It is a sumptuous visual feast, starring five celebrities and the glorious British countryside, coastline and heritage. The camera wanders lovingly over the colours of high summer and the caressing tones of Dame Judi Dench declare: "You're invited."
This is the high-profile advertising campaign designed to attract visitors to Britain that began in July and is intended to be shown before every BBC World and internet news bulletin.
However, by last month, Dame Judi's invitation would cut to news reports and pictures of buildings burning and youths running down inner city streets, smashing windows and looting. Middlemarch had turned into Mad Max.
Tourism chiefs pulled the adverts for four days while the rioting was at its peak, infecting some regional cities beyond London and resulting in at least four deaths.
With less than a year to go before Britain is due to host the world at the London Olympics, the riots could not have come at a worse time for its image-makers. The Olympic venues may be finished, but it seems the Olympian spirit has withered.
And it was all going so well. The latest government figures on tourism show that after a couple of years of post-financial crisis doldrums, visitor numbers have been on the rise again. This spring, visitor numbers to the UK were up 6 per cent, and spending was also up 6 per cent.
Record visitor numbers were posted in June, with some 2.89 million visits. The weakness of the pound does have some benefits.
Tourism is the UK's third-highest export earner behind chemicals and financial services, with tourists spending more than £16 billion (Dh95.32bn) annually and contributing more than £3bn to the exchequer. One in 12 jobs in the UK is directly or indirectly dependent on tourism. In 2009, tourism was worth £115.4bn to the UK, some 8.9 per cent of GDP.
It's no wonder that tourism chiefs have been quick to say the riots have had no impact on visitor numbers and to point out that the areas where looting took place were not the visitor landmarks or smarter neighbourhoods, such as Knightsbridge, that tourists tend to head for.
The anecdotal evidence is that there has really been little impact on visitors. There is no shortage of tourists around hotspots such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London or Oxford Street; and the airports and stations are all still heaving.
Besides, Britain has long had experience of shrugging off such local difficulties, even terrorism. Another reason that tourists have not been deterred may be that almost a third of visitors to these islands come from mainland Europe, where rioting - in these days of economic strife - is sadly familiar.
But the rioting should give us pause for thought about the image we project. For every smashed window and burning car, it would be nice to think that the pictures of local people taking to the streets with brooms and rubber gloves would be shown.
Most visitors come to Britain from France, Germany and the US, but the fastest-growing group of tourists is from the world beyond the US and Europe. Asia and the Middle East are being vigorously wooed and with some success. Visitors from the UAE were up by 19 per cent on last year's numbers in the first quarter of this year. Before the riots, the predominant conversation among many of East London's residents was whether they should clear out of town in time for the Olympics and make a quick tax-free £2,000 or so on renting out their home.
Far from providing the capital with a stream of visitors, it could be that the Olympics actually deters more tourists than it attracts. The same goes for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 60 years on the throne - which she celebrates next year.
It would be a crying shame if these high-spending visitors were deterred by the thought of jostling for shoulder room with thousands of sports fans and the world's media. Perhaps javelin and discus-throwers will yet prove more damaging to visitor numbers than thugs throwing bricks and mobile phones.
We can only hope that many visitors will prefer to make their shopping and cultural pilgrimages before the Games begin at the end of July.
One of the joys of visiting Britain, which sadly many tourists will never realise, is to abandon the capital and to head for an isolated beauty spot. Even on this crowded island, it's possible to find a lonely place.
Granted, next August it may not be so easy to do that.