“Protect and Survive” – Disturbing British Nuclear Survival Videos (1980s)

Few things are as uncomfortable to watch, on so many levels, as these videos from the U.K’s “Protect and Survive” public information series from the early 1980s. (And maybe it’s just me, but I get an eerie sense of Cold War-era nostalgia, too.)

Each video begins with a mushroom cloud cartoon and concludes with what somebody on Wikipedia aptly called “a memorably unsettling electronic musical phrase.”

Most of the crap you’re instructed to do seems like a doomed, absurd existential charade, and altogether unlikely to save any lives. (Much like our own “Duck and Cover,” as I understand it.)

Witness this comically futile fall-out “refuge” from part 6 (“Refuges“).

And this guy, hiding from fall-out under a bridge.

And this pitiful attempt to dignify a shit bucket. (Which actually seems like a very British thing to do.)

All the videos are available here, but I’ve embedded a small selection:

#1. Nuclear Explosions Explained

#3. ”What To Do When The Warnings Sounds” (Jesus, even the “All Clear” signal is deeply unnerving.)

#4. “Stay At Home”

#10. “Action After Warnings”

#15. “Life Under Fall-Out Conditions”

#20. “Casualties” (Creepy. I can understand why they saved this one for last.)