Very well remembered, Alternative 3 was a faux documentary that had a shocking secret to reveal – American and Russian scientists were busy founding a colony on the dark side of the moon because the Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming had made Earth unviable.
The title came from the fact that the scientists had come up with three alternative scenarios – to lower the population, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to simply run away. The scientists chose the latter. Based on the format of a special news doco by Anglia’s Science Report team, the production revealed that over 400 scientists were already living on the moon, with insiders, most notably former astronaut Bob Grodin, revealing all.
Supremely well done the production made heavy use of home movie footage, hidden cameras, stories of missing scientists and scored extra points for having newsreader Tom Brinton front it all. Surprisingly lots and lots of people took the production at face value and believed it, swamping the Anglia switchboards with complaints. If they’d only stayed to watch the end credits they might have realised it was a hoax with the cast list.
In the mid 2000’s Ken Mitchell published a novel called Alternative 3 which although only touched on issues raised in the film was clearly heavily influenced by it.
UK / ITV Network – Anglia / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 20 June 1977
Devised by David Ambrose and Christopher Miles / Writer: David Ambrose / Music: Brian Eno / Production Design: Terry Ackland-Snow / Scientific Advisor: Arthur Garrett / Executive Producer: John Woolf / Producer: John Rosenberg / Director: Christopher Miles
TIM BRINTON as Himself
GREGORY MUNROE as Colin Benson
CAROL HAZELL as Katherine White
SHANE RIMMER as Bob Grodin
RICHARD MARNER as Dr Carl Gerstein
DAVID BAXT as Harry
ALEC LINSTEAD as Professor Broadbent
NORMAN CHANCER as Charles Welbourne
ANTHONY ROYE as Robert Handry
PATSY TRENCH as Dr Ann Clarke
PHOEBE NICHOLLS as Harry’s Girlfriend
IVOR ROBERTS as George Pendlebury
LINDA CUNNINGHAM as Annie
NANCY ADAMS as Doreen Patterson
JONATHAN HIEATT-SMITH as Young Man in Laboratory
ALICE WADE as Mrs Pendlebury