Skateboarder tugs at heartstrings in John Lewis’ Xmas spot


It’s here! British retailer John Lewis’ much anticipated annual Christmas commercial has been unwrapped for us.

Created by adam&eveDDB London with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, as well as special advisors, throughout the production process, the :90 is titled “The Beginner.” 

Directed by Steve Rogers of Biscuit Filmworks UK, “The Beginner” is a middle-aged man who struggles with great comedic effect to become a capable skateboarder. We see through his determined eyes many failed attempts and mishaps as he suffers a series of accidents. 

Viewers are left questioning the motive behind his perseverance until the final scene, when there is a knock at the door.  We see a social worker standing with Ellie, a young teenager who is waiting anxiously to enter her new Foster home, skateboard in hand. The significance of skateboarding to our protagonist becomes clear, as we understand his resolve to find common ground and a way to connect with Ellie as she is welcomed into their family home.

“The Beginner” is set to a soundtrack of All the Small Things, a cover of the Blink 182 track, performed by Mike Geier. Watch below:


Children in the UK enter the care system via many different routes, and not all foster carers have the benefit of knowing who they will be caring for in advance. Ellie’s story is one portrait and the broader campaign also features authentic voices of foster carers and young people with different experiences of a complex care system. 

There are an estimated 100,000 children and young people who will spend this Christmas in care this year, and we know that many young people who have experienced care as children can often feel isolated and forgotten, particularly at Christmas. This spot aspires to help these kids get seen while inspiring John Lewis customers to come together with the retailer to make a real difference to those in need. Through “The Beginner,” we see the power that kindness can make in someone else’s life.

The purchase of select gifts at John Lewis and affiliated retailers will generate funds for the campaign’s charity partners and help better the foster care system. And the recent launch of the “Building Happier Futures” program from the John Lewis Partnership reflects a long-term commitment to help young people. Building Happier Futures will support projects from organizations within the care sector that are working to build happier futures for care-experienced people, helping to prepare them for employment as well as providing direct apprenticeship opportunities within the John Lewis Partnership.

The program will also directly support children in care and young people leaving care through the tough Christmas period with donations of decorations, food and gifts.  Children in care and their caregivers will be invited into John Lewis to enjoy magical Santa’s Grotto experiences. John Lewis Partnership will also transform the communal spaces of selected residential facilities run by Action for Children with electronics, furnishings and decorations. 


CLIENT: John Lewis 

AGENCY: adam&eveDDB, London

  • Richard Brim, chief creative officer
  • Edward Usher, Xander Hart, Richard McGrann, Andy Clough, creatives
  • Matt Gay, Feargal Balance, creative directors
  • Sally Pritchett, producer
  • Martin Beverley, chief strategy officer
  • King Henry Dave Robinson, designer
  • Ed Christie, head of motion graphics
  • Curtis Reeves, motion designer


  • Steve Rogers, director
  • Daniel Landin, DP
  • Rupert Reynolds-Maclean, managing director/exec producer
  • Sam Chitty, exec producer
  • Lee Groombridge, producer
  • Davina Abrahams, production manager
  • Jon Henson, production designer

EDIT: Work Editorial

Rich Orrick, Art Jones, editors

VFXnineteen twenty

  • David Keegan, VFX producer
  • Ludo Fealy, Ludo Fealy
  • Rod Norman, VFX shoot supervisor
  • Jamie Stitson, Adam McHale, Alejandro Marzo, Yanru Yin, Tijan Holder, Emily Govinden, Matt Hutchins, VFX artists 

COLOR: Time-Based Arts

Simone Grattarola, colorist

MUSIC: Leland Music

Toby Williams, music supervisor

AUDIO: Post Factory

Anthony Moore, Jack Hallett, sound design & mix

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