The Air Adventures of Biggles – The Black Raider

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 1256 episodes. Each episode would run for about 15 minutes and about 30-40 episodes would be needed to narrate one complete story.

2CH – Air Adventures of Biggles, ABC Weekly, Vol. 10 No. 27, 3 July 1948, pg. 16.

The Air Adventures of Biggles – The Black Raider” was based on the book “Biggles and the Black Raider“, originally published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1953 which was set in the early 1950s in East Africa.

Dust Jacket, Biggles and the Black Raider, Published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1953. Picture Coutesy: Biggles Info

Synopsis: A wave of terror is spreading across Africa. A gang of bandits led by someone who calls himself “The Black Elephant” is attacking farmsteads, murdering the farmers and pillaging them off their cattle. Biggles and the Air Police are called in to help. But the gang is well-organised and ranges over a vast area of more than half a million square miles across most of the eastern side of Africa. To bring the gang to justice will take the entire staff of the Air Police, three aircraft, numerous allies on the ground, and some good luck. [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.

Rex Waldron and Dianna Perryman, Truth (Brisbane), 17 July 1949, pg. 36.

Diana Perryman, who is heard as Pat Kendall in the 2GB serial Air Adventures of Biggles.
ABC Weekly, Vol. 13 No. 11, 17 March 1951, pg. 18.

2CH – Air Adventures of Biggles, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 16 May 1945, pg. 7.


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