Sid Gibson (Sidney James) is a soap powder salesman who decides what he really needs is some TV advertising. Unfortunately, he’s absolutely broke.
Sid calls upon his friend Arthur Ashton (Arthur Askey) – a make-up man for the non-commercial National Television channel (a thinly-disguised BBC) – who arranges to sneak a plug for Sid’s product – ‘Bonko’ – into a live broadcast of a TV variety show.
The TV plug sends the sales of ‘Bonko!’ soaring but Arthur gets the sack – along with cameraman Jack (Bernard Cribbins) – for breaking the strict ‘no advertising’ rules on the National Television network.
Arthur and Sid then concoct ever more outrageous ways to save costs on advertising by plugging products during live broadcasts such as the Ascot races, a production of Swan Lake at the Edinburgh Festival (where they plug ‘Slap Happy Cake Mix’ for a customer) and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Today, it would be called “guerilla marketing”.
Along the way, Sid and Arthur also help foil a gang of robbers. A host of stage and screen stars of the day appear in cameo roles.
National TV Director-General
Commercial TV director
The Television Toppers
The Penge Formation Dancers
Mail Van Robber