TV Cream

TV: B is for...

Blake’s 7

“WHERE’S BLAKE?” quoth Terence of Wogan every morning on Radio 2 for years, and who could blame him? Preposterous “space opera” done on whatever was left in the sci-fi budget after DR WHO had finished, and which carried on long past the point its titular star had buggered off along with any semblance of wit and wisdom. Set in the 3rd century of the second calendar (eh?). Universe ruled by The Federation, i.e. Nazis. Renegades, i.e. plucky British types, out to prove otherwise. All ugly: Blake (GARETH THOMAS) who ran things until he pissed off; Avon (PAUL DARROW) who took over and who exercised his mean credentials by forever gazing pompously into the middle distance; Villa (bald, comedy), Gan (big), Cally (telepathic po-facery) and Jenna (dodgy crim). Later replacements were Soolin and (yes!) Tarrant. JACQUELINE PEARCE was the only good-looking one, but she was no. 1 big bastard enemy Servalan. Along for the ride: Zen, large hexagonal computer with disco lights, and Orac, nasal talking fish tank with fairy lights. Spaceship Liberator was made out of three tennis balls and some bogroll. All Terry Nation’s fault. Again.



  1. nugget

    January 24, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Erh??? B7 Was tops. It wasn’t about the wonky sets etc… It was about the quality acting. I’d take this over the rubbish Sci-fi we get today anytime. And Jenna was very sexy actually…

  2. Frank Jackdaw

    February 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I agree with Nugget – it had its ropey moments and rubbish episodes, but was by and large entertaining and well-written, for what it was. And no, The Liberator was constructed by proper model-makers out of the parts that model-makers usually made spaceships out of. Unless that was a special type of green, segmented, lighting-up type of tennis ball.

  3. paulus

    May 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    A solid effort from the actors.

    Oh how I longed for the BBC to be able to do proper laser effects… It made me so embarassed to be part of an island nation with no budget for special effects.

  4. StoneGinger

    June 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    No costume budget either. I’m midway through series 3 – Vila is wearing a brown velour tracksuit and Tarrant appears to be in his pyjamas.

  5. The Haj

    June 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    The reason no-one else had a decent costume was that Servalan had engaged Dame Shirley Bassie’s dress designer and there was no money left for anyone else. In her defence, it has to be said that when it comes to mad, right-wing dictator, there’s not may that can run across a sand quarry in high heels and full length evening gown….

  6. Zastrozzi

    May 31, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I found the scripts online a few years ago and read them – first time I’d had any doings with the series since it was on TV. When you read it like that, they’re really very good – it was only when I rented the DVDs and saw the costumes and heard the incidental music that the horror returned…

  7. borgduck

    May 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I remember spending two years, on a quest, searching every charity shop & pawn (yes, that pawn) shop, gathering as many episodes on VHS as I could muster. Only for the DVD box sets to come out at 50 quid a piece. Only a month ago, I got all four box sets for a mere 49 quid. Patience IS a virtue. Of course, typical as my luck goes, all of the episodes are on two certain video websites.

  8. Adrian

    May 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    The opening credits were good though – they were all hand drawn as there was no CGI in those days.

  9. Nick

    September 10, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Stand-out episode was series 3’s “Rumours of Death” – brilliant!

  10. Borgduck

    April 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

    R.I.P. Gareth. At least I had the honour to meet you, at a convention, once.

  11. richardpd

    July 18, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    I remember getting into this in the mid 1990s thanks to Guinness Book of Classic TV & Dr Who Magazine constantly mentioning it.

    My local library had a few of the videos & a bookshop in Manchester had some of the tapes, so I managed to watch a few.

    The episodes were a bit hit & miss, normally if the acting & scripts were OK I was willing to overlook some of the iffy production standards. It’s fun to spot the props & costumes borrowed from Dr Who, and many BBC historical costume dramas.

    With the 2000 BBC2 repeats & UK Gold once I got an On Digital box I managed to get every episode.

    I still can’t make my mind up if season 1 or 2 is the best one. The first one slowly builds up things and a better Travis, while the second has a better overall theme, but some of the better characters are marginalised.

    Season 3 lost direction with no Blake and the rebellion being marginalised, and some hit & miss writing, but still has the odd stand out episode.

    Season 4 was even more lacking in direction, though supposedly it was commissioned late in the day because Bill Cotton enjoyed the last episode of season 3 so much.

  12. THX 1139

    July 18, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    The Liberator was so much cooler than the Scorpio.

    Also, “Maximum Power!” What the hell was Servalan on about? How didn’t she notice the bloody place going to pot around her?!

    • richardpd

      July 19, 2020 at 12:31 am

      I presume she was so overwhelmed at capturing the Liberator at last she somehow didn’t see that the walls were dripping with slime from it being eaten by an alien parasite.

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