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On This Day: Signal-Jamming Aliens

The Retrospectors

Episode 149
11.8 MB

Your TV signal wobbles. An alien voice (albeit one with a Southern English accent...) seizes control of your set. And, instead of newsreader Andrew Gardner reporting on the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, you hear a voice claiming to be ‘Vrillon’, of Ashtar Galactic Command, with a message for humanity.

Such was the experience for viewers attempting to watch the ITV Evening News on Southern TV on 26th November, 1977 - an incident which became infamous in the ‘signal-jamming’ pantheon of the twentieth-century. Nobody has ever claimed responsibility.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly compare ‘Vrillon’ to its US counterpart, the ‘Max Headroom’ incident; unpick the idea that the broadcast was part of the Raelian movement; and explain how Twitter ruined signal-jamming pranks forever...  

Further Reading:

• ‘Alien Vrillon Interruption 1977’ (RECREATION by RukiTheDreamer, YouTube 2017):

• ‘Vrillon: the alien voice hoax that became a legend’ (The Independent, 2017):

• ‘Five Of The Eeriest Interruptions In Broadcast History’ (Neatorama, 2015):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 

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