Journey into Space: Operation Luna & The Red Planet

Journey into Space: Operation Luna & The Red Planet

The Classic BBC Radio Sci-Fi Drama


The first two series of the iconic 1950s science fiction trilogy, set in the unimaginably far-flung future of the late 20th century

Written by veteran radio producer Charles Chilton, Journey into Space kept Light Programme listeners enraptured between 1953 and 1958. Almost eight million people tuned in to the interstellar adventures of Jet Morgan and his intrepid crew, making it the last UK radio drama serial to beat television in the ratings. This audio collection contains the complete Series 1 and 2 of the groundbreaking trilogy, complete with extra-terrestrial sound effects and atmospheric music.

Operation Luna – It’s 1965, and with the world watching, the rocket ship Luna blasts off for the Moon. On board are Captain Andrew ‘Jet’ Morgan, ship’s doctor Daniel ‘Doc’ Matthews, engineer Stephen ‘Mitch’ Mitchell and radio operator Lemuel ‘Lemmy’ Barnet. As they prepare to set foot on the lunar surface, Lemmy hears strange music – and on landing, they soon realise that they are not alone. Something is out there – something alien… This futuristic 13-part serial stars Andrew Faulds, Guy Kingsley-Poynter, David Williams and Alfie Bass.

The Red Planet – Set six years after the events of Operation Luna, this thrilling 20-part serial finds Jet and his crew aboard the flagship Discovery, leading a mission to explore Mars. But their journey is plagued by disturbing events, and what they find on the red planet’s dusky surface will challenge their sanity and threaten their survival – and that of Earth itself… Starring Andrew Faulds, Guy Kingsley-Poynter, Bruce Beeby and David Kossoff.

Production credits
Written and produced by Charles Chilton
Music composed and orchestra conducted by Van Phillips

Operation Luna
Jet Morgan – Andrew Faulds
Lemmy Barnett – Alfie Bass
Doc – Guy Kingsley-Poynter
Mitch – David Williams
Other parts played by John Cazabon, Alan Keith, David Jacobs, Duncan McIntyre and Deryck Guyler

The original 1953 recordings of this series were erased. It was re-recorded and first broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, 26 March-18 June 1958

The Red Planet
Jet Morgan – Andrew Faulds
Lemmy – David Kossoff
Doc – Guy Kingsley-Poynter
Mitch – Bruce Beeby
Other parts played by David Jacobs, Anthony Marriott, Miriam Karlin, John Cazabon, Madi Hedd and Don Sharp

First broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, 6 September 1954-17 January 1955

© 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.

About the author

Charles Chilton

Charles Chilton was born in London in 1917. He was raised by his grandmother after his father was killed in the First World War and his mother died in the 1918 flu epidemic. He started work aged fourteen, for a company that made electrical signs, but left in 1932 and got a job in the BBC record library. From here, he worked his way up to becoming a full-time producer. After a few years presenting music programmes, Chilton joined the RAF when World War Two broke out, and was sent to Sri Lanka to run the forces' radio station. On his return, he produced some of Alistair Cooke's first broadcasts from America. Chilton himself then spent some time in the United States, writing and producing several series of American Western history. The most successful was Riders of the Range, which was first broadcast on the BBC Light Programme in 1949 and ran for six series. It was replaced by the show that would bring Chilton international recognition: Journey Into Space. The serial was commissioned by Head of Variety Michael Channing, and was initially planned to be twelve episodes. It ran for three series, was translated into 17 languages and attracted huge audiences: at one point, almost 8 million people were tuning in. Chilton was to go on to produce many more hit shows, including The Goon Show and Oh! What a Lovely War, which was adapted first as a stage musical and later as a film directed by Richard Attenborough. In 1976, Charles Chilton was presented with an MBE, and the following year he retired from the BBC. He died in 2013.
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