Thursday September 21, 2017
12 fine examples of the Great British Public Information Film or PIF. How many do you remember seeing on daytime ITV just after the News At One with Leonard Parkin?
Still one of the best ever public information films, fronted by Richard Massingham, a doctor turned brilliant comedy actor. And yes, the other motorist is an almost unrecognisably young Dick Emery.
PC George Dixon, aka Jack Warner, introduces a cautionary tale of how a road hog behind the wheel of a Hillman Minx Convertible causes the driver of an Austin A50 Cambridge to become moderately irate.
A vivid illustration of what is all too often lacking in motoring of 2017. Hat doffing at major junctions is a practice that should immediately return to our roads.
The story of whether Mr. Brown’s Austin 12 will pass its MOT test is not overly dramatic but it is still a fascinating insight into what constituted the original examination for cars aged ten years or over – lights, brakes and steering, all for a fee of 14 shillings.
Utterly fascinating for a young Ken Dodd, the use of the term pedestrian rather than ‘Zebra’ crossing as late as 1963 and the traffic; Jaguar E-Type, Humber Hawk, Austin A30, Renault R8…
European-style road signs were introduced into the UK in 1964 but it took several years for them to become universal sights on British roads and, as this short film wittily implies, an entire generation of motorists had to readjust.
We cannot have a selection of great public information films without at least one BMC ADO16 although the solution to mixing radial and cross ply tyres does appear to be rather drastic – having a crane drop a Morris 1100 onto its roof.
I cannot be alone in finding the idea of a caravan with the voice of Arthur Lowe a highly appealing one. As for the driver, he sounds very much like the less intelligent cousin of Joe from the Call the Coastguard public information film.
Yes, driving your Morris Marina Series 2 wearing banana-shaped shoes is clearly a very bad idea, from the perspectives of both fuel economy and sartorial elegance.
The message still remains highly pertinent but the acting is of a Crossroads/Holby City standard, while the music appears to have been rejected from a 007 film.
Again, the message remains a highly pertinent one but I regret to say that I am now more distracted by Michelle “Betty Spencer” Dotrice, Neil “The Ruttles” Innes, the golden voice of Patrick Allen and all those Ford Cortina Mk. Vs.
Featuring the unmistakable tones of Paul Daniels and a strange case of vanishing Ford Cortina Mk. IIs and other fine cars. N.B Although it must be depressing to lose one’s Austin 1300 Mk. III to a car thief, given the number of Public Information Film characters who met their doom via an ADO16, it might well have been for the best.