CHISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend's TV: Spaceships, fireballs, gigantic men... the UFO mysteries of west Wales

Paranormal: The Village That Saw Aliens (BBC1) 

Decades before social media, children in the 1970s had an infallible way to stay better informed than the adults — John Craven's Newsround.

Airing on BBC1 an hour or so before the Six O'Clock News, it frequently scooped the main headlines.

And one teatime in 1977, Craven told young viewers: 'An investigation has begun into a claim that something strange came out of the skies and landed in the Welsh village of Broad Haven near Haverfordwest.

'Whatever it was, was spotted three times by children from the local school.'

The clip was replayed on Paranormal: The Village That Saw Aliens, a documentary that attempts in four half-hour episodes to discover the truth, be it mundane or extraterrestrial.

Reporter Sian Eleri, whose previous foray into unexplained phenomena saw her probing a haunted farmhouse in north Wales, visited Broad Haven to track pupils, now in their 50s, who claimed to have seena starnge craft in 1977

Reporter Sian Eleri, whose previous foray into unexplained phenomena saw her probing a haunted farmhouse in north Wales, visited Broad Haven to track pupils, now in their 50s, who claimed to have seena starnge craft in 1977

Searching for other people to corroborate the sighting, Eleri found — as so often happens in these cases — a muddle of contradictions and doubtful interpretations, which served to undermine the main evidence

Searching for other people to corroborate the sighting, Eleri found — as so often happens in these cases — a muddle of contradictions and doubtful interpretations, which served to undermine the main evidence

Reporter Sian Eleri, whose previous foray into unexplained phenomena saw her probing a haunted farmhouse in north Wales, visited Broad Haven to track down a few of the pupils, now in their 50s.

They stuck doggedly to their story. One man, David Davies, said he endured months of bullying from other children who called him a liar — but he never recanted.

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A class of schoolboys saw this UFO and drew identical pictures to prove it

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David and his pals insisted they saw a cigar-shaped silver craft with a domed lid, rising out of a field.

When their headmaster challenged them to draw what they'd seen, without comparing notes, they all sketched exactly the same shape.

Searching for other people to corroborate the sighting, Eleri found — as so often happens in these cases — a muddle of contradictions and doubtful interpretations, which served to undermine the main evidence.

One woman thought a bald patch on her scalp might be evidence she'd been abducted.

Another was convinced she'd seen aliens in silver boiler suits: these were probably soldiers or hoaxers, not Martians.

But though Eleri seemed unaware of it, strange lights have been commonplace in the skies of west Wales for hundreds of years.

In 1905, people up and down the coast of Cardigan Bay, reported so many bizarre sightings that the Daily Mail sent a reporter to investigate.

In the village of Egryn he saw, 'a ball of fire above the roof of the chapel. It came from nowhere and sprang into existence instantaneously.

Such phenomena deserve serious investigation, but Eleri is not the reporter to do it. She keeps tongue firmly in cheek, pretending to be unnerved by what she finds and going out of her way to get spooked

Such phenomena deserve serious investigation, but Eleri is not the reporter to do it. She keeps tongue firmly in cheek, pretending to be unnerved by what she finds and going out of her way to get spooked

Suddenly it disappeared, after having lasted a minute-and-a-half.' Down the road in Barmouth, two witnesses saw a 'gigantic human figure rising over a hedgerow.

'Then a ball of fire appeared above and a long ray of light pierced the figure, which vanished.'

Such phenomena deserve serious investigation, but Eleri is not the reporter to do it. She keeps tongue firmly in cheek, pretending to be unnerved by what she finds and going out of her way to get spooked.

A derelict hotel was treated like the setting for a Stephen King novel. Visiting an abandoned nuclear bunker, she chose to go at night, armed only with a flashlight. It all makes for eerie entertainment.

But as journalism, it falls short of Newsround standards.

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