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  • This TV series came out of France in the late sixties and a dubbed version was shown on the BBC in the early seventies. As a small boy whose father was a pilot in the RAF at the time I found it all quite fascinating. As far as I can remember two pilots of the French Air Force were officially listed as missing but were in actual fact doing some quite dirty jobs for the French government predominately in North Africa. The aeriel shots for their time were quite excellent and by the third series they were making it in colour. At least one annual was brought out by the BBC (saw it on ebay) and almost all the boys I knew at school watched it. It is still possible to get the french version on DVD though I fear like so many others the English print has gone forever. I'd dearly love to see this again but I fear all I will have is some rather fond memories.
  • Les Cevaliers du Ciel (Knights of the Heavens) was a France produced Tv series made between 1967 to 1970. It consisted of thirty six, 25 minute episodes over three series based on the long running Franco-Belgian comic strip "Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure" produced by the French company ORTF. The episodes were a mixture of stand alone stand ones or 3 or 4 loosely woven together into 'adventures':

    South Pacific Adventure, Peru Adventure, Mediterranean Cruise, Visitors from Canada and North African Adventure.

    Tanguy is serious, honest and obedient, Laverdure is eccentric, blundering and awkward. However, Laverdure is a strong team mate for Tanguy in difficult situations. The series starts with Tanguy and Laverdue being posted to Dijon where they convert from the Mystere to Mirage III and they embark on a series of escapades. The 1st series was incredibly ponderous, the other two series were more lively and faster moving, but still very much of their time. For plane spotters the later episodes are a furtile archive along with the the Mysteres, Mirages and Vautours one gets an Air France Connie and B.707-363 with French AF Allouttes FN Étendard, T-33, Meteor NF.11, Neptune PV2-5, CV Crusaders, Alize and Belgian F-84Fs.

    In 1971 the BBC optioned 19 episodes (mainly the 'adventures') of the 36 available, they redubbed and re-soundtracked them for the British palate, the remaining 17 episodes were considered to adult for the BBC's purposes. The BBC renamed series (The Aeronauts) and originally aired the series from Monday. 6th. March 1972 @ 17:20 to Nov. 29. 1972, albeit the series by then had moved to Wednesday at the slightly earlier time of 16:55. The series proved popular enough to spawn a 1972 annual, that lifted English translations of the original comic strip that the Tv series was based on.

    The second run started on Saturday the 7th. July. 1973 and ran intermittently in the Saturday mornings (changing times) until November 1973. After which it became staple of Saturday and weekday holiday periods until 1978, whence it disappeared. The BBC English dubbed and re-soundtracked version have been lost to the sands of time and all that exists is TFI's 6 DVD in French with its original soundtrack.