THE Tetley Tea folk are back. And they are not only adding a sparkle to television advertisements for one of the brews that cheer, they have also been credited for a surge in the popularity of flat caps.
Marks and Spencer has reported a rise in flat cap sales of 989 per cent – that’s 11 times higher than a year ago.
Tony O’Connor, head of design at M&S menswear, said, “We’ve seen an increase in sales of flat caps for men this season.
“With iconic characters such as the Tetley Tea folk back on our screens, and stars such as David Beckham and Justin Timberlake supporting the trend, the flat cap is having its moment.”
The Tetley Tea folk were television favourites from 1973 to 2001. Gaffer was originally voiced by Brian Glover and later by Bobby Knutt.
He and Sidney were well loved characters along with Maurice, Clarence (the waker-upper), Gordon, Tina and Archie.
They obviously still have a great fans base because already 65,000 people (and counting) have logged onto their Facebook site.
Adele Henkes, of Tetley, said the flat cap was a key characteristic of Tetley Tea folk. And she hinted there could be another trend about to start.
“We have been inundated with customer requests for an official Tetley Tea folk clothing line,” she said.
If they go ahead with the idea, the natural place to launch it would be Huddersfield.
For one, there are plenty of blokes living here who already dress like the tea folk. And for two, I’m sure Tetley tea started right here.
Brothers Joseph and Edward Tetley started selling tea from a pack horse in Yorkshire in 1822 and I am convinced that, in the mists of my time at the Examiner, I once discovered they had premises on Chapel Hill before they headed to London to build the empire that became Tetley.
Does anybody know if this is true?
The tea, of course, is not to be confused with that other brew that cheers: Tetley beer, which was founded in Leeds, also in 1822.
Now not many people know this (unless they look up it like I did on Wikipedia), but escape artist Harry Houdini toured the country in 1911.
He was locked in Huddersfield Police cells before one show, and let himself out with no bother at all.
But it was a feat too far when Tetley brewery challenged him to escape from a padlocked cask of ale.
Mind you, perhaps he wasn’t trying too hard, with a cask of best bitter to drink.