Episode 1

AstronautsAn all-British crew prepares for a mission to an Earth-orbiting space station. Astronaut Mattocks is a stuff-upper-lip, salt-of-the-Earth family man for whom the flight will be his crowning achievement; Ackroyd is a bundle of nerves who’d really rather stay on Earth. Accompanying both men is a single female astronaut, Foster, a medical specialist who will monitor the crew’s health, both physical and mental; a dog named Bimbo will also travel to the station for further medical tests and experiments. Communications problems arise at critical times due to technical glitches and a gung-ho American mission controller. By the time the new crew of the space station arrives, they’re sure of only one thing: it’ll be hard for them to stand one another long enough for a record-setting space endurance mission.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), Mary Healey (Valerie), Ben Aris (Reporter), Diana Berriman (Reporter), Barry Lower (Reporter), Hilton McRae (Reporter), Pamela Miles (Reporter), Hugh Walters (Reporter), Michael Delorzo (Mattocks’ Kid), Julian Delorzo (Mattocks’ Kid), and Bimbo (himself)

AstronautsNotes: This space-set sitcom seems to take place in an alternate universe in which Skylab survived 1979 (it didn’t) and British astronauts were still flying Apollo spacecraft (a vehicle which stopped flying in 1975). Created by The Goodies writer/performers Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, the show was popular enough to merit a second season in 1983. The first season has neither a theme tune or incidental music.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 2

AstronautsThe astronauts try to get accustomed to their new home, the Orbital Workshop space station, which doesn’t quite have all the amenities of home. For one thing, there’s a video camera in the “waste management compartment”, and there’s also the logistics of where to walk Bimbo the dog in space. Mattocks and Ackroyd try to come to terms with being bunkmates, whether it’s Ackroyd’s habit of listening to music at bedtime, or the fact that Mattocks expects to hear chickens…in orbit.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), and Bimbo (himself)

Notes: The description of the space station going through an entire day in 90 minutes is actually scientifically accurate. The International Space Station, for example, experiences a “sunrise” approximately every 90 minutes in low Earth orbit.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 3

AstronautsThe crew’s daily schedule of routine scientific experiments has kicked in, as has routine tension among them. Mattocks feels he’s constantly being picked on by his crew, and is particularly disturbed at the number of mice who die during Foster’s experiments on them. Ackroyd is tired of abbreviations, acronyms, and space jargon – the only language Mattocks seems to speak anymore. And Foster is tired of her crewmates, full stop. All of this simmering annoyance leaves the crew in a bad place when an emergency strikes the station.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), and Bimbo (himself)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 4

AstronautsBeadle arranges for the loved ones of the station crew to talk to them briefly; Mattocks gets to speak to his wife (who naturally asks – as she does on Earth – if he’s keeping his sleeping quarters clean), Ackroyd gets to speak to his mother (much to Mattocks’ amusement), and Foster gets to speak to…no one. She then makes the mistake of revealing that her engagement fell apart before the mission launched, something she decided to keep quiet. Now that she’s aboard a space station with two men, revealing this piece of news is probably not the best idea.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), Mary Healey (Valerie), and Bimbo (himself)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 5

AstronautsAs the crew come to the realization that everything, even their time in the bathroom, is being monitored by the ground (and to some extent made public), they decide that a revolt is in order. But since they can’t exactly leave the station and go somewhere else, they decide to simply disappear from sight, and suddenly Beadle has to explain why the crew is missing.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), and Bimbo (himself)

Notes: Astronauts is based on a fictionalized version of the Skylab space station, and its writers may have been inspired by events that took place aboard the real Skylab. The third crew of SkylabAmerican astronauts to visit Skylab staged a mutiny of their own, bringing the schedule of scientific experiments to a halt to get NASA’s attention on the ground until a less grueling schedule could be agreed upon.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 6

AstronautsOn the occasion of the crew’s 50th day in space, they’re annoyed to find that no one on the ground is marking the occasion with them, and they demand that Beadle secure some media coverage of this milestone. In the meantime, Ackroyd reveals that he’s turned the laboratory module into a still, and shares his home-brewed rum with Mattocks and Foster, and all three proceed to get sloppy drunk. It is naturally, at this time, that Beadle tells them they’ll be on the News at Ten mere minutes from now.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), and Bimbo (himself)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 7

AstronautsAckroyd, sickened by the seemingly endless supply of freeze-dried ravioli that he himself requested to be sent along to eat, is trying to conduct routine wiring repairs despite his poor state of health. But this leads to mistakes, which leads to a critical emergency aboard the space station, now tumbling through orbit and out of contact with Earth. Foster conducts a spacewalk to repair the external antenna, but in the end, the crew’s only hope is…Bimbo the dog.

written by Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie
directed by Dick Clement

AstronautsCast: Christopher Godwin (Mattocks), Carmen Du Sautoy (Foster), Barrie Rutter (Ackroyd), Bruce Boa (Beadle), and Bimbo (himself)

LogBook entry by Earl Green