Bailey in alcohol abuse campaign
Comedian and musician Bill Bailey will feature in a new Government advertising campaign warning parents and young people about the dangers of alcohol.
The 'why let drink decide?' campaign to be launched by Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Bailey highlights the role played by alcohol in fuelling problems such as unwanted teen pregnancies, road accidents and poor marks at school.
It comes ahead of the Families and Relationships Green Paper on parenting due to be published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) later this month.
Bailey's fellow comedians Jo Brand, Josie Long and Russell Kane have already given their support to a related online video campaign, viewed so far by more than 58,000 people.
Mr Balls said: "We want to encourage families to have open and frank discussions about the risks associated with drinking earlier, and to support this by giving parents the advice and information they have asked for. This is about making sure we put young people in charge of their future - not alcohol.
"We know that parents can have an enormous influence on their child's behaviour - often far more than they realise. We will soon be publishing the Families and Relationships Green Paper and in this we aim to support parents by arming them with independent advice and information to help them have a positive relationship with their child."
The television, radio and cinema advertisements will be accompanied by leaflets distributed in GPs surgeries and a new website for parents to obtain tips on how best to advise their child about the dangers of drink.
Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo said it was hoped the latest campaign, which will also feature activity on social networking sites, would help delay the age at which young people first start drinking and reduce the amount of alcohol consumed once they start.
Bailey said: "Comedy is a great way to get information across and if people are laughing and enjoying it, you can slip messages or something more serious in under the radar and I think it has more of an impact.
"Parents tend to be hung-up on the other problems that kids can get into like unprotected sex or drugs. Alcohol tends to be put on the back burner a bit but the reality is that these problems are more than likely to be fuelled by alcohol anyway."