Controversial conspiracy theorist David Icke told an Oxford audience that human beings are "holograms" and that the world was heading towards central control at the hands of a "fascist dictatorship".

The former goalkeeper and news presenter-turned outspoken commentator this week shared his radical views on politics and society with a rapt audience at the Oxford Union.

Mr Icke spent two hours expounding his theories to Oxford University students.

His claims included allegations that the 9/11 attacks were carried out to create a "one world government" and that the physical world is nothing but a holographic illusion.

Mr Icke, 56, told them: "The world isn't anything like you thought it was. We're watching a movie ... to give us the impression that we have freedom.

"The greatest form of control is a prison without bars. People will sit there forever because they don't think they are in a prison at all.

"The official version of events of 9/11 is an insult to the intelligence. We're being brain- washed with reasons to fear because that's the key to control.

"The goal is a centrally controlled fascist dictatorship."

He said Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W Bush were "puppets of a force that controls them", and claimed political parties were a "sham".

He went on to claim that the world was similar to the false reality presented in the movie The Matrix, adding: "The world we think is physical is an illusion. There is no 'over there' in terms of physical things.

"What is 'over there' are just frequency fields that we are decoding into a physical reality that only exists in our mind.

"The world that we think is physical is like a holographic TV channel. We're living in a holographic world. We're holograms."

Of his theories, Mr Icke said: "If I'm seen as sane by a world this crazy, I'm disappointed.

"Truth goes through three stages: first, it's ridiculed; second, it's violently opposed; and third, it's seen as self-evident. I know what the first one felt like - I got that in the early '90s."

Language student Jonny Wright, 21, said: "It's interesting. I wouldn't say I agreed with much of what he said.

"There's a point up to where it made sense and a point where it was getting silly. When he said the whole world is a hologram it went from credible stuff to incredible stuff."

Phillippa Lasocki, 20, a music student, said: "I think he's got some interesting ideas. I went in there with an open mind.

"He's a philosopher, and you can see the point he's making even if you don't agree with it."

David Icke was a former Coventry City and Hereford United goalkeeper until he was forced to retire in 1973 at the age of 21 because of arthritis.

He then became a journalist before moving into television as a stand-in presenter on the BBC show Grandstand.

He left the BBC after the summer Olympics in 1988 to become an activist in the Green Party and rose to the position of national spokesman (the party back then did not have leaders).

However he shot to fame in 1991 when he appeared on the Wogan chat show and announced to the country that he was "the son of God".

He later claimed he had been misinterpreted by the media.

Mr Icke has now published more than 20 books outlining his views including The Biggest Secret: The Book that Will Change the World in which he claimed that a race of reptilian humanoids is secretly controlling the world.