Abstract: End Day is a 2005 docu-drama produced by the BBC and aired on the National Geographic Channel, on the TV series, National Geographic Channel Presents, that depicts various 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.
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."
Below are the various catastrophes depicted in the order they occur in the film:
- 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.
- 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 with the biggest piece then impacting and obliterating Berlin.
- In this scenario, a mysterious virus similar to SARS or influenza is unleashed, wreaking havoc as it spreads at a phenomenal rate throughout Europe, the UK, and North America, prompting many countries to enact martial law and close their borders in a frantic attempt to quarantine the spread of the disease, but are unsuccessful.
- This scenario is based on the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park erupting, incinerating everything within 100 km and releasing ash into the atmosphere which cools the Earth. This segment has only aired in the UK. This scenario was explored in depth in another BBC docudrama, Supervolcano.
- This is the only scenario in which Dr. Howell reaches his laboratory
unhindered, with people protesting, and shouting,"STOP THE EXPERIMENT!"
outside. Upon arrival, he and his colleagues initiate a highly
controversial experiment using the world's largest particle accelerator. The experiment quickly goes out of control, resulting in the creation of a new type of matter called a strangelet, which begins to consume and destroy all matter around it, starting with New York City. The phenomenon wreaks havoc on Earth's weather systems and atmosphere, and eventually leads to Earth's off-screen destruction.
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 for time problems and 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 May 28. 2006. UKTV History aired the version including the supervolcano segment on January 23, 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) and in Belgium (on RTBF), under the title Fin du monde : les quatre scénarios (End day: the four scenarios). The "super volcano" scenario was not included.
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 in 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 (Wikipedia, 2012).