Jump to content
DOSBODS
  • Welcome to DOSBODS

     

    DOSBODS is free of any advertising.

    Ads are annoying, and - increasingly - advertising companies limit free speech online. DOSBODS Forums are completely free to use. Please create a free account to be able to access all the features of the DOSBODS community. It only takes 20 seconds!

     

Blake's 7


DTMark

Recommended Posts

I did see some of this back in the 1980s, and we've been working through the entire series, which is available on YouTube in quite decent quality.

Before I bother typing any more, I wonder if I will be talking to myself. So I thought I'd see if there were any others interested in it.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved it as a teenager, but I watched a few dozen episodes on YouTube and it hasn't dated well.

The whole series was available, but I had trouble viewing the last episode for some reason that escapes me now.

My favourite character was Avon, and the interplay between him and Servalan was always entertaining.

Every now and again there are rumours of a modern version being developed, but it never seems to happen...

 

XYY

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frank Hovis

I thought it was excellent at the time. 

On rewatching it the first series was good and the second excellent but after Blake left it ran out of steam and I couldn't make it through most of the later episodes.

Without Blake's idealism it was reduced to several people dicking about in space.

I particularly disliked the new computer ?Slave? and even Travis was downgraded from a decent actor to some tall wooden guy who usually played extra roles in The Professionals and The Sweeney.

It felt like everyone was just in it for the pay cheque after series 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I shall resist a massive brain-dump essay: thinking back, I don't think I ever saw the start of it. Perhaps a few episodes from season 4. I say that since that was when the title sequence changed and that's the one I remember.

So we started at the beginning. Created and written by Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks. Like Doctor Who, it's a bit of a masterclass in trying to create demanding effects and sets with a shoestring budget. As XYY says. It hasn't dated well. But that can be overlooked if the stories are decent enough.

Season one is great. It's hardly an unusual sci-fi story or paradigm but it is well done and largely convincing. It has so much promise.

Season two is a rushed hotchpotch of stories which seem like they were shoehorned into the series and the format and season three doesn't fare much better. One of the stories, the one with only Blake in it, really strikes me as having been written for Doctor Who. Others are generic and often uninteresting tales that could fit many formats.

Season four, which was unexpected since Terry was brought back to write the season three finale, assuming it would end there, sees a bigger budget - I assume, since you get some really nice model-work and higher production values - and has some decent stories. We're still working through it.

Both @The XYY Man and @Frank Hovis have picked up on what I believe is the most problematic flaw, and that's Blake's departure.

Blake was the leader. The dynamic between him and Avon's Machiavellian character was special. The show seemed to have purpose. Blake's mission was to damage/bring down the Federation.

Wiki: "While Blake is an idealistic freedom fighter, his associates are petty crooks, smugglers and killers. Avon is a technological genius who, while apparently motivated by self-preservation and wealth, consistently acts to help others. When Blake is separated from his crew, Avon becomes commander."

When Blake left, there was nobody in charge. Avon takes over by default, but only for the sake of the stories and not in any genuine way. His character is simply not that of a leader, not only because a leader must command trust as well as respect, but because this is at odds with his previous stance which is mostly that of self-interest.

Hence, Frank's comment: "Without Blake's idealism it was reduced to several people dicking about in space." - spot on.

Space-faring species that appear to be able to build space-ships and yet who appear to live a largely subsistence existence in what resembles a chalk-pit with no evident technology does seem a little.. odd.

Servalan, played by the redoubtable Jacqueline Pearce, just doesn't really convince either. She's a decent enough character but if you're the commander of a massive region of space you wouldn't put yourself in the front-line by attending every possible chance to apprehend them personally, and the crew's escapes are, at times, so ludicrously easy that The Federation doesn't really seem the threat that it ought to be.

Avon was the real star. Sadly, the superb actor Paul Darrow, died on 3 June aged 78.

While we were watching his work. RIP Paul. You were truly brilliant.

I'd recommend season one to sci-fi fans. Not so much what follows.

