BBC Radio 4 | Saturday Drama | 21 June 2013 | 14:30

Based on the novel written by Ray Bradbury
Dramatised for radio by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle

Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell lead an all-star cast in The Martian Chronicles, a thrilling new dramatisation for BBC Radio 4, reimagining Ray Bradbury’s timeless fable of doomed Martian colonisation.

When the first expedition to Mars mysteriously disappears, Earth sends a second to find out what happened. But the real mission is classified. And only Captain Wilder knows the truth.

Spender, an anthropologist on Wilder’s crew, attempts to prevent the colonisation that she believes will eradicate the last of an ancient people living on Mars.   But to what lengths will she go?

As the honourable but duty-bound Captain Wilder tracks the now rogue Spender into the Martian mountains, the future of this ancient planet is at stake.

Meanwhile, Earth itself teeters on the brink of its own global catastrophe as the very survival of humanity hangs in the balance.

This thrilling reimagining of Ray Bradbury’s classic The Martian Chronicles is as relevant to our dangerous times as the original stories were to theirs.

Dramatised for radio by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle.


Silver Trophy New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards


Captain Wilder Derek Jacobi
Spender Hayley Atwell
The Lawyer Anna Madeley
Hathaway Mark Lewis Jones
Parkhill John Altman
Evie Zoe Tapper
Biggs Jonathan Rhodes
Thompson Dean Harris
Young Wilder Ryan Sewell
Pluto Survey Officer Rachael Naylor
Soldier Jacob James
Prison Officer Robert Lock
Miss Edwards Mellissa Aston-Munslow
Robert Owen Sewell
Mayflower Rocket Kids Polehampton Junior School

Production Team

Original Music Imran Ahmad
Sound Design Alistair Lock
Associate Producer Fiona McAlpine
Script Editor Patrick Chapman
Executive Producer Dirk Maggs
Producer/Director Andrew Mark Sewell

A B7 Production for  New_BBC_Radio_4

BBC Radio 4 | Saturday Drama | 21 June 2013 | 14:30

Writers’ Vision

In the 1940s, Bradbury wrote a series of short stories that were collected in 1950 as The Martian Chronicles. Turning the stories into an hour-long radio play has been a liberating experience for Kurti and Doyle, who were able to visualise an exciting drama with no budgetary restrictions. They’ve adapted this science fiction classic on its own terms, without having to worry about production costs, or the need to update it to take account of modern real-world technology. Instead they’ve concentrated on the themes of the stories and tried to be faithful to the heart and characters of Bradbury’s original. In The Martian Chronicles, Kurti and Doyle explore the idea that although human beings have the soaring vision to reach for the stars, their tragedy is that they always end up leaving a trail of dirty, compromised footprints behind them. This duality feels as sharply relevant today as when Bradbury was writing.

What the critics said…

Our BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic fable THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES has attracted good reviews.

Sci-Fi Bulletin said of our adaptation: “Kurti, Doyle and director Andrew Mark Sewell don’t hesitate to alter events, genders, characters (and especially nationalities) to suit their story needs, giving Hayley Atwell a strong role as Spender; Bradbury purists may moan, but this version has smoothed out the bittiness of the original.” – Read the REVIEW…

Starburst Magazine praised the production as: “… an admirable rendition of a classic.” – Read the REVIEW…

The Radio Times made THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES its ‘Pick of the Week’ and had particular praise for Derek Jacobi’s performance, describing it as: “… a subtle, nuanced but incredibly powerful performance as Captain Wilder.” – Read the REVIEW…

This is the story of Mars and the people who lived there. It’s always fractious and untidy, it’s frequently tragic and on occasion both horrifying and beautiful. But there’s a constant bass note of wonder to each of these stories, a sense of something truly alien. That’s the spirit of Mars, and of the original book. And it’s alive and well in this remarkable achievement.” – Alasdair Stuart, Sci-Fi Bulletin Read the REVIEW…

Derek Jacobi turns in a subtle, nuanced but incredibly powerful performance as Captain Wilder.” – Jane Anderson, The Radio Times  Read the REVIEW…

Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles is a work of surreal beauty and this production does a good job in condensing matters down to a coherent single drama… an admirable rendition of a classic.” – Starburst Magazine  Read the REVIEW…

There’s been a lot of good quality sound work on the Dangerous Visions seasons, but Sewell and sound designer Alastair Lock really put the listener exactly where they need to be at the relevant moment of the story, in the way a good cameraman will create a depth of field.” – Paul Simpson, Sci-Fi Bulletin  Read the REVIEW…

Boasting an impressive cast, pacy direction and phenomenally atmospheric sound design, it’s certainly a polished production.” – Dave Golder, SFX Magazine

Derek Jacobi’s central performance as the honourable space Captain is involving and there’s admirable support from a passionate and emotional Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) as Spender.” – Ian McArdell, Cult Box   Read the REVIEW…