AFTER the enforced absence of last year, Bolton Little Theatre roars back to life next week with the brilliantly funny Dick Barton – Special Agent.

For many a 1940s schoolboy, the strains of ‘The Devil’s Galop’ punching its way across the airwaves has only ever meant one thing: Dick Barton was ready to save Britain once again...! First broadcast on the BBC Light Programme from 1946 and running every weekday at tea-time until 1951 the radio programme regularly reached audiences of more than 20 million.

The show featured the exploits of ex-Commando ‘Richard Barton MC’ in a pre-James Bond sort of role who, ably assisted by his chums ‘Snowy’ White and ‘Jock’ Anderson, attempted to save Britain from all manner of evils.

Such was the popularity of the radio show that its end was marked by a front-page story in The Times.

A TV adaptation in the 1980s kept Dick Barton alive for a new generation and Phil Willmott’s stage play that Bolton Little Theatre are presenting breathes new life again into the character, taking as it does a tongue-in-cheek look at the all-round hero in a cross between homage and pastiche.

Dan Clynes plays the eponymous Special Agent and all-round good guy.

He said: "It’s just great fun to be in. The script is full of gags and we’ve added a few of our own so we’ve ended up just making ourselves laugh sometimes. I know the audience are going to love it”.

And there are songs aplenty too – Willmott’s script has interlaced the plot with well-known tunes so audiences can expect to hear ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Cat Like Tread’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’ drifting across the auditorium with aplomb.

Sue Mallet, playing wicked temptress ‘Marta Heartburn’, is no stranger the musical play scene.

She said: “It’s been fabulous getting back to singing on stage again!

"There are some purpose written songs which are great, but mostly they are famous songs adapted for the play. They bring it alive really.”

Kev Walsh, who plays the evil ‘Baron Scarheart’, added: "I don’t suppose it’s every day you get to sing Nessun Dorma in a cape stood on a rock.”Director David Smart added: “I challenge anyone not to come away from the theatre chuckling to themselves and probably whistling the Dick Barton theme tune.”

‘Dick Barton - Special Agent’ runs from Monday 13 – Saturday 18 September at Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4TG. For tickets visit or ring 01204 524469.