Charley Says is a series of very short cut-out animated cartoon public information films for children, produced by the British government's Central Office of Information and broadcast in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s. Six films were made in 1973.
Most of the topics dealt with everyday safety issues children face, such as not going off with strangers or not playing with matches. They featured a little boy called Tony (voiced by the seven-year-old son of one of the neighbours of producer Richard Taylor) and his cat, named Charley, voiced by Kenny Everett, who would "miaow" the lesson of the episode, which the boy would then translate and explain. Often Charley served as the boy's conscience, similarly to Davey and Goliath or Jiminy Cricket of Walt Disney's film Pinocchio. When Charley and the boy did the right thing, they were rewarded with something for the boy and a fish for Charley, which he ate rapidly. However, on other occasions, Charley suffered the consequences of doing the wrong thing (e.g., in Charley's Tea Party he pulled a tablecloth and a teapot fell on him and scalded him).
Six films were produced:
- Charley – Falling in the Water (60 s)
- Charley – In The Kitchen (45 s)
- Charley – Matches (30 s)
- Charley – Mummy Should Know (60 s)
- Charley's Tea Party (45 s)
- Charley – Strangers (60 s)
References in popular culture
The electronica group The Prodigy famously sampled the episode "Mummy Should Know" for their UK 1991 hit single "Charly", reaching number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. The sample was of Charley miaowing and Tony saying, "Always tell your mummy before you go off somewhere".
In 2005, the Charley Says series was voted #95 on the Channel 4 TV special 100 Greatest Cartoons, and in 2006 was voted the UK's favourite public service advertisement by readers of the BBC News website.
In 2014, Electrical Safety First (formerly known as the Electrical Safety Council) launched a brand new Charley Says film featuring the voice of award winning comedian and actor David Walliams. This was created to promote staying electrically safe in the home and not overloading power sockets. A second film was also created, on the subject of the dangers of buying counterfeit electrical goods.
- "Walliams revives Charley Says films". BBC News. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "And the winner is..." BBC News. 28 March 2006.
- "Charley says". BBC News. 21 February 2006.
- Parry, Lizzie (2014-03-28). "David Walliams to voice new version of Charley Says safety cartoon | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- Stop Look Listen (2006-02-21). "UK | Magazine | Charley says". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-04-01.