Crowdfunding Spotlight: The Dan Dare Audio Adventures
B7 Media has just launched a crowdfunder for a new season of Dan Dare Audio Adventures, completing a trilogy to story arcs that reinvented the classic Eagle comic character for the 21st Century and coinciding with the space hero’s 70th anniversary this year.
In 2017, Dan Dare, whose adventures began back in the 1950s in Eagle comic, also the star of a radio series broadcast on Radio Luxembourg that same decade, dramatically returned to the airwaves over six all-new audio adventures featuring acclaimed performances from Ed Stoppard (Dan Dare), Geoff McGivern (Digby), Heida Reed (Professor Peabody), Michael Cochrane (Sir Hurbert) and Raad Rawi (The Mekon) along with many notable guest stars including Hugh Fraser, Noof McEwan, Bijan Daneshmand and Jonathan Rhodes.
Inspired by the original Eagle comic strip published between 1950 and 1967, B7 Media’s audio reboot of comic-book space hero Dan Dare was hailed by fans and critics alike – and the first season was also nominated for several radio awards. Most notably, Volume two won the prestigious NYC International Radio Program Gold Award for ‘Best Digital Drama’ (2018).
The new adventures are based on a reworking of the Dan Dare universe by myself, John Freeman, with character designs by Lucas Bowers and input and spaceship design from comic artist John Ridgway, initially for a proposed series for STRIP Magazine.
When the opportunity came to bring those ideas to life as audio adventures, the series bible and plans were further developed and expanded by a writing team led by Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti – comprising of Colin Brake, Patrick Chapman, Simon Guerrier, Marc Platt and James Swallow. The series is the fulfilment of a 25-year old ambition of producer/director Andrew Mark Sewell.
“We’re very proud of what we accomplished,” says Andrew. “Over the last 18-months we’ve been delighted to receive many, many requests for further adventures – which is why we’ve launched this crowdfunding campaign.
The initial plan is to fund and produce the first episode, All Treens Must Die, and release it digitally. If there’s sufficient demand and interest, B7 Media will go on to crowdfund subsequent episodes and as the stakes increase, so will the perks.
“Our ultimate goal is to fund the development, scripting, production and post-production of Volume Three in its entirety, boasting 3 x 75-minute adventures,” Andrew explains. “The total budget for this is £45,000.
“Reaching further goals will allow us to commission scripts for Volume Four, commission more episodes and produce a special drama revealing the astonishing ‘true’ story behind the creation of Dan Dare by Frank Hampson and the Reverend Marcus Morris.”
The crowdfunder will pay for the writers, actors, staff, studio hire, post-production, music, graphic designers, CD manufacture and of course Brian Williamson’s superb promotional artwork. Producer Helen Quigley notes each feature-length episode of Dan Dare costs approximately £14,500 to produce – that’s just over half the budget it would normally take to produce an equivalent one-hour audio drama for BBC Radio 4.
“We want Dan Dare’s audio adventure to continue,” says Andrew Mark Sewell, “but we also need your support to fund production of a new, action-packed season of stories once again pitting Dan Dare and his crew against the Mekon – and other menaces, too!
“The bottom line is that we need your support to ensure Dan Dare’s return to the airwaves isn’t short lived and we get to celebrate his milestone 70th anniversary in style. We’d love to conclude the trilogy of Dan Dare stories, bringing Dare’s conflict with his arch nemesis The Mekon to an exciting and shocking conclusion… but your support is critical to making this happen!’
I’m very proud to have played a part in bringing these new Dan Dare stories to life and I hope you’ll consider giving this ambitious project, inspired by the original comics stories, your support.
THE NEW DAN DARE AUDIO ADVENTURES…
Dan Dare has finally captured his arch-enemy and brought The Mekon to Earth to face trial for crimes against humanity. Despite Dare’s victory, however, these are troubled times on Earth. In the Reconstruction after the devastating invasion told in the first season adventure “Reign of the Robots”, most menial tasks are now undertaken by refugee alien Treens. Many humans are hostile to and resentful of these aliens “taking their jobs”. Discontent is rumbling and, although defeated, the Mekon has a plan. When Treens loyal to the Mekon break him free, Dare and his team (Digby and Professor Peabody) are forced back into action to save not one world, but two as the Mekon’s twisted ideology of racial purity leads him to attack his own people, declaring, “All Treens Must Die…”
OPERATION DARK STAR written by Colin Brake
Dan Dare and Digby join Dare’s Uncle Ivor, on a mission to follow the route taken by Dare’s missing father, Frank Dare, in the ill-fated Orion Orbiter. Their destination – the Dark Star hidden near Pluto, which guards a stable Einstein-Rosen bridge: a wormhole through space/time. Meanwhile, Peabody, tasked by Sir Hubert of Space Fleet to investigate Eagle Corp, discovers evidence of secret off-the-books research being carried out by their old enemy, the mad scientist Blasco, using the Dark Star station as his base of operations. But before Peabody can warn Dare of the danger, Ivor – still struggling to find his own identity in the shadow of his famous brother – betrays his nephew to join Blasco’s cause. With all apparently lost, only Peabody can save Dare but she has her own, much more personal, crisis to deal with…
TERRA NOVA written by Colin Brake
Travelling through the time distortions of the Dark Star wormhole, Dare and his friends are joined by an unexpected stowaway – Cadet “Flamer” Spry. They reach Terra Nova (the alien planet Dare’s father found years ago) now the last planet holding out against the Vora’s apparently unstoppable advance across the known universe. It’s been completely ravaged by war and the Vora is about to launch a final assault. Learning that his father is being held a prisoner by the Vora, Dare attempts a rescue but ends up captured and thrown in a cell along with another prisoner: a defeated and despondent Mekon. Dare has to persuade his former enemy that together they can escape and defeat the Vora once and for all. But with the Vora’s mighty battle fleet already advancing towards the wormhole to attack Earth, will Dare and the Mekon’s desperate union succeed? Or will this prove to be Dan Dare’s final adventure?
Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation – all art featured by Brian Williamson