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THE EAGLE SOCIETY is dedicated to the memory of EAGLE - Britain's National Picture Strip Weekly - the leading Boy's magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. We publish a 56 page, A4, quarterly journal - the Eagle Times.

This weblog has been created to provide an additional, more immediate, forum for news and commentary about the society and EAGLE-related issues. Want to know more? See First Post and Eagle - How it began.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Eagle: The Space Age Weekly (BBC Radio 4)

As most of our readers will know already, 2010 saw the 60th Anniversary of the launch of Eagle. As the year draws to a close, the BBC is marking the anniversary with a half-hour radio documentary presented by Sir Tim Rice and produced by Stephen Garner. The programme will air at 11.30am on 23rd December.

The BBC provides the following information about the programme:
Eagle: The Space Age Weekly
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, often referred to as "Biggles in space", is regarded in some circles as the greatest British science fiction hero of the 20th century
In this feature we chart the influences behind the comic, and explore 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 VI 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.
We reveal how the stories had educational value and, along with Dan Dare, we look at other Eagle offerings including Shakespeare's plays and the Greek myths which ran as comic strips.
Featuring contributions from author Philip Pullman, Sally Morris the daughter of Eagle Creator Marcus and Eagle Society member David Britton.
Leave aside the reference to Biggles in Space (Biggles and Co. were much more thuggish in my view), Dan Dare is so imbedded within British culture, that references to other British fictional characters are unnecessary. To most 1950s schoolboys Dan Dare is The Pilot of the Future!

Eagle certainly had an educational value and contained many more features, fictional and non-fictional, than Dan Dare, but I don't think Shakespeare or Greek myths featured much, so it will be interesting to see what the programme has to say on those aspects. 

Oh, and Frank Hampson's inspiration was the German V2 rocket, not the V1. 

Hopefully the programme will be better informed than whoever wrote the BBC's "blurb"!

News of this broadcast has also been reported on Down the Tubes

1 comment:

Rod Fielding said...

Was there a BBC TV documentary about Eagle at about the same time? Maybe earlier?