Fire Kills – Pull Your Finger Out


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.

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30 Responses to “Fire Kills – Pull Your Finger Out”

  1. fourstar Says:

    Two soups?

  2. Swineshead Says:


  3. fourstar Says:

    The “Two soups” sketch was quite good:

    Very much of its time, but aren’t we all.

  4. Swineshead Says:

    Oh right – I follow you.

    Have you tested your fire alarm recently?

  5. Nick T Says:

    What next?
    The car seat belt? Vitamins? Drink-Driving.
    It’s a nanny state I tells ya!

    I totaly agree, it is you.

  6. fourstar Says:

    @Swineshead: Yes I have. I test it every hour, just in case. I seem to be getting through batteries like nobody’s business though. Oh well, that’s the price of safety.

  7. roszs Says:

    One sooooup… and another sooooooup….

    I love Julie Walters, though that advert is getting a bit annoying now I agree.

    “When would you prefer to find out your fire alarm doesn’t work? Now? Or WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIRE?”

  8. Clarry Says:

    APPARENTLY if you have a chip pan fire the firebrigade are obliged to give you a proper deep fat frier so you don’t do it again. ACES!

  9. Swineshead Says:

    *Puts lighter fluid in chip pan*

    * drops lit match in*

    * leaves house*

  10. The Spaghetti Says:

    SH – Let us know how you get on. Oh, your computer’s on fire, eh? Oh well. I’ll assume you’re tucking in to chips.

  11. Nick T Says:

    WWM advert in Nick Tann podcast shocker!

  12. indy Says:

    “Fire Kills – Pull Your Finger Out”

    pull my finger!

  13. The Spaghetti Says:

    Where’s it been?

  14. indy Says:


  15. ugeine Says:

    My smoke alarm works. My friend set fire to his jeans and the resulting palava was enough to make me realise I have several fully working smoke alarms.

  16. indy Says:

    confession: i’ve even brought my own smoke detector when on holiday. last time i went away my girlfriend stopped me from bringing it with us, which caused lots of sleepless nights (ok, the sleepless nights bit isn’t true but she did stop me from bringing the smoke alarm though).

  17. Nick T Says:

    Filters on fags, street lighting.
    When will this madness end?

  18. The Spaghetti Says:

    I drew the line at the earth pin on the plugs of domestic appliances.

  19. Nick T Says:

    I just stuff the bare wires in the socket.
    Little tip, you will need to jam a screwdriver or something in that top pin. I use a wet spoon, works a treat!

  20. The Spaghetti Says:

    And for tricky jobs involving both hands – hold the spoon in your gob. Feel those fillings tingle!

    Such ground-breaking tips could be used to follow up my proposed “Smell gas? – Blame the dog” campaign.

  21. Nick T Says:

    This is how we win wars!!!

  22. Who Says:

    I have never cooked proper chips – ie. in scalding hot lard, in their own special basket. Largely because the idea of the whole lot going up and having to chuck a damp – not wet – tea towel over it really gave me the fear. That’ll be due to another of those terrifying 70’s information adverts they used to run. So because of that, I’ve been duped out of the possibility of a free deep fat fryer? CURSES!

  23. The Spaghetti Says:

    Scary adverts – grrrr! I have been permanently marked by John Hurt yelling at me to not die of ignorance.

  24. daveselectricblanket Says:

    I set my fire alarm off yesterday by dowsing a Swan filter with body splash and setting it alight. Lot’s of fun. So much, in fact, I’m going to start setting fire to people’s houses.

  25. Clarys Says:

    Don’t smoke alarms have a warning “beep” when the battery is running low anyway? So, if you’re such a lazy fucktard that you can’t even be arsed to change some batteries, it serves you right for turning into a human rotisserie anyway.

  26. Clarys Says:

    I do love Julie Walters though, she’s acers.

  27. Clarry Says:

    My mum is notoriously disorganised and the spare room in her old house could probably be seen on an episode of ‘How Clean Is Your House?’ as there was only just enough exposed carpet so that the door could be opened to throw some more junk in there. Anyway, when I was away at uni, mum kept saying ‘I think there is a little bird in the spare room that has fallen down the chimney, but I can’t find it.’ It later transpired that the bird in question was actually a fire alarm low on batteries buried amongst the junk.

    Ho ho ho – how she blushed!

  28. colinr Says:

    I used to like Walters very much until she became irritating (the above ads), overexposed and preachy with just a hint of right wing zealot about her. Her Mary Whitehouse apologa was the last straw, especially as her character is introduced in the exercreble ITV film Driving Lessons, made a year or so earlier, shouting the ‘c’ word for no reason.

    So she’s a hypocrite as well. No wonder New Labour use her for Public Information films.

  29. The Redundant Girl Says:

    Hey, be nice to my mum! Yup, Julie Walters does, actually, look like my mum, really, ask crapsack!

  30. shrinkingdad Says:

    Hey, I love Julie. The ad is excruciating though, I must admit. But I’m in the marketing business, and I have a feeling it’s deliberately so. Because people remember annoying ads far more than the feelgood ones that blend in with the entertainment. If you’re trying to sell a feelgood item you can’t use that technique, but for practical things , particularly things you feel guilty for not buying, it works like a dream. I bet you can still remember the straplines from loads of the really boring ads that were on when you were 15 can’t you?

    Are you sure it’s not just smoke alarms you hate? I know I do. I have two small children now and a wave a guilt comes across me every time I think of the damn things, but without a moments hesitation I can say that if I lived alone I would throw them all in the bin. They go off all the bloody time, and the only way to stop them is to take the batteries out. Why can’t they have timers or be linked to light switches or something, so that they are only on when you’re asleep? When I’m asleep at 3 a.m., I might actually WANT to be informed if someone is lightly frying bacon in my kitchen. When I’m awake, I can figure it out for myself.

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