Title ID 1268Collection ID161
TitlePowerful Stuff
CollectionElectricity Council
Genre/TypeProfessionalFilm/Video companyInstitutionalFictionEducational/Training
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAccidents Children Education Schools Urban Areas Youth
LocalBromley Caldicot
RegionalKent Monmouthshire
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionIndependent Business Television Limited
CameraChris Howard; Dermot Hickey
DirectorSue Tramontini
Commissioning bodyUnderstanding Electricity: Educational Service; The Electricity Council, London
EditorMike Gilding
WriterPattrick Veale
SoundGeorge Hitchins
MusicMadonna - Yesterday's Men; Gloria Gaynor - The Heat is On
Format16mm Black & White Sound
Duration15min. 45sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This educational film is aimed at children and young people to warn them of the dangers of electricity. The film features a number of scenarios where children are electrocuted; a group of teenage boys are seen throughout the film; they ignore all the warnings resulting in two of the boys being killed when they trespass onto the site of an electricity substation to retrieve a football.


The film opens with shots of a motorbike being ridden by a young man with a pillion passenger; they pull over and speak to two boys standing on the pavement. The motorbike pulls away and the two boys walk off; opening title: "Powerful Stuff" [accompanied by a music soundtrack]. The boys meet a friend and provoke a gang of teenagers; a chase ensues with the group of boys ending up next to a electricity substation. One of the boys spots a football in the substation; one of the older boys encourages the others to retrieve the ball via a hole in the fence; the others talk him out of it. The boys arrive at school; shots of the science teacher talking to the visitor from the Electricity Board about the class. The teacher introduces Mr Jones from the Electricity Board. Mr Jones gives a talk to the class about electricity safety; shots of electricity substations and danger signs. Various scenarios are played out where someone receives an electric shock by coming into contact with overhead cables; two boys fishing; two children pitching a tent; a couple with a sailing boat; a boy flying a kite; a boy erecting an aerial on a pylon; a child mistaking an electricity cable for a telephone cable.

Mr Jones plays a video about some teenage boys vandalising a disused warehouse; one of the boys is killed from an electric shock. One of the boys in the class is clearly bored and ignores the talk; he reads a motorbike magazine and listens to his Walkman. Another scenario is played out where a boy climbs a pylon to retrieve a kite, he is electrocuted and falls to the ground. Shot of two electrodes and sparks of electricity. The boy who was seen earlier ignoring the talk now daydreams about riding a motorbike whilst his classmates are given the answers to questions about electricity. After school, the boys seen earlier and in class meet with their friends who own the motorbike. One of the boys holds a punctured football and suggests they have a whip round to buy a new ball. The boy who was ignoring the safety talk at school leads the younger boy off. They head to the substation to retrieve the football they saw earlier in the day; the older boy gets in through the broken fence. Whilst retrieving the ball he is electrocuted. The younger boy goes to help and is also electrocuted; sparks fly in the air. The others stand at the fence looking on in shock; a charred and smoking body lays on the ground. The emergency services arrive at the scene. The boys relive the safety talk given to them earlier at school. [Music plays and a news reports of the incident can be heard alongside pictures at the scenes of the accident]. End credits and music soundtrack.