Phone in Confidence

Phone in Confidence

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Belfast, Northern Ireland




Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage









British Film Institute, Central Office of Information

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British Film Institute

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Public Information Film, part of the campaign to restore peace in Northern Ireland. Learn how to report paramilitary activity in complete confidence with this shocking television advert by the Northern Ireland Office. Prepare to witness a bomb explosion as the Royal Ulster Constabulary make a television plea for information.

This is an early example of the advertising campaigns for peace beginning in the 1970s. The Northern Ireland Office created increasingly harrowing adverts showing the consequences of terrorism to encourage people to come forward. Broadcast on Ulster Television the confidential phone line reached an audience both sides of the border.



Later adverts encourage co-operation through dramatised experiences of sectarian violence. The most vivid tells the story of a son following in the paramilitary footsteps of  his father set to the soundtrack ‘Cats in the Cradle’. In the mid 1990s the tone changed with a million pound campaign to promote support for the ceasefires. These used humour, optimism and Van Morrison songs to promote mutual respect, highlighting shared suffering. “Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?” is a stark contrast to the earlier slogans. This tradition of shocking imagery set to music continues through the DOE’s powerful drive safely adverts, now global exports. This material comes from the BFI collection.


Digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage project.



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