Derek Jacobi, Catherine McCormack, Jason Isaacs and Alex Jennings are all lined up to star in BBC Radio’s forthcoming sci-fi season.
They will be joined by Merlin actor Colin Morgan and Teachers’ Natasha Little in the season, which is a cross-station initiative involving BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 that will feature a number of new plays based around the science fiction genre.
Jacobi will play retired astronomer Douglas Scofield in Mayflies, written by Mike Maddox, which is being made by independent company Ladbroke Productions.
McCormack, who appeared in The 39 Steps at the Criterion in the West End, plays Scofield’s daughter, Lucy.
The production also stars Isaacs, Danny Webb, Steven Cree and Sarah Douglas. It will air in Radio 4′s Afternoon Play slot on Friday, March 13.
Elsewhere, Jennings will lead the cast of Cry Babies, written by Kim Newman, about a couple who have a newborn baby put into a cryogenic chamber until they are ready to become parents.
Little and Morgan will be joined by Rupert Degas in the drama, with Jennings playing cryogenesis expert Dr Rossiter.
Ladbrokes’ Neil Gardner, who is directing both dramas, said science fiction had been “conspicuously missing from radio” for some years, despite being a popular genre in movies and television.
Other productions in the season include adaptations of Iain M Banks’ The State of the Art and Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, which is being made by the BBC and stars Casualty’s Richard Dillane.
BBC Radio 4 commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said the success of Doctor Who meant actors are keen to appear in science fiction productions.
“There is a queue of people wanting to be in science fiction, because it’s seen to be sexy,” he said.