Following up on the addition of a new “guide page” to The Adventures of Dan Dare radio show, which aired on Radio Luxembourg in the 1950s, downthetubes is pleased to present one of the much-sought after episodes, reproduced with kind permission of the Dan Dare Corporation Limited.
Episodes of this series are very rare and we are very grateful to a downthetubes source for sharing this with us.
Based on the original comic strip from the Eagle, the episode, which we are informed was broadcast in 1953, finds Colonel Dan Dare, Digby, Professor Jocelyn Peabody on Mars, on a plain inhabited by the “Wergans” – a colony of Martians. Survivors of a once a great population which almost destroyed itself by war, they are confined to the region because it’s surrounded by a strange race of dangerous balloon-like creatures who, it was revealed in later episodes, are believed to have originated on Saturn.
Against the Wergans will, the villainous Perranault, a regular thorn in Dan Dare’s side in The Dan Dare Adventures, has established a headquarters on the plateau and is holding many of them hostage to ensure they don’t interfere in his plans.
Using a ray machine, Digby and Peabody have immobilised his ships, but find their own now trapped by rockfalls – and Dan and the Altron scientist, Zinram, are almost buried in one.
(Zinram is an alien introduced in an earlier adventure, in which flying saucers, operated by the Altrons land on Earth and threaten its very existence when they begin mining for a vital mineral).
Reunited with Digby and Peabody, Dan and Zinram take stock of their situation, only to discover the seismic activity now enables the balloon-like creatures to get onto the plain, nick named “Umpty Dumpty” creatures by Digby. Rigging up an electric fence to protect themselves powered by the ray machine invented by Zinram used to disable Perranault’s ships proves only a temporary respite from the creatures advance – and Dan decides on a drastic and potentially deadly course of action to save the day…
It’s not hard to see, from this one episode, how The Adventures of Dan Dare captured the imaginations of fans of the strip from Eagle and, fans of Radio Luxembourg, too.
Aired on Radio Luxembourg between July 1951 and May 1956, The Adventures of Dan Dare radio show, based on the first Dan Dare comic story from Eagle, was produced in London by John Glyn-Jones, recorded at Star Sound Recording Studios and made on acetate discs (and later, on tape) that were then sent to Luxembourg to be broadcast.
The series aired five nights a week at 19:15, the show starred Noel Johnson as Dan, who took on the role after starring as Dick Barton – Special Agent for the BBC.
The Adventures of Dan Dare (as it was described in the pages of the Radio Luxembourg 208 Magazine) was sponsored by drinks company Horlicks, who encouraged young listeners to enrol in the Horlicks Spaceman’s Club, and then marketed a series of related items that could be bought – usually for six pence and a label from a Horlicks jar.
Today, of course, Dan Dare has recently returned to radio thanks to B7 Media with the Dan Dare Audio Adventures, recently aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra and available to buy.
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This rare audio is reproduced here with kind permission of the Dan Dare Corporation Limited, (www.dandare.com)
With thanks to Richard Sheaf for additional information for this item