The set consists of three stories and a disc of the music used. Keeping to the original 1950s comics, the stories are Voyage to Venus, The Red Moon Mystery, and Marooned on Mercury. While the stories keep many core elements of the originals, they are brought up to date and the setting feels modern without compromising on the use of short episodes to recapture the pace of the comic strips. Ed Stoppard’s Dan Dare is driven by a back-story and mixes chisel-jawed hero with the softer skills of a leader with a strong moral compass. He isn’t infallible but is unyielding in his desire to do the right thing. Geoff McGivern’s Digby has some dry humored dialogue adding subtlety to his seeming straightforward character. There is a sense of much more to come in future episodes. Most interesting of all is Heida Reed’s Professor Peabody. The production eschews the stereotype love interest/scientist in glasses tropes of the period (e.g. This Island Earth) and paints a character driven by both science and commercial imperatives, and here we tap into the most modern of features: corporate control of space.
There are plenty of aliens and the largest of all is the Mekon played with pure unemotional evil by Raad Rawi. This rounds off a great collection of stories and by the end of the set April’s release of the second set seems a long way wait. The cast makes their characters live from the first scenes and the music rounds off a sterling production.
Overall, Dan Dare Volume 1 does a good job of recapturing an older style of story-telling while bringing the content up to date. The first chapter of the first story, Voyage to Venus is also available free if you’ve still to make up your mind.
DAN DARE: VOLUME 1 / DIRECTOR & PRODUCER: ANDREW MARK SEWELL / AUTHOR: RICHARD KURTI, BEV DOYLE, JAMES SWALLOW, MARC PLATT / PUBLISHER: B7 MEDIA, BIG FINISH / STARRING: ED STOPPARD, GEOFF MCGIVERN, HEIDA REED, MICHAEL COCHRANE, RAAD RAWI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (BIG FINISH), JANUARY 31ST (ELSEWHERE)