29 March 2009

1987: "You Got An Ology?" Beattie Makes Her BT Debut...

Having been told by her grandson Anthony that he has failed most of his exams - only passing pottery and sociology, Beattie cries: "He gets an ology and he says he's failed... you get an ology you're a scientist..."

Beattie Bellman was created by Richard Phillips of the J Walter Thompson advertising agency in 1987. And she was originally to have been called Dora.

The BT Beattie ads were launched in late 1987. Maureen Lipman states in the 1989 script book You Got An Ology? that the recording of the first ten ads, accomplished in just over two weeks, took place either side of the great gale of October 1987!

Those first ten ads included the legendary "Ology".

Here's what a recent BT on-line history said about Mrs Bellman:

1987: A star is born and Beattie takes the nation by storm. Maureen Lipman's Jewish granny goes on to star in 32 TV commercials and contributes the word "ology" to the English language.

Beattie made her screen debut in December 1987.

Beattie's family, included husband Harry (Geoffrey Chiswick), son Melvyn (Linal Haft), and daughter Elaine (Caroline Quentin).

The phone Beattie used in the "ology" ad was a BT Tribune, released in 1987. This one is still in use on my hall extension. Nice design - it wasn't until the mid-to-late 1980s that push-button models really began to take over from the dial phone.

This ladies gown shop manager, played by Richard Wilson, is being driven to distraction by a telephone enquiry from Mrs Bellman.

Bernard Bresslaw and Miriam Margoyles played Gerald and Dolly, friends of Beattie and Harry.

During her screen appearances, Beattie met new technological marvels like cardphones, answerphones and car phones. Here she is on son Melvyn's car phone: "Over and out."

Elaine (Caroline Quentin), Beattie's daughter, with her daughter, Zara. Beattie was worried: "Look at that haircut! The poor child won't know whether she's Martha or Arthur!"

"You Got an Ology?" by Maureen Lipman and Richard Phillips, Robson Books, 1989. A fun read, containing twenty of the Beattie ad scripts and more!

The word "ology" became a major catchphrase and Beattie haunts Maureen Lipman to this day!

The ads won so many awards that Beattie must have had her mantelpiece reinforced with steel and concrete to support them all.

One of my all-time favourite ad series.

The 1987 BT "Ology" ad.


Glenda Young said...

Never mind an ology, did you know you got a mention in The Guardin on Saturday on their blog roll? It was in the Guardian Guide.

Drew said...

Oh, that's great! What can I say, except...

"FAME! I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly - HIGH! I feel it comin' together, people will see me and cry FAME!" - etc, etc, etc.

Now, where did I leave me deelyboppers?

Jenny A said...

We still laugh about the "ology" advert to this day. The 1980s had some great TV ads! This and the Scotch Video Tape Skeleton were my favourites.

Anonymous said...

A Heart Doodle, drawn by Maureen Lipman and personally signed by her, is being sold in a charity Ebay auction now. The doodle is among over 200 items on sale in the Cardiomyopathy Association’s auction that ends on eBay on Sunday, November 13th. The charity (reg charity no 803262) provides information and support to families affected by the heart muscle disease.
The item can be seen at Links from the item on that page will take you to the Ebay page.

Baskingshark said...

I remember these! In the ads with Melvyn's family, his wife (Beattie's daughter-in-law) is played by actress/comedienne Adrienne Posta even though Adrienne Posta is only four years younger than Maureen Lipman. They both starred together in the 1968 film Up The Junction, where they both played working-class girls who were the same age!