As an aside, there's something quite remarkable about the series. In these days, with diversity and equality being so coveted: Blake's 7 had this. A mixed sex and race crew. Women as equals. In fact, they even get knocked about and smacked in the face quite a bit which is actually fairly unprecedented since we - I think still now - find that somewhat uncomfortable. It wasn't "toned down" in any way and it's surprisingly (no pun intended) hard-hitting in places.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the Wiki entry, I detect that I may know something that appears to have escaped absolutely everyone. There's no reference to this anywhere.

Here's an excerpt from the So-Called BBC Radio 1 UK Top 40 from 1995.

"The Countdown.. 30 to 21"

I wonder whose voice that might be.

http://www.dtmark.info/files/paul-darrow-uk-top-40.mp3

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hail the Tripod
8 hours ago, DTMark said:

As an aside, there's something quite remarkable about the series. In these days, with diversity and equality being so coveted: Blake's 7 had this. A mixed sex and race crew. Women as equals. In fact, they even get knocked about and smacked in the face quite a bit which is actually fairly unprecedented since we - I think still now - find that somewhat uncomfortable. It wasn't "toned down" in any way and it's surprisingly (no pun intended) hard-hitting in places.

Is that remarkable though? What sci fi show from the 80s didn’t have strong female characters?

Here’s a few that did: BSG, Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Star Trek, V, Sapphire and Steel.

Colonel Deering from Buck Rogers was the first love of my life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hail the Tripod

Season 1 of Blake’s 7 had some great dialogue. I particularly like Villa’s “I plan to live forever, or die trying.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Hail the Tripod said:

Season 1 of Blake’s 7 had some great dialogue. I particularly like Villa’s “I plan to live forever, or die trying.”

Quote of the series, when they're discussing who is going to beam down to the surface. Avon retorts:

"I'm not stupid. I'm not expendable. And I'm not going"

6 minutes ago, Hail the Tripod said:

Is that remarkable though? What sci fi show from the 80s didn’t have strong female characters?

Here’s a few that did: BSG, Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Star Trek, V, Sapphire and Steel.

Colonel Deering from Buck Rogers was the first love of my life.

It's the way in which the women are punched in the face, especially in series one.

Still now, that's unusual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hail the Tripod
43 minutes ago, DTMark said:

It's the way in which the women are punched in the face, especially in series one.

Still now, that's unusual.

I think women used to get hit in the face on TV rather more often in ye olden days.

Actually, i’ve noticed if you watch Buffy now on Sci-fi channel they have edited out every instance of her being hit by a male character. I assume it’s some new policy, but it leads to quite profound changes to the feel of the show. Instead of robo-stepdad Ted hitting her and her reacting, now he just looks at her and she reacts by beating him to death. Also there is a scene where originally she hits Angel and he immediately hits her back, then she rubs her face saying “You hit me!”; but now after the feminist recut, she hits him and then rubs her face and accuses him of hitting her like she’s engaging in the grossest bit of gaslighting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Hail the Tripod said:

I think women used to get hit in the face on TV rather more often in ye olden days.

Actually, i’ve noticed if you watch Buffy now on Sci-fi channel they have edited out every instance of her being hit by a male character. I assume it’s some new policy, but it leads to quite profound changes to the feel of the show. Instead of robo-stepdad Ted hitting her and her reacting, now he just looks at her and she reacts by beating him to death. Also there is a scene where originally she hits Angel and he immediately hits her back, then she rubs her face saying “You hit me!”; but now after the feminist recut, she hits him and then rubs her face and accuses him of hitting her like she’s engaging in the grossest bit of gaslighting.

History being revised. How very 1984.

This is my point about mixed-sex sport. Football, for example. Think of a female equivalent of Michael Owen. He was quite short, wasn't he? With fast legs.

Then getting a boot in the face from a man and being ushered off the pitch with a bleeding gash on her face.

I reckon this would be a problem for many to watch. Whether it's right or wrong doesn't enter into it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was plenty to like in Blakes 7 as others have pointed out. 

Villa was good value, but poor old Gan didn't do much. The female characters were excellent in the main, and very pleasing on the eye to a lad of 14 such as me..! 

Travis was a good villain too, especially when he got his false arm with a built-in blaster.

Unfortunately, although the first actor who played him was very good, the bloke who took over in the later shows wasn't as convincing as the original. Doctor Who could use other actors for The Master after the death of Roger Delgado and get away with it because, as a Time Lord, he could regenerate. But it never felt like the real Travis when they changed actors.

