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The Southern Television broadcast hoax (1977) was a broadcast interruption through the Hannington transmitter of the Independent Broadcasting Authority in the United Kingdom at 5:10 PM on 26 November 1977.



A speaker interrupted transmissions for six minutes and claimed to be a representative of an "Intergalactic Association". Reports of the incident vary, some calling the speaker "Vrillon" [1] or "Gillon", others "Asteron".[2][3]

The voice, which was disguised and accompanied by a deep buzzing, broke into the broadcast of the local ITV station Southern Television, over-riding the UHF audio signal of the early-evening news being read by Ivor Mills from ITN to warn viewers that "All your weapons of evil must be destroyed" and "You have but a short time to learn to live together in peace."

The interruption ceased shortly after the statement had been read, transmissions returning to normal shortly before the end of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Later in the evening, Southern Television apologised for what it described as "a breakthrough in sound" for some viewers. ITN also reported on the incident in its own late-evening Saturday bulletin.

The broadcast took over the sound only, leaving the video signal unaltered. At that time, the Hannington UHF transmitter was unusual in being one of the few transmitters which rebroadcast an off-air signal received from another transmitter, rather than being fed directly by a landline. As a consequence it was open to this kind of signal intrusion, as even a relatively low-powered transmission very close to the transmitter could overwhelm its reception of the intended signal, resulting in the unauthorised transmission being amplified and rebroadcast across a far wider area. The IBA stated that to carry out the hoax would take "a considerable amount of technical know-how" [4] and a spokesman for Southern Television confirmed that "A hoaxer jammed our transmitter in the wilds of North Hampshire by taking another transmitter very close to it." [2]

The transmission remains one of the few incidents of genuine broadcast signal intrusion to occur in the UK.

Public and media response

The incident caused some alarm locally, and attracted considerable publicity in the next day's Sunday newspapers,[5] with the IBA immediately pronouncing that the broadcast was a hoax.[6] The IBA confirmed that it was the first time such a hoax transmission had been made.[7]

The event was reported around the world [8][9] with numerous American newspapers picking up the story from the UPI press agency.[10][11]

The broadcast also became a footnote in (hoax) ufology as some chose to accept the supposed 'alien' broadcast at face value, questioning the explanation of a transmitter hijack. Within two days of the report of the incident in the Times, a letter to the editor published on November 30, 1977 asked "[How] can the IBA - or anyone else - be sure that the broadcast was a hoax?".[12] An editorial in America's Eugene Register-Guard commented "Nobody seemed to consider that 'Asteron' may have been for real.".[13] By as late as 1985, the story had entered folklore, with suggestions that there had never been any explanation of the broadcast.[14] Various corruptions and misreported accounts of the incident have subsequently been published on internet blogs and forums, sometimes claiming that the interruption occurred on BBC television or radio, or suggesting that the speaker identified themselves as "Gramaha".


The Winter 1977 Fortean Times (issue #24) [15] featured a transcript of what they described as the 'short message' that was broadcast:

"This is the voice of Asteron. I am an authorised representative of the Intergalactic Mission, and I have a message for the planet Earth. We are beginning to enter the period of Aquarius and there are many corrections which have to be made by Earth people. All your weapons of evil must be destroyed. You have only a short time to live to learn to live together in peace. You must live in peace... or leave the galaxy."

The Fortean Times article went on to criticise reports of the incident in other newspapers.

"Inexplicably the News Of The World and D. Mail call the owner of the voice 'Gillon, of the Ashdown Galactic Command' and that he said: "Unless the weapons of Earth are laid down, destruction from outer space invasion will quickly follow." I hope their regular news reportage is more accurate than that, for the indication is that they've simply invented a more shocking message."

Speaking on British commercial radio on December 6, 1977,[16] Sir John Whitmore also questioned newspaper reporting of the incident, referring to a recording of the complete broadcast which appeared to exist at the time.

