Friday 11 February 2022

A Mystery from 1981: Where is Smithy's Kaff?

I've never focussed on adverts when it comes to looking at the weird and wonderful corners of British television. Sure, I've highlighted a few ad breaks I've found whilst sifting through old VHS tapes, but little else. And maybe that's a mistake as, back in the days before streaming and on-demand viewing, adverts could quickly become cultural touchpoints, just look at the rapid rise (and descent) of Flat Eric. Most importantly, there are stories to be told behind these adverts. And there are none more mysterious than Smithy's Kaff.

Neil Miles, an intrepid videotape archaeologist of some repute, uncovered the Smithy's Kaff advert back in 2016. Broadcast in-between parts of The Tonight Show, this particular airing of the Smithy's Kaff advert came on the 24th October 1981 in the Anglia region. And it wouldn't be remiss of me to claim this was a regional advert, bearing all the hallmarks of a low-rent, yet curious production. Clearly, it's a fascinating moment of television. And it whets the appetite in a way which most advertising executives spend their careers striving to achieve. After all, who wouldn't want to go somewhere promising "Boys and Girls, Music and Noise"?

I caught up with Neil Miles to ask him how he felt when he first discovered the Smithy's Kaff advert:

"When I first saw it my jaw dropped, and I had to rewind and watch it again a number of times just to believe it was real! And then came the laughter! It's been more than five years now since I found that ad and it still remains my favourite thing I've ever found on an old tape"

The Smithy's Kaff (Kaff Kaff) advert is 10 seconds of absolute madness. A late night shot in the arm for the senses, and one which poses more questions than it answers. The most pressing question, of course, is where is Smithy's Kaff? Unfortunately, no one appears to know the answer. It's a teaser of an advert which provides no address and no phone number. Was it part of a longer campaign where the location was eventually revealed? Again, no one knows. All we have to go on is this advert. Like many before me, I've tried googling and searching through old newspaper databases to find a scrap of evidence for Smithy's Kaff, but nothing. 

It's a curious riddle and one which makes me wonder if it was even an actual establishment. Was it, in fact, part of a promotional campaign for a piece of regional programming on Anglia? Who knows? I certainly don't. And that's why I'm throwing this out to the internet. Maybe you lived in the Anglia region in the early 1980s and used to pop in here for a bacon sandwich. Perhaps you were related to Smithy. Maybe you are Smithy.

If you do have any information on Smithy's Kaff (or simply want to marvel at the power of the advert) then please leave a comment below.


  1. In the Cambridge press at roughly the same time as the advert -