Rock on! Joseph stars in new John Lewis ad - WATCH

By Dayna Farrington | Dudley | Entertainment | Published:

He’s the pint-sized rocker who has landed a part in the new John Lewis advert that is simply out of this world.

Joseph in the finale of the John Lewis advert playing guitar on a rocket

Nine-year-old Joseph Sheppard, from Dudley, is the star of the ad – which sees youngsters turn their school production into a space-aged take on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Foxyards Primary School pupil is seen in the grand finale of the advert, playing the guitar in a rocket which shoots through the middle of the crowd.

The youngster dons the white cape and jumpsuit look, made famous by guitar legend May in Queen’s heyday, as he solos on a flying V guitar.

WATCH the new John Lewis advert here:

John Lewis & Partners + Waitrose & Partners Ad - Bohemian Rhapsody

The advert – which features Martians, robots and astronauts – first hit the screens during the Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 earlier this week.

The 90-second clip took a week to film, with a cast of more than 70 children. Joseph – who has been playing guitar since he was seven and attends a guitar group at Netherton Arts Centre – also got to record the song live at a recording studio in London the previous week.

Rock star – Joseph Sheppard on set


His proud mother Kay said: “It’s been a really exciting experience for Joseph – we have been watching it over and over on YouTube since it was released.

“He’s never done anything like this before. We just applied to audition for the School of Rock musical – but we never expected anything to come out of it.

“We were contacted to attend and it turned out to be a workshop and then he was invited to attend again in March. We had an email to say because Joseph attended the workshop John Lewis are looking for musicians for their new advert.

“It was all really fast and we went to London the following day to audition and there were hundreds of children there.


Joseph with his mum Kay Sheppard

“We thought we had no chance as there were kids auditioning who had been on television before. We did the audition and then he got a call back and there was just him and another boy – we were so shocked. It was phenomenal.

“The next time we went back there was only a handful of children there and we found out Joseph had got the part.

“The children actually recorded the song in a studio in London – they were actually playing the instruments. Joseph learnt Bohemian Rhapsody in a fortnight – it was amazing.”

Joseph rocking out back at home in the Black Country

Joseph, who has private guitar lessons, loves his classic rock and bands like AC/DC and The Beatles and his favourite players are Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses and Brian May. And since filming the advert he has been learning even more Queen songs.

His mother added: “The advert is just so amazing – it is so much better than we ever anticipated. We couldn’t talk to or tell anyone about it before it aired, so now it is all out there it’s great. It has been unbelievable, it’s been such an experience for him.

“Joseph has been really laid back about it all, he’s still upstairs in his room just playing his guitar. He was really excited on the night when it was shown on television for the first time.

“I’m really over the moon and so proud of him. He’s a really good guitarist for his age. He’s only nine and all his hard work has paid off.”

WATCH Joseph in action

WATCH new John Lewis Bohemian Rhapsody advert star in action

And while Joseph didn’t get to keep the guitar he has been promised the outfit once it comes off display at John Lewis’s store in Oxford Street.

Many viewers thought Christmas had come early, as the John Lewis has a recent tradition of releasing adverts ahead of the festive period. But the advert was released to mark the store’s name change to John Lewis & Partners.

Children recreate Bohemian Rhapsody
The famous shot from the Queen video
Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.


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