1983: The Brink of Apocalypse

Channel 4 broadcast a very interesting documentary this weekend about how close the world came to nuclear war in 1983 as the Soviets became certain the US and NATO were about to launch a missile attack on them. However, as fascinating as the topic was, the programme's highlight was a reconstruction of the work of East German spy Rainer Rupp secretly gathering data from NATO. An actor playing Rupp was shown typing special codes into a special calculator to let his superiors know what was going on. Only the number he typed in first was 55378008, which as every schoolboy knows, spells 'BOOBLESS' when turned upside-down. Was this really the secret code, or were the documentary makers having a bit of a larf? I rather suspect the latter.