British Telecom Ology Advert (1988) 

By Mark Nobes

The amusing British Telecom (BT) Ology TV ad is one of the most memorable and best-loved TV moments from the 1980s. It starred Maureen Lipman as Beattie Bellman, who gets overexcited when her grandson reveals he passed his pottery and sociology exams. It first aired in 1988.

Beattie has just finished preparing a celebration cake for her grandson, Anthony, and decides to ring him to congratulate him on his exam results. While sitting at the bottom of the stairs, he reveals to his grandma in a glum voice that he failed his exams. With a disappointed look on her face, she replies "you failed? What do you mean you failed?". As he blurts out the long list of subjects he failed in, Beattie starts to remove the scroll on top the cake and replies "You didn't pass anything?" 

Well, all is not lost, because Anthony then reveals he passed his pottery exam. "Pottery?" she replies. "Very useful, Anthony, people will always need plates!". To put the icing on the cake (well actually, it's the scroll she removed earlier), he then reveals he passed sociology in a less than enthusiastic voice. "An ology?" she replies excitedly. "He gets an ology and he says he's get an ology, you're a scientist!"

The ending is just as amusing, "It's the teachers who are wrong, you know they can't mark... a lot of them can't see". Just brilliant!

There can be hardly anyone in the UK who lived through the 80s that doesn't remember this ad. It was shown regularly on ITV. The slogan used at the time was "It's you we answer to".

So what happened to the boy in the Ology advert? Well, his name is Jacob Krichefski and he is an actor and writer. He was in the 2015 historical drama movie Suffragette, and played Yaniv Levi in the British spy thriller mini series The Honourable Woman in 2014 which was shown on BBC2.

In the 1970s, and ad campaign featuring the cartoon bird Buzby (voiced by Bernard Cribbins) used the slogan "Make someone happy with a phone call.

In the 90s, another ad campaign featuring Bob Hoskins used the slogan "It's good to talk". 

In 1991, before the Bob Hoskins ads, another ad featuring Maureen Lipman as Beattie was shown which also starred Bernard Bresslaw and Miriam Margoyles. Two guests turn up unexpectedly for dinner and Beattie tells her bemused husband "you're going to have one of your turns"

Maureen Lipman as Beattie in British Telecom Ology Advert
British Telecom logo from 1988