What happened to iconic TV ad star who sought French polisher from Yellow Pages

Before the internet, there was the Yellow Pages, an A-Z of local businesses – from advice centres to zoos – advertising for your business, all wrapped up in a fat phone directory of a certain colour.

Back in the 1990s, the Reading-based firm became renowned for its memorable TV adverts, with each new one bringing a certain frisson of excitement, much as a fresh John Lewis Christmas commercial does today.

The TV ads even made temporary celebrities of its stars, in a world long before reality TV, and spawned several catchphrases.

Anyone old enough to have been around at the time will readily recall the old man searching for a book called Fly Fishing by J R Hartley, with the big reveal that it was Mr Hartley himself hunting down his aged tome.

There was also the small boy cheekily standing on a pile of Yellow Pages in order to bag a kiss under the Christmas mistletoe.

In 2003, Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt was even called on to shake up the brand, with the actor playing up to the show's hapless Adam character, using the Yellow Pages to get out of tricky situations.

One of the other best-remembered ads, first shown in 1991, featured a floppy-haired teenager waking up on the living room floor in the aftermath of a house party he'd thrown while his parents were away.

Wandering into a bedroom, he finds a stranger on a bed, urging: "Wake up! My parents fly back today" as a small group hurriedly sets things straight around the house. Spotting a scratch on a wooden table, he reaches for the trusty Yellow Pages to find someone who can help.

"Hello, French polishers?" he asks down the phone, adding: "It's just possible you could save my life."

The scratch is expertly polished away just in time and all seems well, until the final moment, when the hapless teen realises that someone's drawn a beard and glasses onto a women in one of the family's prized paintings.

The teen in the ad was played by Nottingham actor Simon Schatzberger, who went on to play Adrian Mole in a stage production in London's West End, and has since appeared as a Woody Allen-like character in a stand-up comedy show.

Now 55, he's also starred as David Klarfeld on the BBC soap Doctors – which was recently pulled off screen due to 'budget issues' – and appeared in EastEnders as a Rabbi, both in December 2018 and again in January 2019.

His other TV roles include Band Of Brothers, Daniel Deronda and Father Brown.

In 2019, Yellow Pages announced it would stop printing its famous directories, after more than half a century. The final editions of the once-essential guide were delivered in Brighton, the city where the directory's original copies were handed out.

It had 104 editions, each tailored to specific areas of the UK, with nearly 23 million copies distributed each year.

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