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Thread: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

  1. #1
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    Popcorn Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    I think this is the right place to post this..

    One-off docu-drama exploring 'what-if?' Britain's power was disrupted due to terrorism. Truth be told, I mainly watched it to see what torches would feature .

    Anyone else watch it? What did you make of it? I'm not a big fan of shakey, handheld 'Blair Witch Project' type footage but thought it was okay otherwise, probably a reasonably realistic expectation of events.


    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/blackout/4od

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Yes, I watched it, fairly accurate portrayal IMHO of what could happen in the event of any large scale prlonged blackout.
    A fair proportion of the UK population do not seem to posses a single flashlight in good working order and readily to hand.
    Very few indeed would have multiple lights and large stocks of batteries.

    The programe contained a number of minor technical errors
    The lights outside Buckingham Palace went out, most unlikely as these are gas lights.
    It was stated that "most supermarkets only have backup power for 24 hours" in fact most have no backup at all beyond the legally required battery lighting on escape routes.
    In some of the scenes of rioting, the shop windows were still lit. (riots are expensive to stage for filming purposes, I believe that they used library footage of previous non blackout related riots)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Those minor technical errors wound me up a bit too much (along with unrealisitc length of charge of phones/cameras and how modern cars were siphoned). I'd also like to think that things would descend into chaos a little slower than portrayed, what happened to the classic British 'stiff upper lip'!?

    I think a lot of the footage was from the '11 riots, couldn't be certain as I was out of the country and 'off grid' for that summer. Your assumption that the majority do not have a working torch to hand is probably accurate, and now the national grid is predicting the most narrow margin between supply and demand in 6 years, this is particularly relevent. Joe/Jane public have plenty of candles but those are my pet hate during black-outs- lots of people seem to excercise too little common sense as it is, let alone when fire is involved.

    Never realised Buckingham Palace still uses gas lights, learn something new every day!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Yes there is still a fair bit of gas lighting in London, not just outside Buckingham Palace, but also some street lights along the Mall, in the Royal parks, and around Covent Garden.
    Interior gas lights are almost extinct, but a few still exist.

    Blackouts in urban areas of the UK are rare, which is not entirely a good thing as it means that hardly anyone is prepared.
    The large large scale blackout was some years ago.
    Local breakdowns occur every day, but usually affect at most a few dozen customers and are not newsworthy.

    In rural areas blackouts occur more often and people are more likely to be prepared.

    In the last large blackout, many foolish persons were suprised that the street lights went out also !
    Others seemed suprised that the lights fitted to buses and diesel trains still worked !

  5. #5

    Default "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    Hi all,

    I thought I post a "Heads up". TONIGHT (10/27/13) NatGeo Channel TV Movie "American Blackout" no doubt be might be of interest to many CP forums members. The following I copied from "OFF THE GRID NEWS" (Thanks).
    What would you do if the world suddenly went dark?
    That is exactly what NatGeo’s original movie American Blackout – which premieres Sunday, Oct. 27, seeks to discover. The power grid collapses following a cyber attack, forcing the nation into an immediate crisis. Although the man-made disaster lasts just 10 days, civil unrest, economic turmoil and a horrific amount of deaths still occur. The National Geographic movie is extremely timely. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, the first ever nationwide power grid down drill will take place on Nov. 13-14. (end).

    Nearly four years ago, I (SixCats!) started a thread that (more or less) asked, which one Flashlight would you want/have/use for such an event. Well, looks like I'm not the only one who has been thinking along these lines. At any rate, I suspect this movie will make for some lively discussions/threads here at CPF.

    Regards,
    SixCats!

  6. #6

    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    Thank you! I'll be looking forward to seeing this.

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    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    Thanks for the info. I will watch it for sure! I made two charging stations, crude, but they work, using 33 + amp hour batteries. I have four batteries total, and keep them charged with a lead acid battery wall wart. I can plug my 12v DC chargers in and charge in the house.
    FENIX E01, E05, E15, LD22, PD32 S2, TK15 S2, TK35 U2. STREAMLIGHT PolyTac LED, Strion LED[B]. Foursevens Quark Pro QP2L-X. And a couple of old MagLights for nastalgia, and lets face it- if you ever lose your hammer... 18650 Charging provided by Xtar WP2 II.

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    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    I'm looking forward to this tonight. I saw the previews with my wife and a friend of hers and of course at me because of the whole flashlight thing....As we started discussing the actual possibility as well as the aftermath (We were affected by Hurricane Sandy for a while) and wife actually asked me to stop talking about it because it was scaring her.....
    I told her that was my goal! "Now that you're scared, let's talk about being prepared. Winter's coming and storms do happen".
    I hope that this movie will open eyes !

