Radio / Journey Into Space

Journey into Space was a BBC radio series written by Charles Chilton. It was originally broadcast from 1953 to 1958 but set initially in the distant future of 1965.

The original series consists of:

  • Journey to the Moon (1953-4), remade in 1958 as Operation Luna as the original tapes had been wiped.
  • The Red Planet (1954-5)
  • The World in Peril (1955-6)

Several further one-off instalments were produced after the original run:

  • The Return from Mars (1981)
  • Frozen in Time (2008)
  • The Host (2009)

The main characters are:

Notable tropes include:

  • Absent Aliens: Averted, even though the series at first merely appears to a fairly realistic drama about the struggle to achieve a manned moon-landing.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Martians were huge, and their visit to Earth gave rise to myths about giants.
  • The Commonwealth of Nations: The crew is British, Canadian and Australian. Possibly Creator Provincialism.
  • Cool Ship: The Luna and the Discovery.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lemmy. Just one of this troper's favourites:
    • Time Traveller: Have we harmed you up to now?
      Lemmy: Oh no - apart from knocking us right out of our own time into heaven-knows-where, you haven't harmed us at all!
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Jet is sanguine, Mitch is choleric, Doc is melancholic and Lemmy is phlegmatic and/or supine.
  • FTL Travel: Averted. Space travel is limited to the inner planets, and takes a very long time until the Time Travellers show up.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Time Travellers encountered a vicious, violent species on Earth: Early humans. They're not convinced that modern humans are any better. In The World in Peril we learn that the Martians had previously attempted to settle on Earth. They found the inhabitants too violent and were driven off. But see Rousseau Was Right.
  • Interplanetary Voyage
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mitch, especially in the first series. His short fuse and over-protectiveness of his self-designed and constructed spaceship and lunar mission makes him downright unreasonable towards his crewmates, particularly Lemmy, whom he even christens "a psychological misfit" at the end of Episode 1. He mellowed a great deal throughout the second and third series.
    • Jet Morgan himself can also be one to a lesser extent. Although a very capable leader and ultimately concerned for his crew's safety, he has a tendency to be over-impatient and occasionally insensitive. Take this from The Red Planet:
      Lemmy: (upon waking from an undescribed nightmare) Oh, thank goodness. That was about the most horrible dream I ever had!
      Jet: But it was only a dream! Now pull yourself together and get down out of that bunk - I've got work for you to do!
  • Last of His Kind: The Martian in The World in Peril.
  • Mars: In The Red Planet, obviously.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: JOURNEY. INTO. SPACE!
  • Retro Rocket: The Luna.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In The World in Peril Jet delivers something of a Kirk Summation, admitting that although humanity has made some terrible mistakes it is learning and will better itself if allowed to develop in freedom.
  • Sub Space Ansible: Averted. Becomes a plot point in The Red Planet, when the lack of any delay in communicating with Earth alerts the crew to the fact that the voice is an imposter.
  • Talking to Himself: David Jacobs apparently played 22 parts throughout the three original series. More often in The Red Planet than in any other series, he can clearly be heard playing both sides of a conversation.
  • Time Travel: Happens to the crew in Journey to the Moon/Operation Luna.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Martian in The World in Peril believes that invading Earth and enslaving humanity will bring about an unprecedented era of peace and happiness and prevent the problems that doomed the Martian civilisation.