Slipstream (radio drama)

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Genre Radio drama, Science fiction
Running time 30 minutes
Country of origin United Kingdom United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC 7
Starring Tim McMullan, Rory Kinnear, Joannah Tincey
Written by Simon Bovey
Original release 24 March 2008 – 28 March 2008
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 5
Audio format Stereophonic sound

Slipstream is a radio drama by Simon Bovey originally broadcast on BBC 7 during March 2008. It combines a story of a raid by British commandos into Germany during the Second World War with a science fiction story concerning a new Nazi aircraft capable of fantastic speeds, which shot down 150 Allied bombers during a bombing mission. The aircraft, which is silver and disc-shaped, may be constructed around an extraterrestrial artifact.


After hearing of the bomber raid disaster, Major Barton coerces the code word "Slipstream" from a German prisoner via torture, after which the prisoner dies. He persuades his commander to authorize, or at least turn a blind eye to, a commando raid on an experimental aircraft development site in Germany, where the Slipstream seems to have been built. The target is located between advancing American and Russian forces, who have their own agendas and may reach it before the British.

Barton kidnaps Kate Ritchie, a research scientist whose brother may have been lost in one of the bombing raids. His men arrange for a prisoner-of-war, Flugkapitän Jürgen Rahl, to escape and then fall into his hands. Jürgen is a former test pilot who was captured when his Messerschmitt Me 262 was shot down. Barton recruits Jürgen by promising to save his father from the advancing Russians, though he later admits he has no plans to do so. Jürgen is to fly the Slipstream back to Britain once it has been captured.

In Germany the raiders enter an underground factory, the Mittelwerk where they find slave workers, a German "technician", Frau Schenk, and the mysterious Slipstream in a cave. Jürgen finds that piloting the aircraft is a matter of wearing a helmet and controlling it with his thoughts. Unfortunately previous pilots have died of brain inflammation after a few missions.

Determined to secure the Slipstream for Britain, Barton and his men are utterly ruthless in their quest. They ambush and destroy an American squad who come to the factory. Kate and Jürgen learn what they can about the Slipstream. It seems to be built around an alien artifact that crashed into the Brazilian jungle in 1929. It was taken by the German SS after a German priest working in the Vatican learned of its existence from a missionary. The artifact is intelligent and Jürgen learns to communicate with it. It is apparently designed to teach advanced science, not destroy life. The other pilots died because they were forcing it to take part in war, against its programming.

As the Americans and Russians close in, Jürgen is able to pilot the ship back to Britain with Kate and Barton aboard, leaving Barton's second-in-command behind to hold off the attackers as long as possible. However once the war is over, politics take over and the Slipstream has to be handed over to the Americans. The British have been unable to study it because it will not fly for any of their pilots. They bring Jürgen back for one final attempt before the craft is handed over. He takes off into outer space, apparently to find the artifact's creators.


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