Dorad & Sirius stems from an earlier idea which led to a short pilot for a possible children’s TV series, made at the facility company Fingers in 1990. Principally based around the graphics platform Quantel Paintbox, the pilot called McMurdo – A Telecomic presented a science-fiction adventure in a comic magazine style, featuring character line illustrations by David Pugh; the main artist producing work for a revival of Dan Dare in New Eagle at the time.
The pilot episode was made essentially for TVS (a former ITV regional company), for consideration as a strand within their Saturday morning children’s series. As McMurdo was made at a time well before the Internet, CGI and digital production as it is today, the ‘Telecomic’ idea of mixing pictures with animated text and graphics was looked on with interest by the company. On reflection however, as the storyline involved dolphins as central characters, it’s almost certain that the ‘powers-that-be’ were looking for their own equivalent of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, which was at the height of its popularity all through that year, culminating in a ‘Turtles merchandise Christmas’.
Sadly, while approaching other companies and broadcasters about the pilot, ‘Fingers’ fell victim to the recession in 1991, bringing the specific McMurdo series idea to an abrupt end.
At the very least though, McMurdo – A Telecomic set the wheels in motion, enabling an initial story to develop over time into a more detailed concept, incorporating a ‘real-life’ event which had only taken place four years after the pilot was made.