Another Sci-Fi classic from the BBC.  Blake’s 7 was the brainchild of Daleks creator and former gag writer Terry Nation.  It ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.

Popular from its first broadcast, watched by approximately 10 million people in the UK and shown in 25 other countries.  It still holds cult status with today’s sci-fi viewers.  There were many trappings of space opera present, such as spaceships, robots, galactic empires and aliens, but unfortunately like many TV sci-fi shows it’s budget didn’t match its interstellar narrative.

Although entitled Blake’s 7, lead actor Gareth Thomas left the show at the end of series two.  The series carried on but it was felt that the character should be killed off, Gareth Thomas returned for a guest appearance in series three’s final episode, in which it is revealed that the image of a stricken Blake is merely a hoax and that he had died fom injuries sustained on another planet.  This still didn’t seem to put the character to the back of viewers’ minds and so Gareth Thomas returned once more for the very last episode in which Avon kills Blake.

The series has spurned two BBC audio dramas broadcast on Radio 4 in 1998 and 1999, featuring some of the original cast.  Big Finish productions have also produced two series of official audio dramas.  There have long been rumours of a remake of the popular show, but it now seems unlikely.

Summary

Earth in the future, ruled by the Federation.  When political activist Roj Blake is arrested he is sentenced to penal colony Cygnus Alpha.  On the prison ship, London, Blake meets thief Vila Restal, smuggler Jenna Stannis, murderer Olag Gan and computer engineer Kerr Avon. The London encounters a battle between two alien space fleets and London ’​s crew plot a course to avoid the combat zone and continue their voyage. They encounter a strange alien craft, board it and attempt to salvage it but are thwarted by the alien ship’s defence mechanism. The captain of the London sends the expendable Blake, Avon, and Jenna across to the ship. Blake defeats the defence system when it tries to use memories he recently discovered were false. With Jenna as pilot, the three convicts escape in the alien craft.  Retrieving Villa and Gan the Liberator sets off on a series of adventures to defeat the Federation.  In their first mission they encounter Cally a telepathic guerrilla soldier from the planet Auron. Blake invites Cally to join the crew. With this new arrival, and including Liberator ’​s computer, Zen, Liberator has a crew of seven.

By series three The crew are under attack and abandon Liberator.  Avon is first to find his way back with new crew member Dayna.  Once on board they encounter a Federation officer who turns out to be mercenary Del Tarrant.  With Blake and Jenna still missing the remaining crew set about recovering the missing members.  The series ends when a trail leads to missing Blake on a planet Terminus.  Passing through a cloud of corrosive fluid particles the Liberator is damaged beyond repair and destroyed.  Left on Terminus with a crippled spaceship, a booby trapped base and the realistion that Blake was no more than an illusion the crew are trapped.

Booby traps, set by Servalan in her underground complex on Terminal, explode and kill Cally. Avon, Tarrant, Vila and Dayna escape with Orac and are rescued by Dorian, a salvage operator. Dorian takes the crew in his spacecraft, Scorpio, to his base on the planet Xenon, where they meet his partner, Soolin. Dorian plans to drain the crew’s life-force and take Orac, but he is foiled by Vila.  Avon completes a new teleport system for Scorpio using the technology left behind by Dorian. Soolin joins the crew and they takeover Scorpio and occupy the Xenon base. Avon gains control of Slave, Scorpio ’​s main computer.

The series finally comes to an end when the crew set of on the trail of Blake again to lawless planet of Gouda Prime.  However it turns out to be a trap or is it?  Convinced it’s a trap Avon kills Blake just as a troup of Federation guards appear and shoot the remaining crew leaving just Avon standing.  As the credits roll shots are heard buy we are never sure if Avon was killed.

Clips

series 3 trailer

Cast

Gareth Thomas
Michael Keating
Sally Knyvette
Paul Darrow
David Jackson
Peter Tuddenham
Jan Chappell
Jacqueline Pearce
Stephen Greif
Brian Croucher
Josette Simon
Steven Pacey
Glynis Barber

Details

Channel: BBC1
Written and Created By: Terry Nation
Original Transmission Dates: 2nd January 1978 – 21st December 1981

Blake’s 7 – Series 1 [DVD] [1978] (DVD)


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