Zoinks! ITV, a British television network was in the midst of its usual Saturday morning cartoon block when it suddenly aired the chestbursting scene from the original Alien film immediately following an episode of What’s New Scooby-Doo?. The iconic scene from the 1979 film appeared completely unedited, presenting viewers with the bloody birth of the baby xenomorph erupting from the sternum of one of Britain’s greatest actors, the late Sir John Hurt. It’s safe to assume a lot of cereal bowls went flying.
It’s estimated that 19,000 viewers from the ages of 4 to 15 years old witnessed the clip; despite this, only five complaints were issued to the UK’s television Stands and Practices, Ofcom. There’s no official reason why ITV aired the clip. They simply called it an “error” and issued an apology. The station did, however, air the clip in late January as part of a news segment honoring the late Hurt, who died of complications with pancreatic cancer.
The next installment of the Alien series, Alien: Covenant, releases May 19th. And while this clip is harsh, it seems far tamer than the body horror to come in that film. Was this a subtle marketing ploy for parents? Doubtful. If it is, then maybe it’s a sign of a bold new direction for the franchise: kid-friendly facehuggers for the Scooby-Doo crowd.