Alternative 3 (1977, Christopher Miles)

Hosted by an actual BBC personality, this was a special episode of a (made-up?) show called Science Report that aired on April Fool’s Day. Plays it very straight, a well-made fake documentary. Can’t scare people with it anymore because of the dated 70’s look, but it would be fun to re-stage today, especially with global warming so big in the news.

The premise is that scientists discover global warming has passed the tipping point and the planet is doomed. The space race is a ploy, and subsequent moon landings after the first few were faked on a studio lot. Really the shuttles are delivering parts for a new ship that will be launched from orbit to send some hot scientists and a representative group of people from different specialties to live on Mars, where they have recently discovered life, to begin a new society. All of this has been hidden from the Earth public to avoid panic. The BBC has carefully uncovered hints of the truth over the last six months but hasn’t learned everything. The movie ends with questions, and a challenge to the people involved in this secret project to explain themselves on-air.

This movie is as old as I am. Cool spacey music by Brian Eno. Some of the same crew later worked on Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, including producer John Rosenberg, who died of cancer in ’91.

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