Journey into Space: The World in Peril & The Return from Mars

Journey into Space: The World in Peril & The Return from Mars

The Classic BBC Radio Sci-Fi Drama


The final series of Charles Chilton’s classic 1950s sci-fi trilogy and the gripping 1981 sequel

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 3 of the groundbreaking trilogy, as well as the special 90-minute sequel The Return from Mars.

The World in Peril – Continuing the suspenseful story begun in The Red Planet, this 20-part serial, set in 1972, follows Jet and his comrades as they return to Mars with orders to discover all they can about the impending Martian invasion of Britain. Stretched to their limits, they take on the awesome Martian power – and when they discover the astounding secret of the invasion plan, they must race against time to warn a defenceless Earth… Starring Andrew Faulds, Guy Kingsley-Poynter, Don Sharp and Alfie Bass.

The Return from Mars – It’s an ordinary afternoon at London Landing Control. Suddenly, a voice breaks across another aircraft’s frequency: ‘This is the spaceship Discovery’… To the controller’s astonishment, Jet Morgan and his crew are re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere – more than 30 years after they went missing, presumed dead. What happened to Jet and friends during those years? Consulting his diary, Jet begins to tell their astonishing story… Starring John Pullen, Ed Bishop, Nigel Graham and Anthony Hall.

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

The World in Peril
Jet Morgan – Andrew Faulds
Lemmy Barnett – Alfie Bass
Doc – Guy Kingsley-Poynter
Mitch – Don Sharp
Other parts played by David Jacobs, Alan Tilvern, John Cazabon, Fred Yule and Pat Campbell

First broadcast BBC Light Programme, 26 September 1955-6 February 1956

The Return from Mars
Jet Morgan – John Pullen
Lemmy – Anthony Hall
Doc – Ed Bishop
Mitch – Nigel Graham
Cassia – Elizabeth Proud
Nichols – Patrick Barr
Wrist radio/Countdown voice – David Bradshawe
Pilot/Talian – Graham Faulkner
Controller/Radio voice – Stephen Garlick
Videophone/Junior officer – John McAndrew
Control/Sotteer 2 – Sion Probert
Sotteer 1/Harry – Christopher Scott
Supervisor/Radio – John Webb

Script by Charles Chilton
Directed by Glyn Dearman

First broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, 7 March 1981

© 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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