Don’t mention Armageddon

From today’s Independent Online

In the event of all-out nuclear war, the BBC was to distract the nation by broadcasting a mix of music and light entertainment shows, secret papers released by the Home Office reveal.

Hundreds of security-vetted BBC staff and a select band of unnamed radio artistes were to be clandestinely dispatched to transmission sites across the country at the first signs of international tension.

Just before the first missiles had reached Britain, the BBC was to use regional centres in Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Middlesbrough to broadcast a national service that the Government hoped would create “a diversion to relieve strain and stress”.

I’m reminded about the jokes that used to circulate in the 1960s and 1970s about “things to do during the four-minute warning” [that the UK population was supposed to get before the nukes detonated]. My favourite was “Buy A Renault 4 and watch it rust”.