A tiny island in the Irish Sea is surprised to find itself the base for a new space programme – and the race for a local child to become the world’s first child astronaut – this is the gripping plot of The Space Programme, a brand new soap opera for kids from Fun Kids Radio, giving young listeners aged 6-12 their very own version of The Archers! Intrigued, S4K met up with the young stars of the show to find out more…
Q) Describe The Space Programme in only five words?
Olivia Adams (Lily): Exciting, courageous, family, friendship and love!
Ashleigh More (Jazmine): Fun, exciting, engaging, original and relevant.
Q) Many kids are absolutely fascinated by space, are you and do you have a favourite show about it?
Andrew Marley (Kyle): I have always loved space and find it very fascinating. I love to read books and research all about it.
Olivia: I think there is something out there! The universe is huge so I find it hard to believe we’re the only ones here.
Ashleigh: The only TV show I used to watch about space was ‘The Clangers’, which first aired in 1969! It’s about little mouse type creatures that live on a star and it’s great to see it’s back on CBeebies now.
Q) Tell me about the show and without giving too much away, what do you think the young listeners will love about it?
Andrew: The show is based around an island off Scotland, the Isle of Lune. A new family arrives begin to make changes that will affect the island and its people. The show follows lots of great characters who are really fun and relatable. It’s an exciting story and one which will have you laughing and wanting to hear more after each episode.
Olivia: It also highlights the importance of friendship and family and shows us how important it is to be brave and go for what you want! All the characters go on a great journey.
“It highlights the importance of friendship and family and shows us how important it is to be brave and go for what you want!”
Q) What character do you play and what are their good qualities or worst traits?
Ashleigh: I play Jazmine. She’s a great supporter of her friends and she always tries her best. Jazmine also knows what’s right and she knows when it’s time to use her voice and speak up. I would say her worst trait is that she’s maybe a bit too shy sometimes. However, in later episodes we see Jazmine finding her confidence and sticking up for herself.
Olivia: My character Lily is a bright and bubbly girl known for being outspoken, maybe a little too outspoken! Lily may get her actions wrong sometimes, but her intentions are always good and she has a very pure heart which made her so exciting to play!
Andrew: I play Kyle who has a massive heart and really cares about his community and believes in his cause. He is determined, hardworking and loves his family. However, Kyle can sometimes be a little selfish and not realise that his behaviour can sometimes affect other people.
Q) One of the concerns that the local community have in the show is if the island’s natural beauty will be spoilt. How important do you think it is for young people to take pride and care for their own communities and the environment and is this something you are personally passionate about?
Olivia: I think it’s really important that young people take pride in their community and environment, now more so than ever. Our earth is beautiful and full of so many beautiful creatures and every one of us needs to take pride in it and look after it.
Andrew: Yes, I have always been passionate about the environment and my local community. I think it is very important that everyone takes pride and responsibility for our planet and we can do that every day with small acts such as not littering and recycling.
Q) One of the other themes of the show is how friendships can be tested as the kids compete to be the world’s first child astronaut. Did you form strong friendships with the other cast members?
Ashleigh: The cast were great fun to work with, there was a lot of laughing going on! It wasn’t hard to act like a group of friends once we were recording the show.
Andrew: Working on this project was fantastic. I worked with some amazing people and we all had a great time. There was such a fun atmosphere and I made some really good friends.
Q) Finally, would you really like to go into space?
Olivia: I don’t think I’d be brave enough! It’s such a scary and amazing thing to do but I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground for now!
Andrew: I would love to go space as I think it would be super cool. On the other hand, I would be very nervous about going to space but if I ever got the chance it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity I could not turn down.
Ashleigh: No! I’m the same as my character! I’d rather watch a friend go instead. I’ll just take a photo for them for their Instagram.
The Space Programme is available weekly on Fun Kids Radio and all podcast providers.
Image: Olivia and Andrew (far right) & Ashleigh (first row left) recording with fellow cast members and new friends.