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Radio / The Space Gypsy Adventures

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The Space Gypsy Adventures are a set of British sci-fi comedy radio stories created by Terry Askew. Notable in that the characters are all anthropomorphic animals. Mostly detailing the misadventures of the "space gypsy" fox Gemma Mildury and her younger brother, Damien, along with her on-and-off boyfriend, Duke; Duke's sister, Leah, Leah's husband Rekki (and their baby, Leandra), shuttle dealer and rocker Fluff Cat, and their frequent nemesis, Detective Inspector Spiker-and his unfortunate subordinate, Detective Constable Bones-of the Intergalactic Federal Alliance Police.

The original series ran on the UK National Hospital Radio Network over 1986-7 and was in syndication until 1997. The show was revived in 2004 and has been running since late 2011, the creators have been reposting select stories online. They also have a band called Fluff Catt & The Rock Kittens.

The accompanying artwork for the show was originally drawn by Terry Askew himself, but in more recent years the show's official artwork has been drawn by comic artist Mark Alexander Smith, author of the furry webcomic Transmission.

The Space Gypsy Adventures provides examples of:

  • Animals Not to Scale: They're shorter than most anthropomorphic animals but still larger than their real life counterparts, as shown by this chart. Except maybe for Spiker who might actually be a bit shorter than a real Alsatian/German Shepherd standing on its hind legs.
  • Animated Actors: Shown to be the case in "Duke and the Space Gypsy" and "The Christmas New Arrival", in the latter case with Damien claiming that the (unseen) freighters are just wooden sets.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Since Mark Alexander Smith took over as the lead character artist, the characters' designs have been given slightly more human proportions.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Subverted in the classic story "Gemma's Dilemma", a cop reads off Gemma's criminal record which includes: stealing shuttles, handling stolen goods, bootlegging, counterfeiting, and shoplifting. Lifting the shop itself 450 feet into the air.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Gemma escapes Spiker and Bones in "Daytrip to Tower City" by dragging them (their ship attached to the Rapscallion) into an asteroid field.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mostly in the pilot and the Christmas specials.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: As stated in the pilot, one might go to another star system for groceries.
  • Christmas Special: At least two.
  • The Clan: Space Gypsies are organized into species-based clans, the Mildurys are part of the Mogavis clan of red foxes with raccoon-like facial markings. As mentioned in 'The Christmas New Arrival', there are other Space Gypsy clans, made up of other species of foxes. Among the other clans are the Trengavis (made up of Arctic foxes, although Alfonso Squeaks the squirrel has honorary status among the clan, for his work in helping them escape the work camps), the Rusgavis (made up of Tibetan sand foxes) and the Talgavis (who have no known real world equivalent, but are described as being 'water foxes'). Unfortunately, most of their members seem to have been thrown into the Federal Alliance camps.
  • Commitment Issues: Duke keeps putting off his and Gemma's wedding.
  • Counter-Earth: Zenophon was this in the 1986 series.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Space Gypsies have Ronsin, whose holiday, Ronsinfest is celebrated the same time that the rest of the galaxy celebrates Christmas.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Gemma, Damien has his moments as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: The 2000s series does touch on darker themes. It explains why Gemma and Damien live on their own: their parents (most of their clan, actually) were arrested. The two siblings themselves spent a few years in a Federal Alliance prison camp.
  • Data Pad: Damien keeps his homework on one, which he tries to lose. One episode even sees it destroyed during a Federal Alliance scuffle, but Damien's delight is cut short not only by the attack, but by Gemma informing him that the school would only give him a new one anyway.
  • Deflector Shield: Called "grids" for some reason.
  • Earth That Was: The space gypsy homeworld was destroyed by a supernova thousands of years ago.
  • Embarrassing First Name: In the 1987 version of "The Great Chocolate Biscuit Caper", DC Bones reveals his first name as Tom. Naturally, both Damien and Fluff ask if he knows 'Green, Green Grass Of Home'. This joke is omitted from the 2005 remake, since Bones is replaced by DC Fusky for most of the episode. Also, Bones' first name has been established elsewhere to actually be Meic.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: In "The Great Chocolate Biscuit Caper" Gemma and Damien find their family photo album, and threaten to show people at the spaceport baby pictures of one another.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: On at least two occasions Gemma and Damien had to dump their illicitly-acquired cargo to decrease the Rapscallions mass and distract the coppers chasing them.
  • Energy Weapon: "Blazers".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Mogavis space gypsies borrow a lot from Romas. Also people from Galvert 6 sound Welsh.
    • To a lesser degree, many weasels and other mustelids seem to hail from various former Eastern Bloc countries.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The explanation given is that it cancels Time Dilation and the increase in mass from relativity.
  • The Federation: The Federal Alliance, corrupt version and imperialistic version. In the original 1986 series, it was known as the Galactic Federation.
  • Fictionary: Mogavis. Most often the Mildury's pronounce "us" as "huz".
