This film is part of Free

What's in a Number

National insurance made amusing by the eccentric Richard Massingham.

Documentary drama 1948 1 mins


So what's in a number? Your future health and security, that's what. Richard Massingham, hero of the war's most amusing public information films, turns his cinematic wit and hangdog face to a cornerstone of the post-war welfare state: expanded national insurance. The importance of knowing one's number is conveyed with the everyman surrealism that was the inimitable Massingham's stock-in-trade.

This item was directed by John Krish, a talented young employee at Massingham's production company. In the 1950s and 60s Krish went on to make a major mark in the documentary field, then briefly broke into feature films before returning to public information duties in the 1970s. The decade saw a second golden age of the public information film, by then mainly targeted at TV rather than the cinemas where films like What's in a Number were shown.