The Space Gypsy Adventures

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The Space Gypsy Adventures is a children's sci-fi comedy radio and internet series created by Cumbrian broadcaster and cartoonist Terry Askew. It was first broadcast on British Hospital Radio in 1986 under the title of 'The Adventures of Leah, Duke Gemma & Friends' and featured as a cartoon strip in The West Cumberland Times and Star newspaper in 1987. A pilot story was also written and recorded for BBC Radio Cumbria in 1987, but was never broadcast owing to budgeting restrictions.

The series follows the fortunes of two anthropomorphic foxes by the names of Gemma and Damien Mildury as they travel around in their space freighter, The Rapscallion, trying to find their parents against the backdrop of an intergalactic war between the Bitlexian Cluster and The Federal Alliance of Planets. The two foxes find asylum on the neutral planet of Zenophon where they are befriended by brother and sister Duke and Leah Rosenly - two border collie dogs who live at the spaceport next to the city of Drakester. From this safe haven Gemma and Damien set about carving themselves out a living by buying and selling just about anything they can get their paws on, legitimately or otherwise. The two foxes' dealings inevitably land them on the wrong side of the law, where they invariably end up being chased around by Detective Inspector Spiker (a large black alsatian dog) and Detective Constable Bones (a fox with a Galvert 6 (Welsh) accent).

The series was resurrected in 2004 under the name of 'The Space Gypsy Adventures' after a break of some 17 years. Currently, the programme is wholly narrated by actor John Leeson, who is better known for being the voice behind K-9, the robot dog in the BBC-TV sci-fi series Doctor Who.

The original character designs were conceived by Terry Askew, although the most recent artwork connected to the serial has been provided by cartoonist Mark Alexander Smith, creator of the webcomic Transmission. Another member of the creative team is Gerry Paquette, an ex-animator who worked on the 1980s Canadian TV cartoons The Raccoons and Babar and Father Christmas.

The complete Space Gypsy series is available to download from the Official Space Gypsy Adventures Facebook site and from the official Space Gypsy website.

Episodes[edit]

All stories wholly written by Terry Askew except *- based on an original story by David Monid. **- written in collaboration with Gerry Paquette. All stories also feature minor edits and suggestions by John Leeson

