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History's Greatest Hoaxes   

Series 1: 6x60 | HD | 2016
Production Company
Like a Shot Entertainment
Primary Broadcaster

These are the stories of the world’s greatest hoaxes through the eyes of the people who set them up - and shut them down.

How did the infamous ‘Hitler Diaries’ manage to fool so many people or the notorious ‘alien autopsy’ film create such a sensation? How did the Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast spread panic in America or the Piltdown Man ‘discovery’ trick the world for so long?

We’ll explain how historical circumstances sometimes allowed pretty unlikely hoaxes to take root and introduce some very unusual people, including the convicted murderer behind the ‘Papillon’ controversy and the man who for 20 years has camped out on the shores of Loch Ness seeking a glimpse – any glimpse – of the Loch Ness monster.


Episode 6: Papillon

How true was Henri Charierre's famous book and Steve McQueen's film? We examine evidence from relatives plus new documentary evidence that questions contemporary accounts. What part did the story play in the rise and fall of notorious 'rock prisons' such as Devil's Island and Alcatraz?

Episode 3: Alien Autopsy

Ray Santilli's fake footage of a Roswell-era alien autopsy convinced many people in the 1990s that it was real. Hear how this hoax took hold and was ultimately exposed.

Episode 1: The Hitler Diaries

Desperate to believe they had discovered the inner thoughts of Hitler, this episode tells the story of how the world's newsmen and eminent historians were all fooled, and the dramatic consequences in the aftermath.