James Bigglesworth, nicknamed “Biggles”, was a fictional pilot and adventurer in W. E. Johns’ adventure books written for young readers. Although the Biggles books by Captain W. E. Johns were popular worldwide, Australia was the only country in the world to make them into a radio serial. The Air Adventures of Biggles, the radio series, was produced and broadcast in Australia between 1945 and 1954. The series was first produced in Adelaide by AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Ltd). In 1949, production was moved to Sydney from the 209th episode onwards and ran on for a total of 1,256 episodes. Each episode would run for about 15 minutes and about 30-40 episodes would be needed to narrate one complete story.
“The Air Adventures of Biggles – Deals with A Pirate” was based on the book “Biggles Delivers the Goods“, originally published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1946 which was set during WWII but transposed to a postwar Air Police setting.
Synopsis: An old acquaintance, Li Chi, has an interesting proposition for the British government. He has a built up a secret cache of rubber, a vital war material, and there is the prospect of more. The British government can have it if they will go and fetch it. The only problem is that it is on a remote island in the Mergui archipelago, more than a thousand miles from the nearest Allied airbase and behind Japanese lines. Once again, Biggles and his 666 Squadron are called upon to do the impossible–in Biggles’ words, “Set up a rubber emporium.” [Biggles Wiki]
Author: W. E. Johns
Scriptwriters: Michael Noonan, Brian Wright and Harry Howlett
Producer: J. Colin Craigen
Production Company: Amalgamated Wireless (Aust.)
Cast: Rex Waldron (Biggles), James Mills (Biggles), Moray Powell (Biggles), Walter Sullivan (Bertie), Diana Perryman (Pat Kendall), Max Osbiston (Algy), Leonard Bullen (Ginger).
Note: Biggles appeared briefly on 2CH in 1945 and on 2KO Newcastle in 1946 with scripts by Maurice Chapman.
2CH – Air Adventures of Biggles, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 16 May 1945, pg. 7.
Rex Waldron and Dianna Perryman, Truth (Brisbane), 17 July 1949, pg. 36.
2CH – Air Adventures of Biggles, ABC Weekly, Vol. 10 No. 27, 3 July 1948, pg. 16.