Endemol, the company behind 'Big Brother', is pulling out all the stops for its new Channel 4 production. In it, contestants vie to fly to space. The snag? They will be grounded at a military base, victims of probably the biggest hoax ever attempted on TV.Next: "The Truman Show"?
For 10 days, the channel will televise the contestants as they undergo intensive training in Russia, before being flown 100km (62 miles)above the Earth into near space. Here they will spend five days orbiting the Earth and conducting experiments. Or so they think.
In reality, the nine - joined by three actors whom they believe to be fellow contestants - will be at a disused military base somewhere in the UK and will never leave the ground. The whole process will be filmed live in an unprecedented television event presented by Johnny Vaughan.
And does Russia really smell of boiled cabbage? Or am I the only one to find this aspect of the hoax somewhat xenophobic?