Dan Dare last graced the pages of 2000AD in his own story in Prog 126 (in orbit 18th August, 1979) just before 2000AD merged with Tornado. The ending showed Dan leaving Earth to track down a shapeshifter and thereby clear his own name of crimes committed by the shapeshifter while in his form.
This was only intended to be a temporary resting of the strip necessitated by the merger.
The plan was for Dan Dare to return to wind up all the loose ends of
the final story and to then travel back through time
The reasoning behind this planned temporal anomaly was to pave the way for a new Dan Dare comic to tie-in with a live action TV series starring James Fox which was quite close to production at the time. The TV series was cancelled and 2000AD never bothered to wind up the story.
These pages are about that series.
2000AD artists Brendan McCarthy and Brett Ewins were the designers on the show and commissioned a number of top sci-fi cover artists to produce painted backgrounds. These were very large, since they were going to be used in the actual filming of the series.
Brian Bolland was commissioned to produce one page of strip work for the press kit.
Very few props were going to be needed on the show, apart from the costumes. At least one space suit was made and some James Fox was filmed in the zero-gravity airlock wearing it as a test.
The show was going to be filmed at Elstree as an ATV production (with chairman Lew Grade at the helm). However, during 1981 they were forced to radically restructure in favour of local concerns (which may have been the real reason why filming was postponed) and ATV officially ceased broadcasting (in favour of Central), at 0000 on Friday 1st January 1982.
Click on the header to get back to here, or on the images to enlarge them.
Dan Dare and related characters are copyright The Dan Dare Corporation. This site is completely unofficial.
Thanks and acknowledgements to Brett Ewins for the loan of his press kit and photos of the painted backgrounds. It seems likely that very few of the originals are still in existence.
Thanks to John Freeman and Ian Wheeler from the fanzine Eagle Flies Again for additional image scans.