"I plan to live forever, or die trying."

You always knew where you were with a show like Star trek. If anyone was in trouble you can bet your bottom dollar that Kirk, Spock and the gang would rally round trying to help out. You could also bet that by the end of the episode that all your principle characters will be okay with a new lesson learnt. Well that was never the case with Blakes 7. If a crew members in trouble, to hell with them as long as Avon is alright. Although Blake only had his seven for a few episodes, nobody seemed to care because the show was dam good.

Created by the man who brought us the Daleks (Terry Nation), the show ran for a total of four, 13 episode seasons. Blake himself (played by Gareth Thomas) left at the end of the second season and it was left to Avon (Paul Darrow) to the lead the rebels in there fight against the relentless Federation. Also on board was the cowardly Vila, (Michael Keaton) The telepath Cally, (Jan Chappell) The ex smuggler Jenna, (Sally Knyvette) The gentle giant Gan (David Jackson) The ships computers Zen (and later Slave) along with the brilliant though arrogant Orac. (All voiced by Peter Tuddenham). Later came the warrior Dayna, (Josette Simon) The idealistic Tarrant (Steven Pacey) and the hot-headed Soolin (Her first acting job before landing the role in ITV's Dempsey and Makepeace.) Always in pursuit of the rebels was the beautiful but deadly Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce) and the evil Travis (Stephen Greiff and Brian Croucher). Now you can't write anything on Blakes 7 without mentioning the late great Vere Lorrimer or David Maloney without whom the series would never have been what it was.

The show relied more on excellent writing then it did on big budget special effects and remains one of the best written science fiction TV shows of all time. Over the last few years reports have been circulating about a new big budget version to be made by the BBC with Paul Darrow as the only surviving member of the crew from the original show. Before he died Terry Nation wrote a plotline involving a young rebel calling himself Blake rescuing Avon and Villa from a federation colony. Life is good for our favorite misfits; they have every comfort in exchange for a few pro federation statements. As you can imagine they are none too pleased at being rescued and whipped halfway across the universe so the adventure begins again. This idea may have died with the shows creator in 1997, but only time will. Although the late 90's saw a short radio series (scripted by ex Doctor who producer Barry Letts) it failed to capture the magic that was Blakes 7. Still, with British Sci Fi making a come back, you may not have seen the last of this show.

 

Cult TV exclusive interview with Jacqueline Pearce

 

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