It’s incredible that a thirty-second public information film can cause such intense irritation. It’s like stinging-nettle whiplash, the Julie Walters smoke-alarm campaign. And the worst thing about it is they double them up. Firstly, at the top of an ad break, you’ll have Walters asking if you fancy saving your family from dying, then telling you to ‘pull your finger out’ (presumably of your arsehole, as the proverb dictates) and test your smoke-alarm. Then, after you’ve sat through the malevolent maelstrom of all the other ads, she reappears to reiterate her message.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be so annoying if I didn’t already know full well that my smoke alarm works just fine. Maybe I wouldn’t get so wound up if it didn’t bleep at an ear-splitting volume every time I tried to lightly fry bacon. It might be that this campaign wouldn’t nestle on my tits and wrap itself around my wick if my smoke-alarm didn’t wail like a deafening banshee every time I put some cheese on toast under the grill.
Or maybe, if it wasn’t Julie Walters trying to tell me what to do like a stern, friendly teacher, I wouln’t want to kick the screen to smithereens. There’s something about Jules that sends me into a blind rage. The vastly overrated association with Acorn Antiques and Victoria Wood, the appointment to national treasure status that occurred off my watch and the chuckling mum persona she conveys on the TV, despite the fact she’s NOT MY MUM.
I fully realise that this is a twisted, personal pet-hate and most people will wonder what the hell I’ve got against Walters. It’s irrational, perhaps.
I admit it. It’s not you, Walters. It’s me.