Recording a scene of "Space Command". Image: CBC

Radio Luxembourg’s “Dan Dare” – an unexpected Canadian Connection!

downthetubes continues to track down Dan Dare-related items of ephemera and interest. One unexpected discovery is that the theme tune for the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio show was also used for the 1950’s SF show Space Command, whose regular cast included a young James Doohan, better known as Star Trek‘s Montgomery “Scotty” Scott.

Written by Alfred Harris – who, as Alf Harris, would go on to write episode of shows such as Mission: Impossible, Dragnet and The Bionic Woman. It was directed by Murray Chercover and broadcast live, sadly, despite what appears to have been a lengthy run, only one episode of the show has survived, and is on YouTube.

Before any Dan Dare fan gets too excited, it’s unlikely this means that any episodes of the Dan Dare radio show – few have survived – are lurking somewhere in Canada. The YouTube rights information notes the music featured is licensed through Chappell Music, suggesting the producers of Space Command bought in the theme. It also suggests, of course, that someone on the production team was familiar with Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare show.

Recording a scene of "Space Command". Image: CBC
Recording a scene of “Space Command”. Image: CBC

A Canadian children’s science fiction television adventure series, Space Command was broadcast on CBC Television in 1953 and 1954, the first time the network aired its own dramatic series.

The show ran for two seasons, the number of episodes noted online as 150 in all, focusing on the work of the worldwide Space Command.

Its cast included Bob Barclay as Frank Anderson, Aileen Taylor, James Doohan as Phil Mitchell, and, apparently saw appearances by William Shatner, although ShatnerWeb has been unable to find supporting evidence for this, as it’s not even mentioned in any of the actor’s official biographies. Barry Morse, later of the TV series The Fugitive and Space: 1999, also appeared.

Author Barry Smight notes the show was “live” – video tape was a few years away – but was recorded on film, so it could be “bicycled” (delayed; distributed to various stations across Canada). It seems strange that just one episode has survived and details of the show are so scant.

As we’ve previously reported, “Radio Location” the opening theme for the Dan Dare radio show, was created by composer and pianist Clive Richardson, and a version of it features  The Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra Volume 3, released by Vocalion in 2003, listed as one of the  “bonus tracks”.

Queens Hall Light Orchestra Volume 3The Robert Farnon Society web site – created by fans of the Canadian composer, conductor and musical arranger – has a review of the album, explains the bonus tracks are “Radio Location” and two other Dan Dare radio show-related items,  “Commandos” and “Searchlight”, created by Charles Williams – the latter used frequently as links in Dan Dare’s fights with the Mekon and other miscreants.

The Society says Vocalion included the tracks “just for fun” but hoped that they would provide some happy memories for the generation now rather disparagingly described as ‘silver surfers’.

Unfortunately, the album is not currently available from Vocalion but copies can be found on amazon.co.uk.

Read our 2014 news story “Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare Music Find”

Read our feature on the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio show

Robert Farnon Society Clive Richardson Obituary

Warner Chappell Production Music

Track Listing Information

• COMMANDOS (composed by Charles Williams)
• RADIO LOCATION (composed by Clive Richardson, who died in 1998)
• SEARCHLIGHT (composed by Charles Williams)

“Commandos” also features on Charles Williams: Radio and Television Memories No. 2, which according to this post in 2003 on the Robert Farnon Society web site is only available direct from Evergreen Melodies, PO Box 52, Cheltenham, GL50 1YQ, England – tel. 01242 515156 or online at The CD costs £8.95 including postage; a shorter cassette version is available for £7.50. Non UK residents should enquire about extra postage costs. The album includes “Devil’s Galop”, the Dick Barton theme.

With thanks to Shaquille le Vesconte for the discovery of the Space Command episode on You Tube

Dab Dare © Dan Dare Corporation

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

4 thoughts on “Radio Luxembourg’s “Dan Dare” – an unexpected Canadian Connection!

  1. And it is “Devil’s Galop”, not “Gallop”, the former being a type of dance. Charles Williams’s music can still be heard weekly on Radio Two, as the signature tune for Friday Night is Music Night, it being an adaptation of his piece, “High Adventure”. Along with Barwick Green (The Archers sig tune), a competitor for most long running radio signature tunes. Of course The Archers took over the daily quarter hour place on the Light Programme (now Radio Two) occupied by Dick Barton, with much sadness for the fans of Dick, Snowy and Jock. I am sure there were large numbers of letters to The Listener.

  2. Does anyone know the precise relationship between the Luxembourg Dan Dare and the Eagle Dan Dare? Did Frank Hampson and his team have any say or input on this radio version?

    1. Check out our full feature on the Radio Luxembourg show, there’s a link in this news item above. The Eagle team were aware of the show and gave it support

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