BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 17 September, 1999, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Ronnie Biggs is back
ronnie bigs
Biggs: promoting new hair treatment
Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is claiming to have escaped from one of the most visible signs of ageing - and he's ready to tell the world about it.

The 70-year-old fugitive, who still lives in Brazil, is appearing in a hair replacement commercial.

The advert will be seen on TV in two months' time - and it'll be in newspapers from 20 September.

Biggs will become the latest well-known name to seek a solution to his baldness by undergoing hair replacement treatment at the Advanced Hair Studio.

Celebrity endorsement

Other celebrity clients include England cricketer Graham Gooch and Wimbledon striker John Hartson.

And like them, he too claims to be a satisfied customer.

So satisfied that he has gone on camera to show off his new look, as part of a worldwide advertising campaign.

graham gooch
Graham Gooch: Another 'satisfied customer'

Gone is the bronzed bald patch, and the pony-tail he has sported for the last 10 years.

Instead, we see a rejuvenated Biggs extolling the virtues of, what looks like, the extensive treatment performed on his scalp.

"I was involved in the greatest robbery of all time - Which one? The one at the top of my head!" says Biggs.

After having a check to see what technique would best suit him, Biggs underwent the clinic's Strand by Strand treatment which the company claims replaces each hair over a period of months.

On the run

There seems likely to be some unease over the company's use of an escaped convict in its campaign.

Advanced Hair Studio Chairman Carl Howell is aware that his new advertisement might raise a few eyebrows.

The train in the Great Train Robbery
But, he says, there are sound commercial reasons for using Biggs.

"We used Ronnie Biggs in our advertising because he was the last person you would expect to be in an advertisement for the Advanced Hair Replacement Studio."

He continued: "We are trying to make this treatment more acceptable, like visiting the dentist and that is why we use celebrities. But in no way do we condone the Great Train Robbery or its repercussions."

In addition, Howell says that Biggs received no money for appearing in the advertisements. His treatment was however free.

The advertisement was filmed in Brazil, where Biggs has been living since 1970.

The country has refused to extradite him back to Britain because his crime - the robbery of a mail train in 1963 and attacking the driver with iron bars - took place too long ago.

ronnie biggs
Ronnie Biggs appears in controversial advertisement
Biggs received a 30-year jail sentence in 1965 for his part in the robbery that netted 2.6m for a group of small-time crooks.

But he escaped from prison after having served only 15 months.

When he went to Brazil there was no extradition agreement between the two countries.

Brazil finally gave him official permission to stay in 1997.

Since then, Biggs has had a son and recorded a song with the 1980s' punk rockers the Sex Pistols.

BBC News' Stephen Cape: Company says Biggs approached them
Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories