The Independent Television programme Television Playhouse, which produced the play Before the Sun Goes Down last Friday, caused a country-wide scare.

There were many instances of sudden panic. For instance, it was a shock for Mr J Wilson, of Lower High Street, Watford, when, while waiting for a bus in Bushey, he saw a woman race from her house with her dog.

She shouted to him: “You should get off the streets as there’s a spaceship hovering over London.”

This lady was not the only one to be anxious. Television, police and newspaper telephone exchanges were blocked by viewers wanting verification of a “news flash” telling of a “new and terrifying satellite hanging over London”.

The programme had been interrupted by a news announcer who reported: “Tonight, a new and terrifying satellite has been launched into outer space. Defying all previous scientific theory, it hangs stationary over London. Here it is seen from a camera on the top of Television House.”

[From the Watford Observer of February 27, 1959]

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