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Colin Swash, producer of the BBC2 panel game Have I Got News For You, penned this series, which began as a gentle parable and gradually darkened to a bleak and faintly chilling conclusion. Basically a fantasy masquerading as science fiction, it told the story of two humans, an idealistic revolutionary (Tony Robinson) and a comfortable bourgeois (David Haig), transported by means of an explosion in a space-shuttle toilet compartment to a far-distant and unknown planet inhabited by the Oblivions, a race of sublimely innocent humanoids (among them Louise Lombard and Michael Troughton) who have learned English via the chance discovery of a book of Noël Coward’s plays. The predictably destructive consequences of the well-intentioned Earthlings’ arrival are obviously meant to raise questions about the innate corruption of humanity. Swash has since written another Radio 4 series, Paradise Lost in Cyberspace, which — despite its name — had an entirely separate plot and characters.

Colin Swash’s follow-up to Paradise Lost In Space (to which, despite the name, it was entirely unconnected) was also a pseudo-science fiction comedy, this time with a thriller element and slightly less of the progressive darkening effect which characterised the earlier series. Basically Logan’s Run with one minor modification, Paradise Lost In Cyberspace was set in a dystopic future where economics, religion and bureaucracy were conjoined, and euthanasia (by means of the ‘Paradise Pill’) was compulsory for all citizens reaching the age of seventy. Stephen Moore starred as the hero George Dent, condemned to death by a computer error on his 69th birthday, who goes on the run in the company of renegade bounty-hunter Andrea Sunbeam (Lorelei King), eventually taking to the underground and meeting up with Public Enemy Number One — the fearsome Mrs Cookson, leader of the Old Age Paramilitaries (another brilliant role for Edna Doré). Patsy Byrne played George’s wife Doris, and the cast also included Geoff McGivern and Melanie Hudson.


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