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ABOUT THE SHOW
This final job was supposed to pay off all of her debts, but Kilner’s last delivery contained more than she bargained for.
When Kilner accepted the job of smuggling escapee Samantha Trapp across the galaxy, she expected the job to be over and done with quickly. But now they’re stuck with each other, and they have a job to do…
Following in the footsteps of Harry Harrison, Brian Aldiss and Douglas Adams, We Fix Space Junk is a sci-fi comedy podcast from Battle Bird Productions, written by Beth Crane (Upholstery, Ronnie and the Other World) and produced by Hedley Knights (The People’s Rock).
THE BIRTH OF WE FIX SPACE JUNK
We Fix Space Junk was born from a deep love of storytelling and a decade-long bout of insomnia. When other teenagers were sleeping, I was lying awake listening to the radio, and when there wasn’t anything on the radio I was listening to audio books (especially public domain sci-fi from Librivox.org).
There are a lot of tales out there about repairmen and they seem to be the outlier in sci-fi – they aren’t really heroes or villains, they’re just there, travelling around and fixing things. No Moving Parts and The Repairman are both stories I’ve listened to time and again, and they really shaped Kilner’s evolution, as well as Automnicon’s. Because what’s a protagonist without an antagonist, right?
I studied scriptwriting at university and while I was there I developed a lack of confidence in the ideas I liked the most — I thought what I wrote needed to be ‘artistically worthy’, or ‘shockingly relevant’, or any number of other buzzwords. But in the back of my mind Kilner’s journey was taking shape.
Kilner gradually materialised in my head over the years until she became a full character. She doesn’t have complete control over her life and I think that’s an interesting thing to explore – all too often, protagonists are heroes with status and great things ahead, or a destiny waiting to be fulfilled. All Kilner really wants — all she’ll let herself want — is a decent nap and a jar of peanut butter.
Samantha Trapp was initially a single-episode character, but something about her stuck. I enjoyed the contrast between the two women, especially as they developed in my head and Samantha grew stronger and more confident. Despite her upbringing, in many ways she is in even less control of her life than Kilner, and has to evolve quickly to survive — which she does.
I’ve got a lot planned for Kilner and Samantha, although I seem to have caught the Douglas Adams bug; things keep happening in the episodes that I’m not entirely in control of. It’s a fun, if at times disconcerting, way to write.
I hope you’ve enjoyed season one; I can’t wait for you to hear season two!
CAST AND CREW
STORY, SCRIPT, VOICE EDIT AND GRAPHICS – Beth Crane
SOUND ENGINEER, RECORDIST, EDITOR, PRODUCER AND COMPOSER – Hedley Knights
KILNER – played by Beth Crane
SAMANTHA – played by Rebecca Evans
D.A.C.H.S.H.U.N.D. – played by Jack Carmichael
JAULT – played by Hedley Knights
MARILYN – played by Francesca Mintowt-Czyz
COMPUTER – played by James Carney
HAROLDSON – played by James Carney
MS. LAMB – played by Vicki Baron
FABIO – played by Chris Montague
LUCAS – played by Luke Booys
OTHER PARTS PLAYED BY MEMBERS OF THE CAST ALONG WITH JAMES BRADSHAW, ROSIE ALYS AND AARON SIMMONDS.
Marilyn’s diary is the tale of a child trying to find her place in the world. I think the popularity she’s gained so far is partly because of the questions she answers and her unending optimism — her declaration that Computer was her best friend (having known him for all of two days) which later, of course, becomes true.
Marilyn was an interesting character to develop; initially, she was just a side plot, a character to turn up alongside Jault, but then, when I decided to write her a mini-series she really took on a life of her own. The mini-series was also nothing like I originally envisioned it; it was going to be a series of five-minute monologues ending in Marilyn doing something that now seems very alien to her character. When the fantastic Francesca Mintowt-Czyz read her lines out for the first time in series one, the character changed completely.
With the slightly haphazard writing style I’ve been following writing this series, I started writing Marilyn’s Diary, this time with Francesca’s performance in my mind, and then realised that she needed someone to talk to. James Carney (of the podcast Unseen Hour) had already agreed to play Jault’s computer; suddenly he was a major
part of the mini-series.
Unfortunately, by the time I came to write the script, Fran had realised that she was moving to the USA. This meant that I needed a way to write Marilyn out of the series. But I’d gotten invested in her as a character, so rather than doing the lazy thing and killing her off, I looked at the other option: sending her home.
By that point, her friendship with Computer had developed to the point that I couldn’t send her off alone, but also I couldn’t leave Jault without a ship’s computer.
And that’s how Haroldson was born.
Haroldson has quickly become a fan favourite, possibly because, inside, we’re all screaming in terror at the chaos we inhabit 24/7. Whereas Marilyn sprung from her pod fully-formed, Haroldson is the epitome of helplessness and chaos. He’s great fun to write and great fun to act; being in the room with James when he’s recording Haroldson is perilous because I’ve ruined a couple of takes by laughing.
This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Marilyn and Computer and definitely isn’t the last we’ve seen of Haroldson.
We Fix Space Junk is released on a weekly basis in eight-week seasons. Between seasons we take a break of a couple of months, then air an eight-week minisode season, then take another break for a couple of months. (we started out with five-week breaks but have realised we need a little more time!)