In the dim recesses of my childhood memories there is ship floating through the blackness of space, an AI and a group of rogues wagging war against an evil empire. I can still hear the powerful, opening music calling everyone to battle for the freedom of the galaxy.
This was my introduction to the world of science fiction and freedom from the monotonous confines of this world.
I still recall its name and the logo and wanting to join the crew in their fight against the Terran Federation. Blake’s 7 lifted me out the boredom of childhood reality and showed me what you could achieve with your most powerful tool – your imagination.
Blakes 7 had everything you wanted in a great sci-fi show – spaceships, wicked empire enslaving humans, robots, galactic empires, and aliens. It always had an air of darkness and the stark reality that not everything in life has a Disneyfied ending. The story revolved around a group of escaped prisoners including among a changing cast – Roj Blake, played by Gareth Thomas, the leader of the group and a former political prisoner, sentenced for opposing the Terran regime, Jenna Stannis, played by Sally Knyvette, a smuggler and brilliant pilot who seemed far too glamorous for the life she led, and Olag Gan, played by David Jackson, a convicted murderer, having killed the guard who murdered his girlfriend and had been fitted with an ‘electronic limiter’ to stop him being violent again. I found this to be a fascinating concept of human cyber modification, which is why I am always slightly concerned when I hear of people being fitted with computer chips.
My favourite characters were the flawed and the damned.
Vila Restal, the thief, lock picker and coward played by Michael Keating.Vila was a skilled thief and lock-picker but was the most unlikely freedom fighter with a depth of flawed character which made his character relatable and likeable. Although you probably would not want to rely on him in a battle.
Another of the stand out characters for me was Kerr Avon, played by Paul Darrow. Avon was an electronics and computer expert who once attempted to steal 5 million credits from the Federation banking system. He was another you would not really trust to have your back in a shootout with the Federation guards. Primarily, motivated by greed and self-preservation his relationships with the other members of the Liberator were always strained and therefore interesting to watch.
The final iconic member of the cast was Servalan played by Jacqueline Pearce who sadly passed away this week. (September 2018).
In a time when woman in space were mainly all breasts and hair. Servalan with her black crop and intelligent stare showed that women in space could rule the galaxy through cunning and superior military strategies just like their male counterparts. She was a strong leader and worthy adversity to the Blakes 7 crew. In the end she took everything she wanted in true dystopian style.
A great woman and ruthless leader who will be missed throughout the Terran Federation.
by P.J. Reed, author of The Torcian Chronicles