|Running time||30 minutes|
|Country of origin|
|Home station||BBC Radio 4|
|Starring|| Peter Bowles |
|Written by||Christopher William Hill|
|Original release||2006 – 2008|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||10 (4, 6)|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
Tomorrow, Today! was a radio sitcom originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 2006 and 2008. It is itself a spoof of radio science fiction dramas of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The writer is Christopher William Hill.
A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms. This form can also include mockumentaries.
BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Gwyneth Williams, and the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced she was quitting the role. There are no details of when or who will be her replacement.
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.
The action takes place in a BBC studio in 1961, where a motley crew of "bright young things" and aging actors produce a futuristic drama set in the year 2006, which of course is a world of space flight, ray guns, and contact with aliens. The show is called "Tomorrow, Today!" and is basically a soap opera. The lead roles are played by Nigel Lavery (Peter Bowles) and Sylvia Hann (Cheryl Campbell) who hate their jobs only slightly more than they hate each other. Their off-mike conversations are laced with carping comments and innuendo about each other's long-lost youth and popularity. Sylvia was once the voice of "Listen with Mother". The "comic relief" for the radio production is provided by a stereotypical Welshman, "Taffy" Jones, played by the very non-Welsh Douglas Bennings (Jon Glover).
A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.
Peter Bowles is an English actor of stage and television.
Cheryl Campbell is an English actor of stage, film and television. She starred opposite Bob Hoskins in the 1978 BBC drama Pennies From Heaven, before going on to win the 1980 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Testament of Youth and Malice Aforethought, and the 1982 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival for A Doll's House. Her film appearances include Chariots of Fire (1981), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) and The Shooting Party (1985).
The show is about to be terminated, much to the relief of the leads who are contractually committed to it. However the BBC decides that, thanks to the Soviet Union's apparent lead in space travel, national morale requires it to continue with a new pro-British, anti-Soviet slant. Writer and producer Hugo Kellerman (Joseph Kloska) introduces new aliens with a Communist philosophy and has them do battle with his heroes. BBC executive Godfrey Winnard (John Fortune) watches over the new production and keeps adding new elements to the mix, such as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (Leslie Phillips) brought in to play an android.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Joseph Anthony Kloska is an English actor. He began his career in radio, moving on to work in television, theatre, and film.
John Fortune was an English satirist, comedian, writer, and actor, best known for his work with John Bird and Rory Bremner on the TV series Bremner, Bird and Fortune. He was educated at Bristol Cathedral School and King's College, Cambridge, where he was to meet and form a lasting friendship with John Bird. He was a member of the semi-secretive Cambridge Apostles society, a debating club largely reserved for the brightest students.
The series also spoofs the origins of shows such as Doctor Who . In the second series, set in 1962, Hugo is commissioned to devise a science fiction series for children's television and, thanks to a series of mishaps on the way to Television Centre, has the idea for "Professor Fabula and the Diloks", featuring a scientist who travels through time and space in a police call box, accompanied by a robotic dog. Unfortunately the idea is squelched due to salacious interpretations of the Professor's status as a single man wandering in time and space with a dog.
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being, to all appearances human, from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes while working to save civilisations and help people in need.
In the final episode of the second series, the entire production relocates to Wales as the Cuban Missile Crisis threatens to bring down a holocaust. There they discover that "Taffy" Jones, killed off and replaced by an equally stereotypical Scot (also voiced by Douglas) was immensely popular among the locals. Faced with mobs of angry Welsh fans calling him "Taffy killer", Hugo writes in a resurrection for the character, but Douglas's "more authentic" reading of the part causes the disgusted locals to cut power to the studio, which the team interprets as the arrival of Armageddon.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962, the Caribbean Crisis, or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union initiated by the American discovery of Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.
Both series are regularly rebroadcast on Radio 4 Extra.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 video game, and 2005 feature film.
Radio drama is a dramatised, purely acoustic performance. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story: "It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension." Radio drama includes plays specifically written for radio, docudrama, dramatized works of fiction, as well as plays originally written for the theatre, including musical theatre and opera.
Griffith Rhys Jones is a Welsh comedian, writer, actor and television presenter. He starred in a number of television series with his comedy partner, Mel Smith.
Who Goes There? is a science fiction novella by American writer John W. Campbell, Jr., written under the pen name Don A. Stuart. It was first published in the August 1938 Astounding Science Fiction.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of six books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams' radio series of the same name. The novel was first published in London on 12 October 1979. It sold 250,000 copies in the first three months.
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the BBC, and the national broadcaster for Wales. Established in 1964, BBC Cymru Wales is based in Cardiff and directly employs some 1,200 people to produce a range of programmes for television, radio and online services in both English and Welsh.
U.S. television science fiction is a popular genre of television in the United States that has produced many of the best-known and most popular science fiction shows in the world. Most famous of all, and one of the most influential science-fiction series in history, is the iconic Star Trek and its various spin-off shows, which comprise the Star Trek franchise. Other hugely influential programs have included the 1960s anthology series The Twilight Zone, the internationally successful The X-Files, and a wide variety of television movies and continuing series for more than half a century.
Sarah Alexander is an English actress. She has appeared in British series such as Armstrong and Miller, Smack the Pony, Coupling, The Worst Week of My Life, Green Wing, Marley's Ghosts and Jonathan Creek.
Dirk Maggs, a freelance writer and director working across all media, is principally known for his work in radio, where he evolved radio drama into "Audio Movies," a near-visual approach combining scripts, layered sound effects, cinematic music and cutting edge technology. He pioneered the use of Dolby Surround in BBC Radio. He was among the first nominees for the Directors Guild of Great Britain Outstanding Achievement in Radio Award, and in 2005 he was invited to become one of the first Honorary Fellows of the University of Winchester for his work in the dramatic arts.
Sandra Dickinson is an American-British actress. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has often played a dumb blonde with a high-pitched voice in the UK, notably in the Birds Eye Beefburger TV advertisements, directed by Alan Parker, in the early 1970s, and as Trillian in the 1981 television adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
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Mark Lewis Jones is a Welsh actor, whose roles include that of a First Order Captain Moden Canady in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a police inspector in BBC drama series 55 Degrees North, a whaler in the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, soldier Tecton in Troy and Rob Morgan in the series Stella.
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Missions is a French science-fiction television series first broadcast in 2017. Set in the near future, it depicts a mission to the planet Mars.