Elohim (I can't give you the relevant time zone I'm afraid because it wasn't included in the pep talk). The programme was effectively a remake of a useful Horizon broadcast a couple of years ago, which demonstrated that weak magnetic fields can be used to induce exactly the sensations experienced by abductees - a sense of terror, odd sexual fantasies and the immovable conviction that they have just become interesting.
In truth you don't need a great deal of science to see where these people are coming from: "It singled me out - on a crowded high way. It's an amazing thing, it's a great thing for me" said one man talking in an abductees support group. Another man announced that "there are going to be chosen people - Moses in our time who we have to pay attention to" - a job vacancy that might understandably appeal to someone unhappily stacking shelves in Squashed Frog, Arkansas. Karrin, one of the abductees profiled at length in the film, presumably prefers to think of herself as the Eve of a new hybrid species, rather than settle for the fact that she's a bar-maid in a college town. She claimed to have undergone some alien knowledge enhancement programme, but if so she was living proof that higher education gets you nowhere - two years on she was still serving beers at the Thirsty Scholar, her spiritual awakening distilled into the phrase "you'd better mend your ways before it's too late". If there are aliens out there perhaps they could tell us something a little less banal.
And if interstellar immigration follows the same lines as the terrestrial version then abductees should brace themselves for a backlash. First of all, as Windrush (Sat, BB2) confirmed, the natives are excited and curious to see you. Sure they might poke you a bit (as West Indians were prodded and stroked to see if the colour came off) but while you remain a novelty the mood is relatively benign. The crowd that gathered silently behind one black sign-painter in the late Forties wasn't hostile exactly - just fascinated to see that he could do it. But it won't be long before the alien crew members forget that they invited us on board in the first place (just as Enoch Powell, of all people, persuaded Caribbean nurses to come and prop up the Health Service) and start scrawling "Earthies go home" on the UFO walls or making nasty remarks about our personal hygiene. The first of a whole season of programmes celebrating 50 years of Black British life, Windrush, which takes its title from the ship carrying the very first West Indian immigrants, concluded with a sequence which made you ashamed of the country they had come to - old people remembering the cruelties and ignorance with a fresh sense of hurt.
Rather pointedly, Windrush had begun with a very different evocation of patriotic pride - showing you Linford Christie doing a lap of honour with the Union Jack and Ian Wright scoring for England. This struck me as a slightly wrong-headed image of successful integration, even if it was understandable that the producers wanted to begin on an assertive note. After all, the test of the country's tolerance is not whether white people are fond of Lenny Henry or Trevor McDonald (who, as naturalised citizens of Fame are possessed of a passport that will admit them almost anywhere) - it is how they treat the ordinary black family that lives next door. Still Windrush looks as if it will be fascinating and instructive - an account of modern Britain's roots, not just those of Black Britons.Reuse content