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Cute characters who helped you stay safe.

Byline: JOANNE WELFORD

ANYONE who grew up with 1970s TV is likely to have the miaow-ings of a scruffy ginger cat somewhere in their consciousness.

We're talking Charley Says - remember him? - and this year marks 40 years since he was first broadcast to the nation.

From 1973 onwards Charley and his little boy owner warned millions of children about the dangers of everything from playing with matches to going off with strangers, in a series of public information films.

Charley, voiced by the late comedian Kenny Everett, would miaow the lesson of the episode and the boy would then tell the audience what he was saying.

Six films were made in the Charley series - can you remember them all? They involved the dangers of playing with matches, water, pulling hot things off tables, hot things in the kitchen, not telling mum where you are going and strangers.

"This man came up and asked if I would like to see some puppies. And I was going to go but Charley stopped me. Charley's reminded me my mum says I shouldn't go off with people I don't know.

"Then the man went away. We went and told mummy and she said we'd been very good. I got an apple and Charley got something he likes.

"He says, never go anywhere with men or ladies you don't know."

Back in 2006, the Charley Says series was voted the nation's favourite public information film.

Thousands of viewers sent in their votes - he was closely followed in the poll by Tufty the Squirrel, Joe and Petunia and the Green Cross Code man.

Learn To Swim with Rolf Harris was also in the top 10.

Many Teessiders grew up with the characters created in the information films - a picture from the Gazette archives shows David Prowse - aka the Green Cross Code man - with two youngsters back in 1982 - can you shed any more light on when and where the image was taken? Albert Park even had its own road safety Tufty Club as this picture taken in the late Sixties shows.

Charley was created by animator Richard Taylor - he'd been working on the children's TV show Crystal Tips and Alistair when the Central Office of Information (COI) asked for some films warning children about domestic dangers. The 60th anniversary of the COI in 2006 was marked with the launch of a website making the public information films available on the internet.

| www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films

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CHARLEY SAYS: It's 40 years since Charley the cat with his little boy owner, left, first broadcast his safety messages to kids across the nation

REMEMBER THESE? The Tufty Club in Albert Park, Middlesbrough, left, in the late 1960s, and Green Cross Code man Dave Prowse with two youngsters, above, in 1982
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2013
Words:464
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