December sees the arrival of Dan Dare at Big Finish, courtesy of a new audio production from B7 Media starring Ed Stoppard as Dan Dare, Geoff McGivern as Digby, Heida Reed as Professor Peabody and Raad Rawi as the Mekon.
As Big Finish Managing Director Jason Haigh-Ellery explains:
“My first introduction to Dan Dare was at the age of nine through the pages of the legendary comic 2000AD. He was the pilot of the future and artist Bellardinelli brought to life a whole new world that I was previously unaware of. Dan Dare quickly became one of my favourite comic strips and I missed the character terribly when his adventures came in an end after two years of fighting the Mekon and the Star Slayers. Now I have the chance to be a kid again — as B7 Media and Big Finish Productions brings to life one of the UK greatest comic book heroes, but this time as full cast audio productions. I can’t wait!”
Big Finish Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs — who also has a role in the stories – adds: “We’re delighted to be releasing Dan Dare: Pilot of the Futureon the Big Finish site. I’ve been a massive fan of Dan Dare for years. The way B7 have reinvented it is spot on. They’ve lovingly nurtured the spirit of the original to create something new and exciting that still manages to stay thoroughly faithful to all the beauty of the original. I would have loved to have played the Mekon, so, rather fittingly, I got to play an alien who really wanted to be the Mekon!”
B7 Media Producer and Director Andrew Mark Sewell observes: “Ever since my father first introduced me to Dan Dare I’ve been captivated by his space adventures – so brilliantly realised by the creative genius that was Frank Hampson. It also ignited my fascination with mankind’s quest to journey beyond our blue planet and explore strange new alien worlds. With the world of film and television drama now seemingly dominated by American comic book heroes, Dan Dare has always stood out as the definitive ‘British’ comic book space hero — a bright light of optimism that captured the hearts and imagination of a generation. The opportunity to realise Dan Dare for audio, and to partner once more with Big Finish, was an opportunity too great to turn down. Audio is unquestionably the perfect home to deliver truly epic Dan Dare audio adventures that are the embodiment its comic book inspiration.”
The first volume, containing three stories (Voyage to Venus, The Red Moon Mystery & Marooned on Mercury) and a disc of extras is out in December 2016, followed in February 2017 by a second volume containing Reign of the Robots,Operation Saturn and Prisoners of Space along with another bonus disc.
The normal pre-order price will be £20 on Download and £25 on CD (unlocking an instant download on release), but in a Dan Dare Day offer on 12th September, for the following 24 hours, each release can be pre-ordered instead for £15 and £20 respectively. This offer ends at mid-day on Tuesday (UK time) — and the clock’s ticking!
• Pre-order the new Dan Dare Audio Adventures here onwww.bigfinish.com
• Listen to the latest Big Finish podcast, which includes Dan Dare Audio Adventures interviews with Ed Stoppard (Dan Dare), Geoff McGivern (Digby) and Raad Rawi (The Mekon) – plus clips!
Dan Dare: A Brief History
British science fiction action hero Dan Dare was created by artist Frank Hampson and his editor the Reverend Marcus Morris. Dan Dare first appeared in the Eagle comic story “Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future” from 1950 to 1967 (and subsequently in reprints); and was dramatised seven times a week on Radio Luxembourg between 1951–1956.
Described as “Biggles in Space”, the original incarnation was seen by some as the British equivalent of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
Dan Dare returned in new incarnations to suit new generations: in the 1970s in the British weekly, 2000AD; in the 1980s in the relaunched Eagle comic; in the 2000s as an animated series; and as a film project in the works in 2016.
Creators who have illustrated and created the character include writers Frank Hampson, Chad Varah, Allan Stranks, Pat Mills (founder of 2000AD), Tom Tully and Garth Ennis.
Other illustrators who have worked down years on the project include Don Harley, Bruce Cornwell, Frank Bellamy, Keith Watson, Ian Kennedy, Keith Page, Jon Warad and Gary Erskine.
New comic strips featuring the original Dan Dare continue to be published in the magazine Spaceship Away.
Dan Dare: The Writers
Writers for the audio series are Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle (Going Postal, The Martian Chronicles), James Swallow (Star Trek, Doctor Who, 24), Simon Guerrier (Doctor Who, Sapphire and Steel), Marc Platt (Doctor Who, Oz), Patrick Chapman (The Martian Chronicles, Extraordinary Tales) and Colin Brake (Bugs, EastEnders).
The main cast and some of the guest stars for the Dan Dare Audio Adventures. Photo: B7 Media
Dan Dare: The Cast
Inspired by the original Eagle comic strips the cast for B7 Media’s dramatic new audio version of DAN DARE has been announced.
Ed Stoppard – The Pianist, Joy Division, Brideshead Revisited and Youth – has been cast as the intrepid ‘pilot of the future’ Colonel Dan Dare. He’s joined by Geoff McGivern as Digby (McGivern is best known to science fiction fans as the original Ford Prefect in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Heida Reed as Professor Jocelyn Peabody; Reed currently plays Ross Poldark’s first love, Elizabeth, in the hit BBC drama Poldark.
