Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

M&S Christmas TV ad 'offensive'

Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt
Glenister's character was blunt and brash

Marks and Spencer's Christmas advert featuring Ashes to Ashes actor Philip Glenister has been branded as sexist.

The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into eight complaints from viewers about the "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without..." ad.

Glenister, who played chauvinist DCI Gene Hunt in the BBC show, says: "That girl prancing around in her underwear."

The ad cuts to a model, wearing a bra and knickers, who asks: "Moi?" M&S said the complaints had come as a surprise.

'Demeaning'

The French underwear model Noemie Lenoir, who twirls around in a winter woodland scene, is a regular in Marks and Spencer's advertising campaign, alongside Myleene Klass and Twiggy.

An ASA spokeswoman said eight people had been in contact to complain that Glenister's comment, coupled with the shot of Lenoir in her underwear, was demeaning to women.

The advertising watchdog will now consider the complaints and decide by the end of next week whether to launch an investigation.

The 50-second commercial also features several other big TV names, including Stephen Fry and James Nesbitt, who each say what they could not do without at Christmas.

In one segment, Jennifer Saunders says "stuffing" and Joanna Lumley, her co-star in BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous, adds: "...your face, sweetie."

A spokesman for Marks and Spencer said: "We're surprised by the ASA complaints regarding Philip Glenister's appearance in our TV ad.

"Our research shows that his on-screen character in Ashes to Ashes is extremely popular with our customers and his lines in the ad are in keeping with that role."



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