Journey Into Space

(United Kingdom | BBC | 1953 – 1958 / 1981 / 2008 / 2009)

Journey Into Space
Series Background

Written and created by Charles Chilton, the very first Journey Into Space episode was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme in September 1953, just a month after the concluding episode of the very first Quatermass serial on television.

Starring Andrew Faulds as Jet Morgan, the first eighteen-part series, simply titled Journey Into Space, involved the first manned mission to the moon. The other members of Luna's crew were Stephen Mitchell (Bruce Beeby / Don Sharp), the designer of the craft; Lemmy Barnett (David Kossoff), radio operator; and Doc Matthews (Guy Kingsley Poynter), the ship's Doctor.

Unsurprisingly, all did not go well with the mission and the crew of Luna soon found themselves stranded on the moon, with no power and seemingly no hope of returning home. Needless to say, the crew of Luna did eventually return from their historic journey, but only after a trip back in time and an encounter with a mysterious spacecraft...

The popularity of the series was such that a second run of twenty episodes was commissioned under the title The Red Planet. This second serial, as may be guessed from the title, saw a trip to Mars. But this time it wasn't just the single craft that was dispatched — it was a fleet of seven, with our heroes from the first story forming the crew of the Discovery. As usual, things took a twist when several ships were lost and a planned Martian invasion of Earth was uncovered. The series ended with the survivors of the Martian expedition making their way home to warn of the planned invasion.

The World in Peril, which began in September 1955, took up the plot from the conclusion of the preceding story, with the Earth under threat of invasion and the crew of Discovery being Earth's only hope. This series saw Don Sharp replacing Bruce Beeby as Mitch, with Alfie Bass replacing David Kossoff as Lemmy.

That wasn't the end of the Journey Into Space saga, however. In 1958 the first story was re-made as Operation Luna, to enable the whole series to be sold abroad as a trilogy. Yet again there was a change to the cast, with David Williams replacing Don Sharp, in the process becoming the third person to play Mitch.

Apart from a comic strip and novelisations of the three stories, this was the last that was to be heard of Journey Into Space until the production of The Return from Mars in March 1981, which saw the crew of Discovery making their way home after the events of The World in Peril.

Since then, the whole series (apart from what was unceremoniously edited out...) has been released on audio cassette, with Operation Luna and The Red Planet being re-broadcast again on BBC Radio 2 in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A documentary looking at the series was produced for Radio 4 in the 1990s and this was subsequently released on cassette to accompany the release of The Return from Mars and on the CD releases of Operation Luna. More recently, the entire trilogy has been broadcast on BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra, the BBC's digital radio station devoted to comedy and drama.

Operation Luna was finally released unedited on CD in 2004, in a box set that also included the documentary and the only existing segment from the original production. The Red Planet followed in 2005, with poor sales being cited as the reason for The World in Peril only being made available as a download. Fortunately for fans of the series, all three stories were released on CD in mid-2011, with the belated World in Peril release also including The Return from Mars.

Rather unexpectedly, news emerged in February 2008 that Charles Chilton had penned a one-off episode of Journey Into Space that would pick up the story after the conclusion of The Return from Mars. The sixty-minute Frozen in Time was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in The Saturday Play slot on 12 April, 2008, with David Jacobs taking on the role of Jet Morgan. The story proved successful enough for yet another tale to follow in June 2009, when Julian Simpson's The Host was broadcast on the same station — the first Journey Into Space radio story not to have been written by Charles Chilton.
Further Reading

Journey Into Space — A Tale of the Future...
by Andrew Pixley
  • DreamWatch Bulletin #89
  • May 1991
Archive Status / CD Releases

Only 5' 26" of the final episodes of Journey Into Space is known to exist, however the story was remade in 1958 in thirteen parts — minus most of the material from the early episodes — as Operation Luna.

Operation Luna has been released unedited on CD and is also available as a digital download. The CD release also includes the existing segment from the original production, a documentary about the series, and also a PDF booklet on the making of Journey Into Space.

All twenty episodes of The Red Planet still exist. The story has been released unedited on CD and is also available as a digital download. The release also includes a PDF booklet on the making of the series.

