Comics Britannia

Next Monday (the tenth) sees the start of a season of programmes on BBC4 about comics, with the centrepiece being three one-hour programmes on British comics, from the launch of the Dandy and Beano in the late 1930s through to the present day, with a nice array of contributors from Leo Baxendale (creator of Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids among others) to Bryan Talbot and Alan Moore, with the three programmes comprising The Fun Factory (which looks at the kid’s comics), Boy and Girls (which looks at – well, comics for boys and girls like the Eagle, Bunty etc) and Anarchy in the UK where comics get nastier and grittier (and often ruder!) with 2000AD, Deadline, V For Vendetta and Viz.

(a panel of Leo Baxendale’s Bash Street Kids, (c) DC Thomson)

I first heard about this last year when they were looking for suggestions for comics, characters and creators to try and include and in a stoke of luck I was offered preview discs of the series by the Beeb (and obviously I wasn’t going to say no!). I’ve been looking forward to this for a fair while and was delighted to see that it was indeed excellent – and before you think oh, I’m not really a comics fan, you might want to take a look because it has been made to be accessible and enjoyable to anyone, not just comics geeks like me and there is also a nice wave of nostalgic pleasure to be had from it; after all just about everyone over the age of 30 in the UK would have read comics at some point growing up. I’ve posted a review (or preview, I suppose) up on the Forbidden Planet blog, along with a Q&A with Alastair Laurence, the series producer and director about the making of the series (Alastair also worked on the brilliant Animation Nation a couple of years back).