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Thursday, 8 April, 1999, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
ET phones home again
It's good to phone home: ET comes back in ads for BT
Alien film star ET is coming back to British screens - as the star of a new advertising campaign for BT.

The telecommunications giant has signed up the creature - created by director Steven Spielberg in the 1982 film - to spearhead its new Stay In Touch campaign.

The advertisements feature ET, who famously wanted to "phone home", inspiring humans to improve their lives in the next century by developing their communications skills.

The ads start on 11 April with a "teaser" - which shows a light streaking across the sky and the alien's hand held out, with one of his long, spindly fingers extended.

The full campaign starts in May, marking the first time ET has appeared in anything since the original film.

Original film broke records

maureen lipman
Maureen Lipman: A former face of BT
The ads are part of a deal between BT and Universal Studios, as well as Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment outfit.

BT's UK group managing director, Bill Cockburn, said: "When ET was first on Earth he was only able to phone home.

"As we enter the 21st century, we provide many other options to stay in touch, be it through the Internet, data transfer or multi-media."

ET, which broke box office records at the time, was nominated for nine Oscars in 1983 and won four. It focused on the relationship between the homesick alien and a young boy, Elliott, played by Henry Thomas.

Most of the cast - which included a young Drew Barrymore - were relatively unknown at the time. Harrison Ford did play a school principal, but Spielberg cut his scenes fearing he would be a distraction.

The alien is the latest in a long line of faces promoting BT. They include comedian Hugh Laurie, and actors Bob Hoskins and Maureen Lipman.

He also follows in the footsteps of Buzby, the animated yellow bird who urged Britons to "make someone happy" with a phone call in the late 1970s.

See also:

19 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
Spielberg and Paltrow your Oscar winners
08 Apr 99 | The Company File
BT expands into China
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