Pathfinders was one of ITV’s earliest dramas written specifically for children.
Target Luna premiered in 1960, starring Frank Finlay and Doctor Who alumni Michael Craze. The success of that show spawn Pathfinders which ran to three series: Pathfinders In Space (1960), Pathfinders To Mars (1960-1961) and Pathfinders To Venus (1961), with Gerald Flood and Stewart Guidotti in the recast lead roles.
Produced by the legendary Sydney Newman, who would go on to co-create Doctor Who, Pathfinders feels, at times, like a dry run for that much more famous series. Indeed, Whovians will enjoy spotting and name-checking the cast and creatives who would later go on to work on Doctor Who.
At more than 60 years old, Pathfinders does look a little creaky around the edges. But what it lacks in production values, it more than makes up for in intelligent and engaging scripts by the likes of Malcolm Hulke (Doctor Who, The Avengers, Secret Agent) and Eric Paice (The Outsiders).
Network’s new release contains all three series: Pathfinders In Space, Pathfinders To Mars and Pathfinders To Venus. And, let’s face it, what’s not to like about rocket ships, space adventures, and Venusian dinosaurs. This is classic vintage TV, with all its faults—and all the fun.
- Production booklet by archive television historian Andrew Pixley.
- Image Gallery (including behind the scenes images).
- Pathfinders prequel Target Luna script PDFs on Disc Two.