(Released 1996)
Jodrell Bank picks up an extraterrestrial signal from space
RAF Tornados are scrambled as the craft moves over London
The squadron of Jaguars is wiped out by the craft's forcefield
While Reg wrestles with the Eurofighter's reluctant computer controls, the UFO
fighters are still on their tails. Going with a theory of Patrick's that the aliens may see
differently to humans and are targeting the heat signatures of our planes, they climb to
a very high altitude and throttle back to nothing. Leaving no heat signature, they
manage to evade their pursuers. Splitting with the Tornados Reg heads for the NATO
rendezvous. However, his fuel tank has been hit and he has insufficient remaining to
reach his goal. Two fighter aircraft intercept him and demand that he identify himself
via IFF squawk, otherwise he will be shot down. But the Eurofighter's computer has a
negative transponder and cannot do as asked. Identification Friend or Foe is
eventually turned on by the slow and annoying voice computer. Reg is instructed to
land on an aircraft carrier. There is intelligence that quite a few airforces have collected
together at the rendezvous point. There they will regroup and organise an offensive to
take back the planet.
Colin Baker plays Group
Captain Phil Johnson
Toyah Wilcox plays Flt.
Lt. Becky Johnson
Astronomer Patrick Moore
Presenter Nicky Campbell
D.J. Mark Goodier
In 1996 when the 20th Century Fox feature film Independence Day was being made,
producer and co-scriptwriter Dean Devlin was looking for ways to promote the film in
the UK. After a set visit in Los Angeles Dirk came home with the rights to proceed
with a completely original UK version of events, based on situations created by Devlin
and Fox. Independence Day: UK was born, a sixty-minute production created for
broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in Dolby Surround.

It centres on the last vestiges of the RAF, with dogfights, plenty of action and intrigue.
Although he only plays a small part, and is certainly superfluous to requirements, Mark
Goodier is used as a link to the listening public, much like the Orson Welles The War
of the Worlds radio broadcast. The idea works well, with the first twenty minutes
having a 'live' sound as it would be in the studio. The Dolby surround encoding is
introduced once the radio station is destroyed, along with the rest of London, leaving
the majority of the action taking place in the skies over Britain. A Battle of Britain for
the new age. To create a fully authentic feel to the procedings Dirk recorded the
appropriate aircraft noise with the cooperation of the Ministry of Defence, and even
had a pilot recorded from inside a cockpit to obtain the correct atmospherics and
ambience, with the sounds of control switches also picked up.
The Tornados climb steeply before throttling off to prevent their heat signatures being targeted
Again, all acting performances are very good, this time encapsulating the class and
spirit of the Royal Airforce with calmness under fire, attention to duty and that
quirkiness which is undoubtedly required to get the job done. Colin Baker, Nicky
Campbell and Toyah Wilcox, fresh from her radio performance of Peter Pan for Dirk,
come across particularly strong. Patrick Moore is obviously suited to this format (he
is after all playing himself), but fist-fighting an alien is perhaps pushing credulity a little
too far, especially considering his age and shape. This was added as a humorous late
change after Dirk was forbidden by Devlin from revealing that the aliens can possess
people, a fact they were saving for the feature film. Patrick Moore could have been a
little more sceptical early on (he scoffs at the idea of artificially generated gravity, only
to accept a large grey cloud as a UFO before it has been confirmed. However, his
quote from The War Of The Worlds book by H.G. Wells is an excellent touch.

Although this is essentially a serious piece and comes across as such, there are some
notable humorous one-liners. After receiving information that the approaching object is
potatoe-shaped, Nicky Campbell quips, "An extraterrestrial root vegetable is heading
for Earth!" When being told "The wing is flapping!" Baker's character Phil Johnson
replies, "Well, it works for the birds." There is the quote used at the head of this
review, and probably the best one, "When this is all over and we've defeated these
monsters, the Yanks will take the credit for it. You wait and see." This last is an
intentional tongue-in-cheek dig at the tough guys of Hollywood movies by Dirk, and
the fact that he was forbidden (again by Devlin and Fox) to have the RAF beat the
aliens. In my opinion, all this is typical humour in the face of adversity; it's what the
English are so good at and makes their resolve that much stronger.
Reg heads for the NATO redezvous in the Eurofighter
Independence Day: UK aired on BBC
Radio 1 as a sixty-minute Audio Movie on
Sunday 4th August 1996. It was
subsequently released by Polygram's
Speaking Volumes (5329634). Feedback
was very good on this one; it won the
Talking Business award for best
production for the second year running,
was the number one Spoken Word
cassette in the Bookseller Chart, and most
notably reached number sixty-six in the
normal album charts - an excellent

During the original broadcast a few worried phone calls were made to the BBC Duty
Office, although not enough to cause a widespread panic! Society as a whole has
changed a great deal since the fifties; people are less gullable or more open-minded,
even though the threat of terrorism has replaced the Cold War.

To cap then, this is a thoroughly entertaining Audio Movie production, with realistic
and intelligent dialogue, and a lot less of a gung-ho attitude than the film. Find a copy
of Independence Day: UK, or miss it at your peril.

