COI at 75
The Central Office of Information (COI) produced and distributed thousands of films for use across Britain, the Commonwealth and the world. Paid for by you the taxpayer, the films couldn’t have been more varied: documentary, drama, news, animation, comedy - even horror.
In this collection, 75 films mark the COI’s 75th anniversary, and reveal that sheer variety. Founded in 1946, finally closing in 2012, the COI worked for virtually every corner of government meeting every possible information, publicity and propaganda need. Here you’ll find samples of the COI’s iconic public information campaigns - sometimes humorous, often horrific - but you'll also find much more… Here are films used to project a positive image of Britain abroad – film as 'soft power' - and films used to recruit its workforces and support our public services at home. When the ever-changing requirements of the state meet the ever-ready skills of our creative industries, the results are richly fascinating and endlessly debatable.
Public Information Filler19491 mins
Another of Richard Massingham’s snappy public information fillers finds the oafish everyman’s personal hygiene in question again.
Government sponsored film194910 mins
Eleanor Roosevelt and Michael Redgrave narrate this optimistic post-war film on the rehabilitation of disabled people with polio.
Public Information Filler19731 mins
The Sewing Machine is a disturbing, 60 second road-safety film in which a mother, who sits at her sewing machine inside her house, warns her daughter to stay on the pavement, to no avail.
Cinemagazine197115 minsSilent Location: Westminster
A Ghanaian fashion student and a Nigerian squash player are among the Africans making a life in 70s Britain in this edition of the magazine show.
A circus act – of sorts – combines with gallows humour in a shatteringly effective reminder to "clunk, click" even on the shortest trip.
School programme and Educational film196311 mins
The anti-smoking campaign starts here, with the first ever anti-tobacco film – and very impressive it is too.
Nurses needed: this early 21st century recruitment video makes fascinating viewing today.
Documentary196423 mins Location: Woking
Visit the places important to London's Muslim community in this informative short documentary.
Documentary194711 mins Location: Aberdeen
Power cuts, housing shortages and exorbitant rents – Aberdeen man Norrie Williamson goes head to head with his greedy landlady
Public Information Filler19871 mins
Portentous imagery and John Hurt’s grave voiceover define this key film from a £5 million campaign to combat the AIDS epidemic.
Public Information Filler194819 mins
Hold please. Enter a distinctly British bureaucracy as the post-war Civil Service learns to be civil on the telephone
Public Information Filler19760 mins
David Prowse (the frame of Darth Vader) appears as the iconic Green Cross Code Man, heaping praise on a young GXC expert.
One of Benjamin Britten’s best-known pieces, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, was composed for this film.
Public Information Filler19741 mins Location: London
Frank Thornton – Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? – gives a pedestrian a road test in this snappy public information film.
Is this the scariest public information film ever? This hard-hitting warning against 'stranger danger' was considered too distressing to be broadcast on television.
Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive
Public Information Filler19631 mins
Ernie tells Eric to ‘be wise’ and not drive home after their Christmas party
Public Information Filler19493 mins
Short public information film showing housewives' efficient and hygienic methods of food storage
Government sponsored film19725 mins Location: Aberdeen
Aberdeen's local fishermen turn into wildcatting oilmen in a lively report from the early days of the North Sea oil boom.
Documentary197631 mins Location: Coventry
Teachers and pupils of 3 schools in Trafford, Stevenage and Coventry make the case for the acceptance of difference without discrimination.
Cinemagazine196814 minsSilent Location: Surbiton
What do "I'm Backing Britain", electronic music and nuclear lighthouses have in common? Nothing at all, but they're all here in this 60s TV magazine show.
Public Information Filler19780 mins
Dusty the kangaroo catches a shadowy figure in the act of dumping an old mattress in this campaigning cartoon
Cinemagazine197510 minsSilent Location: Westminster
Cinemagazine London Line looks at the support available in London for African students and their families.
Documentary drama194918 mins
Reported cases of sexually transmitted disease took a sharp rise during and after WWII, as back on the home front people like Joan from number 19 were indulging in extra marital promiscuity ... An archive government warning film.
Public Information Filler19751 minsSilent
A mysterious stranger foreshadows Death, but is good enough to give a handy driving safety tip along the way
Public Information Filler19751 mins
Are you out of your tiny mind? Then let glam star Alvin Stardust be your lollypop idol
Cinemagazine19738 mins Location: Milton Keynes
"The most exciting thing going on in Europe, if not the world": welcome to Milton Keynes circa 1973.
Public Information Filler19701 mins
Dig down the back of the sofa for your lost shrapnel: old coinage is phasing out as Britain prepares to go decimal.