Not long after Anglo-Dutch group Unilever announced that its PG Tips chimps are retiring from UK television, tea giant Tetley has revealed the imminent screening of a commercial without the Tetley Tea Folk – the first for 28 years.

The new adverts, to be aired for the first time next Monday [4 February], have been designed by advertising agency D’Arcy to “shake up tea’s ‘safe’ and old-fashioned image”.

Tetley’s Marketing Director, Nigel Holland, explained: “We feel tea is crying out for some passion and a new lease of life. Tea’s the nation’s favourite drink – we drink twice as much tea as coffee – and we want to stand up for that […] We want to celebrate its power.”

A drink fronted by animals and animation for years, the new commercials feature a host of real people, all breaking through the constraints of their normal roles. A royal guard breaks his pose to help a child who falls and a woman proposes to her boyfriend. They all end with the tag line: YOU ARE THE CHAMPIONS, AND THIS IS YOUR CUP. TETLEY LOVE U.

Holland insisted that the break for the tea folk was more a sabbatical than a retirement “We decided to give Gaffer and the team a break to go out, and live life to the full too.

“I believe Gaffer is travelling the world and Sydney is hoping to launch a successful pop career – and there is every possibility of their return in the future.”