End Day

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End Day
GenreDocudrama
Written byGareth Edwards
Directed byGareth Edwards
StarringGlenn Conroy
Composer(s)Gavin Skinner
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)Deborah Cadbury
Running time48 minutes
DistributorBBC Worldwide

End Day is a 2005 docu-drama produced by the BBC. It aired on the National Geographic Channel, on the TV series, National Geographic Channel Presents, and BBC Three that depicts a set of five doomsday scenarios. The documentary follows the fictional scientist Dr. Howell, played by Glenn Conroy, as he travels from his London hotel room to his laboratory in New York City, and shows how each scenario affects his journey as well as those around him, with various experts providing commentary on that specific disaster as it unfolds. After each 'End Day' runs its course, the day repeats, this time with the next scenario panning out.

The following descriptions of the program were released by the BBC:

"Imagine waking up to the last day on Earth..."
"Inspired by the predictions of scientists, End Day creates apocalyptic scenarios that go beyond reality. In a single hour, explore five different fictional disasters, from a giant tsunami hitting New York to a deadly meteorite strike on Berlin."

Scenarios[edit]

Below are the various catastrophes depicted in the order they occur in the film:

Mega-Tsunami[edit]

In this scenario, a volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma triggers a massive landslide wherein a sizable portion of the island collapses into the sea, causing a massive mega-tsunami to race across the Atlantic Ocean and strike the east coast of the United States, inundating most of New York City, but leaving many buildings intact.

Killer Meteorite[edit]

This scenario begins with a mysterious 'missile attack' in a remote area somewhere in the Middle East. The 'missiles' are soon revealed to be small asteroid fragments, the advance guard of a much larger asteroid on a collision course with Earth, threatening Berlin, Germany. The asteroid is located and an attempt is made to alter its course using nuclear ICBMs. The attempt fails, resulting in the asteroid being broken into hundreds of smaller pieces. Countless smaller meteorites rain down across Europe, while a speeding train manages to leave the city of Berlin just in time to avoid the heart of the city's obliteration by the largest of the asteroid fragments, leaving behind a gigantic crater where the Reichstag once stood.

Global Pandemic[edit]

In this scenario, a mysterious virus known as the "Far East Virus" similar to SARS or influenza is unleashed after infected passengers from a flight known as UK Airlines 009, which originated in Hong Kong, enters the United Kingdom. The virus wreaks havoc as it spreads at a phenomenal rate throughout the rest of Europe, North America and other countries, prompting many of them to enact martial law and close their borders in a frantic attempt to quarantine the spread of the disease; however, they are unsuccessful, and most of humanity is presumably decimated by the pandemic.

Supervolcano[edit]

This scenario is based on the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park erupting, incinerating everything within 100 km and releasing ash into the atmosphere which is projected to cool the Earth, with the final scene showing a destroyed Denver, the city having been scorched by pyroclastic flows and enveloped in ash. This segment has only aired in the UK. This scenario was explored in depth in another BBC docudrama, Supervolcano.

Strange Matter[edit]

This is the only scenario in which Dr. Howell reaches his laboratory unhindered, with people protesting outside and shouting, "Stop the experiment!" On numerous television screens, several scientists talk about a new type of matter, the strangelet, and just how unlikely it is for one to be formed. Upon arrival, Howell and his colleagues initiate a highly controversial experiment using the world's largest particle accelerator. The experiment quickly goes out of control, which ironically results in the creation of a single strangelet as scientist Brian Cox describes just what the mysterious particle can do. The strangelet first causes the collider and most of the surrounding area to explode, then rises out of the ground and begins to convert the whole planet into strange matter, starting with New York City. The strangelet wreaks havoc on the Earth's climate, with newly-converted strange matter distributing itself around the globe, devouring Paris and continuing to spread. A Boeing 747 slams into a Boeing 777 while attempting to flee the storm, killing all on board both aircraft. Off-screen, the strangelet finishes consuming the planet. This scenario establishes that, by preventing Dr. Howell from reaching his laboratory, the other scenarios saved humanity, as it was established that the facility would be shut down and the experiment not done if Dr. Howell did not make it.

Alternate versions[edit]

All original official sources cite five different scenarios including a giant volcanic explosion, but the volcanic explosion segment has never been aired in the United States. It has been edited out by the National Geographic Channel. Possibly for time problems or the inaccurate depiction of the Western United States and Yellowstone park. All references to it on the National Geographic website have been removed. Only the other four scenarios have been aired. However, the BBC website had the super volcano episode until it was removed sometime after 28 May. 2006. UKTV History aired the version including the supervolcano segment on 23 January 2007. However, in the original BBC airing each of the scenarios showed the attempts of a family or person to escape the depicted disaster as well as following Dr. Howell, these segments were mostly cut from the UKTV History version aired in 2007. The volcano sequence can however be found on the popular video website YouTube.

A French-dubbed version of End Day was also aired in France (on the channel W9[1]) and in Belgium (on RTBF[2]), under the title Fin du monde : les quatre scénarios (End day: the four scenarios). The "super volcano" scenario was not included.

In-film references[edit]

At one point when Dr. Howell drives off in a taxi at the beginning of the second episode, a front of a cinema is visible behind with "Groundhog Day now showing". In Groundhog Day, the protagonist is stuck in a single day of his life, repeating it time after time with minor variations — similar to the life of Dr. Howell. Transitions between the disasters are shown such that it turns out that the prior disaster was actually a movie on a TV that has been left running overnight and the credits would roll as Dr. Howell's alarm clock goes off.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vos programmes TV" [Your TV shows] (in French). Retrieved 20 November 2013.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ The show on RTBF's video on demand[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]