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UFOs and Aliens: When the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense Helped the BBC to Make a Show. But Why?

A few days ago I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe on an alleged UFO crash somewhere in the U.K. during the Second World War. It was a story given to American journalist Dorothy Kilgallen in 1955. It was, of course, the usual kind of such tales: strange, little dead bodies, studies of the craft and dead crew by government agencies, and cover-ups and conspiracies. You can find the article at this link. There is, however, another angle to this whole story that I’ll share with you today. Depending on your opinion on the whole affair, you’ll either think “Wow!” or “Meh.” With that  said, on with today’s article. It all revolves around an entertaining BBC show that hit televisions in the U.K. back in the 1990s. Its title: Invasion: Earth. Before we get to the matter of the story, here’s some background information itself. First and foremost, it’s obvious that the creators of the show dug deep into the world of Ufology. And, the writers and producers were very familiar with that Second World War crashed UFO story, too – as it appears in the show itself.

tvdb say of the show: “A six-part mini series produced by the BBC & the American channel, Sci Fi. The mini series went out in 1998. The plot was simple but effective. A team of military and scientists discover that a hostile alien force is planning to turn Earth into a breeding farm. Another alien race, the echos, tried to warn the Earth about the aliens (ND’s) during the Second World War. However, only one person listened and he went off with the Echo’s. In the late 1990’s a UFO is shot down with the returning man. Suddenly the small team is left to defend the Earth. However, the ND’s had been poisioning the Earth for over 50 years and men are dying out while women could become hybrid creatures. Nothing seems able to stop the ND’s.”

Here’s how the story begins: “England 1944, during the height of the V-2 rocket blitz on England, an unidentified and notably non-German object crashes, devastating the suburb in which it falls. A bomb disposal team arrive on the scene, led by Lieutenant Charles Tyrell (Anton Lesser), a Cambridge Don and anthropologist, but while searching the scene the soldiers discover two of the crashed craft’s occupants; one is shot dead by a soldier while attempting to flee the scene (much to Tyrell’s dismay), while the other occupant falls out of the craft, badly injured by the crash. It soon becomes apparent that the occupants are not human, with their domed heads and speckled pale skin. Tyrell establishes a rapport with the survivor, just as Military Intelligence arrives.

“The action then moves to Scotland, 1998, and a joint Royal Air Force/NATO air force airfield. Flight Lieutenant Chris Drake (Vincent Regan) and his navigator, Flight Lieutenant Gerry Llewellyn (Stuart McQuarrie), are two Tornado aircrew scrambled to intercept an unidentified craft over the North Sea. During the ensuing encounter, both the airfield and the interceptors are seemingly attacked by a weapon that shuts off their power and disables all their instruments, so Drake impulsively acts against orders and shoots down the UFO. In the process, his own craft is damaged and he and Llewellyn must eject over the ocean. Drake is recovered alive but Llewellyn suffers serious injuries during ejection and dies in the sea before he can be rescued. The guilt-ridden Drake is grounded as a result of his hasty actions.”

Now, we get to the “Hmm” part of the story. At the same time that Nick Pope was writing his Operation Thunder Child novel, back in the 1990s, the British Ministry of Defense gave a large amount of assistance and support to the BBC’s Invasion: Earth team’s show that dealt with an attack on the planet by hostile alien entities. Inevitably, this led to rumors – within the U.K. UFO research community, if nowhere else –  that it was all part of a less-than-subtle attempt on the part of certain elements of the British Government to get the general public thinking about the possibility of humankind waging outright war against an alien species. Does the MoD know something that the rest of us don’t? A Ministry of Defense employee – referred to me by Nick Pope – had something to say about this at the time. The MoD man said:

Nick Pope

“It’s extremely strange that on the one hand the MoD is publicly so dismissive about UFOs; and yet on the other they bent over backwards to provide assistance to a TV company producing a science-fiction drama which starts with the Royal Air Force shooting down a UFO. Normally, the Ministry of Defense only helps film and TV companies where it believes that significant benefits will fall to the MoD in terms of recruiting, training or public relations. This was the case, for example, with our participation in the James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies. What, one wonders, did the MoD think it had to gain from helping to perpetuate a view that the Royal Air Force were virtually at war with extra-terrestrials? Questions about our participation in this project were raised at the highest level within the Ministry of Defense.”

Just a case of the Ministry of Defense giving a bit of help to the BBC? Or, did the MoD have other reasons for wanting to help with the production of the show? Perhaps someone should dig deeper into all of this, even though the strange story is now more than twenty years old.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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