Papa and Nicole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Papa & Nicole)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Papa and Nicole

"Papa" and "Nicole" were fictional characters created to advertise the Renault Clio in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 1998. The "Papa!" "Nicole" and "Nicole!" "Papa" verbal exchanges between Nicole and her father during the advertisements were adapted from an exchange between Nicole Bonnet (played by Audrey Hepburn) and her father (played by Hugh Griffith) in the film How to Steal a Million from 1966.

Surveys by Channel 4 and ITV revealed the series as the most popular car advertisements ever aired in Britain. In 1996, one survey found that Nicole was recognised by more Britons than Prime Minister John Major, Bob Hoskins or Chris Evans.[1] Renault was found to be the most persuasive advertiser in five European countries in 1994. The advert was designed by the Publicis agency.


Skornik had not passed her driving test when the first Clio advertisements were made. Professional driver Penny Mallory drove in place of both Nicole and Papa. [2]


  1. Très intéressant ("Interesting"), 1991
  2. Le rendez-vous ("The Meeting"), 1992
  3. Le ski ("Skiing"), 1993
  4. Transformation ("Transformation"), 1994
  5. Maman ("Mum"), 1995
  6. Le changement ("Moved On"), 1996
  7. Vies parallèles ("Parallel Lives"), 1997
  8. Le mariage ("The Wedding"), 1998


An all-new second-generation Renault Clio was launched in 1998, and with it came the finale of Nicole's Provençale story.

Much publicity and speculation surrounded the question of whom Nicole would marry. Socialite and It girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson noted, "I can't understand what she is doing getting married. I mean, she is giving up everything. She is one of the most beautiful, stunning, eligible girls around. She must be off her rocker. I mean, she had everything going for her, driving around the country in her Renault Clio, all at Daddy's, or rather Papa's, expense. I should be so lucky."[1]

The finale was itself a spoof of the film The Graduate. Wearing a dress by Deborah Milner and a hairstyle by Nicky Clarke, with her ring designed by Stephen Webster, Nicole was led down the aisle to the as yet unseen groom. The advert played during the advertising break for Coronation Street on 29 May 1998; an estimated 23 million viewers watched Nicole leave Vic Reeves at the altar and start a new life with Bob Mortimer in his new Renault Clio.


All but one of the advertisements used Renault's 1980s to 1990s signature tune, Robert Palmer's "Johnny And Mary". Each used a variation of the song, including Martin Taylor's acoustic interpretation, an alternative version of which he released on his album Spirit of Django and Renault's promotional compilation, Miles More Music.[3][4] The advert that did not use "Johnny And Mary" was Le Changement (Moved On) from 1996, where the Soul II Soul song "Keep On Movin'" was used.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The £350 dress worn in the first advertisement inspired a copy sold for under £40 at Selfridges.[5]
  • The comedy duo Alas Smith and Jones parodied the advertisements in a sketch showing "Papa" kerb crawling looking for a prostitute, and accidentally attempting to hire the services of a girl who turns out to be "Nicole". The sketch was written by Martin Curtis (Brown).
  • A mid-1990s British Rail advertisement for Intercity trains used lookalikes of Nicole and Papa in a humorous pastiche. "Papa's" train travelling companion wonders who the young lady is and remarks, "I thought you weren't married."
  • In pre publicity for Series 8 of the BBC One science fiction series Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, newly cast as the latest incarnation of The Doctor and at 56 the oldest incumbent to the role, indicated that there were no plans for his version of the Doctor to flirt with the Doctor's 27-year-old companion Clara Oswald, unlike what had occurred during the tenure of the previous Doctor actor, Matt Smith. In explaining the rationale in interviews and press conferences, Capaldi said he wished to avoid any "Papa and Nicole moments".[6]
  • In the series Derry Girls (2018), the character Orla hopes that if the girls make it to Paris for the school trip she can meet Nicole. Erin scoffs that Nicole isn’t real, and neither is Papa!


  1. ^ a b Fog, Klaus; Christian Budtz; Baris Yakaboylu (2005). "7". Storytelling: Branding In Practice. Springer. p. 156. ISBN 3-540-23501-9.
  2. ^ "Penny Mallory: TV Presenter". Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. ^ Miles More Music track listing
  4. ^ Spirit of Django at Allmusic
  5. ^ O'Shaugnessy, John; Nicholas J. O'Shaughnessy (2004). Persuasion in Advertising. New York / London: Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 9780415322249.
  6. ^ Wyatt, Daisy (28 July 2014). "Peter Capaldi promises 'no flirting' with sidekick Clara in new Doctor Who series". The Independent. Retrieved 1 September 2014.