In 1973, BBC Radio 3 adapted Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series into an eight-part miniseries. While it was rebroadcast in 1977 and later in 2002, all eight episodes of ‘The Foundation Trilogy’ are now available online thanks to Archive.org. This radio broadcast is today’s Throwback Thursday, a look at sci-fi of the past.
Studios in the past have tried to adapt the ‘Foundation’ series into movies, and most recently Jonathon Nolan stated that he was working on a ‘Foundation’ series for HBO.
However, in 1973, British actor Patrick Tull along Mike Stott adapted the ‘Foundation’ series for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Founded in 1958, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop specialized in pioneering different ways to generate sound effects and music. David Cain, a composer and technician at the Workshop, directed the series. (Cain also composed some of the music for BBC Radio’s broadcasts of ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Hobbit’.)
Mathematician Hari Seldon (William Eedle) is able to predict the fall of the Galactic Empire using psychohistory, a combination of mathematics and sociology that can foretell the future on a large scale. To truncate the impending dark ages, Seldon creates two Foundations on each end of the galaxy, each designed to preserve advanced knowledge to eventually help build the new galactic empire.
Many British stage and television actors lent their voices, and the adaptation was the first BBC Radio show made in stereo. The sound effects are a little silly but exactly what you’d expect when listening to an old sci-fi recording. The audio isn’t the best quality, but it’s an easy listen with a pair of headphones.
Listen to ‘The Foundation Trilogy’ on Archive.org or on the Spotify playlist below.