All twenty episodes of The World in Peril still exist. The story has been released unedited on CD and is also available as a digital download. The release also includes the sequel story The Return from Mars and a PDF booklet on the making of the series.

The two recent Journey Into Space plays, Frozen in Time and The Host, have both been released on CD and are also available as digital downloads.
Journey Into Space

by
Charles Chilton
Cover image: Journey Into Space, Herbert Jenkins (1954)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Herbert Jenkins
Publication Date 1954
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN N/A

Journey Into Space is a novelisation of the original eighteen-part radio serial of the same name.

Other Editions
Cover image: Raketskibet Luna, Kbh (1955) Raketskibet Luna
Denmark | Hardback | 1955
Translated by Kirsten and Poul Hoffmann. This was the only one of the three Journey Into Space novelisations to be released in Denmark. It was also the only foreign language translation to utilise the original cover artwork.
Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: Operatie Luna, Elsevierreeks (1957) Sprong In Het Heelal: Operatie Luna
Holland | Hardback | Elsevierreeks | 1957
Translated by E Franquinet. Elsevierreeks also released translations of The Red Planet and The World in Peril, in 1958 and 1962 respectively.
Cover image: Journey Into Space, Pan Books (1958) Journey Into Space
UK | Paperback | Pan Books | 1958 | 2/-
First paperback edition in the UK. The cover art was re-used in 2008 when BBC Audiobooks released their unabridged reading of the novelisation on CD.
DESTINATION — the Moon! No adventurers had ever faced greater hazards than the crew of rocket-ship Luna when she hurtled into space. Jet Morgan, ace-pilot, was her captain. With him were her Australian designer, Mitch; Lemmy, the Cockney radio-operator; and Doc, whose diary astonished everyone. Author-producer Charles Chilton here tells the radio story as a novel.

The Story that Enthralled Millions!

Cover image: Mission dans L'espace, Éditions Fleuve Noir (1959) Mission dans L'espace
France | Paperback | Éditions Fleuve Noir | 1959
Translated by Luc Joye and Jean-Gaston Vandel — the latter was a pseudonym for Jean Libert and Gaston Vandenpanhuyse. This was the only one of the three Journey Into Space novelisations to be published in France.
Cover image: Viaggio Nello Spazio, Romanzi del Cosmo (1959) Viaggio Nello Spazio
Italy | I Romanzi del Cosmo, Issue 27 | 1959
Translated by Gianni Samaja.
Pustolovina na Mjesecu
Yugoslavia | Hardback | Epoha | 1959
Translated by Konstantin Miles.
Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: Operatie Luna, Elsevier Pocket (1962) Sprong In Het Heelal: Operatie Luna
Holland | Paperback | Elsevier Pocket | 1962
Translated by E Franquinet.
Viaggio Nello Spazio
Italy | Cosmo I Capolavori Della Fantascienza, Issue 13 | 1962
Translated by Gianni Samaja.
Cover image: Journey Into Space, Digit Books (1963) Journey Into Space
UK | Paperback | Digit Books | 1963 | 2/6
Digit Books also published a paperback edition of The Red Planet the same year.
JOURNEY INTO SPACE
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — fire!"

  I tensed slightly, waiting for the roar of the motor to come pulsating through the aluminium frame of my bunk. But nothing happened. Only the slight feel of the big gyro.

  "Well, press the ignition switch," said Mitch.

  "I did," replied Jet. "Nothing happened."

  "Press it again."
  A pause.
  "Still nothing."
  "Hey, Jet." It was Lemmy now. "the radar — it's cut."


  The picture on the miniature screen above my head blurred, darkened, and went out. We were plunged into deep, impenetrable darkness.

  "Everything's stopped," came Jet's voice from the bunk above. I could hear him pressing buttons. "there's not a thing in the ship that works."

Cover image: Odissia Cosmica, I Romanzi del Cosmo, Issue 183 (1966) Odissia Cosmica
Italy | I Romanzi del Cosmo, Issue 183 | 1966
Translated by Giovanna Galli.
Cover image: La Voz Del Espacio (1966) La Voz Del Espacio
Spain | 1966
Translated by Francisco Cazorla Olmos. This was the only one of the Journey Into Space novelisations to be published in Spain.

