Running from 1978 to 1981, Blake’s 7 was one of the most popular sci-fi shows of its era. Even now it has legions of fans, some of whom have long campaigned for it to get a modern day revival/reboot.
Let’s join the fans in rejoicing this fantastic show by looking back at it with some fascinating facts about Blake’s 7 that you may not have known.
10. Tom Baker wanted to do a Doctor Who/Blake’s 7 cross-over
When Blake’s 7 was on the air between 1978 and 1981, Tom Baker was serving as the fourth (and in the eyes of many viewers, the very best) Doctor Who. Baker wanted to do a cross-over with Blake’s 7 with the two heroes meeting in a corridor and exchanging greetings, but producers from both series vetoed the idea.
Blake’s 7 creator Terry Nation had previously worked on Doctor Who, and he too was keen for the shows to cross over. Famously, Nation created the Doctor’s most iconic adversary the Daleks, and originally wanted these evil aliens to appear in Blake’s 7 as well.
9. Paul Darrow considers Firefly a modern remake of the show
At the time of writing, Blake’s 7 has never had a sequel or remake series, but Kerr Avon actor Paul Darrow thinks one show could be considered a new Blake’s 7: the short-lived Firefly, and its spin-off movie Serenity.
Created by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel’s The Avengers), Firefly first aired in 2002 and was cancelled after a mere 14 episodes, but is widely regarded one of the best sci-fi shows ever.
8. Only Michael Keating appeared in every episode
Running for three years for a total of 52 episodes, Blake’s 7 didn’t endure anywhere near as long as some TV sci-fi shows, and it didn’t have the same actors on screen for the duration.
Only one actor wound up appearing in every single episode of Blake’s 7: Michael Keating, who played Vila Restal.
7. Future Star Trek actor Marina Sirtis auditioned for the show
Then in her early 20s, British actress Marina Sirtis auditioned for the role of Dayna. Unfortunately for Sirtis, she missed out on the role which ultimately went to Josette Simon – but little did anyone know, Sirtis had a much bigger sci-fi role in her future.
In 1987, Sirtis was cast as Counsellor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a role she played in seven seasons and four spin-off movies, and more recently reprised on Star Trek: Picard.
6. Paul Darrow changed the way he played his character
When Terry Nation left working on Blake’s 7, there were struggles behind the scene. Actor Paul Darrow was very upset with the way his character, Avon, was being written.
In the hopes of compensating for the inconsistencies in the writing, Darrow began to play the part as if Avon was slowly losing his mind.
5. Gareth Thomas never watched the show
At its peak, Blake’s 7 pulled in ten million viewers a week in the UK, as well as being broadcast in 25 countries around the world. However, one person that never watched it at the time was Blake himself, Gareth Thomas.
When Thomas watched the episodes to provide commentary for their DVD release, this was the first time he had seen them since they were filmed.
4. The cast had no idea the show was getting the fourth season
At the end of Season 3 of Blake’s 7 with The Liberator destroyed and the crew stranded, the cast and audiences alike thought this was the last ever episode of the show. The cast were as surprised as anyone when an announcer said in the end credits that Blake’s 7 would return!
The fact that the show was going to be renewed for a fourth season caused some issues, as producer David Maloney had already committed to produced Day of the Triffids which meant he was unavailable. This led to Vere Lorrimer becoming the show’s producer instead.
3. Its bleak finale has been called one of the best TV endings ever
After the show’s shock renewal, Blake’s 7 came to a very definitive end with its fourth season. The now iconic, ultra-bleak conclusion sees seemingly every member of the cast killed off in a spectacular shoot-out (although there is speculation that Kerr Avon may have survived).
Over the years, many fan and critic polls have seen Blake’s 7 named among the TV shows with the best ending ever.
2. There have been several Blake’s 7 radio plays and audiobooks
While Blake’s 7 has never returned to screens, the series has lived on in audio form. Several radio plays were produced by the BBC and broadcast on Radio 4 between 1998 and 2012.
In addition, several audiobooks were released, and some of these feature the original cast reprising their roles.
1. A TV reboot was announced in 2000 – but it never happened
The early 2000s saw Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica successfully brought back to TV, and for a time it looked like this would happen for Blake’s 7 would follow suit. Plans for a revival were announced in 2000, but the project languished in development hell and wound up fulling apart.
2012 saw further movement on a Blake’s 7 reboot, this time intended for the SyFy Channel, with James Bond director Martin Campbell attached. Alas, this too failed to happen.