Series 1 Overview
The Way Back: This is cheerful. – 7/10
Space Fall: This is much better than Doctor Who. – 8/10
Cygnus Alpha: Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Brian Blessed turns up. – 7/10
Time Squad: What a load of shit. – 3/10
The Web: It’s just a man sticking his head through a hole in a wall. – 1/10
Seek-Locate-Destroy: That was better than the last one. Still not very good, though. – 5/10
Mission to Destiny: Please tell me that didn’t happen. – 3/10
Duel: Why can’t they all be like that? Let Douglas Camfield direct every episode. – 9/10
Project Avalon: They have to stop ending episodes like this. – 7/10
Breakdown: Yet more faffing about when they should be blowing up the Federation. – 4/10
Bounty: An old man DJ-ing for half an hour. – 3/10
Deliverance: Captain Kirk would have shagged her by now. – 5/10
Orac: It was worth it to see Avon smile. – 5/10
Nicol has done the maths and Series 1 of Blake’s 7 has a mean average score of 5/10. Which is distinctly average. And pretty mean.
Sue: That sounds about right. It could be better and it could be worse.
Me: Very early on, you said Blake’s 7 was a much better show than Doctor Who. Do you still believe that?
Sue: Yes, I do. Definitely.
Me: Really? I’m surprised.
Sue: It’s the characters and the premise that I like. The execution could be a lot better, but the idea itself is solid. It’s more like Babylon 5 than Doctor Who, and I like that aspect to it. I like story arcs and anti-heroes and stuff like that. As long as Avon doesn’t leave, Blake’s 7 is miles ahead of 1970s Doctor Who.
Here are the best seven questions asked by you, our readers:
Hugh Dunne: If you could swap one Doctor Who companion with one Liberator crew member, who would it be and why?
Sue: That’s a very good question. The crew could do with a decent scientist, so I’d probably pick Romana. The first Romana because she’d look good in Robin Hood clothes. I’d swap her for Cally because Cally is ****ing hopeless.
The next question was also asked by Dean Jacobs, Brian Ferguson, and Ellie.
Matt Dolphin: If you had to kill off one of the crew, who would you choose?
Sue: Are all of these questions going to be about getting rid of members of the crew? OK, it’s a toss-up between Cally and Gan. Gan because I trust him about as far as I can throw him – and his sex face disturbs me – and Cally because she’s ****ing hopeless!
Steve Trimingham: What do you think the series says about the politics (social and sexual) of the 1970s?
Sue: I didn’t think I’d have to write an essay tonight; I’m not at work now, love. OK, let’s see: the IRA were big in the 1970s, so terrorism was very topical. As was paedophilia, or so it seems. So yes, Blake’s 7 basically reflected how grim things were back in the 1970s, while the costumes reflected how silly things were back in the 1970s. As for its sexual politics, it’s complicated. On the one hand, you’ve got strong women in powerful roles, but at the same time you’ve got women being punched in the face, acting as damsels in distress, or falling at men’s feet. But it’s Terry Nation so what can you do?
Many of you asked the next question, including Jess Patton, Paula, Travis’s Eyepatch, Steve Desmond and Jason U:
Steven Sharp: If you were making a re-booted version of Blake’s 7, who would you cast?
Sue gave this question a great deal of thought before she finally settled on:
So that’s Stephen Mangan, John Simm, Michelle Collins, David Mitchell, Nick Frost, Patsy Palmer, Graham Norton, Paul Darrow, Joanna Lumley and Mark Gatiss. Actors who didn’t make the final cut included: Benedict Cumberbunch (sic) as Blake, Jane Horrocks as Jenna, Russell Tovey as Vila, Jamie Lee Curtis as Cally, Peter Capaldi as Travis, Joan Collins as Servalan and Miranda Hart as Gan.
Me: You do realise that you’ve cast Blake’s 7 as a sitcom, don’t you.
Sue: It needs a lighter touch. It’s too bleak.
Dave Sanders: If you were put in charge of Federation security, what would be your strategy to capture Blake?
Sue: That’s easy. I’d tell Blake that I wanted to negotiate with him on a deserted planet somewhere, and I’d offer to wipe those poor kid’s memories so they don’t think they’ve been molested any more, and because Blake is naive, he’d turn up, and that’s when I’d shoot him in the head. No messing about. Just shoot him in the head.
Me: But then you’d turn Blake into a martyr.
Sue: So don’t tell anyone that you’ve shot him in the head. Put out a story that he died raping a child. There you go. Easy. And the same advice goes to Blake. The next time you find yourself in the same room as Servalan or Travis, just shoot them in the head. Job done.
Robert Dick: Which cast member do you think would cope best with having a pint spilled on their good suit? And which one would react the worst?
Sue: Well, I’d like to think that Paul Darrow would handle it well, just in case I meet him, but I suspect that he’d punch me in the face. So I guess the actor who plays Vila would probably handle it best; he’d make a joke out of it. Orac would react the worst because he’d short-circuit.
And finally, dozens of you asked subtle variations on this:
Rebecca Harris: What would you do differently if you were the producer of Blake’s 7?
Sue: I’d put an apostrophe in the logo for a start, and then I’d hire Robert Holmes to write all the scripts, and I’d get Douglas Camfield to direct all the episodes. How hard can it be?
And there you have it. Sue has decided that the best question was posed by Hugh. Congratulations, Hugh, you’ve won a signed copy of our book and we’ll be in touch with you later this week. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to ask a question. We’ll be doing this again at the end of Series 2, probably as a podcast.
Me: Before I loosen the restraints, can you sum up Blake’s 7 so far in seven words.
Sue: Bleak; well-acted; engaging; political; convoluted; enjoyable; cheap.
Me: And finally, what would you like to see happen in Series 2?
Sue: I want Blake to clear his name because that’s been bugging me; I want to see more tension between Avon and Blake until they end up wrestling on the floor; I want to see Servalan booted out of the Federation for exceeding her reach, and I want her to join Blake’s crew; I don’t want to see Travis any more – he’s blown it too many times for me to take him seriously; I want Blake to concentrate on bringing down the Federation – none of this “let’s explore a planet like we’re in Star Trek” nonsense; and I don’t want Terry Nation to write any more scripts, but that’s cheating because you’ve already told me that’s happening. Thank God.
I had hoped to get Series 2 up and running this Friday, but I’m going away for a few days this week which means I can’t update the blog until Tuesday March 4th. Sorry about that. I’m a very bad man.