Marks sparks Christmas ad war as it calls in Holly Willoughby

The balloon's gone up on the traditional – and highly lucrative – TV Christmas commercial battle, with Holly Willoughby and Dame Helen Mirren signing up with Marks & Spencer to take on Sir Elton John's ad for John Lewis.
Take That will provide the theme tune and The Mail on Sunday understands that filming for the M&S advertisement began last night.
The chain's bosses are hoping that by recruiting 73-year-old acting royalty Dame Helen and 37-year-old This Morning star Holly they will be able to appeal to shoppers across the generations.
The closely guarded theme is said to be based on the stars receiving Christmas surprises as they walk along a festive high street in what is to be a 'feelgood' ad.
Holly's appearance in the campaign comes shortly after she signed a lucrative deal with M&S to be the chain's brand ambassador.
Last week we revealed that John Lewis conscripted Sir Elton for a staggering £5 million.
Earlier this month he filmed scenes at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire of him playing the piano in what will be the climax of the advert.
It will also star younger actors, who play Sir Elton, 71, as a child and teenager. A source told The Mail on Sunday: 'The competition between Marks & Spencer and John Lewis has become huge now. Both are doing everything they can to outdo the other.
'John Lewis thought they were on to a winner with Sir Elton but Dame Helen and Holly, along with Take That, will be just as big a draw and they might just win this year.'
Last year saw Marks & Spencer rolling out Paddington Bear to take on John Lewis's Moz the Monster in a competition that saw experts voting John Lewis the Yuletide winnner, based on the levels of interest generated across social media.

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