A firefighter has seen off more than 20,000 hopefuls to clinch the role of Cadbury's new modern Milk Tray Man by impressing judges with a line in thoughtful banter while performing a rescue lift.
Patrick McBride, a 39-year-old husband and father from Liverpool, was so determined to win the role that he donned his full firefighting kit for the London audition and swung a bystander into a fireman's lift.
McBride, who has combined modelling and television ad work with a 14-year career with the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, ticked all the boxes for confectionery giant Cadbury, which launched the search last year for a new recruit to don the black polo neck.
As times have changed since the original ad aired in 1968, the successful applicant had to be able to show a caring and sensitive side to the enigmatic figure who undertakes daring escapades to deliver a box of Milk Tray chocolates to the lady he loves.
McBride said: "At the castings I had to talk about myself and what I do in the fire service.
"I decided to put my full fire kit on and asked if anyone minded a fireman's lift, and presented a box of Milk Tray.
"My wife's so happy for me. She's made up. I think it will sink in when the billboards are up and the ads are on TV. I think she'll be pleased she's married to the Milk Tray Man."
He added: "I'm honoured to have been chosen to take on this iconic role and I can't wait to show people the next chapter in the Milk Tray Man story."
The secrecy surrounding the announcement means he has only been able to anticipate the response from his fire service colleagues, saying: "You can't get away with very much in a fire station.
"I'd expect some playful banter ... maybe the odd poster up. Maybe they'll come to work wearing black polo necks."
James Coombes, who made his debut as Milk Tray Man in 1987, said: "I couldn't have picked a better successor myself. He's incredibly genuine and I'm confident he will make the perfect modern-day hero and one I'm very proud to be handing over my duties to.
"I wish him all the best of luck in this new role and can't wait to see him in action."
Hortense Foult Rothenburger, senior brand manager at Mondelez International, said: "We chose Patrick from a long list of applicants because we truly believe he has the qualities of the new Milk Tray Man - someone that is thoughtful as well as adventurous."