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Journey into Space

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Journey into Space was one of the first science fiction programmes on radio, first broadcast in the '50s on BBC radio as a serial1.

Three serials ran between 1953 and 1958. The first, Operation Luna, told of the misadventures of the crew of the first moon landing: Captain 'Jet' Morgan, 'Doc‚ Matthews, engineer 'Mitch' Mitchell and radio operator 'Lemmy' Barnet. Their adventures were continued on Mars in the second series, called The Red Planet, and they finally wound up in the last series, World in Peril, saving the world from a Martian invasion.

The part of Jet was taken by actor Andrew Faulds who went on to become an MP, and Lemmy was portrayed by Alfie Bass who later starred in such unforgettable TV series as Bootsie and Snudge. Another bit actor, David Jacobs found fame as compere of Juke Box Jury. The series was written and directed by Charles Chilton, who also wrote Riders of the Range a comic strip which could originally be found in the Eagle, and went on to be produced for radio, and later as a stage show entitled Oh What a Loverly War. The special sound effects and 'space' music were provided by Van Phillips and his Orchestra.

Although the show may seem a bit dated now, it was an unmissable Monday night event for many people, adults and kids alike; and probably sent more than a few down the science fiction trail.

1A production of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles, in the USA, beat them to it, and was reputedly so realistic a number of people committed suicide.

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