Unable to prevent the population from watching, they created Der schwartz Kanal, ‘The Black Channel’, a peak-time ‘news’ programme where government (or Stasi) approved journalists provided a commentary over re-broadcast ARD and ZDF programmes.

In these bizarre, not to say downright creepy, programmes, West German broadcasts were pulled to pieces, with the presenter explaining to the audience the ‘real’ meaning behind the broadcasts they knew the population had been secretly watching.

News was freely re-interpreted. Drama was shown as nothing but arch propaganda against East German ‘democracy’. The lives of westerners were shown to be empty, lacking fulfilment and above all cold to the concerns of each other except where money was involved.