Whoever thought that Captain Birdseye would turn out to be eye candy for women of a certain age?

Jenny Eclair
Captain Birdseye was introduced in 1967 and played by John Hewer, who wasn’t perhaps quite as sexy as the new choice for the role

Hey ladies of a certain age, need something new to get hot under the collar over?

Meet the new sexy Captain Birdseye – that’s right, 56-year-old Italian Riccardo Acerbi is the 2018 face of your favourite fishy teatime snack. Gone is the paunchy polo-necked pensioner of the sea; in comes the hip new Hoxton-style grandpa, dressed in white T-shirt and navy Guernsey as seen in the brand new £8m advertising campaign.

Watch Riccardo cheerily but still sexily jumping into the sea with his grandson – all the better to build up an on-board appetite for a little breaded cod, which incidentally is cooked on deck, barbecue-style, as if a packet of frozen fish fingers was as fresh from the sea as a shoal of sardines.

Now I have to say I have a vested interest in work for bearded old boys considering my partner is white of mane and bearded. He also looks like he has eaten a lot of fried fish in his life, mostly accompanied by a great mountain of chips.

Secretly, I was hoping that at 70 this year he’d be a shoo-in for the job and, in a novel new twist, I could play Mrs Birdseye, hovering around on deck in my big elasticated hibiscus print swimming costume, complete with the massive foam tit cups (the only thing really that keeps me afloat) and offering piping hot plates of ocean snacks.

With the arrival of Signor Acerbi, my dreams have been dashed and I have a horrible feeling that if he did have a Mrs Birdseye lurking below deck, she’d definitely be in a bikini and not a one-piece that could happily double up as a loose cover on a large sofa.