‘I thought it was the end of the world’ TikTok pranksters terrify their parents into believing UK is under nuclear attack by showing fake videos of BBC alert
- People playing emergency alert warning of a ‘possible nuclear strike’ against UK
- Youngsters broadcasting the fake message on TVs and filming parents’ reactions
- TikTok videos of unsuspecting parents’ horrified reactions have millions of hits
TikTok users have taken their pranks to the next level by tricking their unsuspecting parents into believing the UK is under nuclear attack.
Youngsters on the social media platform are broadcasting a fake BBC News alert onto their living room televisions and filming their parents’ reactions.
One mother is close to tears as the apocalyptic message announces: ‘This is an emergency broadcast from the BBC. Information of a possible nuclear strike against this country has been received.
‘The threat level is critical meaning an attack is imminent.’
Charlie Davis’s mother appeared terrified as she watched the apocalyptic broadcast
‘An attack is imminent’: How TikTok users are pranking parents
TikTok users are finding fake nuclear attack videos on YouTube, before casting them onto their television screens.
The clip – which appears to be filmed in a BBC studio – announces: ‘This is an emergency broadcast from the BBC.
‘Information of a possible nuclear strike against this country has been received.
‘Civilians are advised to stay in their homes. Evacuations are currently taking place in the London area.
‘All non-essential telephone lines have also been temporarily disconnected. All motorways and airports have been closed for military use.’
One particular video features actor Mark Ryes and was produced for an Irish company in 2016.
In 2018, the BBC was forced to release a statement telling people the clip was fake.
It said: ‘A fictional video reporting the onset of thermonuclear war and featuring BBC News branding has been shared widely.
‘It is not real but alarmed viewers have contacted the BBC, apparently convinced it is true.’
Shaun Perrett, who has more than 250,000 followers on TikTok, filmed his mother Tracey Stebbing as her show was interrupted by the fake broadcast.
Mrs Stebbing watches in horror as the fake BBC clip announces: ‘Civilians are advised to stay in their homes.
‘Evacuations are currently taking place in the London area.
‘All non-essential telephone lines have also been temporarily disconnected.
‘All motorways and airports have been closed for military use.’
Shaun films his emotional mother as she fights back tears and says, ‘Nuclear strike?..I’m scared.’
He manages to keep a straight face as he asks his mother, ‘Where are we going to get a shelter from..?’
The 25-year-old’s TikTok video has amassed 1.4 million views.
And Charlie Davis filmed his terrified mother as she ran to the front door and out into the street, after watching the clip appearing to show screaming people running along the street.
But experts have told social media users to be careful when posting such pranks online.
Professor Beatrice Heuser, an expert on nuclear strategy at the University of Glasgow, warned they could be ‘picked up and taken seriously by paranoid Russians who see conspiracies everywhere.’
Ross Loudon, 19, got more than 2.2 million views on a video which filmed the reaction of his 40-year-old mother Dawn McMutrie.
He films as the emergency broadcast purporting to be from the BBC and Home Office flashes on her screen, telling her ‘normal programming has been suspended.’
Charlie Davis filmed his terrified mother as she ran to the front door and out into the street, after watching the clip appearing to show screaming people running along the street
For millions of Britons who grew up in the 1970s and 80s, the possibility of nuclear war was a real and alarming threat.
An unnerving pamphlet produced by Margaret Thatcher’s government at the height of the cold war in 1980, advised to people on how to survive in the event of a nuclear war as Britain braced itself for any possible attack.
Protect and Survive was first published in 1980 to advise the public on what to do in the face of nuclear war.
Warning that no part of the United Kingdom was safe, it detailed the effects of a nuclear fall-out, outlined how to plan for survival and recognise the warning signs when an attack is imminent, and gave advice on what to do immediately following an attack and in the days after.
The TikTok nuclear attack warning, which does not come from the BBC, can be found among a host of other similar fake videos on YouTube.
Professor Beatrice Heuser told The Telegraph: ‘Russians have no sense of humour when it comes to this sort of event.
‘When in 1984, during a particularly tense period of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan jokingly said in front of a microphone – unaware that it was already recording – that ‘We begin bombing in five minutes’, this was massively exploited by Soviet anti-Western propaganda.’