SPACE IN­VADER

Bri­tain’s great­est space hero, Dan Dare, soars again in a new se­ries of au­dio ad­ven­tures

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red alert -

Our very own pi­lot of the fu­ture Dan Dare re­turns in a new au­dio play.

Dan Dare is set for a re­launch this De­cem­ber, and things have changed a bit for the Pi­lot of the Fu­ture. “Hol­ly­wood has re­set the bar when it comes to di­a­logue and plot­ting,” says Richard Kurti who – along with writ­ing part­ner Bev Doyle – is part of a team helm­ing a new se­ries of au­dio ad­ven­tures adapt­ing Dare’s orig­i­nal run from the 1950s: Voy­age To Venus, The Red Moon Mys­tery and Ma­rooned On Mer­cury. Adds Kurti: “What worked 50 years ago risks no longer keep­ing an au­di­ence en­gaged to­day. That meant adding more lay­ers and twists to the plot­ting, and be­ing much quicker and less old-fash­ioned with di­a­logue.”

Kurti and Doyle’s new range of full-cast au­dio ad­ven­tures (pro­duced by B7 Me­dia and re­leased by Big Fin­ish) re­turn Ea­gle comic’s pi­lot to ac­tive duty in Space Fleet. And while di­rectly in­spired by Frank Hamp­son’s orig­i­nal art­work, they’ve also mod­ernised el­e­ments of the sto­ries. “We tried to make the au­dio sound­scape re­ally rich and fascinating, us­ing many lay­ers of great FX and mu­sic,” Kurti re­veals.

The se­ries’ cast in­cludes Ge­of­frey McGivern – Ford Pre­fect in the orig­i­nal ra­dio ver­sion of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – as Dare’s loyal side­kick Digby, while Poldark’s Heida Reed is Pro­fes­sor Jo­ce­lyn Pe­abody and Raad Rawi (The Devil’s Dou­ble) brings arch neme­sis the Mekon, leader of the Treens, to schem­ing, dome-headed life. As for Dare him­self, he’s voiced by Ed Stop­pard (The Pi­anist). “Watch­ing Ed in the stu­dio was great,” Kurti says. “He com­pletely un­der­stood the role and seemed to ef­fort­lessly em­body the spirit of Dan.”

So just how do you pre­serve the au­then­tic ’50s spirit of Dan Dare without it de­scend­ing into a jolly old spoof? “I think the key to this is that the char­ac­ters al­ways take the sit­u­a­tions they’re in se­ri­ously,” says Kurti. “The jeop­ardy is real, their lives are in gen­uine peril. The se­cond an ac­tor starts to think ‘This is a Dan Dare ad­ven­ture,’ the whole thing col­lapses into pas­tiche. An­drew Sewell, the di­rec­tor, was bril­liant at keep­ing ev­ery­one in the right zone.”

And with a se­cond vol­ume set to fol­low in 2017 – Reign Of The Ro­bots, Op­er­a­tion Saturn and Pris­on­ers Of Space – there’s def­i­nitely scope for orig­i­nal ad­ven­tures down the line. “There are hun­dreds more sto­ries to tell,” says Kurti. “And we’d love to get our hands on the con­trols again!”

Dan Dare Vol 1 is re­leased in De­cem­ber.

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