There was a cool and eerie incident many years ago in my native land, Englandshire. (or as Arthur Lee of Love once memorably put it 'England Town'). In 1977, the early evening ITN news on Southern TV (that was the ITV franchise area for southern England at the time), was interrupted by the voice of an alien ! Or a really bored and/or stoned middle class hippy student with some transmitting equipment, take your pick. (I say middle class because of the putative alien's accent. Also, hippiedom was a strictly middle class thing. Punk was deliberately styled as a working class reaction to it, as I recall.) But I digress.
For years I only had a brief edited mp3 of this, I searched and searched but this was all that there was on the Internet. Lately I've found that a complete version is doing the rounds! And here it is-
Most of the commenters on this and other pages on the Internet that discuss this get it very wrong. They keep insisting (as does the writer of the text on the film linked here) that towards the end there is interference picked up from other stations. Not so. To an English person who remembers British tv from the time it is very obvious. The bursts of dialogue and music that interfere with Vrillon's speech towards the end are quite obviously the adverts that are playing on Southern TV after the news. At one point I hear a voice that sounds very much like Richard Briers , an actor who has been an advert voicover mainstay on British TV since before I was born. (I don't know for sure that it is him, but the voice is indeed familiar regardless) Another clear bit that can be heard is obviously a catfood advert.
Just before the Loony Tunes theme, we hear the Southern TV ident music. As seen here.
Then a Looney Tunes cartoon is played. (ETA-it's actually a Merrie Melodies! but it's got the Looney Tunes theme.) All the Americans on the internet seem to think this was either broadcasted by Vrillopad (ho ho)or inserted by someone else later. Er, no. Southern TV was playing an old cartoon after the news. These old cartoons were always on TV back then. ITV and BBC alike. Whenever the schedule was running a bit behind they would bung one on. Surely the fact that we hear the continuity announcer apologising for the breaks in sound (because in the past few minutes Southern TV had been inundated with hundreds of phone calls from freaked out people who thought an alien invasion was imminent-makes you wonder if they actually even listened to the message. No spiritual evolooootion bom bom bom for you!)immediately after the Looney Tunes closing theme would make it kinda obvious (there's that word again)? (Southern TV had no idea what was going on and were totally bemused of course)
The cartoon is 'The Goofy Gophers' (1947). And here it is!
Astounds me how many people on the Internet say this is on the BBC. Even though the words 'ITV' and 'ITN' are mentioned several times. Are people really stupid? Yes. Yes they are.
A lot of people seem to think this is a radio broadcast. The only radio portion of this is the IRN (independent radio news) report from the next day near the end. The rest was on TV. This impression is given I think because there is no known version of this with the visuals. Unfortunately video recorders were very expensive and very rare in 1977 so probably none exists. As someone who has been interested in this incident for a long time that would be the holy grail! Kind of like the Babushka Lady's JFK assassination film which may or may not exist etc.
The short burst of Mountain's 'Nantucket Sleighride' that can be heard after the end of the next day's bulletin would have been a trailer for Sunday lunchtime current affairs programme 'Weekend World' which used that tune as its theme. It was a very very very dull programme. At least I thought so as a child!
There's more I can say about this but this entry is getting way too long so I'll break off here for now.
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