Whether you called it #piggate or #hameron, one of the biggest social media debacles of recent times was the one involving David Cameron and a pig. Many commenters also noted that this scenario was accidentally predicted in 2011 by the Charlie Brooker sci-fi Black Mirror, as the episode ‘The National Anthem’ saw a fictional Prime Minister shag a pig. And that’s not the only time TV has been surprisingly accurate. Behold! the 10 TV shows that came true…
1. THE LONE GUNMEN AND 9/11
The shortlived X-Files spin-off, which centred around FBI agent Fox Mulder’s (David Duchovny) geeky informants The Lone Gunmnen, is perhaps the most astonishing of all TV predictions. The first episode, aired six months before 9/11, features a plot to hijack a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center. Chilling.
2. FAMILY GUY AND CAITLYN JENNER
A 2009 episode of the anarchic cartoon featured a cryptic scene in which Stewie says that former Olympic athlete and Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Bruce Jenner “is a woman. A beautiful, elegant Dutch woman”. Six years later, Jenner came out as transgender woman Caitlyn.
3. PEOPLE OF INTEREST AND EDWARD SNOWDEN
‘No Good Deed’, from the fourth season of this US political thriller, focuses on an NSA whistle-blower who discovers that his agency is conducting illegal surveillance. He alerts the press and finds himself pursued by the government. Half a year later, an eerily similar scenario befell the real-life whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
4. THE SIMPSONS AND HORSEMEAT
This isn’t the only time The Simpsons had predicted the future – in fact, we’ve explored this before – but it is our favourite. Way back in 1994, the cartoon featured a plot in which it transpires that Springfield Elementary’s cafeteria staff had been serving horse meat on the sly, prompting a scandal. The same thing happened on an industrial scale in the UK in 2013.
5. CHRIS ROCK AND OJ SIMPSON
The Chris Rock Show, 1999: the high-energy comedian performs a skit in which he claims to have met OJ Simpson, the former American football player infamously acquitted for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. Rock joked that he’d met Simpson and learned he was releasing a video entitled I Didn’t Kill My Wife … But If I Did, Here’s How I’d Do It. In 2007, Simpson released the memoir, If I Did It.
6. STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE AND GOOGLE GLASS
In part, it’s sci-fi’s job to predict the future, but this instance was impressively accurate: it was 1997 and the episode ‘Rocks and Shoals’ saw characters using a so-called ‘Virtual display device’, wearable tech that one character likened to “having a viewscreen inside your brain”. In 2015, that device looks almost identical to Google Glass.
7. SECOND CHANCE AND COLONEL GADDAFI
In a 1987 episode of Second Chance, a long-forgotten sitcom that gave Friends star Matthew Perry an early break, a fictional version of the Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi makes a brief appearance in Heaven (which already seems unlikely). The scene is set in the future and a reference is made to the fact that he died in 2011, the actual year that he died some 24 years after the episode was made.
8. SPOOKS AND 7/7
Another creepy one: the BBC had already recorded the fourth series of spy drama Spooks when, in 2005, London was struck by a terrorist attack that was disturbingly similar one featured in the programme, right down to a bomb planted in King’s Cross station. The episode later ran with a disclaimer warning viewers of the coincidence.
9. STAR TREK AND THE MOON LANDING
They’re awful good at predicting the future, those Star Trek writers, eh? This incident, from the original 1960s series starring William Shatner, takes some getting your head around. It was filmed in 1967 but set in the distant future and in one episode the characters made reference to the Moon landing in 1969. How could the writers have known two years in advance?
10. SCRUBS AND OSAMA BIN LADEN
And that’s not the only time a knockabout comedy provided a surprisingly prescient insight into matters of grave political importance. In 2007, this much-loved medical sitcom, starring Zach Braff, featured a scene in which the oddball Janitor (Neil Flynn) says, apropos of nothing, “We should be looking for Bin Laden in Pakistan”, which is exactly where the Saudi Arabian terrorist was found before being killed in 2011.