Let me start by saying that Blake's 7, the television
series which ran from 1978 to 1981, was complete and unadulterated
claptrap. I just thought I would get that out of the way first.
What do you mean, "Don't you like it, then?" It was cheap
and amateurish with many loose scripts which incited overacting
by certain cast members. Am I being too harsh? Is this a case
of memory cheats, listening to excessive pointless jibes aimed
at the show from over the years? Nope. Even a recent BBC rerun
on Saturdays proved that my opinion has not changed in 20
years. After little more than ten minutes viewing, washing
dishes and Hoovering took on a new appeal.
7 most assuredly deserves all the criticism of wobbly
sets wrongly aimed at Doctor Who by casual viewers
who watched a science fiction series and associated with the
long-running Time Lord's adventures. Okay, Doctor Who had
its duff moments, but not for virtually its entire duration.
No, that was Blake's 7. I still find this amazing,
as so many behind-the-scenes people worked on both shows.
this is a review of a book about the series, not the series
itself, and I'm going to surprise everyone now by stating
that this is a very well structured and presented guide. Argh!
What am I saying? But it's true. Blake's 7 aficionado
Alan Stevens, along with Fiona Moore, has collected together
everything you could possibly wish to know. There's a background
and genesis, before an in-depth breakdown of each of the three
seasons. Each episode contains a detailed synopsis and analysis,
as well as cast information, transmission date, viewing figure
and chart position. Afterwards a couple of fiction books are
examined, and then it's on to the two official BBC Radio 4
plays, The Sevenfold Crown, and The Syndeton Experiment,
both written by well-known Doctor Who producer/writer
Barry Letts. The final section explores the Independent Audio
productions, many written by Alan Stevens himself.
course, many of us will already know that Blake's 7
was devised by Terry Nation, whose greatest claim to fame
was creating the Daleks for Doctor Who (although not
designing them - hello Ray Cusick). He also originated The
Survivors, and wrote numerous scripts for popular TV shows
of the sixties and seventies. What comes through most strongly
reading this guide, particularly early on, is how well-intentioned
and determined Nation was that Blake's 7 should effectively
display his intended hard-edged political and oppressive atmosphere.
Whether it actually happened like that, I'm probably not the
best person to say, but it is obvious that when Nation relinquished
this project to Chris Boucher due to work commitments elsewhere,
the format somewhat lost it's way. Don't ask me if it was
better or worse, because to me whatever was intended it failed
to materialise on screen.
Publishing deserves credit here for this reference book packaging
with quality paper and a computer generated cover image (I
can understand how photos of the original modelwork might
turn away prospective purchasers; this was experimenting as
you go, as it was for Doctor Who). I have no idea if
the wealth of information here is accurate, but it certainly