This film is part of Free

Talk about Work

Ken Loach makes Public Information Film shock!

Instructional film/TV programme 1971 15 mins


Ken Loach makes Public Information Film shock! Talk About Work is a vocational guidance film produced through the Central Office Information (COI) for the youth employment service - who asked for Loach by name. Predictably, it ended in tears. The director’s cut was re-edited and he dissociated himself from it (Loach’s name isn’t on the credits). A cautionary tale, perhaps, for all modern communications professionals for whom ‘authenticity’ is elusive comms gold.

In any event, it’s an interesting case of a government body consciously going after a contemporary approach via a ‘name’ director). Loach was not then quite the national treasure he is today: still a TV director with a growing rep. Veteran production company Ronald H Riley & Associates was a long-standing COI supplier and a surprising place for Loach to fetch up. His emphasis on people speaking unscripted (hence the title) contrasts with traditional modes of sponsored filmmaking; so does the fluid, televisual directness of the visual style, owing much to now-legendary director of photography Chris Menges. Filming locations included Henderson’s department store, Liverpool and Ford’s works, Halewood. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.