Charley says: don’t talk to strangers

Inspired by Scarfolk, the English town that still lives in the 1970s, we’re continuing with this ‘ere blog’s latest feature: Charley says.

The 1970s was a terrible time, of course, where the risks to people from everything from electricity cables to water to other people could not be overstated. It was horrifying. Particularly the rabies.

To save the public from these threats – and themselves – the British government authorised a series of public information films designed to scare the living daylights out of anyone who watched them. And each week, I intend to scare the living daylights out of you with a public information film or two – watch them, as they might just save your life.

You may, by now, if you weren’t alive in the UK in the 70s, wondering why the hell this is called “Charley says”. Well, Charley the cat was the star of an entire series of warning films for children, in which he passed on his sagely feline advice to the child he was with, who otherwise would have been tortured, dead or something even worse.

This week: strangers. Charley says: “Don’t talk to strangers.” He’s right, of course, children. Is there something worrying about the fact the stranger in this film walks like Mr Benn?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.