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8 Days: To the Moon & Back – BBC2

Rufus Wright in 8 Days: To the Moon & Back
(Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

The ‘giant leap for mankind’ is brought thrillingly back to life using actual footage and sound recordings in BBC2 docudrama 8 Days: To the Moon & Back

BBC2’s feature-length docudrama 8 Days: To the Moon & Back has a cast of Brits bringing hours of recently declassified cockpit audio to life, adding new depth to Apollo 11’s famous voyage.

Meanwhile, archive footage from mission control and clips of the original TV coverage capture the magic of what viewers experienced 50 years ago.

Eight days, three hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.

That’s the total duration of the most famous space mission ever flown, which made history by putting a man on the Moon in the Summer of 1969.

We’ve all heard Neil Armstrong’s famous line as he set foot on the lunar surface, but what went on during the rest of the crew’s trip?

Film star Rufus Wright (pictured above) takes on the role of Neil, while Jack Tarlton and Patrick Kennedy are Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

The cast of 8 Days: To the Moon & Back

BBC2’s 8 Days: To the Moon & Back recreates the Apollo 11 mission

TV Times caught up with Rufus, 44, to find out more…

You must have been very excited to play Neil Armstrong…

It was an absolute thrill.

I came to it without having huge knowledge about him or Apollo 11.

But when I heard we would be lip-syncing to the original audio, I was so excited.

We had tiny earpieces and we had to animate their words, so it’s an interesting form of acting.

You’re thinking what’s the closest I can get to what this real person sounded like – if you don’t get the accent right, your lips won’t look right.

How was the first step on the Moon recreated?

They used special effects and a body double for that scene and projected my face onto the visor.

So I was sitting in a chair, wearing a helmet, with a camera mounted on the front, but all I had to look at was a bloke with a polystyrene board while saying the famous line!

TV Times rating: *****

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.