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  1. ITV Report

Forty years on the elaborate television hoax that shocked the world

The programme presented by Tim Brinton was originally meant to be broadcast on April Fools Day, 1977.

Were you taken in by Anglia TV's elaborate hoax? It's 40 years since the "Science Report" episode titled "Alternative 3" was broadcast.

Let's go back in time...

It is 1977, the country is celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee, Fleetwood Mac are top of the charts, and this time it is Labour who are trying to form a minority government striking a deal with the Liberals.

But that's not all. Anglia Television are also about to make the news all around the world for a major April Fool. But this was not your average hoax.

The hoax made the news worldwide.
Actors and actresses were used to make the feature length documentary.

This was a feature length documentary with actors and actresses, as they were then known, reporting on how scientists were being kidnapped to work on Mars to prepare for the end of the world.

The other twist to the story is that, due to a scheduling issue, the programme, called 'Alternative 3', was not transmitted on the 1st of April but the 20th of June resulting in floods of calls from terrified viewers assuming that what they were seeing was in fact real.

Forty years on the programme is being aired to the public for the second time during a screen at the Forum in Norwich on Tuesday 20 June.

Dr Tim Snelson and Christopher Miles

Dr Tim Snelson, a media lecturer at the University of East Anglia came up with the idea for the screening of the archive programme and tracked down Christopher Miles who directed 'Alternative 3' in 1977.

ITV Anglia's Jonathan Wills and Becky Jago caught up with the pair during an interview.