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British Airways rope in major celebrity cast for pre-flight safety video

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An enviable cast of major British celebrities pop up in a new safety instruction video for British Airways flights, which also introduces the Flying Start charity that supports Comic Relief. Given the ties to Comic Relief, the six-minute film is a comedic romp featuring everyone from Gillian Anderson to Sir Ian McKellan and Thandie Newton demonstrating the safety procedures for an average BA flight.

The action is all being 'directed' by comedian Asim Chaudrey, who reprises his role as the hapless music mogul Chabuddy G from the Bafta-winning BBC series People Just Do Nothing. A longer version of the film will be shown on flights from 1 September, replacing the current animated film, which has run for the past 12 years.

Other stars to appear in the footage include Warwick Davis (explaining how to use oxygen masks alongside the aforementioned McKellen), Rob Brydon (discussing how to inflate a life vest), celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (detailing how to stow a bag under the seat in front) and Rowan Atkinson (searching for loose change). A British Airways spokesperson said the airline does not comment on relationships with celebrities, but that everyone featured in the video has an already established relationship with Comic Relief.

The video from BBH London hits the web just a week after a similarly star-studded spot for Air New Zealand (below) featuring stars Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr went viral. It begs the question; is the power of celebrity enough of a draw that creativity can simply take a backseat and let the big names do all the work? Unfortunately, data doesn't lie, and celebrity spots simply attract more clicks, regardless of their quality. Thankfully, however, the British Airways spot at least attempts to try something a little more ambitious and lighthearted than you would typically expect given the wealth of stars involved. As far as the Air New Zealand spot is concerned, however... just see for yourselves.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK.

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