Dating the Series

By Jackie Speel

The Sevenopedia provides an approximate relative positioning of the events of Blake's Seven - and there are very few indications in the series as to how much time is covered over the course of the four series. The episodes are not consistently spaced - some episodes follow quickly upon each other (eg the sequence 'Deliverance'-'Orac'-'Redemption') and others require much undescribed 'tooing and froing' between them. ('Cygnus Alpha' and 'Timesquad', 'Powerplay' and 'Volcano'). Blake has been considering attacking Central Computer Control for at least a year in 'Pressure Point' and has used Orac for at least some of the time (at a guess he makes this decision some time after the attack on Sauran Major). It can be assumed that the four series cover several years (which would allow the 'Blake legend' to emerge).

All we are told, from 'Pressure Point' is that the Federation is operating within the New Calendar - and from 'Countdown' we know that space exploration has existed for at least seven hundred years (which, on present rates of development in space travel is several centuries in our future). The 'Twentieth Century' is a recognisable period (as the probably Lindor-born-and-bred Sarkoff uses the term with ease) while the term 'pre-atomic' used of the wall in 'Rumours of Death' seems to be the equivalent of our 'prehistoric' and used equally loosely by non-archaeologists.

There is no indication as to when the 'first calendar' came into existence, though what it was called is unknown - probably something like 'Terran Federation General Calendar.' There would be a logical need for such a general calendar when a number of planets, each with its own year, days and local dating system. There are a couple of nineteenth century parallels to this: Up to the early nineteenth century each locality had its own time, but with the coming of railways a common 'railway time' emerged. On an international scale there is the development of Greenwich Zero Longitude. (For an example of the pre-Greenwich situation, see Jules Verne's 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' - where Captain Nemo makes reference to the different systems involved.) It can be assumed that the original general calendar was replaced by the New Calendar at a time of major transition (compare with the introduction of a new calendar after the French Revolution) as the religious buildings were also destroyed.

While the Seveopedia gives a relative dating system it is possible to use the limited information provided in the series to place Blake's Seven to the nearest decade, which seems to be in the fourth century of the New Calendar. It is assumed here, as suggested in the Sevenopedia that the century is dropped when unambiguous.

In 'Horizon' Zen (being a computer providing exact data) gives the date code of the report on that planet as 'three zero three,' which Vila says is a long time ago.

In 'Traitor' the General asks Quute if he remembers the 'Fletch expedition of twenty nine' - implying it happened 'a few years ago' but is something that Quute would be reasonably expected to recognise. (And gill-breathers are seemingly rare - though the Phibians probably are.)

In 'The Way Back' the date for Blake's alleged molestation of the children is given as 52.6.8 (see the Sevenopedia). This would be compatible with 'Traitor' - the Fletch expedition would thus have early in the General's military career.

As Blake and his companions spend several months on the 'London' it appears that the events of Blake's Seven can be dated to the mid-350s of the Second Calendar. Given the apparently rapid re-expansion of the Federation after the Andromedan War it is unlikely that a Third Calendar was initiated, as there would be sufficient continuity between the two Federation regimes.

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Last changed on 21st of March 2003