Billed as “radio’s dick barton”, johnson took the character to a summer show in blackpool, and he was approached by marylebone pictures to make a film. Mcmillan wrote the synopsis and biographies of barton and his pals, but it was collins who finally chose the name, from a list including michael drake. At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the royal army service corps, was evacuated from dunkirk and spent a year in hospital before being invalided out in 1941. Producer neil tuson found a signature tune in the devil’s galop by charles williams. In films johnson played frank conway, special agent, in the margaret lockwood/ dane clark thriller, highly dangerous (1950), was briefly in the david niven/ glynis johns comedy appointment with venus (1951), and fared better in little red monkey (1954) playing a scotland yard sergeant.