Cover image: Journey Into Space, BBC Audiobooks (2008) Journey Into Space
UK | 6 × CD | BBC Audiobooks | May 2008 | 24.99 | 978-1405688680
Narrated by William Hope. The cover art for this edition is taken from the original Pan Books edition of Journey Into Space from 1958. Sadly, this was the only one of the three Journey Into Space novelisations which would be released as an audiobook.
William Hope reads the complete and unabridged novelisation of Charles Chilton's hugely successful radio series, "Journey Into Space Destination — the Moon!"

No other adventurers had ever faced greater hazards than the crew of the rocket-ship Luna when she hurtled into space. Jet Morgan, ace pilot, was her captain. With him were her Australian designer, Mitch; Lemmy, the Cockney radio operator; and Doc, whose diary astonished everyone...

Charles Chilton's classic science fiction radio serial stormed the BBC airwaves between 1953 and 1958. With its gripping storylines and tense cliffhangers, it kept a devoted audience of almost eight million people enthralled during its three series. So popular were the radio serials that Chilton was inspired to write a trilogy of bestselling novels featuring Captain Jet Morgan and his crew.

First published in 1954, this thrilling first story is read by Aliens star William Hope, and tells how the Luna's adventures began.

Cover image: Journey Into Space, Operation Luna, Fantom Films (2011) Journey Into Space: Operation Luna
UK | Hardback | Fantom Films | August 2011 | 12.99 | 978-1906263737
A limited edition reprint, with just 200 copies being printed.
Destination the Moon! No adventurers had ever faced greater hazards than the crew of rocket-ship Luna when she hurtled into space. Jet Morgan, ace-pilot, was her captain. With him were her Australian designer, Mitch; Lemmy, the Cockney radio-operator; and Doc, whose diary astonished everyone. Author-producer Charles Chilton here tells the radio story as a novel.

Cover image: Journey Into Space, Operation Luna, Fantom Films (2012) Journey Into Space: Operation Luna
UK | Paperback | Fantom Films | October 2012 | 9.99 | 978-1781960240
Radio Serial
Journey Into Space
18 × 30 Minutes | BBC Light Programme

21/09/53 — 19/01/54 Journey Into Space Charles Chilton

Operation Luna
13 × 30 Minutes | BBC Light Programme

26/03/58 — 18/06/58 Operation Luna Charles Chilton
Notes
  • After the recording of The Red Planet and The World in Peril, it was realised that if the first story still existed it would be possible to sell the complete set abroad as a trilogy. Journey Into Space was therefore re-recorded by the BBC in 1958 as Operation Luna, with much of the material from the first five episodes being removed to reduce the story to thirteen episodes.
The Red Planet

by
Charles Chilton
Cover image: Red Planet, Herbert Jenkins (1956)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Herbert Jenkins
Publication Date 1956
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN N/A

The Red Planet is a novelisation of the radio serial of the same name.

Other Editions
Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: De Rode Planeet, Elsevierreeks (1958) Sprong In Het Heelal: De Rode Planeet
Holland | Hardback | Elsevierreeks | 1958
Translated by E Franquinet. Elsevierreeks also released translations of Journey Into Space and The World in Peril, in 1957 and 1962 respectively.
Cover image: The Red Planet, Pan Books (1960) The Red Planet
UK | Paperback | Pan Books | 1960 | 2/6

Blast Off! to new heights of adventure and excitement

with JET MORGAN and the crewmen of the spaceship DISCOVERY, made famous in Charles Chilton's thrill-packed BBC radio series.

In this book, Jet leads the first fleet of rocketships to reach across space from the Moon to the 'Red Planet,' Mars. But right from the beginning the expedition was ill-omened. Uncanny happenings were to test their courage to breaking point, both on the long space flight and on the hostile planet itself.

