B7 Media in association with Andrews UK is to dramatize Robin Evan’s science fiction graphic novel VENNA’S PLANET as a podcast audio drama.
VENNA’S PLANET, written and illustrated by Robin Evans, was inspired by the pre-war film serials, lurid pulp SF of the 1950s, and classic newspaper strips. The podcast drama series will present Venna’s adventures in bite-sized, 15-minute instalments, made with the distinctive blockbuster sci-fi cinematic approach B7 Media is renowned for with their award-winning productions of productions such as Blake’s Seven, The Martian Chronicles, I Robot and Dan Dare.
Combining the episodic thrills of classic Saturday morning film serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, with the spirit of the free-wheeling 60s seen in classic movies like Barbarella and Modesty Blaise, VENNA’S PLANET is a fresh and original aural adventure with an action-heroine like no other. Funny and sexy; intelligent and dangerous, Venna is part Bettie Page, part Ellen Ripley – a young woman whose escapades will always end in exciting cliff-hangers, leaving the listener desperate for the next thrilling instalment to drop onto their favourite podcast portal.
“Venna has been with me in one form or another for more than thirty years – Her friends and enemies have lived in my head, occasionally escaping onto the printed page, while I frantically try to chronicle their goings on. Although I always thought they may one day migrate to another medium, the news of this audio serialisation is extremely exciting!” says original creator and illustrator, Robin Evans.
“For the past 20 years AUK has been one of the UK’s leading independent global digital publishers and distributors. Over the last decade we have successfully worked with the award-winning B7 Media team and had no hesitation in asking them to create this amazing audio drama adaption for us. As we expand our own funded original content across multiple formats; from books, to audio, to games and film, this will hopefully be the first of many such collaborations,” says executive producer and managing director AUK, Paul Andrews.
“In these dark days VENNA’S PLANET is just what we all need – a funny, escapist sci-fi adventure with a bold, sexy heroine at the heart of the story. From the first moment I started reading Robin’s fantastic first graphic novel I knew I’d found a new fictional world to love,” says series writer Colin Brake. “There’s a hint of Robert Sheckley’s unique science fiction novels, a touch of Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, and maybe even a splash of the late Kenny Everett’s Captain Kremmen – but VENNA’S PLANET is far more than just a homage or a pastiche: it’s a modern, self-aware, original creation. And more importantly – it’s pure unadulterated FUN.”
Best known for his work on reimagining genre favourites like Blake’s 7 and Dan Dare, series director, Andrew Mark Sewell, says of the original Venna books; “When I was first approached about the project, I loved the playful, irreverent nature of Robin Evans creation. I’ve always been a big fan of Mike Hodges film version of ‘Flash Gordon’ and in many regards Venna is the female equivalent, but definitely cheekier. In these complicated times who doesn’t want a bit of camp sci-fi to cheer them up!?”
“As a lifelong fan of scifi, comedy and general all-round daftness, I’m very excited about bringing all that to life in an audio package for Venna’s Planet,” says Producer, Helen Quigley. “At first glance, those not familiar with the books might make some presumptions about Venna and her world. She – and we – would like to think you’re in for a surprise!”
The cast will be announced later this year, but Sewell says there’s an abundance of weird and wonderful characters, not least our lead protagonist; “Venna’s a character any actress will relish bringing to life,” continues Sewell. “She’s happily, and uncomplicatedly bi-sexual, intelligent, strong and an optimistic, glass-half full kind of person, but she won’t shy away from a fight and stands up against evil wrong doers. You certainly don’t won’t to get on the wrong side of her in a fight.”
Series Script Editor, Barnaby Eaton-Jones, is no stranger to the graphic novel and believes VENNA’s appeal will be strong; “Having been aware of the Venna’s Planet series of graphic novels because of my friendship with the author and writer, Robin Evans, it was a delight to be contacted by B7 Media and ask if I wouldn’t mind script editing Colin Brake’s brilliant audio adaptation. Would I mind? I certainly wouldn’t. Don’t tell them, but I’ve paid them to allow me to do it.
“Venna’s Planet is the perfect combination of the thrills and spills contained in old-school space operas, cheekily bolted together with modern-day sensibilities. With a tongue planted so firmly in its cheek that it’s taken root and flowered, Venna’s Planet has more flash than Gordon, gives you more for your buck than Rogers, and has less modesty than Blaise. Venna is exactly the sort of female heroine that will lead us out into the stars and not worry if she isn’t wearing matching underwear.”
SEASON 1 (Book One)
Venna’s Planet is the story of Venna 8632.
Venna is a strong-willed, highly skilled, soldier-drilled woman on a mission in outer space, where gravity keeps you perky and the future appears to be rather retro.
She is part of the human crew of the Suntreader, who have been travelling for fifty years – in order to find a new planet to colonise – with the majority in and out of cryogenic hibernation.
Tired of playing shoot ‘em up with aliens, Venna yearns to settle on the newest world the Suntreaderhas been orbiting; which they have named Promise. Unfortunately, the only promise she’s living on is the continuation of a futile war with the inhabitants – the Krogs – and that’s reached somewhat of a predictable stalemate.
Joining the planetary team on a mission, and all because of upsetting her superior officer known as the Countess, Venna finds herself lost on Promise. She is pursued by unimaginable menaces from all quarters, without realising the Countess is behind her abduction.
Nobody knows the whole truth about Promise, or what plans the Countess really has for the colonists. Venna knows only that terrible danger hides in its beauty, and that its secrets will not be revealed easily. When our heroine is captured by the Krogs and subjected to a process intended to rob her of her very humanity, everything she thought she knew and trusted is turned inside-out and upside-down.
Broken Promise is the first part of a book trilogy in the story of Venna’s Planet.