With Terry Nation’s most famous creations, the Daleks, returning to TV in Doctor Who next weekend, Syfy have chosen just the right moment to announce that they’re developing a US revamp of the writer’s fondly-remembered sci-fi drama Blake’s 7.
In a statement, the network said: “Syfy will develop the cult UK classic adventure-sci-fi series Blake’s 7, teaming with Georgeville Television and producer Marc Rosen.”
The gritty BBC1 show, which Nation described as “the Dirty Dozen in space”, ran for four series in Britain from 1978-1981. It chronicled the adventures of Roj Blake, a political dissident who escaped from an intergalactic prison, stole an abandoned space ship and lead a posse of ragamuffins on a mission across the galaxy.
Despite its pitiful budget and sub-Pertwee era Doctor Who special effects, the show was hugely popular in its day and famously signed off with one of the most depressing finales in TV history. Blake and the rest of the show’s characters were gunned down on camera.
Plans are now afoot to re-launch the show in the States, and Syfy have drafted in Casino Royale director Martin Campbell to oversee a pilot episode of the show based on script by Heroes screenwriter Joe Pokaski, which, if the network likes what it sees, will lead to a full 13-episode series.
Fans of the original are predictably up in arms about the re-boot, worrying about what sort of job Syfy might do with the show. One the one hand, it might be an insult to the show’s memory, like the 2009 remake of The Prisoner was to its source material, but on the other it may prove to be a similar success to Battlestar Galactica, another ‘70s sci-fi TV series which was re-imagined to great acclaim in 2004.
Here’s a video refresher on Blake’s 7, for the non-readers out there.
Cult of Blake’s 7