  9. #9

    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    What time?
    I'm not afraid of the dark, I just don't see the point of it. - Jash

  10. #10

    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fast LT1 View Post
    What time?

    Consult your local TV listings! You are welcome guys. I too hope this will open some minds. Heck, I wish I had stock in Batteries! I suspect a LOT of folks just might wake up and purchase Flashlights and Batteries after this show.

    Regards,
    SixCats!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    I watched it. Makes you think. I forgot about public water stopping one any emergency generator at the water authority runs out of fuel. What about the natural gas supply?
    FENIX E01, E05, E15, LD22, PD32 S2, TK15 S2, TK35 U2. STREAMLIGHT PolyTac LED, Strion LED[B]. Foursevens Quark Pro QP2L-X. And a couple of old MagLights for nastalgia, and lets face it- if you ever lose your hammer... 18650 Charging provided by Xtar WP2 II.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    It would be nice if everyone was prepared for 10 days of emergency.

    I have noticed that government publications have (occasionally) started using '10 days' or '2 weeks' instead of the traditional '3 days', in some of their more modern publications and releases.

    Even an apartment or condominium dweller can keep enough on hand that 10 days could be more of a roughing it adventure and bonding experience, rather than a nightmare of discomfort and fear and insecurity.
    Last edited by braddy; 10-28-2013 at 05:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    Quote Originally Posted by LightCrazy View Post
    I watched it. Makes you think. I forgot about public water stopping one any emergency generator at the water authority runs out of fuel. What about the natural gas supply?
    Water works are normaly equiped with generators, but as you point out, the fuel supply is finite.
    Natural gas should be fine for at least a few weeks, natural gas is transmitted in bulk at high pressure. The compressors being driven by gas turbine engines. Electricity may be required for controls and instruments but this is normaly produced on site since many pumping stations are in remote locations.
    The gas pressure is reduced for local distribution and ultimate end use by pressure reducing valves, these are self contained mechanical devices that dont need power.

  14. #14

    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    In our Southern California blackouts there is always some area that loses water pressure, which leads to instructions that they need to treat their tap water for a period, once water service is restored.

    For me that is OK because I can use my Katydyn water filter, but for many, they need fuel to boil the water.

    I think that some worry that a deliberate EMP attack could destroy even generators and relay stations, in other words could stop all things, even natural gas.

  15. #15

    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    I got to see both American Blackout and Blackout on Youtube recently. Honestly, I don't think they even scratched the surface of what would happen during a long term blackout. In Blackout, people siphon gas from the tank. Nowadays, there is a hose cutter in newer cars that prevents siphoning gas this way and makes it a pain to fill up the car with a gas can. One of the modern techniques people use to steal gas is to puncture the gas tank leaving a non-functioning vehicle behind. In this case, the cost incurred would be much greater. In American Blackout, I think they severely underestimated what a cyber attack could do to the grid. It could override safety features in the grid and overload transformers and melt power lines. Nuclear power plants are dependent on grid power for cooling. If the blackout lasts longer than the supply of fuel to backup generators, the power plants could melt down. As this would be an obvious disaster, I could see much of the remaining fuel resources being diverted from emergency services to the nuclear power plants to keep the reactors cool, if the generators weren't destroyed in the cyber attack or other needed equipment wasn't fried. If the fuel was diverted to these plants, we would see more casualties and fewer rescue teams, police, and fire departments would have fuel for their vehicles and equipment. This scenario seems to be a real possibility. There is a rumor that the Stuxnet virus turned up in a computer system in a Russian power plant and has also infected some businesses network systems. It should also be known that most nuclear power plants have computer systems that operate on Windows XP, which Microsoft is about ready to cut off customer service for (no more antivirus program updates). The system is becoming vulnerable to a cyber attack.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: "AMERICAN BLACKOUT!"

    They aired American Blackout again last night on National Geographic Channel and I watched a few parts of it.

    Coincidentally, I had a scheduled outage today (was notified of it last week) so SCE could replace/upgrade some old transformers in my neighborhood. Power was turned off around 10am and was restored about a hour and a half ago.
    Last edited by yuandrew; 11-14-2013 at 05:17 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Oddly enough, there were neither much airtime of flashlights nor batteries though. I find it strange that there was no mention of flashlights in the narrative of the show about being in the dark.

    I was irritated as everyone dedicated as being in the dark was using their cells as their source of light.

