Meet The Space Gypsy Team – The Creator, T.J. Askew
Maryport, England, Earth.
While Terry was at school he studied in English and Art and Design. Out of school hours he would DJ at a local youth club. When he left school he became a graphic artist, initially working for a small printing company in Cockermouth, Cumbria. When that job ended he worked in a number of factory jobs (which he hated!) before joining his local hospital radio station in 1982.
Finding that there was little work for an artist where he was living, Terry was forced to settle for working at his second love – DJ-ing. He also became more involved in broadcasting, making several appearances on BBC Radio Cumbria as a freelance reporter.
Using his connections in the broadcasting world and following his interests as an artist, Terry became instrumental in the promotion of a number of animation projects in the U.K. In 1982 he helped Cosgrove Hall Productions launch their award winning cartoon show Danger Mouse. In 1985 he was drafted in by the BBC to help with the promotion of Dogtanian & The Three Muskehounds. Two years later he helped to break Canadian favourites The Raccoons in the U.K. and in 1988 it was the turn of Count Duckula.
As an artist, some of Terry's work can be seen in The Plague Dogs (1982), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and The Raccoons (1989) – although he never got any credit for these things!
In 1985 Terry began working on his Space Gypsy Adventures, at first pitching them to newspapers as a cartoon strip. When the strip failed to sell he used his links in hospital radio to turn the idea into a radio serial. Terry had already been working with Dr. Who actor John Leeson on a radio show called Interstellar Requests when he approached him with the idea of turning Space Gypsy into a radio serial. John readily agreed to help out and the series went on the air for the first time in 1986. It was an instant hit with the audiences of children's hospital radio stations up and down the U.K. - so much so that a second serial was commissioned for 1987. A comic strip in The West Cumberland Times & Star soon followed, and a mini version of the series was commissioned and recorded for BBC Radio Cumbria, but not broadcast owing to budgeting restrictions.
One of the main characters in the series, Damien the Fox Cub, became the figurehead of Damien Enterprises – a charitable Trust Fund which went on to become affiliated to The Children’s Cancer Fund.
Terry left Interstellar Requests after a successful 7 year run of the programme. He later went on to present The Breakfast Show on Whitehaven's Select 107, as well as morning and afternoon slots on Workington's WCRFM, before returning to Radio Haven where he now presents their Monday afternoon Golden Oldies Show.
Above: Terry with singer/songwriter and Rock Kittens session guitarist Steve Falcon. Below: with John Leeson and John's Dr. Who alter-ego K-9, who was also Terry's co-presenter on Interstellar Requests.