From the pages of Eagle Comics comes the intergalactic adventures of Dan Dare and his trusty crew. Volume 1 of this exciting full cast audio adventure series features three action packed tales, produced in the style of old time radio serials.
The exceptional sound design by Alistair Lock is one of the key highlights of Dan Dare, eliciting the sound and feel from the golden age of radio. Dan Dare first appeared in comics in the 1950s, running for 17 years. There was a successful radio series during that time too, with new stories still being printed today in Spaceship Away magazine.
The title character and his crew were created by the Reverend Marcus Morris and artist Frank Hampson and it’s this vision of Dan Dare that’s recreated here by B7 and Big Finish Productions. When being true to such dated source material, there’s always a real danger of either isolating fans by being too cautious, or being criticised for not meeting modern sensibilities. This isn’t the case here, with Director Andrew Mark Sewell providing a suitable middle ground where the hero can thrive without upsetting either camp.
The writing team of Richard Kurti, Bev Doyle, James Swallow and Marc Platt have excelled, developing perhaps the best new Big Finish range in a long time. It’s fresh, fun and provides a unique sound that differentiates it from other Big Finish lines.
The equally exceptional cast do full justice in bringing the characters to life, playing to their modern audience while eliciting that old time feel. Ed Stoppard is sensational as the title character, with Geoff McGivern an utter delight as crewman Digby and Heida Reed well-cast as Professor Peabody. It’s Raad Rawi as Dan Dare’s nemesis, The Mekon, who steals the show though, with his deliciously evil megalomania.
The first of three adventures in this initial volume is the origin story, where Dan Dare and his crew journey to Venus and meet and face off against The Mekon for the first time. Unable to return to Earth, the trio then travel the galaxy in their experimental spacecraft, the Anastasia, finding new foes on both Mars and Mercury.
This is a four disc set, with the last being an extra features disc of music. Future volumes of Dan Dare are already eagerly anticipated although no future release dates have been announced yet. One can only hope it won’t be too long until he back.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 10