Sometimes they are called Cadbury’s Smash Aliens and sometimes they are known as Cadbury’s Smash Martians. To me they definitely look like robots. I guess “Martian” is just a generic term for “alien”. These puppets (now residing in the National Media Museum in Bradford) were incredibly popular in a series of late 1970s/early 1980s TV adverts for instant mashed potato. In the very first advert these cute robots spent much of their time watching a TV screen showing humans preparing mashed potato the “old-fashioned” way. The voice-over saying “They peel them, they boil them and then they smash them all to pieces” was enough to send the robots into cackling hysterics, with one in the foreground rolling around on his back.

I received this clockwork “Mr Smash” as a birthday present 1000 years ago. Alas, as with my Corgi and Dinky toys a dozen years earlier it never occurred to me to save the box it came in…..

Mr Smash 01