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Last on

Thu 23 Dec 2010 11:30 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 23 December 2010

Sir Tim Rice explores the lasting appeal of British magazine Eagle and the impact of its flagship character Dan Dare.

Eagle ran in two main incarnations between 1950 and 1994. Dan Dare, is regarded in some circles as the greatest British science fiction hero of the 20th century

In this feature Sir Tim Rice charts the influences behind the magazine, and explores the life of its creator Marcus Morris, a fascinating man who began the publication because of his concern over 'horrific' US comics which presented 'disturbing' storylines which he felt 'corrupted British youth'.

The programme reveals how Dan Dare was originally envisaged as a space chaplain before becoming the popular astronaut. It also examines the work of illustrator Frank Hampson who introduced technology years ahead of its time. Hampson knew the Space Age was on its way while serving in the Second World War and seeing the German V2 rockets. He made the Dan Dare strips as realistic as possible by dressing his team in spacesuits and uniforms, basing the look of the fictional characters on his colleagues.

Featuring contributions from author Philip Pullman, Sally Morris the daughter of Eagle Creator Marcus and Eagle Society member David Britton.

The programme is written by Roger Dobson and is produced by Stephen Garner.

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