    I won't spoil more. Watch it and you'll know what I mean.
    Salving Light in a Bastion of Darkness


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    I'll have to watch this show but I don't have high hopes thats its realistic especially from some of the comments here. I work for a pretty big power company and some of my colleges were in the GridEx II drill today and yesterday. And from what I hear it didnt go to well. Which reminds me I need to install a plug in the garage for my generator... and look into some solar panels...

  19. #19

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    I thought the American version was excellent. It wasn't a how to, it was a collection of worse case, real life situations, it did show a variety of situations that revealed to non-preppers, the consequences of not planning in advance.

    The thing it focused on was shaking complacency, even of those who are the most prepared.

    The British version was useless in regards to preparedness, it was basically just another drama about people and a blackout.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Personally, I thought this video was more of an eye opener to the unprepared for long term blackouts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de_SYxw9ttE
    It is an expert panel discussion of EMP by nuclear device and a CME from the sun, as well as cyber attacks of the grid, recent direct attacks on transformers, recent potential attacks by North Korea, and the state of our defenses from all these threats. It may not be as exciting as the blackout videos, but it will wake people up to prepare for the worst.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Anyone willing to sit and watch a dry, 97 minute long panel discussion on EMP, is probably already a dedicated prepper.

    I am looking forward to watching it personally and appreciate the suggestion, but it isn't the kind of thing that I can recommend for my friends who ignore preparedness, for them, a show like American Blackout is useful. To reach the general public, it has to be watchable, and interesting.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* mcnair55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    Yes, I watched it, fairly accurate portrayal IMHO of what could happen in the event of any large scale prlonged blackout.
    A fair proportion of the UK population do not seem to posses a single flashlight in good working order and readily to hand.
    Very few indeed would have multiple lights and large stocks of batteries.

    The programe contained a number of minor technical errors
    The lights outside Buckingham Palace went out, most unlikely as these are gas lights.
    It was stated that "most supermarkets only have backup power for 24 hours" in fact most have no backup at all beyond the legally required battery lighting on escape routes.
    In some of the scenes of rioting, the shop windows were still lit. (riots are expensive to stage for filming purposes, I believe that they used library footage of previous non blackout related riots)
    And i believe your technical errors are of no real value.

    The gas lights maybe controlled by electric.
    I think you will find many supermarkets do have back up for fridges at least
    Leading supermarket chain leads the field with second Bio Diesel Generator

    Why are riots expensive to stage for filming purposes?,surely any filming is expensive.
    Diagnosed with Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Quote Originally Posted by braddy View Post
    Anyone willing to sit and watch a dry, 97 minute long panel discussion on EMP, is probably already a dedicated prepper.

    I am looking forward to watching it personally and appreciate the suggestion, but it isn't the kind of thing that I can recommend for my friends who ignore preparedness, for them, a show like American Blackout is useful. To reach the general public, it has to be watchable, and interesting.
    +1.

    I got to about 30 mins in until that irritating woman was waffling about "WHY" do Iran etc need nuclear weapons (well, why does the USA need nuclear weapons?) before I completely gave up. Not being American, I'm not I'm 'qualified' to comment on the logic or presentation shown in the first 30mins I watched, but anything as scaremongering or as paranoid as they were coming across would be laughed right out the door over here (I'm talking general public, not the doomsday nuts who are prepared with bunkers and incandescent bulbs).

    Re. Solar and intergalactic sources of disruption, it's interesting to see that the UK Government has added "severe space weather" to the National Risk Register within the last few years (Janurary 2011 update).

    I'm not sure these two threads should have been merged, regardless, I'm interested in watching the USA version if I get a chance.
    Last edited by gravelmonkey; 11-15-2013 at 05:53 PM. Reason: flipperty-gibbit.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    I don't think you should have introduced the radical politics to the thread.

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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Quote Originally Posted by braddy View Post
    I don't think you should have introduced the radical politics to the thread.
    Not exactly radical, if SixCats! wants me to edit it, for fear of having the thread shut down, I will as we've been merged and I'd feel bad because he's had some good responses to his initial postings.

    Just trying to illustrate the 'watchability' of UK Blackout VS what feels like a load of scaremongering in that video and the effect the style of presentation has.

    Edit: LOL just noticed the line about N.Korea and Iran being allowed nukes if they want. Yeh, meant to delete that- proof read then proof read again!
    Last edited by gravelmonkey; 11-15-2013 at 05:51 PM. Reason: insanity.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Raze View Post
    I was irritated as everyone dedicated as being in the dark was using their cells as their source of light.
    Realistic IMHO. Us CPF'ers who carry flashlight(s) everywhere are the exception not the rule. And those button-cell keychain lights that many folks have, will be useless within hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by braddy View Post
    I thought the American version was excellent. It wasn't a how to, it was a collection of worse case, real life situations, it did show a variety of situations that revealed to non-preppers, the consequences of not planning in advance.
    Second that. Interesting was the more 'strategic' aspects, for example that neighbor asking a prepper for some food for his family. Give some food (and thus, attract other beggars)? (ab)Use the occasion and make a profitable sale/trade? Grab a weapon and tell 'm to go away, possibly leading to deadly violence over some food cans? No easy answers, other than that being better prepared gives more options (and possibly less stress!) to everyone involved.

