Sir Elton John is the star of the 2018 John Lewis Christmas campaign in an advert telling the tear-jerking story of his rise to fame and fortune from humble beginnings.
The mini-biopic, set to his 1970 hit Your Song, shows how one present can change a life and ends with a four-year-old Elton unwrapping his first piano on Christmas Day in 1951.
The £7million advert then cuts to the emotional 71-year-old playing the same instrument while thinking about his mother Sheila, who died last year aged 92, followed by the slogan: ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’.
Five actors aged between four and 50 were used to play Sir Elton, using prosthetics, CGI and help from the star and his husband David Furnish to ensure they had the same mannerisms and piano playing style. Viewers are taken back through key moments in his life with scenes of the star on stadium tours, travelling on a private jet, recording Your Song, playing the piano in a local pub and performing in a school recital.
It ends with Sir Elton – then little Reg Dwight – running down the stairs on Christmas morning to see his grandmother Ivy and his mother, who brought him up together because his father, Stanley, was largely absent.
John Lewis has said the advert is ‘inspired by real events’ but admits the finale involves ‘some creativity’ because the singer was never gifted a piano at Christmas, but he had learned to play at his grandmother’s house.