Once again, let's leave the final words to Dirk...
"The idea for Independence Day: UK came
from Twentieth Century Fox's London
office. Matthew Bannister, then Controller of
Radio 1, suggested parallels with Orson
Welles' famous 1938 radio broadcast of The
War Of The Worlds - the one that
supposedly panicked America. I ran with
both ideas, it was a great opportunity,
despite the fact that I thought the film script
wasn't that terrific - and we were under strict
orders NOT to let the RAF defeat the aliens!
The US military had to be the winners! Kind
of ironic given events today.

"The RAF were brilliant. Their PR office at
the MOD in London enabled us to visit RAF
bases at Wallington and Coningsby in
Lincolnshire, where Darren Bowen (one of
the sound engineers from The Soundhouse)
and I recorded Tornados, AWACS aircraft
and, memorably, a flight of Swiss Air Force Dassault Mirage fighters taking off. I
volunteered for that one. I was about 50 yards away running the DAT machine as the
first Mirage fired up its afterburners, and I moved ten feet backwards in a standing
position without lifting my feet off the ground!

"The story behind Dannii Minogue's credited Special Alien Effect is that she was
hosting a kid's TV show in 1995 and phoned me up asking if they could do a piece
about our radio extravaganzas (this was in the happy days when we were on Radio 1
and getting lots of exposure with Spidey and Judge Dredd). Although the deal was not
settled on ID4:UK, I knew TV exposure would be good publicity for us, and although
I did not have a script I thought that an alien death scene would probably figure in the
final programme! How about that for guesswork! So Dannii and the crew came to The
Soundhouse and she was charming and a sport (Kylie is too, very easy to work with
and they are nice people too), so I hastily cobbled up a set of elements for the effect
which included Dannii screaming, chucking a bucket of water over a car and suchlike,
which I did manage to mix together and squeeze into the final production, and felt that
Dannii should get the credit for!

"Although this is a noticeably shorter project, one hour was the maximum slot Radio 1
could give us. I figured, if it was good enough for Orson Welles it'll be good enough
for us!"

Review by Ty Power
Produced, Written & Directed by Dirk Maggs
In 1996 Dirk formed the company Audio Movies Limited at The Soundhouse, along
with partners Paul Deeley and Phil Horne. Their purpose was to further hone the audio
cinematic skills displayed on previous projects, and to move into other subject areas
as well as the comic books which had proved so successful. The target audience
would be primarily the BBC Radio 1 daytime serial slot, but also other radio networks.
The name of the company was also a way of spreading the word that Dirk's releases
were not old-style radio drama with clinking cups, but rather full-blown movies in all
but sight. Ironically, their first job under this banner was an evangelical production of
The Gospel of St. Luke, for America. However, after an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's
Peter Pan for Radio 4, Dirk set to work on Independence Day: UK, his first foray into
film-related material.

The narrated introduction to this piece pays homage to the 1930s radio production of
The War of The Worlds, in which Orson Welles apparently terrified millions of US
listeners into uncertainty over whether they were hearing fact or fiction (although the
reported hysteria was vastly exaggerated). Independence Day: UK is an updated
version of a similar stance, which also ties-in loosely with the Hollywood production
of the Independence Day feature film.

A BBC Radio 1 UFO Watch is being conducted by DJ Nicky Campbell (playing
himself) on board an RAF Sentry Early Warning Aircraft. Also present are Group
Captain Phil Johnson (Colin Baker) and world renouned astronomer Patrick Moore (as
himself). They are monitoring tracking stations around the world after a signal was sent
into space and something came back, detected by Jodrell Bank. As the GLR traffic
helicopter is commandeered to collect some V.I.P.s from Buckingham palace, and
London is gridlocked with vehicles and drivers desperate to reach safety, a huge mass
blocks out the light, one of many fragments from a single object which hover over the
major cirties of the world. A destructive energy weapon erupts from the craft, laying
waste vast areas of London in seconds.

Wing Cmdr. John Reginald ('Reg') and Flt. Lt. Becky Johnson (wife of Phil Johnson)
are just two of a wave of Tornado pilots who have already been scrambled to
rendezvous with a squadron of Jaguars. But all the Jaguars are annihilated in one foul
swoop when they come into contact with an invisible forcefield which protects the
craft. UFO fighters emerge and engage the Tornados in a series of dogfights. Becky
saves the GLR helicopter, causing a damaged UFO fighter to crash. The Sentry
aircraft is low on fuel and makes for Rutland Water reservoir. Nicky and Patrick drive
in a jeep to the water in time to save Reg and Max, two downed pilots, from assault by
an alien creature.

Word has it that the RAF base at Coningsby has evacuated its remaining Tornados to
the Middle-East, the old NATO rendezvous. The Air Chief Marshal has managed to
get through to his counterparts in Europe and the US; the idea is to assemble an allied
airforce there. Here there are only two Tornados remaining and three pilots. Reg pilots
an EFA, the prototype European Fighter Aircraft, not due to go into service until 2000.
It's computer navigates through a speech program; it's powerful and has a long range,
which might prove useful against the alien aggressors.