Blake’s 7 – The Robin Hood of Scifi

On January 2, 1978, a cult was born…

From, Terry Nation, the creator of Doctor Who, Blakes 7 was destined for success from the very beginning. It has everything a good adventure yarn needs: action, rebellion, tongue-in-cheek humour, futuristic effects, a noble hero, a sexy second-in-command, and a seductive villainess. Together with a first-class cast of strong but fallible characters (including the computers), Blakes 7 is now a sci-fi classic – but its popularity is not restricted to fans of science fiction.

Blakes 7 ran for four series, after which the BBC was besieged by letters for more. Thirty years after it first transmitted, Blakes 7 still has a dedicated following. Horizon, the official fan club, is still going strong, with members from around the world, regular fanzines, popular merchandise and conventions. There are also individual fan clubs for Avon and Orac, and a number of websites. There has even been talk of a film and resurrecting the series.

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Blakes 7 teleports viewers into the Third Century of the Second Calendar, a time when the known universe is under the rule of an organisation known as the Federation. Totalitarian and corrupt, it stamps out dissenters with ruthless efficiency.

There is just one thorn in its side:Roj Blake and his band of rebel outlaws aboard the spaceship Liberator.

The story begins en route to a penal colony. After an abortive escape plan, resistance leader Blake (Gareth Thomas) forms part of a boarding party of convicts sent to investigate a mysterious spaceship. Escaping their guard,Blake assumes command. He names the spaceship Liberator. It has teleport facilities and is faster than any known ship – an ideal weapon in the fight against the Federation.

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Pitted against him are two single-minded, ruthless opponents:Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce), the beautiful, devious commissioner of the Federation Security Forces,and Travis (Brian Croucher), who will never rest until Blake is dead.

The initial Blakes 7 are computer genius Avon (Paul Darrow),Vila (Michael Keating), a cowardly thief who is not as foolish as he makes out.,Auron telepath Cally (Jan Chappell),ace pilot Jenna (Sally Knyvette). Gan (David Jackson), a gentle giant,Zen, Liberator’s master computer, and Orac , the supercomputer with a tetchy temperament. Both computers are voiced by PeterTuddenham.

As the series progress,Gan is killed,and Jenna and Blake disappear. Avon assumes command,and reinforcements arrive in the form of Dayna (Josette Simon), Tarrant (Steven Pacey) and Soolin (Glynis Barber – Dempsey and Makepeace). But they also lose Liberator, and the strains of a life on the run begin to tell…

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.