Ed Stoppard plays Dan Dare in the new Dan Dare Audio Adventures from B7 Media
Dan Dare is played by ED STOPPARD
Ed Stoppard is perhaps best known for his film roles in The Pianist, Joy Division, Brideshead Revisited and Youth, starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. He also played the banking mogul Rob in British independent feature film Papadopoulos & Sons.
Television roles include Sir Hallam Holland in the BBC sequel to Upstairs, Downstairs; the Channel Four mini-series adaptation of William Boyd’s critically acclaimed novel Any Human Heart, The Frankenstein Chronicles and Cilla, starring Sheridan Smith. Most recently Ed starred as Dr Will Campbell in ITV’s hit drama series Home Fires (following the story of a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community during World War Two).
His numerous stage credits include the title role in English Touring Theatre’s 2005 Hamlet; alongside Anita Dobson in The Merchant of Venice and Konstantin in Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2003. His West End credits include Tom Wingfield in a 2007 revival of The Glass Menagerie opposite Jessica Lange; the British premiere of Wit and the West End revival of Arcadia, the author of which escapes him.
Actors Geoff McGivern and Heidi Reed in the studio for “Marooned on Mercury”, overseen by B7 Media’s Andrew Mark Sewell.
Digby is played by GEOFF MCGIVERN
Geoff McGivern is probably best known to science fiction fans as the original Ford Prefect inTheHitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – on radio since 1978 and in the recent live UK tours.
His recent TV work includes three different roles in Toast of London; Esio Trot with Dustin Hoffman,; Matt Le Blanc’s business manager in Episodes; marrying June Whitfield in Boomers;Plebs; and the Archdeacon in Grantchester.
He will shortly be seen in Disney teen musical, The Lodge; Upstart Crow with David Mitchell; and a sitcom pilot with Mitchell and Webb called Back for C4.
Heida Reed. Photo: B7 Media
Professor Peabody is played by HEIDA REED
Heida Reed is an Icelandic actor known for TV dramas including DCI Banks, and Silent Witness. She currently plays Ross Poldark’s first love, Elizabeth, in the hit BBC 1 dramaPoldark, opposite Aiden Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. Her other credits include series regular Adele in Fox’s Jo, which stars Jean Reno in his first TV lead, and appearing alongside Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in One Day.
Sondar is played by BIJAN DANESHMAND
Bijan Daneshmand is an accomplished actor and fine-artist. Notable credits include the lead in 20 Fingers, winner of Best Digital Film at Venice Film Festival 2004. He also produced, directed and appeared in A Snake’s Tail, winner of Best International Feature at the Bare Bones Film Festival USA 2006. Other credits include Women Without Men (dir. Shirin Neshat),Body of Lies (dir. Ridley Scott), Munich (dir. Steven Spielberg), Page Eight (dir. David Hare),Two Plus Two (dir. Babak Anvari) and most recently the critically acclaimed BBC dramatisation of John le Carré The Night Manager (dir. Susanne Bier). He has also appeared in numerous radio plays for BBC Radio 4, including B7 Media’s The Boy from Aleppo Who Painted the War; and for BBC World Service.
Raad Rawi. Photo: B7 Media
The Mekon is played by RAAD RAWI
Raad Rawi is perhaps best known for roles in Spy (2015), The Devil’s Double (2011) andTraitor (2008). He will be known to many for his appearance in some of the most popular British television drama series including Coronation Street, The Bill, Silent Witness, Holby City,Murphy’s Law, Dalziel and Pascoe, Judge John Deed, Cadfael, Mona Lisa, Midnight Express,Bugs, Bergerac, Boon, Bust, Crown Court, Play for Today, Spooks and The Tudors. Most recently he appeared as General Tariq in two seasons of US hit series Tyrant.
Michael Cochrane. Photo: B7 Media
Sir Hubert will be played by MICHAEL COCHRANE
Known for playing suave upper class characters, Michael was born in Brighton and educated at Cranleigh School. He entered the acting profession in 1967 at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford in An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. There followed years in rep around the country before he joined the Radio Drama Company at the BBC in the early 1970s.
He has appeared in numerous series, serials, plays, sitcoms and drama-documentaries on both television and radio. His TV appearances have included Wings, Criminal Justice, Law and Orderand as Sir Henry Simmerson in the period drama series Sharpe. His film career has included roles in Escape to Victory, The Return of the Soldier, Number One Gun, The Saint, Incognito, A Different Loyalty and The Iron Lady.
His many genre credits include having twice appeared in Doctor Who, first as Charles Cranleigh in the serial Black Orchid (1982) and later as Redvers Fenn-Cooper in Ghost Light(1989). He was featured in the ITV science fiction series The Uninvited and has also appeared in numerous audio dramas from Big Finish. Most recently he can be heard in Nicholas Briggs’ acclaimed audio reboot of The Prisoner starring Mark Elstob.
Dan Audio Adventures guest star Nicholas Briggs
Guest stars include:
Jake Maskall (EastEnders, The Royals)
Hugh Fraser (Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Sharpe)
Nicholas Briggs (Doctor Who, Torchwood)
Noof McEwan (Vera, Leave to Remain)
Jonathan Rhodes (M.I. High, Beacon 77, Deadpan Valentine)
Kelly Burke (The Blind Man)
Dean Harris (The Fourth Arm, Howard’s Way, Bad Boyes)