Between the weather and a complete lack of good news in the world, I’ve been in not so much a foul mood lately as a dark mood; I’ve found myself exploring all manner of eschatology and other ridiculousness related to the apocalypse (great resource: Exit Mundi). And rereading my own article hasn’t helped anything. I know this is old news to most, but I was reminded of the BBC’s nuclear war transcript the other day and thought it deserved some reprinting.
If Britain had been attacked with nuclear weapons during the Cold War (I believe the years 1974-79 were when this particular transcript would have been used), then BBC presenters would have read the following chilling passages to the nation:
This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.
Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger….
Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep…
Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.
The actual BBC link above has a clip of Harry Shearer reading the transcript while doing a pretty serviceable impression of Cronkite. But I’d love to hear it from an actual Briton. Is there anything more despair-inducing than “nothing to be gained by trying to get away”?