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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Flash Gordon returns in TV drama
Actor Eric Johnson
Actor Eric Johnson had a role in Superman series Smallville
Canadian actor Eric Johnson is to star in a new TV version of classic comic strip adventure Flash Gordon.

Johnson, 27, will take the lead role in the series - which promises to update the story of Flash Gordon, who travels in a home-made spaceship to fight evil.

The actor previously appeared as high school student Whitney Fordman in Superman spin-off Smallville.

Casting is underway for other roles, including Gordon's classic cohorts Dale Arden and Doctor Zarkov.

The comic book hero was originally drawn in 1934 by Alex Raymond, and has featured in several newspapers, radio plays and movie serials.

Cult classic

On TV, he has mostly appeared in animated form - although actor Steve Holland played the character from 1954-5 in a series produced in Europe.

Perhaps the most famous incarnation of the story is the camp 1980 film, which starred Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan and featured music from rock group Queen.

Although it was not a commercial success, it has become a cult classic for its melodramatic dialogue and over-the-top costumes.

The new television series is set to begin filming next month in Vancouver, Canada, and will debut on the Sci-Fi channel in the US in August.

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