In the show, Tim Rice explores the lasting appeal of the Eagle that as downthetubes readers well know, ran in two main incarnations between 1950 and 1994. He touches on the impact of its flagship character Dan Dare, regarded by some as the greatest British sci-fi hero of the 20th century, and the life of its creator Marcus Morris, who initiated it in reaction to"horrific" US comics with their "disturbing" storylines. (The programme notes, for example, 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, arguing he knew the space age was on its way while serving in the Second World War. 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.
The programme also reveals the stories' educational value and, along with Dan Dare, looks at other Eagle offerings which ran as comic strips.
The show will include contributions from author Philip Pullman and Morris's daughter Sally, who wrote Living with Eagles, a biography of her father's life, back in 1998, which was published by Lutterworth Press – and Eagle Society member David Britton.
Sir Tim Rice is of course a lifelong Eagle fan and introduced the Titan Books collection of Dan Dare: Prisoners in Space.