The talking computers were also entertaining, both Zen and Orac had slightly human traits - and added to the atmosphere of the show. Orac could even sulk, much more entertaining than the bland talking computers of Star Trek, or SID from UFO. I agree with Frank that Slave was a bit shit.

All in all, I have good memories of the show, and it regularly polls well in lists of top Sci-Fi shows which is more than justified.

 

 

XYY

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hail the Tripod

Were the semi-exotic “aliens” such as the liberator’s builders, or Cally’s (telepathic) people supposed to be aliens who were visually indistinguishable from humans because of some convergent evolutionary principle, or just splinter human civilisations? I was never really sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, The XYY Man said:

There was plenty to like in Blakes 7 as others have pointed out. 

Villa was good value, but poor old Gan didn't do much. The female characters were excellent in the main, and very pleasing on the eye to a lad of 14 such as me..! 

Travis was a good villain too, especially when he got his false arm with a built-in blaster.

Unfortunately, although the first actor who played him was very good, the bloke who took over in the later shows wasn't as convincing as the original. Doctor Who could use other actors for The Master after the death of Roger Delgado and get away with it because, as a Time Lord, he could regenerate. But it never felt like the real Travis when they changed actors.

The talking computers were also entertaining, both Zen and Orac had slightly human traits - and added to the atmosphere of the show. Orac could even sulk, much more entertaining than the bland talking computers of Star Trek, or SID from UFO. I agree with Frank that Slave was a bit shit.

All in all, I have good memories of the show, and it regularly polls well in lists of top Sci-Fi shows which is more than justified.

 

 

XYY

Avon's barbed comments to Villa were always superb. Every line just dripping with sarcasm..

Villa: "I have a weak chest!"
Avon: "The rest of you isn't very impressive"

The original Travis was excellent. The replacement actor just doesn't exude any sense of threat whatsoever.

Doctor Who got away with it particularly since Anthony Ainley not only looked a bit like Roger Delgado and was clearly meant to be the same character, but hammed it up so marvellously - "A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about". Ainley's smiling assassin was perhaps the better portrayal. And arguably, one of the finest performers from the show.

There's one point where Orac's "key" gets thrown across the bridge in frustration. I'd have thought it more likely that at some point one of the crew would have picked up the whole bloody machine and thrown it across the room. It is funny at times, though. The show had some nice ideas, not least with the computer personalities.

You'd have thought that at some point in the series, the crew would have worked out that every single time they teleport somewhere, end up in danger and want pulling out quickly - unfortunately, whoever is supposed to be operating the teleport is in another room / asleep /wandered away / found something else to do, and maybe worked out some way to mitigate that :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a shame there aren't any decent fan-produced versions of Blakes 7 out there - some of the stuff folks have done with Star Trek is really pretty good.

I think the internet hosted fan show "Star Trek Continues" is brilliant - and both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant from Doctor Who guest-star in episodes of it.

Any budding DOSBODs Thespians out there fancy treading the boards on The Liberator...?

Mind, with most of us old buggers, it would more likely be The Defibrillator...!!!

;)

 

XYY

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And for the grammar pedants reading my previous posts, I know the seven belonging to Blake would be "Blake's seven", but the official logo with the number 7 never had the apostrophe, so I can correctly refer to it that way if I want.

Sew their...!

 

XYY

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved this programme back in the day. Didn't know it was on YouTube, shall have to re-watch.

22 hours ago, DTMark said:

As an aside, there's something quite remarkable about the series. In these days, with diversity and equality being so coveted: Blake's 7 had this. A mixed sex and race crew. Women as equals. In fact, they even get knocked about and smacked in the face quite a bit which is actually fairly unprecedented since we - I think still now - find that somewhat uncomfortable. It wasn't "toned down" in any way and it's surprisingly (no pun intended) hard-hitting in places.

They didn't feel like they were shoe horned in to make up the numbers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, The XYY Man said:

It's a shame there aren't any decent fan-produced versions of Blakes 7 out there - some of the stuff folks have done with Star Trek is really pretty good.

