For the late Sixties Hollywood Britpack – Ridley Scott, Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson, Adrian Lyne, David Puttnam – commercials production was the school where they learned the film-making art.
Tony, Ridley’s younger brother by 7 years, was no exception. Initially, having graduated from the Royal College of Art, he hankered after the austere, attic-lit life of the painter. But materialism – and maybe common sense – got the better of him. In 1967, Ridley Sr lured him into joining his nascent production company RSA (Ridley Scott Associates) with the promise of a Ferrari. It is invidious making a selection from the hundreds of high-grade TV commercials that followed during what the younger Scott later described as a generation of “girls, jeans, rock and roll – a wild period in advertising; … a blast.” But here, all the same, are a few milestones:
First, what we might now refer to as Barclays’s finest hour, with Anthony Hopkins in the starring role of Bob Diamond. A classic, even 12 years later:
Then the Viggen jet fighter ad for Saab, which allegedly put Tony in the frame for making Top Gun, his best-known film:
And finally, finally – his last ad, made for BBDO and Mountain Dew, and featuring Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban :
It’s all in that last line, isn’t it? “But I’m Mark Cuban!” Scott’s sudden death last Sunday remains a mystery. His wife has discounted all rumours that he was suffering from “inoperable brain cancer”.