Gary Lineker poses as ‘Father Crispmas’ to celebrate 30 years as face of Walkers

Gary Lineker drove a sleigh full of Walkers crisps around Battersea Power Station in London to celebrate three decades working with the brand.

The Match of the Day star threw bags of crisps to members of the public while dressed as Father Crispmas, sporting a head-to-toe red suit and matching Christmas hat – and was also pictured signing footballs for young fans.

It comes in the week the 63-year-old faced a backlash from politicians after signing a letter calling for the Government to scrap its Rwanda scheme and for leaders to come up with a “fair new plan for refugees”.

The former England footballer hit back at Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, who questioned whether Lineker should express political views, and at Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis, who accused the presenter of breaching the BBC’s impartiality rules.

Samir Shah, the Government’s candidate for chairman of the BBC, said Lineker’s tweets about politicians appear to breach the BBC’s social media guidelines.

A previous Twitter scandal involving Lineker led to the BBC strengthening social media guidelines for staff on issues of impartiality and civility.

Lineker has been the face of Walkers for 30 years, with his first advert entitled Welcome Home launching in 1995.

Gary Lineker for WalkersGary Lineker for Walkers

Gary Lineker celebrates 30 years as the face of Walkers (Matt Crossick/PA)

He said: “It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent almost half my life working with Walkers, so we definitely felt we needed to kick off our 30th year with something memorable.

“It’s taken three decades for them to finally persuade me to dress like this, but as everyone knows, I’m the King of Crisps, so if anyone was going to transform into ‘Father Crispmas’ and hand out crisps, it could only ever be me. They are ‘sharing’ bags after all!

“I’ve worked with some amazing people on the many campaigns I’ve done with Walkers over the years, but if I was finally going to agree to share my crisps with anyone, there was only one option for who it could be – it had to be the great British public… but only because it’s Christmas!”

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