On the 26th November 1977, Southern Television, a TV station located in the quiet Hampshire countryside, was having a day like any other. Five o’clock came and with it the early evening news bulletin. The reporter, Ivor Mills, began as usual but then, all of a sudden, came a distortion. The sound of the reporter faded and a mysterious voice began to speak. The individual identified itself as the alien ‘Vrillon’. For six minutes, it delivered an urgent plea for all humankind to disarm their “weapons of evil” and bring about peace. Forty-five years later, it’s become the obsession of internet conspiracy theorists, but no investigation – official or otherwise – has come close to finding the culprit. ‘The Interruption’, a new podcast from Stak, dives into this murky world of UFO religions and pirate radio to try and solve the 45-year-old cold case. We sat down with host Tommie Trelawny to discuss the upcoming series.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE SOUTHERN TELEVISION INTERRUPTION OF 1977?
The deep monotonous voice of “Vrillon” that broke onto British TV has been circulating online for a while now. The internet has allowed lost stories like these to resurface. Ever since I first heard the audio of the incident, it’s been swirling around my mind. The intruder’s bizarre message of peace, love, and flying saucers has so many unanswered questions surrounding it. No one was caught and no one came forward. It’s a mystery too intriguing to be left unsolved.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO REOPEN THIS 45-YEAR-OLD COLD CASE IN THE FORM OF A PODCAST?
I don’t think I officially “opened” this investigation. It’s more a case of gradually falling down the rabbit hole. I suppose it began with a dusty Wikipedia article and a few YouTube videos and then, all of a sudden, I’m trawling through archives, securing leads and finding suspects. That, in essence, is the beauty of podcasting: it invites listeners into a deeper narrative. The listener gets to be part of the journey and experience the mystery unravelling it in real time.
WHAT WAS THE MOST UNEXPECTED THING (OR PERSON!) YOU CAME ACROSS THROUGHOUT THE INVESTIGATION?
I did not anticipate how much an investigator influences their investigation. My experiences, beliefs, and suspicions dictated where I searched, and who I talked to. All in subtle, unconscious ways. I guess I didn’t quite understand what an “open mind” really meant. Making the show took me to some surprising places. I visited the Aetherius Society (Britain’s oldest UFO religion), infiltrated online groups, and even interviewed Vrillon themself with the help of a channeler. The most unexpected encounter was with the celebrity illusionist Uri Geller. He was entangled in the investigation pretty early on. On a whim, I sent him an email asking for a comment. Later that day I was interviewing him on the phone. We still chat on WhatsApp every now and then.
FROM WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RECIPE FOR AN INVESTIGATIVE PODCAST SUCCESS?
Leave no stone unturned.
The Interruption is a new eight-part investigative podcast series from Stak, with two new episodes dropping every Monday. It’s available to listen to now – just search ‘The Interruption’ in your podcast app, or find it on Apple Podcast, Spotify and other popular podcast apps.
Stak produces podcasts that entertain and inform, including some of the UK’s biggest and most popular shows – boasting a combined 4 million monthly listens and over 45 years of podcasting experience. Whether recording remotely or in our broadcast-grade London studio, we specialise in every stage of the podcasting process. To find out more or get in touch, visit out website at stak.london!