Audio Review: Journey Into Space – Operation Luna

(AudioGo)

IT is sometimes hard to appreciate the optimism of early decades.

Whilst recent weeks have seen the last flight of the space shuttle and the sad end of an era of space exploration, back in 1953 it was all very different. The year of broadcast for the first Journey Into Space radio serial on BBC Light was a point in time when Britain was leaving wartime austerity behind and was awash with hope, with confidence.

You can hear that wonderful buoyancy on every disc in the newly released seven CD set Journey Into Space – Operation Luna. The show, with more than eight million listeners when first aired, was the Doctor Who of its day. It was the last radio show to attract a bigger evening audience than television.

It is the story of a Britain and its Commonwealth leading the way in space exploration. Of UFO bases on the moon and time travel into Earth’s prehistory. It is also possibly the only sci-fi story where astronauts celebrate by having a crafty fag in space.

Fans of Dan Dare might recognise similarities between their hero and the Journey Into Space’s lead character Jet Morgan, but that is no bad thing. A universe full of resourceful Englishmen dealing with its mysteries and its menaces is a great place to visit. For allowing us to take both into a trip into space and into our own past, this CD set is hard to beat.

Reviewed by David Southwell

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