I think the internet hosted fan show "Star Trek Continues" is brilliant - and both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant from Doctor Who guest-star in episodes of it.

Any budding DOSBODs Thespians out there fancy treading the boards on The Liberator...?

Mind, with most of us old buggers, it would more likely be The Defibrillator...!!!

;)

 

XYY

Have a look here:

https://www.bigfinish.com/hubs/v/blake-s-7

A lot of their Doctor Who stuff is very good, and some is outstanding.

Nice piece on Paul here:

https://www.bigfinish.com/news/v/paul-darrow-1941-2019

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Popuplights said:

@DTMark thanks for starting this thread. 

Are you a fan of the show? If not, you've a lot of TV to watch - has kept us busy for hours!

We have another half-dozen or so episodes until the finale..

4 hours ago, The XYY Man said:

And for the grammar pedants reading my previous posts, I know the seven belonging to Blake would be "Blake's seven", but the official logo with the number 7 never had the apostrophe, so I can correctly refer to it that way if I want.

Indeed. I just can't help myself putting the apostrophe in, but, you, Sir, are correct.

36 minutes ago, Dipsy said:

I loved this programme back in the day. Didn't know it was on YouTube, shall have to re-watch.

They didn't feel like they were shoe horned in to make up the numbers. 

Exactly right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Hail the Tripod said:

Were the semi-exotic “aliens” such as the liberator’s builders, or Cally’s (telepathic) people supposed to be aliens who were visually indistinguishable from humans because of some convergent evolutionary principle, or just splinter human civilisations? I was never really sure.

I have to confess this is above my level of knowledge (nerdiness?) for this show. I can speak for Doctor Who mythology quite well..

Does make me wonder how the show might have evolved had it been given better writers (someone called Chris Boucher appeared to be the script editor for much of it, but Terry's stories are the strongest) and had gone on for much longer than it did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Popuplights

@DTMark I am a massive sci-fi fan. I loved Blake's 7. And my favourite Doctor is Tom Baker, so that ages me quite accurately...

I am looking forward to watching again. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Popuplights said:

@DTMark I am a massive sci-fi fan. I loved Blake's 7. And my favourite Doctor is Tom Baker, so that ages me quite accurately...

I am looking forward to watching again. 

I can probably claim one of a number of crowns for being the Doctor Who nerd on here.  I say "one of": there are a few of us :)

Enjoy, report back..

And watch out for Richard Hurndall in one episode. You might mistake him for William Hartnell.

Which is presumably how he ended up playing Hartnell's Doctor in The Five Doctors and Mark Gattis' one-off special production about the show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frank Hovis
19 hours ago, Hail the Tripod said:

Were the semi-exotic “aliens” such as the liberator’s builders, or Cally’s (telepathic) people supposed to be aliens who were visually indistinguishable from humans because of some convergent evolutionary principle, or just splinter human civilisations? I was never really sure.

I thought that Cali's people was a splinter group founded by a group of "elders", maybe geneticists, who they later rebelled against and ejected.

They came across two of them separately and one was creating various servant races using genetics which does suggest the telepathy was the result of gene manipulation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

steppensheep
On 21/06/2019 at 01:42, DTMark said:

Space-faring species that appear to be able to build space-ships and yet who appear to live a largely subsistence existence in what resembles a chalk-pit with no evident technology does seem a little.. odd.

North Korea allegedly has ballistic missiles and working nuclear weapons, but no traffic lights or lifts.

 

Loved it at the time and I missed the origins, so will try and catch up with that. For some reason it never got repeated on TV, despite seemingly having a decent following

Link to comment
Share on other sites

steppensheep

Watched the first couple of episodes.  The adventure yarn is pretty good, but I think they struggle to find a realistic tone for example when the elders/overlords are plotting their evil deeds, or the apparent lack of caution or fear of those standing up to the system. Although if you've lived all your life under what you think is a benign system, I suppose you might believe that you just needed to report the bad apples and it would be sorted out.

 

I was going to say it was quite groundbreaking in the idea of goodies v baddies trapped in a confined space, battling with tactics and psychology, which became a standard for thrillers e.g Die Hard. but google tells me, star wars came out the year before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...