BBC Home

Explore the BBC

27th August 2015
Accessibility help
Text only
My Science Fiction Life

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!



TV: Pathfinders

Creator: Sidney Newman


Love to seearrow icon

I found out about it recently
more from selektadan_i

More recollections...

In Depth


Planetary exploration that provided the roots of Doctor Who.

Pathfinders creator Sydney Newman is a legendary figure of British TV. When he left the industry in 1970 the Sunday Times reported that "British television will never be the same again". As head of drama at ITV and later the BBC he was responsible for The Avengers, Armchair Theatre, Out of the Unknown, Adam Adamant Lives! and, most famously, Doctor Who.

His Pathfinders programmes, then, can be seen as direct ancestors of the good Doctor. A voracious reader of science fiction, Newman indulged his love of the genre while at ITV by producing first Target Luna, then the three Pathfinders series.

Made between 1960 and 1961, they were: Pathfinders in Space, Pathfinders to Mars and Pathfinders to Venus. Broadcast live, with pre-recorded inserts, they involved adventure-packed exploratory flights to their titular planets, usually involving aliens. The series differed from the norms of the time as they were both aimed at children and had children as central characters.

A couple of years later Newman went on to commission the most famous teatime science fiction ever in Doctor Who. But it was Pathfinders that lit the way.

Work nominated by JohnJeffrey.

Paul1974 recommends...

My Science Fiction Life contributor paul1974 recommends his favourite stories from the site.

"Five stories, five links, five reasons," he says.

Armaduras on Doctor Who
Summarises my favourite show and my experiences better than me...

posterMPD05 on Day of the Triffids
A great precis and recommendation.

Jeff Wayne on The War of the Worlds
Dun Dun DUNNNNNN!! This man is a legend.

U187657 on The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
Not only has it inspired him, but he met his inspirer.

BobSteele on Crime Traveller
Things like this can only be made due to the unique way the BBC is funded...

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy