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John Lewis Christmas advert 2021: Unexpected Guest

·4-min read
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

The John Lewis Christmas advert, Unexpected Guest, centres around a young boy called Nathan who befriends a space traveller, Skye, after her ship from another galaxy lands in the woods beside his home.

Telling a joyful story of friendship, Unexpected Guest celebrates the magical moments of Christmas experienced for the first time.

'We know our customers are more excited than ever for Christmas, craving joyful moments, togetherness and escapism as so many were unable to celebrate with loved ones last year,' the retailer explains.

John Lewis Christmas advert 2021: what is it about?

The festive two-minute advert is a story of friendship and we watch as Nathan helps Skye to discover the magic of her first Christmas. Nathan introduces Skye to his family's festive traditions, bringing them to life for her in the woods. They decorate the Christmas tree with fairy lights, celebrate the tradition of eating and hosting together, as he encourages her to try her first mince pie, and he also introduces her to the joy of thoughtful gifting by giving her his Christmas jumper with flashing lights.

It is through these shared moments that we see the magic of Christmas through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it before.

The advert presents a contemporary take on Christmas, and given the burgeoning market for space tourism and continued interest in space exploration, it's a topical theme.

Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

Where can I watch it?

The John Lewis advert is the most anticipated amongst the big retailers, and this year it has been released early – it typically premieres in the second week of November.

My John Lewis members will be the very first to see the Christmas advert via exclusive email access from 6.30am on 4th November 2021. It will then launch on John Lewis' website and social media channels at 8am. The advert will debut on TV at 8.15pm on ITV, in a special premiere during The Pride of Britain Awards.

When and where was the advert filmed?

The John Lewis Christmas advert, created in partnership with adam&eveDDB, was filmed in September, with the scenes between Skye and Nathan filmed in a private woodland in Surrey. The remaining scenes were filmed in a studio.

Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

What is the song in the Christmas advert and who sings it?

The track, 'Together in Electric Dreams', originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984, was chosen as a celestial complement to the advert. The soundtrack is performed by Lola Young, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from South London. Signed to Island Records, Lola is under the direction of Nick Shymansky, who managed Amy Winehouse, and Nick Huggett, who signed Adele.

Is this a joint John Lewis and Waitrose advert?

No, unlike the last two years (Give A Little Love in 2020 and Excitable Edgar in 2019), Unexpected Guest is not a joint Partnership advert, so this year you can expect Waitrose to release its own Christmas advert.

Can I buy the Christmas jumper featured in the advert?

Yes, the jumper that Nathan wears is available to purchase, but it comes without the flashing lights and star. Why? John Lewis made a conscious decision not to include this to ensure the jumpers will be easy to wash and will last a long time.

The jumper is available in men's (£29), women's (£29) and children's sizes (£14, £16, £18), and John Lewis will donate 10 per cent of the profits for each jumper sold equally to its Give a Little Love charities, FareShare and Home-Start UK.

Who are the actors?

Raffiella Chapman, who plays 14-year-old Skye, won her first movie role at the age of five as Lucy Hawking in The Theory of Everything alongside Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Other acting credits include Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Homebound,

The Have-Nots, Trauma and His Dark Materials.

Jordan Nash, who plays 14-year-old Nathan, began acting when he was five years old. He had a lead role as Peter Pan in the live action feature film fantasy drama Come Away, which he starred in opposite Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo. Other acting credits include Call the Midwife, Breeders and Aladdin.

What was last year's Christmas advert about?

The John Lewis Christmas advert 2020 was a joint campaign with Waitrose, and it was inspired by the kindness shown by the British public during the pandemic, illustrating how acts of kindness, both large and small, can multiply and positively impact the world. Watch here.

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