  • Friend in the Black Market: Jimmy Da Weasel, though Gemma herself sometimes fulfills this purpose. DC Fusky masquerades as one in the 2005 remake of The Great Chocolate Biscuit Caper.
  • Global Currency: Averted, there are both Federal Alliance credits and Zenophon zents and grotchets.
  • Happily Married: Leah and Rekki. Not that it's exactly apparent at times...
  • Hyperspeed Escape: A favorite tactic of Gemma, Damien, and friends. Sometimes combined with dumping their cargo as a distraction (which Spiker tends to mistake for Space Mines).
  • Hyperspace Lanes: Occasionally given a mention, and are seemingly analogous to British motorways.
  • Interspecies Romance: Gemma and Duke (fox/border collie), Leah and Rekki (collie/raccoon), Damien and Jehlise (fox/cat), Fluff and Bones (cat/fox).
  • Lethal Chef: A running gag in the series is Leah's cooking skills (or lack thereof, according to Duke). For instance, Duke claims to Randy that Leah's coffee is indistinguishable from her gravy, leading to this exchange:
    Leah: Don't listen to him, Randy. You haven't lived until you've tasted my coffee!
    Randy: *Tries some, but then spits it out in disgust* Ugh! And I wonder how many people have lived after tasting your coffee!
    Leah: I'll have you know that all the crowned heads of the Cosmos have tried my coffee!
    Randy: Well, no wonder they all look so blooming miserable!
    • Of course, there's nothing to suggest that Duke is that much better than his sister (Neither are any of the other characters, come to think of it). Randy in particular is shown to be even worse than his wife. Nothing wrong with the food itself, mind, but his methods are rather questionable...
  • Lovable Rogue: Gemma and Damien of course.
  • Numbered Homeworld: The Galvert system worlds, such as Galvert 6.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Rekki in "The Christmas New Arrival".
  • Pardon My Klingon: Gemma launches a tirade of Mogavis at Bones (the only other character, barring Damien, to be fluent in it) for shooting down Fluff's transporter in "The Christmas New Arrival". We never learn exactly what it translates to (which is probably just as well, since this is a kid's show, after all!), but afterwards, Bones explains to Duke (who, despite having learned a lot of Mogavis from Gemma, still hasn't learned any of the rude words) that at one point, Gemma implied he had a face like a pig's behind!
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Federal Alliance ships carry "neucleonic" rockets as well as blazers.
  • Promotion to Parent: Gemma towards Damien after their parents were captured.
  • Relative Error: Happens in 'Damien's Valentine's Day Panic'. Jehlise sees Damien chatting with another girl in the spaceport cafe, and assumes that Damien is cheating on her with 'his own kind' (the girl is a young fox with 'raccoon markings', like Damien). When she confronts him about it the next day, he explains that the girl is in fact his cousin Anita (or at least may be).
  • Roguish Romani: Gemma and Damien are a sibling pair of smugglers and thieves who are part of a clan of Space Nomads called the Mogavis, also anthropomorphic foxes.
  • Run for the Border: Gemma, Damien, Fluff, and Jimmy DaWeasel's preferred method of escaping arrest is to escape to Zenophon
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Damien frequently insists this with regards to Jehlise; his bioamulet suggests otherwise.
  • Shout-Out: Has plenty, especially in the original 1986 series:
    • The original series used an instrumental version of 'Flying Dreams' as its theme. Both vocal versions appear in 'Leah's Wedding'.
    • Also in 'Leah's Wedding' at one point Gemma is listening to 'Interstellar Requests', another hospital radio show which Terry Askew worked on.
    • Rekki the raccoon is a double shout out. Firstly, he references Raccoons animator Gerry Paquette's involvement in the 2004 revival. He also references the fact that, in the 1980s, Terry Askew assisted in the promotion of The Raccoons over in Britain. Rekki even sounds a bit Bert Raccoon-ish!
    • Since the series is narrated by John Leeson, there are quite a lot of Doctor Who references. The 1987 series even has Sixth Doctor Colin Baker as the announcer.
    • Depending on who you ask, Spiker & Bones are based on either Regan & Carter or Chisholm & Jones.
    • In the BBC Radio Cumbria version of 'Duke & The Space Gypsy', a malfunctioning computer tells Gemma that NORWEB have sent a ship after her because she'd left her bathroom light on when she left home ten years ago. Subverted, in that the episode was recorded a year before the transmission of the Red Dwarf episode featuring this same joke.
  • Space Cossacks: The Space Gypsies claim to have originated on a planet that was destroyed by one nova of thousands of years ago. Due to more recent persecution by the Federal Alliance many of the few who remain free have resorted to smuggling and theft.
  • Space Jews: Again, the Space Gypsies are Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Space People: Space gypsies, obviously.
  • Space Pirates: In 'The Christmas New Arrival' Damien freaks out when he mistakes a snow-covered freighter for a pirate ship. Then the name is uncovered and he realizes it was just his and Gemma's 'Rapscallion', which honestly wasn't too far off though they're more like smugglers and thieves.
  • Space Police: Spiker, Bones, and the Federal Alliance police are non-heroic examples.
  • Stealth in Space: Devisualizer grids, which have a propensity to fail at the worst possible moment.
  • Subspace Ansible: "Stellaphones".
  • Tractor Beam
  • Truce Zone: Zenophon, in the newer episodes. In the 1980s series, it seemed to be more of a wayside planet within Federation space.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Duke and Gemma have been engaged since "Daytrip to Tower City" but he keeps putting off their wedding.