Dan Dare the quintessential British space hero who first appeared in the pages of the comic eagle in 1950 just refuses to disappear.
He has made appearances in just about every media there is comics, radio, computer games, TV animation and even popped up in music. In fact David Bowie mentions him in his song D.J. And both the Art of Noise and Sir Elton John recorded tracks named after Dan Dare. You can learn more about his history – here – http://geeksyndicate.co.uk/news/brief-history-dan-dare/
The latest iteration comes from B7 media who have partnered with Big Finish to produce a series of audio plays starring Ed Stoppard (The Pianist,Brideshead Revisited ) as Dan Dare, Ed McGovern (the original Ford Prefect ) as his sidekick Digby and Heida Reid (Poldark) as companion Dr Jocelyn Peabody. Not forgetting and Raad Rawi as Dan’s arch enemy The Mekon.
It’s all original material,but faithfully inspired by the source material with a modern twist. Digby has a harder edge to him than on the comics and Peabody and Dare have a lot of work to do before they see eye to eye.
The box set consists of
Voyage to Venus by Richard Kurti and Ben Doyle
The first story shows how our protagonists are brought together and sent to Venus on a top secret mission. In some ways it’s quite difficult to listen to as non of the characters really get along, Dare is arrogant, Digby abrasive and Peabody superior. However they are brought closer together by the threat of the Mekon beautifully realised by rawi – A top notch performance here. it’s well written and genuinely suspenseful.
The Red Moon Mystery by James Swallow
Producer and director Andrew Sewell comes into his own here as he allows the relationships to develop despite separate writers. The crews appreciation of each other, honed by adversity, allows this to be an easier listen and is a necessary contrast to what has gone before. This is my personal favourite. If you thought the previous story was suspenseful this story will have you on the edge of your seat. With a bunch of marines the crew head of to investigate the silence coming from a top secret archeological dig on Mars. What ensues put me favourably in mind of Aliens, the action is handled masterfully, no easy task when you are depending solely on audio. The chemistry between the actors is apparent and the plotting masterful.
Marooned on Mercury by Marc Platt
This time the crew are answering a distress call from Mercury and find themselves falling right into a trap set by the Mekon. Again it’s wonderful to see the evolution of the protagonists relationships as this 3rd Tory see’s them working together, perhaps for the first time as a seemless unit. It’s fascinating having a ‘very’ alien and well realised race thrown into the mix. It’s fascinating listening to the crew trying to find a way to bridge their anthropological differences.
Ultimately I think this box set is a great success from the packaging artwork to the music and sound design, to what is spot on casting. B7 are building a living universe that is a genuine joy to listen to.
You’ve got just enough time to grab this and listen to it before Volume 2 comes out in April
Here’s the trailer – https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/popout/dan-dare-volume-01-1552
While you’re waiting and in the mood for more classic Scifi – why not check out B7media on the BBC with Asimov’s I Robot – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08crvm6
GS Blogger: Monts