London - Fears about aliens' supernatural mind-reading powers may be behind a 'daft' BBC edict banning any search for extraterrestrials on the Stargazing Live show.
Presenter Brian Cox and comedian co-host Dara O'Briain were looking forward to probing a newly discovered planet live on air for signs of ET's existence.
But BBC bigwigs got a tip-off - possibly from veteran stargazer Sir Patrick Moore - that any such 'first contact' with a superior intelligence 'might blow the lid' on decades of, er, 'confidential stuff'.
A technician who overheard part of the 'blazing' row said studio bosses were 'freaking out' that some of the BBC's most outrageous scams could be outed by all-seeing, all-knowing beings.
"Take the 1953 Coronation Hoax," lighting supervisor Bert Foibles commented to QM-NewsCorpse reporters, "that's gotta be the Beeb's first and biggest scam.
"Any superior intelligence could automatically blow the gaff on the Corporation's flagship deception par excellence."
Raging controversy over the Jimmy Savile business also filled studio hierarchy with utter horror if extraterrestrials' legendary mind-reading credentials also proved true.
"Besides," Foibles continued, "Beeb bosses remain convinced that any alien worth his salt is bound to prefer any first contact with BBC superiors and not some jumped-up reality TV wannabe."
A hotline has since been installed in BBC Truss governor Sir Chris Patten's orifice in case of a unsolicited telecoms messages.
Sir Patrick Moore is 109.