While the late Clive Dunn or Douglas Adams might have told them to: Don't Panic, it seems that the BBC was actually panicked into trying to prevent an attempt to contact aliens on live television. Specifically, as part of a live television show called Stargazing Live, television astronomer and physicist, Professor Brian Cox, had wanted to use the Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank to try and contract aliens on another planet.
Cox revealed on a BBC 6 Music radio show that the attempt was initially prevented by the BBC managers under the guise that, if successful, it would possibly be against "health and safety" and thus would need an audit check before it could go ahead. 'Twas ever thus.
Wisely, Cox ignored the BBC commissars and went ahead with the experiment anyway. We are glad to reveal there were no health and safety issues - nor sadly/happily (depending on your point of view) any contact with aliens either.
Of course, the threat of alien abduction can be something to brag about. This e-mail warning, which did the rounds last year, is one to send your friends...though perhaps not your partner/spouse:
ALIENS ARE COMING TO EARTH IN A FEW DAY'S TIME. THEIR MISSION IS TO ABDUCT ALL GOOD LOOKING AND SEXY PEOPLE.
YOU WILL BE SAFE ENOUGH - I'M JUST EMAILING YOU TO SAY GOODBYE