From the end of World War II to 2007, the UK’s Central Office of Information used to produced Public Information Films (known as PIFs), which would often air on television during children’s programming. These were the British equivalent of the “More You Know” PSAs that appear on American television. A typical PIF would deal with a safety issue, warning children to be careful crossing the street or while visiting a farm or when thinking of sticking a fork into an electrical socket.
One of the most notorious PIFs was first broadcast in 1973 and aired for several years after that. Lonely Water warned children about the danger of foolish behavior and risk-taking at lakes, ponds, and other pools of standing water. Aimed at the 7-to-12 year-old age bracket, Lonely Water was narrated by Donald Pleasence and featured a black-clad figure watching as children foolishly dived into danger. Even though the children ultimately do the right thing, it only leads to Pleasence declaring, “I’LL BE BACK!”
Lonely Water reportedly scarred a generation for life and led to several traumatized British children deciding to never learn how to swim at all. In 2006, it was voted as the UK’s 4th-favorite PIF of all time.
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