The Yorkshire pub with a starring role in the Waitrose Christmas ad

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It was back in the early 1980s that Tan Hill got a taste of overnight fame when it provided the backdrop for that now iconic Everest double glazing ad.

Fast forward almost 40 years and Britain’s highest pub in Richmond, North Yorkshire, has just landed another starring role - this time in Waitrose’s Christmas television campaign.

Viewers were given their first glimpse of the 90 second black and white advertisement last night and it will become a familiar sight in the run up to December 25 as the annual festive battle of the supermarkets intensifies.

The campaign has been masterminded by Waitrose customer director, Yorkshireman Martin George and the TV ad, which shows a group of locals getting snowed in after gathering for a Christmas morning drink, was in part inspired by real life events.

“Tan Hill is like no other pub in the country,” said landlady of the last 12 years Louise Peace. “It is isolated and in a world of its own.

“We are normally snowed in for a couple of weeks each year, usually for two days each time. We do have a snow plough, which is absolutely fantastic at keeping the roads open, but if it is snowing and the wind is blowing, it just causes an instant drift.

“If it looks like they might get snowed in we do warn people, but sometimes it can’t be helped.”

Tan Hill is often cut off from the outside world by snow, which inspired those behind the new Waitrose Christmas advertising campaing. John Giles/PA Wire.

Tan Hill is often cut off from the outside world by snow, which inspired those behind the new Waitrose Christmas advertising campaing. John Giles/PA Wire.

One of the worst snowfalls hit Tan Hill on New Year’s Eve 2009 when Louise and her husband Mike spent the whole night rescuing drivers who had become stuck.

“We did 17 rescues that day in 70mph winds,” added Louise, who earlier this year began a search for a new owner for Tan Hill so she can move south to be nearer her grandchildren. “That night we only had two members of staff working and 60 snowed in guests. When we realised we were going to be there for the long haul, we asked everyone whether they were going to be on the cooking committee, the entertainment committee or the cleaning committee.

“They all took it in turns to do various job and when I woke up the following day, Tan Hill had hit the headlines. Thanks to all the publicity, two snowploughs and two gritters ventured up to clear the road and get everybody out, although I am not sure they wanted to leave.”

Fortunately when the Waitrose film crew arrived earlier in the year, conditions for the shoot were a little more favourable.

Sometimes the artificial snow proved a little too much.

Sometimes the artificial snow proved a little too much.

“It was blissful sunshine, but even though it was warm, people were dressed in woolly clothes” added Mrs Peace. “When I arrived at the pub, the whole place was filled with white powdery snow. It looked fantastic and now the advertisement is out there we can say proudly that it was filmed at Tan Hill.”

Christmas is a key time for all supermarkets and Waitrose, which is part of The John Lewis Partnership, has seen profits drop in the last 12 months, and will be hoping Tan Hill can help boost profits.

Mr George said: “Food plays an essential role in bringing people together. When we have the opportunity to eat with others, we can enjoy great food and feel closer to those we share the experience with. As our ad depicts, eating together is a way to share not just food but friendship and community spirit.”

One of the actors who appears in the new Waitrose advertisement.

One of the actors who appears in the new Waitrose advertisement.

The film crews arrived earlier this year and had to make their own snow.

The film crews arrived earlier this year and had to make their own snow.

Michael Tennant.

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