Posted 09th of April 2000

The TV movie

- Judith 1st October '99

There have been numerous rumours in various TV magazines speculating about the cast and saying that various people will be playing particular parts. These can all be safely ignored apart from the fact that Paul Darrow will be playing Avon.

Andrew Sewell will be the producer. Paul Darrow is the associate producer and the script has been written by Bev Doyle.

The BBC radio plays raised apprehensions among many fans with regard to the telemovie. It was felt by many (including myself) that 'The Sevenfold Crown' was a load of tripe. 'The Syndeton Experiment' was a lot better, but still poor when compared to the vast majority of episodes of the original TV series. There were originally fears that Barry Letts, the writer of the radio plays, would be involved with the telemovie and this helped produce a large negative reaction to the project. It's probably fair to say that fan reactions veered between 'Any Blake's 7 is better than none' and 'No Blake's 7 at all is preferable to another Barry Letts' script'.

There were also mixed feelings regarding Paul Darrow's involvement.

- Paul is very popular with fans, but there is a perception that his memory of Avon doesn't always totally mesh with the Avon that fans remember. Many fans, who have heard Paul talk about Avon over the years, feel that his version of the character is more macho and less vulnerable than the image held by the fans themselves. (The web chat with Brian Lighthill mentions this point). There may be a gender factor at work here, but I don't have enough data to be certain. I think female fans are probably more drawn to the emotional aspects of Avon's character. (I certainly am.) Paul's own novel, 'Avon, A Terrible Aspect' didn't go down well with most fans, though there are some who love it.

- Looking at the other side of the discussion - Paul's long friendship with Terry Nation means that he was very close to Terry's visions for a future version of the series. He has a strong desire to produce something that will do credit to Terry's memory. (see the interview with Paul Darrow and Andrew Sewell) Avon was the pivotal character of the original series and is the favourite character of the vast majority of fans. The appeal of the character derived in no small part from Paul Darrow's wonderful performance.

My own feelings with regard to the project are gradually shifting. The radio plays made me initially very hostile to any attempt to revive the series on TV. After talking to Andrew Sewell at Cult TV, I'm now beginning to feel that a telemovie (or possibly a new series) that has primarily new characters but that succeeds in capturing the wit and strength of characterisation of the original could be worthwhile. It might not be Blake's 7 as we remember it, but it could be worth having in its own right.

I do not know whether the necessary finance has been raised, but I wish them luck.

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