BFI logo











Screenonline banner
KS3/4 Citizenship: Conservative Party Election Broadcasts

Compare and contrast two approaches to the PEB

Main image of KS3/4 Citizenship: Conservative Party Election Broadcasts
AuthorPoppy Simpson BFI
TopicParty Election Broadcasts
Curriculum linksNC KS3/4 Citizenship - democratic and electoral processes

Two Conservative Party Election Broadcasts.

Most students will be aware of at least some of the different ways in which political parties try to promote their message and gain public support. This activity uses two very different Conservative Party Election Broadcasts - a 'portrait' of John Major for the 1992 election and a scaremongering PEB from the ill-fated 2001 Conservative campaign.

By comparing and contrasting these two PEBs, this activity encourages learners to build on their understanding of political propaganda and consider the relationship between the contemporary political climate and the stylistic/narrative approaches to PEBs.

This starter or plenary would fit well with a lesson or scheme of work exploring the nature of the UK parliamentary system and role of individuals in the democratic and electoral process.



Before showing students either of the PEBs, ask them to explain what they understand by 'Party Election Broadcast' - teasing out some of the main features of the PEB; who makes them/when are they shown/what is their aim/how long do they tend to be etc? (You may want to give them some additional information about this history and rules associated with the PEB, which can be found in the main Screenonline collection on Party Election Broadcasts).

After teasing out some of the key features of the PEB, watch the two Conservative PEBs - first the 1992 PEB of 9mins (you can watch an extract of this instead of the whole film), followed by the short 2001 broadcast piece. Ask students to jot down their observations about each film.

  • How would they describe the approach of each film?
  • What are the main differences between them?
  • What reaction do they think each film aimed to provoke?

Now, encourage students to build on these observations. What can they infer about the political climate at the time when these two films were made? Why do the two films take such radically different approaches? What are the risks associated with these different approaches? Which do they find most effective? If there is time, you may want students to read about the context in which each film was made in greater depth.

Finally, how important do students think PEBs are? Ask them to rate their significance on a scale of one to 10 (where one = not very important) in terms of a) explaining a political party's mission and policies and b) influencing public opinion.


Some more ideas

  • Ask students to consider the increasing use of 'portraits' of political leaders in PEBs. Is personality more important than policy in winning votes?
Video Clips
Complete broadcast (3:12)
Complete broadcast (9:10)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Conservative Party Election Broadcast (18 March 1992)Conservative Party Election Broadcast (18 March 1992)

Read more about this programme

Thumbnail image of Conservative Party Election Broadcast (2 June 2001)Conservative Party Election Broadcast (2 June 2001)

Read more about this programme

See also

Thumbnail image of Party Election BroadcastsParty Election Broadcasts

TV political campaigns