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The Harpoon

Radio 4
Series One 1991
Series Two 1992
Series Three 1993 (four episodes each)

Pip pip!  The Harpoon was a rip-roaring dig at the world of Edwardian boys' comics, featuring thrilling accounts of jungle exploration, practical tips for growing lads, jolly japes voiced by cheery cockneys, advice on warding off the attentions of foreigners and assorted "tales of derring-do and derring-don't".  "Illustrated with six colour plates and numerous line drawings", the magazine was topped and tailed by "your old chum The Editor", who answered readers' letters and gave a run-down of the delights on offer (including the adventures of "Captain Bonnet", always unaccountably absent), and was written by Julian Dutton and Peter Baynham, who performed it with Susie Brann, Alistair McGowan and Mary Elliott-Nelson.  Some episodes in the later series diversified a little from the central premise, including a fifties edition (with a free hula hoop) and an ill-advised merger with a trade magazine about lathes.

A deliberate decision was made to include more library (ie, non-copyright) music in the Series Three programmes, with a view to releasing a BBC Radio Collection cassette.  Sadly, this never surfaced.

© JB Sumner/Mike Scott 1998-2000.  Last modified 9/3/00