Crumbs! Bakery boss Jonathan Warburton reveals how he won over George Clooney and Robert De Niro to appear as co-stars in his bread adverts - along with Sylvester Stallone, Peter Kay and Miss Piggy - but don't ask him how much dough it took

  • Warburtons' latest television commercial will air for the first time this weekend 
  • Founder Jonathan Warburton appears with Hollywood great George Clooney
  • Other stars to appear in their ads include Sylvester Stallone and Robert De NiroJonathan Warburton says he was the sort of child who ‘ran away from the school play’. Acting? ‘Not bloody likely’. He laughs about his lack of enthusiasm these days, of course.

    ‘So now I’ve done five pieces of acting in my whole life — and my co-stars have been Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Miss Piggy, Peter Kay and now George Clooney. I’m not sure you’d find many proper actors who can say that.’

    Who knew that a career with the family bakery business — started in 1876 and still based in Bolton, for goodness sake — could have led here?This weekend, Warburtons’ latest TV commercial will air for the first time. Jonathan, 63, who runs the company with his two cousins, has a starring role, eating toast.

    How difficult can it be to eat toast convincingly? Quite difficult, even when your name is Warburton, he admits. ‘Sometimes you do have to do 20 takes, but it isn’t always my fault when it doesn’t work. It might be the cameraman. Although I do have trouble remembering the lines and the more takes we have to do, the more I overthink it.’

    His co-star in this advert is George Clooney. Crumbs! The story goes like this: Gorgeous George wants a Zoom meeting with Mr Warburton, but Mr W is way too busy having his afternoon toasty snack, so he shuts his laptop.Jonathan Warburton stars in the firm's latest advert with George Clooney (pictured) over a Zoom chat

    Jonathan Warburton stars in the firm's latest advert with George Clooney (pictured) over a Zoom chat

    It’s all madly implausible. Who has toast in the office at 3pm? And then there is Ave Maria on the soundtrack, toast flying triumphantly into the air (rather than having to be hooked out of the toaster with a knife, risking electrocution) — and butter spreading with ease (as if).

    The most preposterous ingredient is Clooney. ‘It’s a little bonkers, yes. I was stunned when he said yes, but he was an absolute star, such a nice fella. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is what you want.’

    Now while it is obviously a coup to land George Clooney, we don’t normally associate him with toast. Like most women, I’ve had my share of Clooney daydreams. None have involved toast. Or butter, come to think of it (although . . . ).

    Was this a deliberate ploy to get more easily swayed women buying your bread, Jonathan?

    He says yes, in a roundabout way. ‘I’m not being sexist here but who is the major shopper in most families?

    ‘If you look at our target audience — women between the ages of 25 and 50 — you won’t find any woman who hasn’t heard of George Clooney, nor will you find anyone with anything bad to say about him.

    Jonathan Warburton said he was 'stunned' when George Clooney agreed to be in their advert

    Jonathan Warburton said he was 'stunned' when George Clooney agreed to be in their advert

    ‘And if a red-blooded woman happens to find him attractive, and thinks of him when they are standing in the supermarket when their usual loaf isn’t there . . . ’ He leaves the obvious conclusion unsaid.

    Is Gorgeous George as dishy in the flesh? Alas, Jonathan never met him (it was all done via Zoom) but he says, yes, he was intimidated starring opposite a bona fide sex symbol.

    Let’s face it even Brad Pitt can look a bit meh next to Clooney.

    ‘I didn’t have Botox to prepare, no, but I did shave off my beard, only to find that Clooney had one. He’s a good looking fella, though.’ Attractive? ‘I prefer his wife,’ he says.

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