Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Snipist : Rabies Public Information Film

Did you imagine being frightened of every animal you saw?

Did you think before bringing rabies into Britain?

Just one animal smuggled in led to all this.

A sentence of death for the pets you love.

A sentence of death for you.

Death in a manner beyond description.

Now all dogs must be destroyed.

All foxes must be poisoned.

The pet you own must be extinguished.

Animals must be culled.

You brought rabies into Britain.

You were warned.

Rabies is a killer.

We must kill rabies.

The Snipist was one of the highlights of last year's Playhouse Presents strand; a series of half hour plays for Sky Arts.

Written and directed by Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi's Darkplace) it is set in an alternate Britain of the 1970s which has collapsed under the weight of a rabies outbreak. It's grim stuff and Holness homages the Survivors style landscape impeccably. The rurality of the location is not in any way picturesque - the ground is hard and frostbitten, the farmhouses deserted and bunkers poorly manned by one solitary snipist (Douglas Henshall) who begins to doubt himself and what he is seeing. 

The highlight of the piece is the wonderfully evocative PIF (Public Information Film) voiced by a sonorous John Hurt as 'The Voice Of The Ministry' tipping the nod no doubt to his role as Winston Smith in 1984. The above screen caps are taken from this dummy PIF/scene and the credits of the play.  


  1. What on EARTH are the reviewers TALKING about.. I've just sat through this shit and cannot believe I've wasted 30 minutes of my life on one of the dullest most pointless televisual sufferings since the god awful film 'Elephant'

    1. If you can't see the point of this or Elephant then it's safe to say this blog isn't for you my friend.