Target LunaDirected by Adrian Brown
Writers: Malcolm Hulke, Eric Paice
6 episodes, 1960
David Markham ... Professor Wedgwood
John Cairney ... Ian Murray
Frank Finlay ... Mr. Henderson
Michael Craze ... Geoffrey Wedgwood
Sylvia Davies ... Valerie Wedgwood
Michael Hammond ... Jimmy Wedgwood
William Ingram ... Flt. Lt. Williams
Deborah Stanford ... Jean Cary
Robert Stuart ... Dr. Stevens
Phyllis Kenny ... Pat Maxwell
Michael Verney ... Mr. Field
Annette Kerr ... Mrs Wedgwood
Mel Oxley ... Newscaster
Edmond Bennett ... Fisherman
Angus Lennie ... Fisherman
Roger Ostime ... Official
Professor Norman Wedgwood (David Markham) is the head of an experimental rocket group on remote Buchan Island in Scotland. His children, Geoff (Michael Craze), Valerie (Sylvia Davies) and Jimmy (Michael Hammond) visit him to watch the launch of his latest rocket, along with journalist Conway Henderson (Frank Finlay). When the pilot is taken ill, Jimmy finds himself taking his place on a mission to the Moon along with his pet hamster, Hamlet. After several harrowing hours in space, Jimmy, Hamlet and the rocket are finally brought down to earth.
Target Luna was a British television serial broadcast by ABC Weekend TV in April 1960. It was written by Malcolm Hulke and Eric Paice, directed by Adrian Brown and produced by Sydney Newman who later co-created Doctor Who for the BBC. The show was successful and spawned three sequels: Pathfinders in Space (September 1960), Pathfinders to Mars (December 1960 and January 1961) and Pathfinders to Venus (March 1961), starring Gerald Flood and Stewart Guidotti in the recast roles.
Target Luna and the three sequels gained high audience ratings at the time. One episode was broadcast on Christmas Day 1960 and the production team claimed it had the second highest audience of the day after the Queen's Speech.
Professor Wedgwood and his experimental rocket group appears to be a direct reference to the character and success of Professor Bernard Quatermass on the BBC.
Newman left ABC in 1962 to join BBC Television as Head of Drama. In 1963 he initiated the creation of Doctor Who. Two of the actors from the Pathfinders series later played companions to the First, Second and Fifth Doctors respectively. Michael Craze who originated Geoffrey Wedgwood in Target Luna played Ben Jackson alongside the First and Second Doctors and Gerald Flood provided the voice of Kamelion with the Fifth Doctor.
As was common at the time these shows were recorded on expensive videotape, which was later wiped and reused. Telerecordings of the Pathfinders series were made for sales to overseas broadcasters. However, Target Luna is currently missing from the television archive.