I love this music video and was wondering how they’d managed to make it look and feel so authentic. It turns out the footage is taken from a 1977 public information film for British Transport called The Finishing Line. You can watch the actual film here (part 1, part 2). It was deemed so controversial at the time that it was replaced by the slightly less brutal but still harrowing Robbie, which is the one we all got shown at school. You can watch Robbie here (part 1, part 2). I remember sitting in assembly at middle school watching Robbie and all the other utterly terrifying films they showed us, convinced that I would meet a similar horrific fate at some point in my childhood (in my mind I was going to die being electrocuted whilst retrieving an Aerobie from an electricity substation).

This brought to mind the Friday Film Specials, and some of the scarier Children’s Film Foundation productions, the sole purpose of which seemed to be to scare the living shit out of children thus making them utterly scared of adults, the outdoors, modern technology and life in general. I particularly remember One Hour To Zero about a boy who runs away from home. Upon his return he finds his village deserted and is unaware that the village has been evacuated due to danger of explosion at a nearby Nuclear Research Station. The message is clear; even if you’re being beaten to within an inch of your life, starved or abused at home you better not run away or else a nuclear holocaust will get you and everyone else in the world.

I still have a corner of my mind filled with disconnected scenes from these films just waiting to haunt my dreams. A young Dexter Fletcher breaking into old ladies houses while bunking off school only to be caught by the police and sent to prison for ever and ever and ever. That shit scary guy from Lovejoy who played the googly eyed Tinker chasing children round deserted woods and taking them to an island where nobody would ever find them. A kid who was posessed by a pair of red trousers that made him steal things and break into his school only to be caught by the caretaker who was probably played by the previously mentioned googly eyed Tinker. There was also apocalyptic films like Threads, the 1984 television docudrama depicting the effects of a nuclear war on the United Kingdom with the bomb landing in Sheffield (clip, full film). I watched it recently and it’s really ace and really harsh.

Ahhhhh, those were the days.