The Spot That Launched Ridley Scott’s Career, ‘Boy on the Bike,’ Has Been Remastered in 4K

It was recently voted the U.K.'s most heart-warming ad ever

Ridley Scott's RSA Films impressively remastered one of Britain's most beloved ads, 1973's 'The Boy on the Bike.' Hovis
Headshot of David Griner

While U.S. advertising aficionados think of Ridley Scott as synonymous with Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ ad, it’s one of the director’s older spots that holds a special place in British hearts.

“The Boy on the Bike” was a 1973 ad for Hovis Bread that played to nostalgia for a simpler time in the U.K., when fresh-baked bread was delivered up cobblestone streets by hard-working young lads. Set soothingly to Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, the languid spot is a classic of British advertising—and was recently voted the nation’s most iconic and heart-warming ad of all time in a Kantar poll.

Created by agency Collett Dickenson Pearce (now Dentsu London), the spot is often credited with launching Scott’s directorial career.

Now Scott’s production company, RSA (Ridley Scott Associates) Films, has worked with the British Film Institute to remaster the original in 4K and bring it back to British televisions for the first time in 45 years.

Here’s a look at the new version, followed by the original:

“I’m thrilled that ‘The Boy on the Bike,’ 45 years on, is still regarded as such an iconic and heart-warming story which remains close to the heart of the nation,” Scott said in a statement about the remaster. “I remember the filming process like it was yesterday, and its success represents the power of the advert. It taught me that when you combine the appropriate music and the appropriate film, you have lift off. In fact, advertising taught me everything I know, and I brought this knowledge forward into film.”

Jeremy Gibson, Hovis’ marketing director, said the spot continues to reflect the brand’s values long after it was first developed for the small screen.

“The values of our brand have never been more relevant, so we decided to remaster and relaunch our ‘Boy on the Bike’ advert,” he says. “It represents the iconic, family-focused nature of Hovis that is at the heart of everything we do. ‘Boy on the Bike’ was the launch pad for the modern Hovis brand and laid the foundations for us to be one of Britain’s favorite wholemeal and seeded bread.”

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."