Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena's Christmas advert is back - meet the Martian and the Pigeon - plus a special familiar guest

He was the lost teddy who touched the hearts of people across the world - and now he's back as a special guest star bringing the spirit of Christmas to Ballymena and beyond.

Ballymena's advert promoting the Co Antrim town for Christmas is back on small screens for another year as it introduces The Martian and The Pigeon.

The town gets an unexpected visitor from the Martian who has had a crash-landing on Christmas Eve.

He is welcomed by the Pigeon and they set out on a mission to help fix his spacecraft and get him back to his family in time for Christmas.

They begin scouring the shops and streets of Ballymena in search of the broke piece of his spaceship but as time ticks by the unlikely friends begin to lose hope.

That is, until they get a visit from a familiar friendly face, Bertie the Ballymena bear.

“Ballymena has quickly become renowned for our Christmas celebrations each year and the annual Christmas advert is a huge part of that, as it is the official starting point for the festive season in Ballymena", said the town's business improvement district manager Alison Moore.

“In a bid to do things a little differently this year, I am delighted to welcome two new characters to our town, demonstrating that friendship can blossom in the most unexpected of ways. Of course, not forgetting the return of our wonderful, Bertie the Bear, as he continues to spread his Christmas magic.

“Ballymena is a very friendly town and our doors are open over Christmas to all sorts of characters, particularly those that want to do their Christmas shopping. So we invite you to come along and experience the magic of Ballymena, after all Ballymena means Christmas."

The Christmas lights will be turned on in the town on Thursday November 16.

In 2015 when the Ballymena bear first hit screens it became an internet hit and was viewed in 49 countries including Australia, Iraq and Russia.

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