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29 October 2014
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BBC THREE has been "Taken" over

To coincide with the final episode of Taken, Steven Spielberg's hugely successful epic mini series, BBC THREE devotes a night to the phenomenon of UFOs and alien abductions by screening an evening of extraterrestrial strangeness.

UFO Night begins with a story close to home in Britain's Closest Encounter.

Revolving around an alleged UFO-encounter at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk in 1980, the incident inspired the News of The World to print the frontpage headline "UFO Lands in Suffolk - and That's Official".

Then after nine episodes, half a century of alien mythology culminates in the final episode of Taken.

Reaching the end of a journey that started in 1944 with the appearance of a strange blue light over France, the present sees the descendants affected by these strange events learning the actual secrets behind their abductions as their true destiny is laid bare.

Those mourning the end of the series can console themselves with the fact that straight after the final episode, Pure Taken will be there to discuss, dissect and disseminate in-depth the show's popularity.

With a mixture of sci-fi fans, alien believers, special guests and interviews from the cast, this will be the definitive lookback at the programme.

Louis Theroux then bring his inquisitive style to the subject in Louis Theroux - Weird Weekends: Alien Abductions.

The presenter takes a peak into the slightly surreal world of Alien Hunters and meets those friendly to the notion of little green men and those bitterly opposed.

He even gets to talk to a "warrior monk" in the process.

Finally the light vanishes from the skies and BBC THREE concludes UFO Night by screening Inside Taken.

The programme goes behind the scenes on the hit show and reveals the mammoth task of bringing Spielberg's complex vision of alien abduction to our TV screens.

The line up for Saturday 22 March 2003 is:

Britain's Close Encounter
Pure Taken
Louis Theroux - Weird Weekends: Alien Abductions
Inside Taken

Britain's Closest Encounter

On the nights of 27 and 28 December 1980, Britain's most famous UFO incident took place.

A number of United States airforce personnel based at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk claimed to have seen "strange lights" in the adjacent Rendlesham forest, and later to have come across an unidentifiable craft in the woods.

Britain's Closest Encounter examines the incident and talks to the main players involved, including key air force personnel Charles Halt and James Penniston, local witnesses and UFO believers and sceptics.

It includes newly analysed audio tapes recorded by the USAF during the sightings, and recreates what happened that night in an attempt to solve the mystery of what has become known as the "UK's Roswell".

In the very early hours of 27 December 1980 it was reported that an aircraft had crashed in the woods near the base.

After seeing lights in the sky, a foot patrol sent to investigate allegedly found a small metallic craft on the ground.

Nearby RAF stations detected unusual radar traces, ground patrolmen measured significant levels of radiation in the area and burn marks on trees and civilians in the area reported sightings of scores of terrified animals.

On the two subsequent nights, red sun-like lights were seen hovering over and through the wood and between three and five star like objects were seen in the sky.

While some claim that this was a UFO and even that some of those present telepathically communicated with aliens, sceptics put the "sighting" down to a combination of circumstantial evidence and natural phenomena.

They argue that the lights came from Orfordness lighthouse filtering through the mist and that damage to the trees came from forestry workers.

Britain's Closest Encounter also examines the role of the Ministry of Defence in investigating alleged UFO sightings, revealing its response to "the Rendlesham Incident" and talking to Nick Pope, who once manned what is colloquially known as "the UFO desk" at the MoD in the early 1990s.

Please Note - original transmission, BBC THREE, 15 March, 10.40pm.

Taken - Episode Ten

In the final episode of Steven Spielberg's mini-series, Allie learns of her true destiny.

Back on the family farm in Texas, Allie sees decades of secrets unravel before her that force Allie and her family to make the most difficult decision of their lives.

Allie is played by Dakota Fanning, Charlie by Adam Kaufman, and Lisa by Emily Berg.

Taken will be simulcast on BBC TWO and BBC THREE.

Taken press pack (03.01.03)

Pure Taken

The mysterious lights have all but faded but for those still waiting to be whisked away, then what better way to spend your time than by reliving the best moments of the series in Pure Taken.

A live studio show of fans of the series, alien believers and other special guests take a fond but irreverent look back at the entire run of the show discussing and dissecting every nuance of Spielberg's amazing series.

With exclusive access to the cast and crew of the series, the stars of the show talk about working on a series spanning the entire course of alien history over three generations.

Cast-members including Dakota Fanning (Allie), Desmond Harrington (Jesse Keys), Joel Gretsch (Owen Crawford) and Andy Powers (Eric Crawford) give their own unique insights on making Taken.

Series writer Les Bohem is interviewed about the formidable task of writing each of the episodes.

Executive Producer Steve Beers is also on hand to explain the challenges facing the crew in filming this epic and enthralling tale.

Those at home also wanting to participate in the show will be able to email, text or call the studio to ask a question or voice their opinion.

For fans of the show, Pure Taken will be the definitive arm chair guide to one of the hit TV shows of the year

Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends:UFOs

Louis Theroux heads off to South-West America to hunt out the people who hunt out the Aliens as part of the Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends series.

At Palm Springs he has a close encounter with self-styled "warrior monk" and alien killer Thor Templar who - after notching up 20 alien kills over the years - has a good line in "alien mutilators".

"These are harmful, hateful people that rape, molest, steal children, terrorise lives and make grown men cringe, make men soil themselves, and these are no people to be respected."

Louis and Thor head off to the popular UFO vista point, Giant Rock, where Thor warns they might not just see an Alien - they could actually be attacked. They aren’t!

Unscathed, Louis escapes from Thor to a more friendly alien environment, the Centre for the Study of ET Intelligence.

He joins Ron and Shari on one of their regular field trips which aim to make friendly contact with beings from outer space. They don’t!

Please Note - original transmission, BBC TWO, 22 January 1998.

Inside Taken

Learn what it took to bring Spielberg's epic vision of alien abductions, UFOs and military conspiracies to the screen as The Making of Taken goes behind the scenes of one of the television events of the year.

As the director behind ET and Close Encounters, Spielberg yearned to tell a deeper story behind the phenomenon of UFO sightings and alien encounters.

Knowing that a single movie would be unable to accommodate the tale he had in mind he eventually turned to the small screen as a way to realise his vision.

With Taken's genesis firmly rooted in established UFO folklore, the creators were careful to incorporate actual historical events to achieve the right mix of fact and fiction.

In keeping with actual accounts of alien activities, The incident at Roswell and the Crop Circle phenomenon were weaved into the storyline alongside other noted UFO incidents.

Basing much of the material on documented cases of alien encounters and first hand experiences, the creators were keen to ensure that each episode would bring new revelations to established myths.

The producers also faced the early challenge of telling a tale that spanned the generations and dealt with the last five decades of mankind's supposed involvement with extraterrestrials.

The creators brought in Dante's Peak writer Les Bohem to condense a story spread over 50 years into what was essentially ten hour-and-a-half movies.

Originally on board to write only the first three episodes, Les impressed so much he ended up writing the entire series bringing a singular vision to Taken.

Filming for each episode took place in a different time period meaning costumes, props, building and even hairstyles were constantly being changed.

In total over the course of the series, 200 different locations were used and ten different directors employed.

The visual style of Taken was also something that was worked on at length.

The producers were able to call upon some of Hollywood's best special effects people in order to come up with the stunning spacecraft and mysterious aliens featured in the show.

From an old spy photo of Germany in 1944, they even managed to create a World War Two bombing mission over Nazi Germany - the opening scene from which the events of Taken unravelled.

Note: On Sunday 23 March 2003 BBC TWO will screen the last TV episode of the X Files.

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.



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