The Charley Says public information adverts were actually created during the 1970’s, but they were still regularly shown during the 1980’s at times when children would be watching, especially Saturday mornings. They were about a little boy (apparently called Dominic, though I had to look that up!) and his pet cat Charley (allegedly voiced by Kenny Everett). Charley usually kept a lookout for Dominic and would warn him about potentially dangerous situations, although sometimes it would be Charley himself who got into trouble.
The adverts were generally short and to the point, with Dominic narrating the animated tale to let us know what was going on. In all there were a total of six adventures for the boy and his ginger cat, which were:-
Falling in the Water – Charley takes a big jump over a puddle and nearly drowns in the river when he leaps in by mistake. The scary music as Charley floats along underwater was a bit dramatic, but luckily he is caught on a fishermans line and reeled to safety.
In The Kitchen – About being careful near cookers because they’re might be hot things a-cooking that you could burn yourself on.
Matches – Charley says that if ever you see a box of matches lying around, tell mummy because they can hurt you.
Mummy Should Know – Some of Dominic’s friends call and ask if he wants to go on a picnic. Charley makes him tell his Mum, but she’s talking to the milkman and takes so long that they go without him. It’s alright though, because Mum takes them for a picnic instead because they were good.
Charley’s Tea Party – Oh dear! Charley ends up get scalded and covered in bandages when he plays to close to a hot teapot.
Strangers – My favourite! A strange man asks if Dominic would like to see some puppies (I don’t trust him). Charley warns him not to go and the man goes away, but on telling Mum they are rewarded. This one is funny purely for the way the strange man walks.
It’s a shame the Charley Says adverts aren’t on air any more, as I feel they did a great job of teaching some important lessons to kids. However, you can relive them as they are available on the Charley Says DVD which is jammed packed with public information films dating way back to the 1950’s and earlier. You can also see all the adverts online at the National Archives website. In the meantime, check out the Strangers film below.