Public information film about the dangers of electricity has not been banned

23 June 2022
What was claimed

A 1978 public information film warning children of the dangers of playing near live wires has been banned.

Our verdict

The film is still available to view online. It was superseded by updated versions.

A Facebook post claiming that a public information film warning children of the dangers of electricity has been banned is false. The film is still available to watch online. 

The post features a segment of the 1978 short film “Play Safe” in which a young boy dies after being electrocuted while trying to retrieve his Frisbee from an electricity substation. 

A caption accompanying the post states: “Prevention off [sic] kids going near live wires...this is classed as to [sic] much for 2022 folks. psa [public service announcement] banned”.

The film, which was nominated for a BAFTA, has not been banned and the full version, which features two other segments, is widely available online. It can also be viewed via the websites of The National Archives and the British Film Institute

The film was shown in schools and broadcast regularly throughout the 1980s, but withdrawn when it was superseded by an updated version, titled “Powerful Stuff”, in 1988. 

The original film was created by the now-defunct Central Office of Information, the government agency which, before it was closed in 2012, was responsible for creating public information films.

Information campaigns about the dangers of electricity continue to be created but they are no longer the work of a government agency. 

In 2013, Electricity North West released ”So What You Gonna Do?” which features an almost identical scenario to Play Safe but once again updated for a modern audience. 

It shows a young boy entering a substation to retrieve a football while his friends film him on their mobile phones. He dies after being electrocuted. 

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