Date: 15 July 1997
Originally published in: The Guardian (UK)
Written by: Sarah Boseley
Johnny be good.
The start of a lesson on HIV and safe sex can be squirmingly embarrassing both for teachers and pupils. Sometimes it’s better not to tiptoe around. A short video that has just been launched will blast through everybody’s hang-ups and will really get the class going.
They certainly won’t sleep through Johnny Condom – it is full of Spitting Image puppets, cartoons and interviews with groups, singers and stars the kids admire. The message is serious, but the tone is light-hearted and fun.
First up after the singing Johnny Condom puppet (‘my friend is Wicked Willy – together we’re a team . . .’) is Dr Hilary Jones – ‘If you are grown-up enough to be having sex, you are grown-up enough to get yourself a condom.’ The message is reinforced by Kim Wilde (right)- ‘best be prepared . . . keep them in a handbag or in your bathroom or on you. I would – I do.’ There’s a lot of effort made to encourage girls to carry condoms without fearing what people will think of them. Young male pop stars, like the group Upside Down, say so: ‘Any girl that carries a condom, I respect that.’ The 10-minute video comes with a resource pack suggesting strategies for running the classroom discussions and role playing – practising the assertiveness needed to say no to sex without a condom, for instance – that will follow. In the pack there is a further 30-minute video, showing a lesson in progress.
Johnny Condom has received an impressive array of commendations, including ones from the World Health Organisation and the British Safety Council. The whole pack is available ( pounds 45, plus pounds 3 p&p) from Johnny Condom Ltd, Boisdale House, 4-10 Rodney St, London N1 9JH (tel: 0171-837 6398).