The was launched with this Halas and Batchelor film, Your Very Good , 1947

Make a film and help save lives: and NHS Choices want your ideas for a new series of public health films

The UK’s was launched 60 years ago with the help of a cartoon
character called Charley. Created by renowned animators Halas and Batchelor, Charley and his family explained the fledgling service to the nation in the classic film Your Very Good Health (above).

Through its web portal, NHS Choices, the NHS now makes extensive use of moving image, both to promote public health messages, to explain diseases and conditions and to help those suffering from them. With an ageing population and alarming increases in problems such as obesity, there remains a dire need for effective, engaging communications. Which is where you come in.

NHS Choices and CR are giving our readers the chance to develop a new animated character/s to commu nicate vital public health messages. The chosen entrant will be given a six month contract to develop his or her concept and put it into action.

We are looking for a character/s that would work well in both static illustration and short animated films that would be distributed nationally on the net and other media. The aim is to use humour, consis tently strong writing, and a distinctive visual identity to put over health infor mation credibly, with laughs and without alienating the audience by being patronising.

The Guide To Health, also by Halas and Batchelor

How to enter

Send a storyboard or short animation containing a health message which showcases your character/s in the best possible light. We are looking for a strong visual style which is engaging and can be used flexibly across different media. The creative solution should have a universal appeal so please include an outline on how the characters could be implemented and developed over time.

Individual and team entries are welcome from both amateurs and profes sionals. Up to five entries will then be shortlisted and each given a budget of £3000 to produce their short anima tion. These films will be viewed by a panel of representatives from nhs Choices and CR with, in the opinion of the judges, the makers of the strongest film being awarded the contract to make the ensuing series.

The winner’s work will gain huge exposure in a high-profile medium that is promoted nationally. The work may well be syndicated. NHS Choices will retain the in the charac ters and content of the final commis sioned films but in the case of entered storyboards and the five test films copyright over characters and content will remain with the filmmakers.

To enter, send storyboards and a covering note, with an estimate of what each film would cost, to Joanna Rahim, multimedia editor, nhs Choices, 80 Skipton House, SE1 6LH, by 19, 2009. 

Please note, we cannot return storyboards. The judges’ decision is final. If you have any queries, contact Deadline: January 19 2009