He added: “It was an honour to be asked to turn on Shaftesbury’s Christmas lights and really nice to come back and recreate such an iconic advert.
“Back then I thought going back down the hill on the bike was great fun but having had my picture taken again there is no way I would consider doing it now. It’s far too steep.”
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