From Tim Price – The Price Report (Great Britain) –
A hooded, faceless monk skulking by misty pools darkly warns of death by drowning. A camera prowls a burned out building to the plaintive echoes of what may be a family of ghosts. A teenage heroin addict charts her growing addiction and physical decay.
One government department has been responsible for provoking more literal nightmares than any other. The Orwellian-sounding Central Office of Information (COI) was established shortly after the Second World War to produce information campaigns on government policies and pertinent social issues like drink driving, paedophilia and AIDS. Anybody, like me, who was a child growing up in the Britain of the 1970s will recall with a shudder public information films like “Lonely Water”, voiced with more than usual menace by Donald Pleasance.
You can find the COI film archive of public information films here. Public information film completists can enjoy 100 scary public information films here. And you can watch the terrifying public information film “Searching” here.
Under the last coalition government the COI was closed down, so public information films are now under the control of the Cabinet Office. But there is one warning that the government will never issue – in large part because it is the cause of the problem in the first place.