Crveni Planet
Yugoslavia | Hardback | Epoha | 1960
Translated by Konstantin Miles.
Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: De Rode Planeet, Elsevier Pocket (1962) Sprong In Het Heelal: De Rode Planeet
Holland | Paperback | Elsevier Pocket | 1962
Translated by C Bauer and E Franquinet.

Cover image: The Red Planet, Digit Books (1963) The Red Planet
UK | Paperback | Digit Books | 1963 | 2/6
Digit Books also published a paperback edition of Journey Into Space the same year.
The Mars Fleet, commanded by Jet Morgan, set out from the Moon on the six-months journey to the mysterious Red Planet. But before the fleet was two weeks out the strange behaviour of one of its members became the first link in a chain of uncanny happenings that were to mystify Jet Morgan and his companions throughout the journey. Not until they landed on the hostile planet did the significance of the occurrences begin to take shape.

Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: Het Mars Mysterie, Elsevier Pocket (1962) Sprong In Het Heelal: Het Mars Mysterie
Holland | Paperback | Mingus | 1985 | 9065640789
Translated by C Bauer and E Franquinet.
Cover image: Journey Into Space, The Red Planet, Fantom Films (2012) Journey Into Space: The Red Planet
UK | Hardback | Fantom Films | January 2012 | 12.99 | 978-1906263744
A limited edition reprint, with just 200 copies being printed.
Blast Off! to new heights of adventure and excitement with Jet Morgan and the crewmen of the spaceship Discovery, made famous in Charles Chilton's thrill-packed BBC radio series.

In this book, Jet leads the first fleet of rocketships to reach across space from the Moon to the 'Red Planet'. Mars, But right from the beginning the expedition was ill-omened. Uncanny happenings were to test their courage to breaking point, both on the long space flight and on the hostile planet itself.

Cover image: Journey Into Space, The Red Planet, Fantom Films (2012) Journey Into Space: The Red Planet
UK | Paperback | Fantom Films | October 2012 | 9.99 | 978-1781960257
Radio Serial
The Red Planet
20 × 30 Minutes | BBC Light Programme

06/09/54 — 17/01/55 The Red Planet Charles Chilton
Cover image and back cover blurb of the Digit Books edition supplied by Saul Hazan
The World in Peril

by
Charles Chilton
Cover image: The World in Peril, Herbert Jenkins (1960)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Herbert Jenkins
Publication Date 1960
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN N/A

The World in Peril is a novelisation of the radio serial of the same name.

Other Editions
Cover image: Sprong In Het Heelal: De Aanval Op De Aarde, Elsevierreeks (1962) Sprong In Het Heelal: Aanval Op De Aarde
Holland | Hardback | Elsevierreeks | 1962
Translated by E Franquinet. Elsevierreeks also released translations of Journey Into Space and The Red Planet, in 1957 and 1958 respectively.
Cover image: The World in Peril, Pan Books (1962) The World in Peril
UK | Paperback | Pan Books | 1962 | 2/6
Cover image: Svijet u Opasnosti, Epoha (1965) Svijet u Opasnosti
Yugoslavia | Hardback | Epoha | 1965
Translated by Konstantin Miles.
Cover image: Journey Into Space, The World in Peril, Fantom Films (2012) Journey Into Space: The World in Peril
UK | Hardback | Fantom Films | April 2012 | 12.99 | 978-1906263751
A limited edition reprint, with just 200 copies being printed.
An alien civilisation prepares to conquer Earth — and only four men can save her...

The great fleet was drawing near the Earth — the twenty-one leading spheres flying in crescent formation and, behind them, the others stretching back into Space for hundreds of miles...

Jet Morgan and the crew of the Discovery return to Mars on the most dangerous and vital mission ever undertaken by man — to obtain the Martian plan for the conquest of Earth. Too late, they find themselves part of the invasion fleet.

Cover image: Journey Into Space, The World in Peril, Fantom Films (2012) Journey Into Space: The World in Peril
UK | Paperback | Fantom Films | October 2012 | 9.99 | 978-1781960264
Radio Serial
The World in Peril
20 × 30 Minutes | BBC Light Programme

26/09/55 — 06/02/56 The World in Peril Charles Chilton
Cover image of the Epoha edition supplied by Marijan Jozic