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Documentary on Suffolk UFO sightings

PUBLISHED: 05:47 30 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

DOCUMENTARY makers hope to shed new light on the alleged sighting of a UFO near a Suffolk air base nearly 20 years ago.

The programme-makers are reinvestigating the mysterious goings-on at Rendlesham forest around December 27 and 28, 1980, for a BBC documentary which will take a fresh look at "Britain's Closest Encounter".

DOCUMENTARY makers hope to shed new light on the alleged sighting of a UFO near a Suffolk air base nearly 20 years ago.

The programme-makers are reinvestigating the mysterious goings-on at Rendlesham forest around December 27 and 28, 1980, for a BBC documentary which will take a fresh look at "Britain's Closest Encounter".

It aims to explore various explanations for what occurred, and makers have appealed for local witnesses as they try to piece together what happened.

The programme is being made by Mentorn, the company responsible for Question Time and Queen and Country, and is timed to coincide with BBC2's screening of the Spielberg sci-fi series Taken on Saturday night. It is expected to be screened on BBC3 on March 15, and BBC2 the following week, and followed by an on-line discussion.

It will feature witnesses to the events, UFO experts and sceptics, conspiracy theorists and scientists, and newly analysed audiotapes recorded during the sightings.

Steve Carsey, executive producer of the programme, who is also executive producer of BBC2's Robot Wars, said he felt the time was right to revisit the much-debated sightings.

"In recent months, a lot of official papers and memos and MoD documents have been released," he said. "After 20 years of denial, the fact that these papers have been released justifies our desire to revisit the story and reinvestigate the story to see if anything new has come to light in the last 20 years."

The last programme on the subject was made about ten years ago, he said.

"We are getting some new things already, interestingly enough," he said. "We have got some new revelations and some new testimony."

The programme would look at various explanations for what occurred and how the story had developed over the years, he said.

"We are as interested in the story itself and as interested in the birth of a story and how it develops and how it grows," he said. "We are coming at this in a completely journalistic sense."

Mr Carsey, who said he was fascinated by the subject of UFOs, said they were not taking a sensational approach.

"What we can definitively say with the release of these documents is something happened," he said. "We are going to leave the viewers to come to their own conclusions."

They hoped local people who had not come forward previously would feel able to contribute. Mr Carsey said that as they visited the forest this week it was interesting how much people were aware of the story of the sightings.

"Everyone had an opinion," he said.

The team behind Britain's Closest Encounter is looking for local witnesses in the Rendlesham area, or family members and friends of witnesses, to get the widest possible selection of views on what might have happened.

It is also asking local people to come forward with photographs and video footage. If you are interested in taking part, or claim to have evidence, you can contact Riva Marker on 0207 258 6873.

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