The Adventures Of Leah, Duke, Gemma & Friends (1986-1987)[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "Duke & The Space Gypsy" 1986 (1986)
We are introduced to Gemma and company through the eyes of Duke, a hapless young border collie, when he falls foul of one of Gemma's escapes from the Intergalactic Federation. When the Federation catches up with them while Duke is trying to carry out some minor repairs to Gemma's freighter, he is thrust into an all out battle. After being damaged beyond repair, the two of them are forced to land on Earth and seek the help of the humans to get themselves going again.
02 "Preparing A Surprise For Gemma" 1986 (1986)
After successfully repairing the freighter in the previous episode, the gang are up and flying again. After several mishaps, Gemma finally manages to deliver her load of bootleg whisky to her customer, Squeaks the Rat. On the way home, Damien mentions to Duke that it's Gemma's birthday soon. When Duke finally returns home, he enlists the help of his friend, marmot DJ Randy, to prepare a surprise party for Gemma...
03 "Gemma's Birthday Party" 1986 (1986)
It's Gemma's birthday, and she is excited about the party that Duke is holding for her. Leah manages to convince Duke to take Gemma to buy an outfit. Though reluctant to spend so much money, Duke agrees, and that night at the party, he has another surprise for Gemma...
04 "Leah's Tragical Mystery Tour" 1986 (1986)
It's the day after Gemma's birthday, and Leah is about to begin her guided tours of the Galaxy. She soon finds herself with both Randy and Gemma for company. Meanwhile, Duke has agreed to give Damien some piloting lessons. And this is one driving test that neither of them will soon forget!
05 "The Daytrip To Tower Head" 1986 (1986)
Gemma has to deliver a shuttle to Tower Head, home to one of the biggest amusement parks in the Galaxy. She decides to take the opportunity to have the day off, and invites Duke, Leah and Randy to come with her. After a shaky arrival leaves Damien hanging (literally), he gets his own back on Duke and Gemma, but then gets into trouble with a shady rifle range attendant. Meanwhile, it seems that love is in the air for both Leah and Randy.
06 "Leah's Wedding" 1986 (1986)
At long last, it's the day of Leah and Randy's wedding. However, Randy is none too happy about having to wear a suit. On the way to the church with Randy, Gemma is stopped by the Federation, and forced to surrender at long last. But Leah isn't about to give up her future husband that easily!
07 "The Greatest Adventures Of Leah, Duke, Gemma & Friends" 1986 (1986)
In this compilation episode, the gang get together to share their favourite moments from the first series.
08 "The New Arrival" 1987 (1987)
Eighteen months after their wedding, Leah and Randy are finally expecting a baby. However, the cold winter day seems to become colder when Duke discovers that Fluff Catt, a lady cat who supplies shuttles for his dealership, is a former school bully of Gemma. Things only get worse when Leah goes into labour, and Randy starts to panic...
09 "Teething Troubles" 1987 (1987)
Gemma finds herself having to work with Fluff when the two of them carry out a robbery at a shuttle factory. Meanwhile, Damien has to pay the price when he eats too many sweets and doesn't clean his teeth properly.
10 "Gemma's Dilemma" 1987 (1987)
A quiet night at the Spaceport is shattered when a Federation officer comes to arrest Gemma. In the skirmish that follows, Gemma is seriously injured when she is shot down trying to escape. At the hospital a few days later, she gets a pleasant surprise from Duke...
11 "Engagement Rings & Sneezing Powder" 1987 (1987)
Gemma is getting engaged to Duke, so she should be happy. But she's not. Apart from having to adjust to life with a cast around her leg and her freighter out of action, she's also become paranoid that she might not be Duke's first love. Meanwhile, Damien has some trouble with some sneezing powder, and then tries to finish a rather large cottage pie, courtesy of Leah.
12 "The Great Chocolate Biscuit Caper" 1987 (1987)
Gemma's freighter has finally been repaired, with a new look and new colour scheme. This news is soon forgotten when word gets out that Leah is right out of chocolate biscuits due to a bakers' delivery strike. Leah accepts Gemma's offer to help, on the condition that the biscuits aren't stolen. Where can Gemma get 250 thousand packets of chocolate biscuits legitimately? And who is the mysterious gentleman who's suddenly offering his services to her?
13 "Leah's Christmas Pantomime" 1987 (1987)
When Leah learns from Damien that the Drakester Theatre has had to cancel their annual Christmas pantomime, she decides that the gang should pull together to put on a pantomime of their own. They decide to do 'Cinderella', with Gemma in the starring role. However, Gemma has other plans for her 'Prince Charming'...

Duke & The Space Gypsy (1987 BBC Radio Cumbria Remake)[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "Duke & The Space Gypsy" Recorded 1987, Unaired until 2006
Duke meets Gemma Mildury, a young vixen on the run, and her younger brother Damien. Soon, Duke and his sister Leah find themselves as unexpected passengers on Gemma's freighter when the Intergalactic Federation turns up on her doorstep. After being shot down over Galvert 3, the gang finds themselves literally dropping in on Fluff Catt, who takes it upon herself to save her new friends.

The Space Gypsy Adventures (2004-Present)[edit]

