Specifically Apaches, which I had not seen before (or don't remember) and which involves children meeting hideous ends on farms. It is quite long, so someone has put up a helpful death reel. I moved on to Dark Water, in which Death lurks waiting for kids to fall into ponds, Robbie, the one I remember from school about football boots on the line and the sister becoming mute as a result, and the more modern (1992, though you’d never guess it) Killing Time, which is interesting in that it includes interviews with train drivers who have struck people, but is dramatically far inferior to the earlier films*. The best of the bunch, however, in terms of sheer drama is The Finishing Line, five minutes of which are available on YouTube. The best indication of how shocking this is (and we’re talking by standards of 70s PFIs here), is that it was actually replaced after two years by the softer Robbie, a film that not only shows a kid going under a train, but ends with a dog and toddler wandering through a fence and out of shot and an ominous Choo! Choo! The Finishing Line is available via the BFI, or will be once I get to a computer that (a) belongs to an HEI and (b) has Windows Media Player loaded, but the YouTube clip is dramatically impressive. There are also some comments from people who seem to believe that organised children’s sports on railway lines ending in carnage are a genuine feature of British life.
Needless to say, whilst these films were all made for children, don’t watch any of these if you don’t know what a 70s PFI was like and are leery of kids getting dismembered onscreen. Despite the common tropes about these (evident in the Zombie PFI on YouTube), some of the acting is very good, though some isn't.
When I was at middle school, one of the classes actually made a PFI. There was a road safety competition, involving children sending in scripts and the twelve winners got a video camera** to make their film, the best of which was the overall winner. The script in question from a boy at my school involved a careless child running into the road and being rescued by the Doctor. Looking back at it, our school was clearly never going to come top, as the child protagonist did not end up dead on a blood-covered road. We had a replica Tardis in the woodwork room for years.
Which brings me, still ironing, to Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, a Comic Relief special from 1999 that I had never seen. It turns out to be scripted by Steven Moffat, and is surprisingly good, with Jonathan Pryce giving a terrific turn as the Master. Pryce should be brought back – I enjoyed John Simms, but it’s time we had another Master with a mad laugh and a Demon King outfit.
Finally, and I assure you that this all makes sense in my head, I have not yet caught up with the adaptation of Game of Thrones, but hear from various sources that it is relatively rich in nudity. Could someone who has seen in it inform me (and there is a good reason for this) of the relative depictions of female and male nudity – both from behind, from the front, or a difference between the sexes.
* It has an intrusive narrator and titles. And bizarrely chooses to give the speed of an Intercity 125 in KPH, thus guaranteeing the child audience hasn’t a clue about the scary speeds they’re talking about, despite the fact we only did metric at school. Also, the person who put it up on YouTube has pixellated the real stills used, which annoys me - it is supposed to be shocking, for goodness sake, if suitable for high schoolers.
** This was back when these didn’t come with every mobile phone – I’d never seen one before, and they were expensive kit for a school.