    OTOH, going overboard with prepping is just a big money sink. I'd be more interested in the kind of prepping that's also useful in daily life. A few months food store that consists of mostly ordinary groceries, for example. Practicing survival skills just because it's fun. Growing some of your own food because gardening is a fun/rewarding activity that also puts healthy, tasty, organic-grown food on your plate. Small toolkits that you already use regularly. Etc, etc.

    Amazing how quickly people go crazy when ordinary life is disrupted. For example there's a 120 ltr. vat sitting at the back of our house, filled with crystal clear, perfectly drinkable rainwater. Normally used for watering the garden. But in an emergency (when reserved for drinking water only), that's like >= 3 weeks worth of drinking water right there (for my gf & me). And we have a small gardening plot with groundwater pump as well...

    At least a few weeks worth of pasta, rice, potatoes, canned food, and a filled freezer in the house (which would be emptied first in a long-lasting blackout, of course). And means to cook stuff even if gas were out. Enough flashlights and batteries to see what we're doing for weeks or more, too. More than enough handtools and materials to DIY / rig something up where needed. That's not even serious prepping, but would turn any outage into a discomfort / stay at home / keep neighbors at bay situation for me. Flooding / tornadoes / earthquakes aren't an issue where I live. So nothing we can't handle until we get into "The Walking Dead" types of scenario.

    Btw that's in regular 1-family house where half the dutch population lives in. So why go crazy so quick, when it's so easy to prepare for a few weeks or months? In rural areas you'd have even more options (+ space!) to prepare for disaster.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Blackout - TV show Channel 4, UK

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroTechie View Post
    OTOH, going overboard with prepping is just a big money sink. I'd be more interested in the kind of prepping that's also useful in daily life. A few months food store that consists of mostly ordinary groceries, for example. Practicing survival skills just because it's fun. Growing some of your own food because gardening is a fun/rewarding activity that also puts healthy, tasty, organic-grown food on your plate. Small toolkits that you already use regularly. Etc, etc.

    Amazing how quickly people go crazy when ordinary life is disrupted. For example there's a 120 ltr. vat sitting at the back of our house, filled with crystal clear, perfectly drinkable rainwater. Normally used for watering the garden. But in an emergency (when reserved for drinking water only), that's like >= 3 weeks worth of drinking water right there (for my gf & me). And we have a small gardening plot with groundwater pump as well...

    At least a few weeks worth of pasta, rice, potatoes, canned food, and a filled freezer in the house (which would be emptied first in a long-lasting blackout, of course). And means to cook stuff even if gas were out. Enough flashlights and batteries to see what we're doing for weeks or more, too. More than enough handtools and materials to DIY / rig something up where needed. That's not even serious prepping, but would turn any outage into a discomfort / stay at home / keep neighbors at bay situation for me. Flooding / tornadoes / earthquakes aren't an issue where I live. So nothing we can't handle until we get into "The Walking Dead" types of scenario.

    Btw that's in regular 1-family house where half the dutch population lives in. So why go crazy so quick, when it's so easy to prepare for a few weeks or months? In rural areas you'd have even more options (+ space!) to prepare for disaster.
    Agreed completely. I like living a more self sufficient lifestyle because I like to, and I think its better and more healthy, rather than for some doomsday preparedness. I hunt and I garden. I love making my own healthy, natural, and minimally processed foods. I freeze, can, and smoke or dehydrate stuff too. I heat with wood too, collected from the familys farm all by myself. Always have a source of heat without needing any power (as well as a way to easily cook too). Call it living a little old fashioned. Since back then, well they didnt have power anyways. Think about the Amish. A power outage wouldnt even phase em. You mentioned rainwater collection... I have not implemented it yet but when I built my pole barn I put gutters on it and planned to plumb them into two 330 gallon tanks, one for each side. I have the tanks just not hooked up yet. Was going to raise them off the ground by about 4 feet so they could be run to the garden by gravity, or also fill my 'tanker' wagon I built for the garden tractor (55 gallon plastic drum on a small cart with pump and some various attachments for watering etc). Need to finish up that project.

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