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Charley is back to warn of danger of buying dodgy electrical gear

David Walliams voices nation's favourite Prodigy-inspiring puss in classic information film reboot

Counterfeit goods appearing in the pro-audio market is nothing new. Every six months or so, PSNEurope hears from a leading manufacturer who claims to have fallen victim to having its designs pirated. (“Knocked off” is often the term used.)

Look back over the PSNE/PSNEurope archives and you will find several examples where names including Sennheiser, Shure, Neutrik and Camco have identified counterfeit versions of their kit. In the case of the microphone manufacturers in particular, strong action has often been taken to curb such piracy operations.

Buying and using fake goods is not just bad for business, it can be bad for your health too. In the UK, Electrical Safety First – the UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents – recently rejuvenated a campaign to highlight the danger of counterfeit electrical goods.

ESF worked with comedian David Walliams to revise the beloved public information film, Charley Says.

As many will remember, Charley Says was a series of six cartoon safety films for children, created by animator Richard Taylor, produced by the government’s Central Office of Information and aired in the ’70s and ’80s. The original Charley was voiced by the late DJ/comedian Kenny Everett. One episode was famously sampled by The Prodigy in 1991; the single Charly [sic] undoubtedly kickstarted the band’s career. In 2006, Charley Says was voted the nation’s favourite public information film by users of the BBC News website.

In his latest adventure, Charley receives a serious electric shock (top picture!) from a counterfeit karaoke machine – in fact, a ‘Kataoke’, for the sharp-eyed – bought from a suspicious market stall.

ESF adds: “Sales of illegal, fake goods on websites such as Twitter and Facebook have increased by nearly 15% in the last year, and a quarter of us have come across people trying to flog counterfeit products on our social media accounts.” In 2014, faulty appliances caused nearly 6,000 house fires.

(All consumer research, unless otherwise stated, conducted from 21-23 November 2014 by Populus on behalf of Electrical Safety First with a sample of 2,101 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults.)