26 Nov: Signal-Jamming Aliens
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…
• ‘Alien Vrillon Interruption 1977’ (RECREATION by RukiTheDreamer, YouTube 2017):
• ‘Vrillon: the alien voice hoax that became a legend’ (The Independent, 2017): https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/vrillon-hacking-alien-voice-seventies-extra-terrestrial-hoax-unexplained-mysteries-a8069926.html
• ‘Five Of The Eeriest Interruptions In Broadcast History’ (Neatorama, 2015): https://www.neatorama.com/2015/11/30/Five-Of-The-Eeriest-Interruptions-In-Broadcast-History/