South Tyneside Residents to Star in National TV Campaign

It’s not just Joe McElderry flying the flag for South Shields this week!

Two residents from South Tyneside will be enjoying their five minutes of fame on TV this week when they will be seen by more than six million viewers during Emmerdale on ITV1.

Grandmother Dorothy Tompson, who lives in Jarrow, and South Shields man Darren Johnson both feature as part of the new sponsorship of the show by the UK’s number one online bingo site,, which itself is based in Sunderland.

The sponsorship deal will run until the end of January 2011 and includes broadcast sponsorship on ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3, online sponsorship at, interactive sponsorship, mobile interactive bumpers and licensing.

It means Dorothy, aged 49, and 38-year-old Darren could be seen on Emmerdale for the next 14 months, exposing them to audiences of around six-and-a-half million people across the UK.

In all, more than 100 players took part in filming and each individual will be seen for a few seconds, either at the start of the show or at the start or end of the break of one of ITVs most popular shows.

The idents or ‘break bumpers’ were filmed in November at a London studio after, which is officially the UK’s most popular online bingo site, put an appeal on its website for players to be a part of their sponsorship deal.

Thirty-Eight year old Darren, who runs his own Santa Claus rental business at, said: “I noticed tombola’s appeal for players to appear and I just thought ‘why not?’. I was always really interested to see what happens behind the scenes of somewhere like this. It was a fantastic experience.

Grandmother Dorothy, aged 49, echoed his comments. The part time barmaid commented: “Everyone was really friendly and there was a real fun atmosphere. I’ve never done anything like this before. I had such a great time.”

Marketing manager, Dawn Clayton said: “It was easy to forget that Darren and Dorothy were novices as they really went for it in front of camera. In fact, all of our players who volunteered their time were fantastic and it made for a great atmosphere on set. We think that has really come across in the final bumpers.

More than £3m in cash prizes are won every week on Dawn Clayton added: “Sponsoring Emmerdale, one of ITV’s leading brands, is a significant opportunity for The show’s reach, the affection in which it’s held, and its values of drama, fun and community make it the ideal partner for the tombola brand.”

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