Eagle-eyed residents spot Olympic hero in Oldham Council’s Christmas advert

The animation shows a local family exploring the high streets of Oldham for the perfect Christmas gift.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 9th December 2021

Olympian Matt Walls has been spotted by eagle-eyed residents in Oldham Council’s new animated Christmas advert.

With the adorable animation – which is aptly-titled ‘Christmas in Oldham’, and was released at the start of December – Oldham Council is giving retail giants a run for their money by encouraging visitors to the borough’s town centre to “shop local” over the festive season.

Following a turbulent 18 months for Oldham’s high streets and markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council say the new animation is intended to promote the Christmas season in the town and urge locals to support independent businesses when shopping for presents for their loved ones.

The animation shows a local family exploring the high streets of Oldham for the perfect Christmas gift, and ends with Santa and his reindeer flying high over Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre.

And, to make the film even more “authentically Oldham”, the clip also features the iconic Oldham Lights, reference to the wonderful outdoor markets of Royton and Shaw, and Delph Brass Band – who along with conductor Phil Goodwin provide the music for the clip.


Oldham Council has worked with Jo and Paul Perry from Delph-based award-winning animation production company, Periscope Studios, to create the festive film.

But that’s not all.


Eagle-eyed Oldhamers also noticed that 23-year-old Olympian Matt Walls – who was born and raised in the Greater Manchester borough, and won both a gold and silver medal for track cycling events at Tokyo 2020 – made an appearance in the animation.

He was shown with a beaming smile outside the town’s cycle shop.

Matt’s appearance in the animation may be obvious in one scene, but he’s actually hidden in there a few more times than initially meets the eye too, which is why the Council is soon to launch the ‘Where’s Walls?‘ competition – its own take on Where’s Wally – and those who enter can win one of five £50 Love to Shop vouchers by simply watching the video and commenting under the Facebook post how many times they spot Matt in the background of the animation.


Winners will be notified on Friday 17 December.

Oldham-born Olympian Matt Walls made an appearance in the animation outside the town’s cycle shop / Credit: Oldham Council

Speaking on the launch of the new Christmas animation, Cllr Arooj Shah – Leader of Oldham Council – said: “Christmas is an important time for us all, and a chance for us to spend time with loved ones [so] we wanted to reflect this when creating our Christmas animation, which was commissioned to promote the boroughs retail business offer. 

“We’re incredibly proud of our markets and retailers – independent and high street alike [as] they’ve worked tirelessly to adapt against ever mounting odds to keep residents safe.”

She continued: “People say that it’s a shame that the high street is dying, but if people are sat at home buying online, that is unfortunately what could happen. If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift, why not visit your local Oldham high street first?  

“The heart-warming message of the animation is something that we can all relate to after the restrictions on seeing loved ones last Christmas.”


Head over to Oldham Council’s I Love Oldham Facebook page here for more details on the competition.

Featured Image – Oldham Council