Fireworks Safety Bandage (1976)

Fireworks Safety - Bandage (1976); one of the PIFs in the Fireworks Safety series that has managed to find its way online (this one being a shorter, edited version).

Arguably the most hard-hitting firework Public Information Film ever made, the infamous Fireworks Safety - Parents (or Fireworks Safety: Parents) was a British PIF in 1976 that pointed out how easy it is for children and teenagers to get hold of fireworks in the run-up to Guy Fawkes night and asked "Parents - where's your child tonight?" and featured the voice of Patrick Troughton and possibly also the actor Jean Boht. It accomplished this by notably having a very graphic and disturbing close-up scene(s) where a young child was severely injured (his face possibly blown off and limbs damaged) by fireworks and they were deemed so graphic and so gruesome, that it was not only to specifically air after 9pm (the watershed), but it was also removed after complaints, so it had a very limited showing before being quickly withdrawn from distribution and later replaced by a cut, less offensive version that aired in 1985-1986 that had no accident scene.

The BFI Database describes the PIF as follows:

"COI 1611 Fireworks Safety Parents - parents in supermarket carpark ( Safeway) chatting about friends out of control children,- shot bullying older child - shot couple in car discussing discipline / - CU match strike near boy of fireworks, explosion, CU blue light flashing, adult cradling child as bullying child runs away child on stretcher - CUT couple putting shopping away - wonder where their child is , gone to see bullying friend - mother gets new of the accident involving her son, - CU burnt out firework on ground, - 'your children are your responsibility'."

Not being particularly helped by being a short-lived ad aired only after 9pm at a time where VHS may have not been the most common utility to consumers, the full version (as well as the cut version, more inexplicably) is missing from the internet, and it's noticeably a holy grail for PIF fans. One person (Reginald Molehusband) hoped that Film Images would let him see it for his PIF blog (The Public Needs to Know), but it wasn't meant to be, and it's unknown if Larry Bundy Jr. is planning to dig this up for his Films Yanks Can't Wank series like he is with the 1990s remake of Apaches, or if it will live up to its scary reputation and/or legendary money shot.

UPDATE 15 Aug '14: HUGE thanks go out to the British Film Institute, (particularly Tony Dykes), who were extremely helpful in getting us a copy of this rare PIF and allowing us to stream it for all to see!


Credit: BFI National Archive / Crown Copyright

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