Final draft: scripting the apocalypse. Death, panic and sound grammar – in 1973, a secret UK committee drafts a message to be played in case of nuclear attack. In 1973, fearing a Soviet nuclear strike, a UK government committee was formed to write a message to be played from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s secret bunker in Scotland during a worst-case-scenario attack. Informing your citizens of their imminent annihilation is difficult enough, but drafting a doomsday script raised even greater challenges for the secret team.
How can you write a convincing, useful message when you don’t know the specifics of the situation? And how can you reassure the public that the message is being read live, and the BBC hasn’t been completely destroyed? Moreover, how long might it take for the entire committee to approve a final draft? Irreverently constructed using declassified documents and scenes from the BBC’s drama-documentary The War Game (1965), Final Draft: Scripting the Apocalypse is a darkly comic, Kubrickian examination of the deep weirdness of modern warfare.
For more by the US director Scott Calonico, watch You Can’t Always Get What You Want, which candidly chronicles the private phone conversations of President Lyndon B Johnson.
Director: Scott Calonico
Producer: Scott Calonico, Erin Osborne-Martin
Executive Producer: Jeff Radice
Cinematographer: Nathan McGinty