Huge fan of the first radio drama. In the pre-VHS days I listened to my recordings of it nearly daily. It was broadcast between 18th April - 8th May 1981, on BBC Radio One here in the UK at 12pm each day. In some ways I associate the voice actors more with the roles than the actual film cast, I’m so familiar with it. Between the radio drama and the daily newspaper strips and Marvel annuals, the Star Wars universe felt huge back then, even though it was pre-internet.
Unfortunately to the best of my knowledge Radio One didn’t broadcast Empire. It wasn’t until the cassette and CD releases in 1993 (I think it was ‘93? Along with the Anthology soundtracks too - GREAT YEAR for Star Wars!) that I could hear that, and I didn’t find it as enjoyable, thinking some of the supporting voice actors were a little bland. It missed the pulpy feel of the Star Wars radio episodes. Perhaps the story just didn’t translate so well to a purely aural medium, unlike Star Wars.
My dream ‘Special Edition’ release would be for Mark Hamill to voice Luke for a re-edit of the 1996 Return of the Jefi radio drama. He can still do a near spot-on impression of his younger voice (witness the recent Disney Forces of Destiny episode he voiced), and with no disrespect meant towards Joshua Fardon who had an impossible job really, the show really missed Mark’s vocal talent in the role. He IS Luke. It affected the continuity too much for me to fully enjoy it.
Great to see so many others enjoy the radio drama too! Would be nice to have a Splinter of the Mind’s Eye release featuring Hamill, King and Sachs too. If I ever win the lottery… 😉