Journey Into Space is a BBC Radio science fiction programme, written by BBC producer Charles Chilton. It was the last radio programme in the UK to attract a bigger evening audience than television. Originally, four series were produced (the fourth being a remake of the first), which went on to be translated into 17 languages (including Hindustani, Turkish and Dutch) and broadcast worldwide (including the United States, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands). Chilton went on to write three best-selling novels and several comic strip stories, based upon the radio series.
The first series was created in 1953, soon after Riders of the Range (a popular Western, also written by Chilton) ended its six seasons on the BBC Light Programme. Michael Standing, then Head of the BBC Variety Department, asked Chilton if he could write a sci-fi programme, and Journey to the Moon (later known as Operation Luna) was the result. Each half-hour episode would usually end with a dramatic cliffhanger, to increase the audience's incentive to tune in to the next episode.
The original magnetic recordings of the show were erased shortly after broadcast, and for several decades, it was believed that no recordings of the show still survived. However, in 1986, a set of mis-filed Transcription Service discs (produced for sale to overseas radio stations) was discovered, containing complete copies of the three original series (more accurately, the surviving version of the first season is a cut-down remake of the original, produced for the Transcription Service during the 1950s). This discovery enabled the BBC to begin re-broadcasting the show in the late 1980s, and release copies of the show, first on audio cassette, and more recently on CD and internet download.
Fans of Journey Into Space include Colin Pillinger, Kenny Everett, John Major, Stephen Hawking, Miriam Margolyes and former Doctor Who producer Philip Hinchcliffe.
Read more about Journey Into Space: The Main Characters, Critical Reaction, Music, Sound Effects, Novels, Comic Strips, Discovery of Transcription Discs, BBC Releases On Audio Cassette and CD, In Translation, Other Related Series
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