Briefly, Balloon Boy was the most famous kid in the world - more than conjoined karaoke creation Jedward, the talking foetus on YouTube or even Angelina's abducted African urchins.

Frustratingly (for the global media), the hot-air hoaxer didn't really splat to earth like overripe tomatoes and back we went to our own dreams of floating off from life's drab grind on a helium hang-glider.

Phileas Fogg channels those gravity-defying antics as swarthy Italian kids rob an old crone of her "precious balsamic vinegar" and airlift it to Blighty, like the airmen's escape plan in 'Allo 'Allo.

The ad looks great and moves at a pleasingly lugubrious pace. But if you swallow the guff about vinegar fermented in the "secret distilleries of Modena", you were probably one of those praying for Branson Jnr's safe landing rather than shooting at his balloon with a home-made Gatling gun.

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