No. Title Original air date
01 "The Great Chocolate Biscuit Caper" 2004 (2004)
One day, Gemma discovers that Leah has run right out of chocolate biscuits for the café due to a delivery strike, and offers her services. However, Leah won't accept the biscuits if they're stolen, and she has to think a bit harder. She suddenly finds a fellow fox by the name of Felham Fusky offering to help, since he happens to be in the catering trade. Gemma, though suspicious, accepts his help, but doesn't know that Fusky is actually working with the Federal Alliance, and he's part of a plan to catch Gemma and throw her back into Drondak Labour Camp for good. However, the Alliance themselves don't realize that Gemma's freighter, the Rapscallion, has been rebuilt and repainted after an accident. Thanks to some help from a reluctant Fluff Catt, as well as Duke not being able to paint the ship's logos back on, Gemma is able to sneak under the Alliance's noses with the biscuits. But there is another problem...
02 "The Daytrip To Tower City" 2005 (2005)
When Gemma has to make a delivery to Tower City, home to one of the Galaxy's biggest amusement parks, she decides to make a holiday of it, and brings Leah, Duke and Rekki along with her. But it turns into a day of disasters. First the Rapscallion loses control after swerving to avoid hitting the Tower City Tower. Then her customer, the infamous Big Al, proves to be quite unpleasant. There is a slight reprieve when Duke accidentally proposes to Gemma, but then the problems continue when Damien causes grief to a young lady kitten by the name of Jehlise, who soon takes a shine to him. Next, Damien gets revenge on Gemma for leaving him hanging (literally) earlier on, but soon runs into trouble himself with a shady rifle range attendant. While making a run for it, he comes across Leah and a rather drunk Rekki, who have finally decided to get married. However, Spiker and Bones have discovered the nature of Gemma's delivery, and are out to ruin the day for her...
03 "The Christmas New Arrival**" 2007 (2007)
It's Christmas Eve, but things aren't pleasant for Gemma and the gang. Leah is pregnant with hers and Rekki's child, and she's become stressed. Then Fluff lands in a blazing wreck, having been shot down by Spiker and a reluctant Bones. So when Bones comes into the café to see if Fluff's alright, Gemma gives him a proper telling off. Suddenly, Leah goes into labour, and Gemma and Duke have to help a panicked Rekki take her to the hospital. Even after Leah has successfully given birth to a baby girl, the mood is not sweet, as Bones and Fluff enter the hospital with a hypothermic Damien. Gemma learns that Spiker is waiting outside and goes to talk to him. Will Gemma and Spiker settle their differences for the festive season? And if Bones didn't run Damien over with his shuttle, why is he soaking wet and freezing cold?
04 "Damien & The Snow Kitten*" 2009 (2009)
In this short story, Gemma tells us about the time that she, Jehlise, and Damien's schoolteacher Alex Collieham re-enacted a traditional Space Gypsy story to give Damien a fright and teach him a lesson one Christmas Eve.
05 "Damien's Valentine's Day Panic*" 2010 (2010)
It's Valentine's Day, and naturally Damien is scared for his life. He tries to hide from Jehlise, and after a series of mishaps, he finally finds sanctuary in Alex Collieham's shuttle. Or so he thinks, until Jehlise suddenly appears, accusing him of dumping her for someone else. While he's trying to clear the matter up, he accidentally sets the shuttle moving slowly towards the Spaceport duck pond...
06 "Pilfered Puddings & Pantomimes" 2011 (2011)
One day, close to Christmas, Gemma finds herself being questioned by Spiker and Bones about some stolen Christmas puddings. They can't squeeze any information out of her, and in fact are forced to work together when a snowball fight with some children separates Gemma from a bag of clothes and Bones from his work cap. Even after winning the battle, Gemma isn't safe, as Spiker and Bones go on to cause a ruckus in Leah's house while Gemma tries to have a shower. During the confrontation, it's discovered that, due to the theft of all the scenery, the Drakester Theatre has had to cancel their annual Christmas pantomime. Gemma returns from her shower at this point, and a chance comment from Bones gives Leah the idea for the gang to put on a pantomime of their own. They decide to do 'Cinderella', with Gemma in the lead role. Spiker and Bones are pressured into taking part, as the Ugly Stepsisters. However, tensions are still high between the three of them, which results in an almighty pie fight on stage during the actual pantomime!
07 "The St Valentine's Day Mix Up" 2014 (2014)
It's Valentine's Day again, and Gemma is looking forward to her date with Duke. While she hides in the gift shop, Bones lurks about in the café, where Damien blackmails him into buying his lunch. While doing so, Bones asks Rekki to pass on a card to Fluff. Naturally, Damien is interested, and in the kerfuffle that follows, the card ends up in Duke's paws. When Gemma walks in and sees the card, she naturally assumes it's for her, and takes him down to the duck pond, enlisting Damien and Rekki's help to film her opening the card. However, when she reads the card, she finds that it's addressed to...FLUFF?!
08 "The Unfoxibles" TBA
The Rapscallion is shot down yet again, and is forced to land on the planet Cromariguera. On landing, Gemma is horrified to discover that the planetary society dictates that women are subordinate to men. This means her usual role as the leader is null and void. Damien is forced to take on the dominant role, which he does by assuming the form of his alter ego: Damien DogFoxioli, The Cubfather!

Fluff Catt and The Rock Kittens[edit]

One of the main characters in the show, Fluff Catt, a close friend of Gemma's, has recently ventured into a musical career under the guise of Fluff Catt and the Rock Kittens. The band is made up of Fluff and a few other members of the Space Gypsy cast. In reality the band is a bunch of session artists, with the main vocals sung by Mandi Leonard, lead vocalist of the UK cabaret Band The Seductions. Fluff Catt's debut album When Will You Be Mine? was released in October 2013.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • When Will You Be Mine? (2013)

Singles[edit]

  • "When Will You Be Mine?/You Can't" (2013)
  • "Somewhere In My Heart" (2014)
  • "White, White Christmas/Neverending Story" (2014) #104 UK

External links[edit]