Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Modern Classics - LIFE ON MARS?

In June 1977, Anglia TV broad­cast a pro­gramme that was to Bri­tain what Or­son Welles’ in­fa­mous War of the Worlds ra­dio broad­cast had been to the USA in 1938. Al­ter­na­tive 3 was part of the oth­er­wise se­ri­ous and high­brow Sci­ence Re­port se­ries, pur­port­edly in­ves­ti­gat­ing deaths and dis­ap­pear­ances of Bri­tish sci­en­tists. It was later ‘re­vealed’ that they’d been spir­ited off to a lu­nar base used as a stag­ing post for the coloni­sa­tion of Mars, as Earth was now im­mi­nently doomed by cli­mate change. The earnest news-like style and use of stock footage fooled a sig­nif­i­cant sec­tion of view­ers, who phoned Anglia TV in Nor­wich in a panic at the world end­ing and them not be­ing whisked off to an­other planet. Anglia ad­mit­ted it was a hoax, orig­i­nally planned for April Fool’s Day but de­layed. How­ever, it pointed out that sev­eral of those in the ‘mock­u­men­tary’ were well-known ac­tors and listed as char­ac­ters in the clos­ing cred­its. Not notic­ing these cru­cial facts sug­gests that those who called Nor­wich might not have been the first choice to be pro­gen­i­tors of the new hu­man race in the un­tainted cra­dle of the heav­ens…

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