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Woodbine (cigarette): Wikis

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Woodbines is a brand of cigarette made in England by W. D. & H. O. Wills. In the early 1970s Woodbine Cigarettes were released, in Australia as "Wild Woodbine". The Television add was a man in a top hat and cane dancing on a stage. It was shown regularly during the Winfield Cup One Day cricket until the star of the advertisement was killed unexpectedly.

Noted for its strong unfiltered cigarettes, the brand was popular in the early 20th century, especially with soldiers during World War I and World War II.

Woodbines are commonly mentioned in literature from the early 20th-century due to their popularity. It has been sometimes suggested that the brand is now most popular among elderly smokers. This is nicely illustrated by the character Alf Bradshaw in Buzz Hawkins radio series The Bradshaws.

Other notable Woodbines smokers have included Tristan Farnon, brother of Siegfried Farnon, the vet in All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot; Alf Ventress, Police Constable in the popular TV series, Heartbeat (TV series); Jack Carter, the protagonist in Jack's Return Home by Ted Lewis only smokes Woodbines (called Woodys); George Formby, Lancastrian ukulele player and actor; Angela McCourt, mother of Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes; and "Carry On" actor Charles Hawtrey. George Orwell also was known to smoke Woodbines, as did the character George Bowling in his novel Coming Up For Air. Leonard Bast in E. M. Forster's Howards End and Arthur Seaton in Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning are both Woodbines smokers, as is Bert Baxter in Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole series of novels. The brand features prominently in the novels of Robert Rankin. Annie Doultry, the protagonist in the novel "Fan-Tan" by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell, which is set in the nineteen-twenties, is extremely fond of this brand. The Beatles were Woodbines smokers in their early days in Liverpool, England; manager Brian Epstein persuaded them to change brands as part of tidying their public image. (Another Liverpool notable was a West Indian club manager called Lord Woodbine.) Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, an Anglican priest and poet was nicknamed 'Woodbine Willie' during World War I for giving Woodbine cigarettes along with spiritual aid to injured and dying soldiers.

The brand is also referenced in Eva Dobell's poem "Pluck":

But when the dreaded moment's there
He'll face us all, a soldier yet,
Watch his bared wounds with unmoved air,
(Though tell-tale lashes still are wet),
And smoke his Woodbine cigarette.

And in Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors (1934) "a packet of woodbines" is among the objects found in the pockets of the mysterious corpse; the lower-case w suggests that for some, "woodbine" had by then become a common noun.

Sheffield United Fans also sing about 'Woodbine' Cigarettes in their terrace anthem 'The Greasy Chip Butty Song'

Blues/Jazz artist Van Morrison mentions Woodbines in the song "Cleaning Windows"

I went home and listened to Jimmie Rodgers in my lunch-break
Bought five Woodbines at the shop on the corner
And went straight back to work.

The character played by Kathy Burke, Margaret "Maggie" Munday, in the movie version of Dancing at Lughnasa was a Woodbine smoker.

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