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Howard from the Halifax adverts has revealed that he had to stay in a safe house during the height of his fame. Watch here:
Howard Brown, from Sheldon, Birmingham, was quite happy with how his career was shaping up with the Halifax bank more than 20 years ago.
He'd completed a nine-month accelerated learning programme and had been promoted to manager of a small branch in his home city.
He'd also staved off competition from 4,000 candidates to land a starring role in the bank's new advert. However, he never could have anticipated how this success would change his life irreversibly.
The first advert - in which he sang a banking reimagining of Tomes Jones' 'Sexbomb' - was released in 2000, and almost overnight he became a household name; that name being 'Howard from the Halifax adverts'.
Speaking to LADbible to promote Nude, a new app designed to help young people save for their first home, the 54-year-old reflected: "I just wanted to go back and focus on my career working within the bank, and they just said, 'That's not going to be possible'.
"My first day back at my branch in Sheldon, in Birmingham, was unbelievable.
"I mean, I couldn't get in, they had to sneak me around the back. I had to climb over the fence to get in, there were that many people."
Naturally, everyone at the bank assumed Howardmania would eventually die down, but it didn't - to the point that Howard actually had to hide out at a safe house in Halifax.
Howard recalled: "We tried me going back to the branches - impossible, we had to close branches.
"So then the funny thing about it was I got taken and I was put in a safe house somewhere in Halifax for a couple of months. I would come out and we'd do a little bit here, a little bit there, until things started to calm down.
"Where I was at my house, where I was living in Birmingham at the time, of course, 3.30, 4 o'clock, the kiddies would come back from school and they'd all be knocking on the door: 'Where's Howard? We want to see Howard!'
"And that would just go on for hours, so I just said: 'Look, you know, I've got to get out of it.'
"So they sort of temporarily put me in this other accommodation until things started to settle themselves down - but it just didn't, it just kept on going and going."
Howard's star continued to rise and he featured in many more adverts for the bank; he even played a part in The Office Christmas special.
Nowadays, he is a full-time 'marketing performer', and his latest project sees him taking on the role of 'human cash machine', giving away dosh to first-time buyers as part of his collaboration with money-saving app Nude.
Howard himself was able to make his first step onto the property ladder following the success of the Halifax adverts, and he hopes the app will help young people to take that step too.
He said: "I remember what it was like when I was trying to buy a house and all the frustrations and all the pitfalls. To have an application that makes it simple like this, and sort of actually talks you through it as well - as well as the cash incentives - is just fantastic."
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