Red Cell ad highlights cancer of the prostate

The actor Simon Callow is filmed having a pee in a new TV campaign

to alert millions of men to the dangers of prostate cancer.

Callow, best known as the larger-than-life Gareth in the film Four

Weddings and a Funeral, has given his services free in order to

highlight what has become the second-most common cancer in men, after

lung cancer, and claims the lives of nearly 10,000 people every


The commercial for the Institute of Cancer Research has been produced by

Red Cell - formerly Conquest - and is intended to raise the awareness of

prostate cancer to that of testicular cancer.

While testicular cancer now has high awareness through stories of

high-profile victims such as the Celtic footballer Alan Stubbs, prostate

cancer, whose symptoms are less easily detectable, is not so well


In April, the Government announced a pounds 13 million trial for early

treatment of the disease to determine which treatments are most

effective and whether a programme screening men should be


In the commercial, Callow is seen at a toilet basin looking increasingly

uncomfortable as he attempts to have a pee. After a moment's silence

punctuated by the sound of a dripping tap, Callow manages to relieve


A voiceover says: "One of the earliest signs of prostate cancer is

wanting to go and not being able to. If it happens to you, go to your

doctor and get checked out. It will be a relief in more ways than


The commercial, which was devised by Red Cell's creative director, Simon

Frank, and directed by Carl Le Blond at Garretts, takes a deliberately

tongue-in-cheek approach so that the ads do not become a turn-off.

"We've deliberately avoided the shock tactics that many charities use,"

Michelle Katz, Red Cell's new-business director, said. "People have

become immune to ads of that kind and this campaign is setting out to

inform rather than to shock."

The Institute of Cancer Research fears prostate cancer will kill more

people than lung and breast cancer during the next decade.

Callow, who has become a committed supporter of the campaign, said:

"We're happy to pee in public so we should be equally happy to be public

about any concerns we have if our peeing isn't normal."

Red Cell offered to work for the Institute of Cancer research last year

after John Wringe, then Red Cell's managing partner, was successfully

treated for testicular cancer. He had been alerted by the charity's TV

commercial featuring Robbie Williams.