Independence Day UK

1st Broadcast 1996 on BBC Radio 1



Dirk Maggs



Dirk Maggs



Dirk Maggs


Produced By

Audio Movies Ltd for BBC Radio 1



This is the invasion of Earth as seen from the UK. No Americans here. The story starts out as a UFO watch program from BBC Radio One. Nicky Cambell and Patrick Moore are watching the skies in the British equivalent of an AWAC.

They keep hearing a message every so often and try to trace it with the help of local European tracking stations. The message they hear is the same one that Jeff Goldblum picked up in the movie. One of the City destroyers flies to London and sits there for a while. Some British Tornadoes attack but with no success.

The final part of the story involves a Tornado escort of the new EuroFighter to the point in he Middle East (As seen near the end of the film)



''Independence Day UK'' is a one-hour BBC Radio 1 science fiction special, first broadcast on August 4 1996. The show is a spin-off of the movie ''Independence Day (movie)'' and depicts the movie's alien invasion from a United Kingdom perspective. None of the original movie cast appear in the radio show. The movie's producer Dean Devlin gave Dirk Maggs permission to produce an original radio adaptation provided that he did not reveal certain details of the movie's plot, and that he did not depict the British as saving the day. Maggs wrote, produced and directed the programme, with Devlin credited as "Creative Consultant".

In order to achieve authentic aircraft sounds, Dirk Maggs' crew recorded actual aircraft and cockpit interior sounds at an Royal Air Force RAF base.

After a brief Orson Welles-style opening announcement, recalling Welles' notorious radio adaptation of ''The War of the Worlds (radio)'', the programme begins with a 20th Century Fox fanfare. The first 25 minutes take the form of a live "UFO watch" broadcast hosted by Radio 1 Disc Jockey Nicky Campbell and veteran TV astronomer Patrick Moore (of ''The Sky at Night'') aboard an RAF E-3 Sentry aircraft. Campbell and Moore and the RAF crew deliver authentic reactions to the news that a large object is approaching the Earth. The object is subsequently revealed to be an Extraterrestrial life.

When the alien mothership disgorges dozens of smaller ships that take up position over the world's City, the broadcast switches to a press conference called by Prime Minister John Major and Leader of the Opposition Leader Tony Blair to announce the formation of an emergency coalition government. DJ Mark Goodier reports from a rooftop on the alien ship's approach to London until it fires its weapon and the broadcast goes silent.

After a brief pause the story continues in Maggs' trademark "audio movie" style, with original music from the film and sound effects and dialogue in Dolby Surround sound Aboard the RAF sentry, Moore and Campbell are shocked to learn that London has been destroyed. The alien ships launch fighters and the RAF Panavia Tornado pilots Chris and Becky engage them.

Moore draws upon his vast scientific knowledge to advise the pilots on how to combat - or at least evade - the aliens. The fighters are then called upon to defend a BBC traffic helicopter that is attempting to carry the Royal Family to safety. The RAF succeed in bringing down one of the alien fighters, and Moore has a close (and given his age, surprisingly violent) encounter with the alien pilot. Meanwhile Wing Commander Reginald engages the aliens in a prototype Eurofighter Typhoon Eurofighter. At the end of the show we learn that the Royal Family are safe and have invited Becky - a staunch republican - for tea at Balmoral Castle. The surviving military forces of Europe and the Middle East are preparing to regroup in the Beqaa Valley. One of the RAF men comments that "when this is all over and we've defeated these monsters, the Yanks'll take the credit for it, you wait and see."



The fake UFO Watch programme includes soundbites taken from the movie ''Plan 9 From Outer Space''.
The original broadcast was immediately followed by John Peel, who dryly commented: "Well, it's been like an hour-long intro to a Man or Astro-man? single."



Nicky Campbell

Nicky Campbell

Patrick Moore
Patrick Moore
Mark Goodier
Mark Goodier
FLT/LT Becky Johnson
Toyah Wilcox
Wing Comdr John Reginald
Simon Treves
Group Captain Phil Johnson
Colin Baker
FLT/LT Max Brett
Peter Serafinowicz
FLT/LT Chris Thomson
Toby Longworth
Sentry Technical Director
Mark Courtney
Voice of Orson Welles
William Hootkins


Cast Pictures

Colin Baker
Toyah Wilcox
Patrick Moore
Nicky Campbell
Mark Goodier
Simon Treves


Production Assistants

Julie Drummond

Sandra Coelho

Natalie Hickman


Recorded at

The Soundhouse Ltd London England


RAF Location Recordings

Darrin Bowen


Music composed & Arranged

David Arnold


Additional Music

Mark Russell


Comment by Dirk Maggs

The London office of Twentieth Century Fox were trying to think of a way to promote their upcoming invasion-of-earth epic, ‘Independence Day’. They heard what we did with Judge Dredd, which coincided with the release of the Sylvester Stallone movie and compared favourably. So they asked if I could think of a good radio spin-off from ‘Independence Day’ for a British audience and immediately I thought of a ‘hommage a Welles’ - as in the classic 1938 radio broadcast of The War Of The Worlds by Orson Welles' Mercury Theater. I followed the same formula as Welles - the first 20 minutes were ‘as live’ with the real BBC presenters as they would be in a broadcasting situation. Once the destruction of the radio network was heard (as in that excerpt), the Dolby Surround encoding kicked in and we were up in the sky with the Royal Air Force as they fought the alien invaders.

The British setting was a great excuse for a lot of tongue-in-cheek digs at Hollywood action heroes - we even had one of the characters say at the end, ‘I bet the
Americans claim the credit for this’! Which of course had to be the case - the producers of Independence Day forbade us to defeat the aliens, we had to leave
that to Randy Quaid!

It was fun to have real people involved in the action, particularly Sir Patrick Moore, a venerable British broadcaster and renowned astronomer who we got fighting with an alien! He was a real sport and loved every minute of it.

Although we didn’t stir a nationwide panic there were a few worried phone calls to the BBC Duty Office.


Running Time

1 episode in series 60 Minutes

Recorded & Mixed in Dolby Surround Sound

Paul Deeley


Dolby Labs Consultants

David Fraser

Andy Day

Audio Movie effects by Designed & Performed


Image Missing
Wilfred Acosta
Ian Harker
Dirk Maggs


Special Alien Effects

Danni Minogue


Other Items

Here is a good review by TY Power worth a look

What Others have said

“... Dirk Maggs’ brilliant Independence Day UK is Number one (in the Bookseller Spoken Word Chart), having already become one of the very few spoken word recordings to make the regular album charts ...”

M.J.SIMPSON, SFX Magazine, Christmas 1996 issue


“...the script's literary quality is very much the hallmark of an original and potent form of radio drama. Dirk Maggs previously created very short episodic 'Audio Movie' style series of early comic strip stories such as 'Judge Dredd', 'Batman' and 'Superman' for Radio One FM and this production was an extension of that genre...”

M.A. RADIO COURSE, Goldsmith’s College, University of London October 1998


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