See also


  1. ^ Paulu, Burton (October 1981). Television and radio in the United Kingdom. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 179–180. ISBN 9780816609413.  
  2. ^ a b "'Galactic' hoax startles viewers", The Daily Collegian, 2 December 1977,, retrieved 2009-09-13  
  3. ^ Sieveking, Paul (Sunday 26 December 1999), "100 Weird Years (see number 34)", The Independent On Sunday,, retrieved 2009-09-13  
  4. ^ "From outer space at short range", The Guardian, 28 November 1977, p. 4.
  5. ^ Sunday Express, 27 November 1977, p. 28.
  6. ^ "Mystery Voice Loses Its Loophole", Los Angeles Times, 30 November 1977, p. B5.
  7. ^ "Source of hoax space broadcast stays a mystery", The Times, 28 November 1977, p. 2, col. E.
  8. ^ "Mysterious voice shakes up Britons", Chicago Tribune, 30 November 1977,, retrieved 2009-09-13  
  9. ^ Smith, Jack (6 December 1977), "Every Bloke for 'Imself", Los Angeles Times,'Imself&pqatl=google, retrieved 2009-09-13  
  10. ^ "British Viewers Hear 'Message'", Ellensburg Daily Record, 28 November 1977,, retrieved 2009-09-20  
  11. ^ "Earth listeners receive 'special message'", Rome News-Tribune, 28 November 1977,, retrieved 2009-09-20  
  12. ^ "Fact or science fiction?", The Times, 30 November 1977, Letters to the Editor, p. 17.
  13. ^ "Pay Attention", Eugene Register-Guard, 15 December 1977,, retrieved 2009-09-20  
  14. ^ "Galactic traveler issued a warning", Columbia Missourian: 4a, 21 March 1985,, retrieved 2009-09-20  
  15. ^ Diary of a Mad Planet: Fortean Times Issues 16-25. John Brown Publishing Ltd. 1995. ISBN 1870021258.  
  16. ^ "Bob Holness interviews John Whitmore". Space message on Southern TV. LBC Archive. December 6, 1977. Retrieved 21 September 2009. "I'd first like to refer to the recording itself of the complete message, one thing that struck me was that there was in fact nothing threatening whatsoever on the tape, and I was aware that most of the newspaper reports said it was threatening and frightening and so on, and so forth, and I just want to point out that that's sort-of a projection of the fears onto the material itself rather than the reality."  

Vrillon, a representative of the purported extraterrestrial society, Ashtar Galactic Command, was the name used by an unidentified voice that was broadcast on the Hannington transmitter of the Independent Broadcasting Authority in the United Kingdom for six minutes at 5:10 PM on Saturday November 26, 1977.

The voice, which was disguised and accompanied by a deep buzzing, broke into the broadcast of the local ITV station Southern Television, over-riding the UHF audio signal of the early-evening news from ITN to warn viewers of "the destiny of your race" and "so that you may communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid a disaster which threatens your world and the beings on other worlds around you".

As the broadcast did not affect the video signal, it was difficult to detect its source, and the transmission disappeared at the end of what sounded like a prepared statement. Most observers have concluded that the broadcast was a hoax, achieved by directing a powerful signal at the Hannington UHF transmitter.Template:Fact

At the end of what engineers later described as a "rogue transmission",Template:Fact as the signal faded back, short bursts of the adverts playing after the news bulletin can be heard, then the Southern TV ident music, then a Looney Tunes cartoon, the Art Davis cartoon "The Goofy Gophers".[1]

The broadcast is presently a footnote in ufology and does not represent a particularly significant development in pirate television broadcasting, supplanted largely by the boom around 1984.[2][3]


Full message transcript

This is the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you. For many years you have seen us as lights in the skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers and sisters all over this, your planet Earth.

We come to warn you of the destiny of your race and your world so that you may communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid the disaster which threatens your world, and the beings on our worlds around you. This is in order that you may share in the great awakening, as the planet passes into the New Age of Aquarius. The New Age can be a time of great peace and evolution for your race, but only if your rulers are made aware of the evil forces that can overshadow their judgments.

Be still now and listen, for your chance may not come again.

All your weapons of evil must be removed. The time for conflict is now past and the race of which you are a part may proceed to the higher stages of its evolution if you show yourselves worthy to do this. You have but a short time to learn to live together in peace and goodwill.

Small groups all over the planet are learning this, and exist to pass on the light of the dawning New Age to you all. You are free to accept or reject their teachings, but only those who learn to live in peace will pass to the higher realms of spiritual evolution.

Hear now the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command, speaking to you. Be aware also that there are many false prophets and guides operating in your world. They will suck your energy from you - the energy you call money and will put it to evil ends and give you worthless dross in return.

Your inner divine self will protect you from this. You must learn to be sensitive to the voice within that can tell you what is truth, and what is confusion, chaos and untruth. Learn to listen to the voice of truth which is within you and you will lead yourselves onto the path of evolution.

This is our message to our dear friends. We have watched you growing for many years as you too have watched our lights in your skies. You know now that we are here, and that there are more beings on and around your Earth than your scientists admit.

We are deeply concerned about you and your path towards the light and will do all we can to help you. Have no fear, seek only to know yourselves, and live in harmony with the ways of your planet Earth. We of the Ashtar Galactic Command thank you for your attention. We are now leaving the plane of your existence. May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos.[4]

See also


External links


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