After creating the Daleks for Doctor Who, Terry Nation crafted what could be the greatest TV science fiction series ever, Blake’s 7. Set in a future where a galactic Federation holds the population of Earth in a drug-induced stupor, the program followed the exploits of a revolutionary rebel group tearing down the system of control. Sadly, Blake’s 7 is all but unknown in the US due to the fact that it was rarely shown on TV and rights issues are still preventing a DVD release in our region. The program is somewhat dated and showcases several fashion disasters that often make it look like a second cousin to Doctor Who, but it remains a cult favorite and one of the best sci-fi TV programs I have ever seen.
Since its 4 year run ended, there have been numerous attempts to revive the concept either as a continuation or as a complete do-over. Most recently Big Finish assembled a strong cast in retelling several of the iconic Blake’s 7 adventures via their audio series (highly recommended). Starring Derek Riddell as Blake and Colin Salmon as Kerr Avon, the series was very well done, modernized just enough to make it interesting and new without insulting the source material. There were plans to develop the program for TV which had many fans excited, but they all fell apart when SKY1 dropped the option.
However, there is finally news that should excite fans of the rebellion as Big Finish has received clearance to produce entirely new stories starring Nation’s characters, this time starring the original cast.
My second favorite British science-fiction series (regular readers will be able to instantly guess the first), Blake’s 7, is returning with its original actors! And the company bringing back this groundbreaking series is the one and only Big Finish Productions. Big Finish has been producing Doctor Who audio plays since 1999 and has, in recent years, also branched out to include the Stargateuniverse, Highlander, Dark Shadows and Sapphire and Steele as well as many other licensed and original productions. No word yet on when this stories take place in the series continuity and exactly which actors will be involved, but we will certainly bring you that information as soon as we hear about it. For now, here are all the details, straight from Big Finish’s website, along with links to pre-order:
Big Finish Productions is thrilled to announce that it has signed a licence deal with B7 Enterprises to produce original audiobooks and novels based on Terry Nation’s popular science fiction series Blake’s 7.
Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles will be launching in Spring 2012 on CD and download, and will be performed by the original stars of the TV series. Each box set will contain three discs, with each disc comprising a separate adventure performed by two of the show’s stars. There will be two box set releases each year.
The Blake’s 7 original novels will be released in hardback editions, each of approximately 60,000 words. There will be two novels per year – thus ensuring there’s a new Blake’s 7 release every three months!
Jason Haigh-Ellery, executive producer of Big Finish, says: “As a huge fan of Blake’s 7, it is a series that I have always wanted Big Finish to be involved with – and now we have the chance due to a ground breaking agreement with B7 Enterprises. It’s something that Andrew Mark Sewell and I have been discussing for several years and I am so pleased that we have come to an agreement.”
Nicholas Briggs, executive producer adds: “Blake’s 7 is something our listeners have been asking us to produce for ages, so I’m so pleased that we’re finally delivering!”
Andrew Mark Sewell, managing director of B7 Enterprises says: “We’ve long been an admirer of the audio dramas produced by Big Finish and are delighted that they will be lending their considerable talents to recapturing the spirit of the classic Blake’s 7 series with a series of new novels and audio plays. Even though thirty years has passed since the original television series ended, we’re sure that these new novels and audio stories will recapture the magic of Terry Nation’s original creation and reignite people’s passion for this seminal show.”
The audio series will be produced by David Richardson, while Xanna Eve Chown is books editor.
“I have two loves in science fiction,” says David, “and they are Doctor Who and Blake’s 7. And now I get to produce both on audio! I couldn’t be happier.”
“The Liberator Chronicles will be a series of exciting, character-driven tales that remain true to the original TV series. We’re aiming for authenticity – recreating the wonder of 1978 all over again!”
Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles launches in February 2012 and is available for pre-order at bigfinish.com.
Blake’s 7: The Novels launch in May 2012 and are available for pre-order at bigfinish.com.
A year-long subscription offer to the Blake’s 7 range is also available.