We all wanted a cat like Charley. Someone to play with, someone to look out for us, and someone to spray us with bits of raw fish while delivering garbled safety messages. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what burnt this series into the memory of a generation, leading to its crowning as the 'nation's favourite' public information film on the 60th anniversary of the Central Office of Information - though it may have had something to do with this film's plundering for The Prodigy's 1991 rave hit 'Charley Says'.
But clever concept and design are a big part of the film's appeal - they were targeted at very young children and it seems they hit the bullseye, with some very emotional effects. The honest, open and somewhat magical relationship between the boy and his cat draws you in, so that when the danger occurs or the telling off happens you feel strangely in the wrong yourself.