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Decimal Coinage: New Decimal Coinage (1968)


Main image of Decimal Coinage: New Decimal Coinage (1968)
SponsorDecimal Currency Board
 Central Office of Information

The introduction of new 5p and 10p coins.

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In anticipation of the confusion that the transfer to decimal coinage on 15 February 1971 would cause, a Decimal Currency Board, the sponsor of this film, was founded in March 1966 to plan and oversee the transition. The six new coins described here were gradually phased in up to Decimal Day, or 'D'-day, in 1971, and this film was released prior to the introduction of the first of the new coins in April 1968: the five and ten new pence, exact equivalents to the old shilling and florin coins respectively. One year later, the new 50 new pence coin was introduced, replacing the ten-shilling note and the remaining decimal coins - the one, two and halfpenny coins - were released on D-Day. A 20 new pence coin was originally devised to replace the two shilling piece but was subsequently rejected in favour of the 50 pence depicted here awaiting completion of its design.

Comprising stop-action animation, Decimal Coinage: New Decimal Coinage was deemed sufficiently successful to form the basis of Decimal Currency - The System (1971), widely distributed in preparation for D-Day. Fillers such as this example formed part of a wider public education campaign encompassing literature, poster, seminars and newspaper advertising.

In the lead up to D-Day, the Guardian journalist Ken Myer praised the filler for its role in ameliorating the complex conversion. In the same article, he criticised the longer format public information film, in particular, Granny Gets the Point (1971) for failing to get the message across "because for most of the time there is too much emphasis on the difficulties." The fact that the pithiness of the format precludes discursiveness facilitates this kind of didactic State communication.

Myer concludes his article hoping that all public information films on this subject "will find their way into the National Film Archive so that in 10 or 20 years time she can dig them out and marvel that we made such a fuss about it all!" (By 'she' he is referring to celebrity cook Zena Skinner, who appears in Quick Change (1970), a filler on the subject of decimalisation sponsored by the supermarket chain, Sainsburys).

Katy McGahan

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Video Clips
Complete film (1:12)
Granny Gets the Point (1971)
Public Information Fillers