Gareth Thomas and Tom Baker always wanted to do a cross-over between Doctor Who (1963) and Blake's 7 (with the two heroes passing each other in a corridor, exchanging greetings) but this was vetoed by producers of both series. Indeed the invasion from Andromeda at the end of the second season was originally going to be invasion by Doctor Who's Daleks, also created by Terry Nation.
Scaramanga's huge laser gun from the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) was one of many props bought from Pinewood Studios by the BBC, and appears here in the early episodes of Blake's 7 as the main console of the prison ship London.
Gareth Thomas revealed in The Cult of...: Blake's 7 (2006) that he became disillusioned with some aspects of the series, in particular what he regarded as its move away from science fiction and into science fantasy. When he asked if he could direct a couple of episodes and this was refused by the BBC, he decided to leave. The BBC offered to raise his salary, but he wasn't interested.
The revival of "Blake's 7" has been mooted for some years. Terry Nation raised the possibility on a number of occasions and proposed that a new series would be set some years after the existing one. Avon, living in exile like Napoleon on Elba, would be persuaded by a new group of rebels to resume the fight against the Federation.
The series was originally to have ended with the climax to the third season. However, the BBC One Controller of that time, Bill Cotton, was so impressed by the quality of the series that he had the continuity announcer declare that Blake's 7 would return for a new series the following year, which caused some surprise amongst the cast and crew. Chief of the problems this caused was that producer David Maloney had become producer on The Day of the Triffids (1981), meaning that a new producer was needed for the show. After Terence Dudley turned the job down due to his intending to retire, Vere Lorrimer was made producer.
David Jackson was not upset that Gan would die because Jackson was given little to do in many episodes. According to Chris Boucher, Jackson once passed him a note with the word 'four' written on it. When Boucher queried the note, Jackson explained that 'four' was the number of lines he had in that week's script. It was originally intended that Gan would be killed by a double agent who would then join the Liberator crew as a Federation spy.
Sally Knyvette left the show after the second series to an English and drama degree at the University of London. She was unhappy how Jenna "started off as this really exciting, intergalactic space pirate, but then she became a sort of housewife on the Liberator"
During a writer's strike Paul Darrow wrote an episode script for series D in which the crew desert Avon, marooning him, concentrated on Vila being more heroic than he had been for that series and also be the one who saves Avon by convincing the others to go back for him. Chris Boucher said no.
Producer Vere Lorrimer had thought Babyan the Butcher, the main antagonist of Blakes 7: City at the Edge of the World (1980) was the villain's villain and had directed The Brothers (1972), in which 'Colin Baker (I)''s character was the antagonist. He rang Baker and offered Baker the role of Bayban the Butcher. Baker agreed to take the role.
Series 3 had been wrongly been assumed by fans, viewers, the cast and crew to be the final season, ending with the destruction of The Liberator and the crew stranded on Terminal. However, during the closing credits of Blakes 7: Terminal (1980), a voiceover announced that the series would return the following year, which came as a real surprise to the cast and the crew.
The series was inspired by a range of fictional media including "Passage to Marseille", The Dirty Dozen (1967), "Robin Hood", "Brave New World", Star Trek (1966), classic Westerns and real-world political conflicts in South American and Israel.
A disappointed viewer sent negative feedback on the ending of Blake's 7, feeling the series should had a happier ending, than a violent ending and Producer Vere Lorrimer stated that he had wanted to set up the biggest cliffhanger ever and wanted it to be unexpected and that he wanted to shock the dedicated fans and viewers with the deaths of these characters they liked and it was agreed that Blake had to die and it was not very violent. No blood was seen on Vila, Dayna, Soolin and Tarrant and they all die in dream-like slow motion sequences and Vere Lorrimer wanted to leave it open for a possible revival.
Terry Nation never considered bringing back Dev Tarrant (Played by Jeremy Wilkin in Blakes 7: The Way Back (1978)) The Federation Security officer who arranged the massacre of the rebels and appeared at the end of Blake's trial. If Nation had brought back Dev Tarrant, it would had seen Blake go after Tarrant and settle a score with the Federation Security agent.
Stephen Greif didn't return as Travis in Series 2 and was replaced by Brian Croucher. He had torn an Achilles tendon while playing squash during the filming of the first series and had left to pursue other roles. He also found the character's trying and failing to kill Blake repetitious.
In April 2000, producer Andrew Mark Sewell announced that he had bought the rights to "Blake's 7" from the estate of Terry Nation and was planning to produce a TV movie set 20 years after the finale of the original series. In July 2003, Sewell announced that he, Paul Darrow and Simon Moorhead had formed a consortium called "B7 Enterprises" that had acquired the rights and was planning a TV miniseries budgeted at between five and six million US dollars. Darrow would play Avon and the series was to be televised in early 2005, depending on "...many factors, not least financing". Paul Darrow subsequently left the project in December 2003, citing "artistic differences".
Paul Darrow was notorious for breaking props. He broke every single gun he was handed, and the props department got so frustrated they made him one with an aluminium core so he couldn't break it. This was later stolen.
Paul Darrow resisted attempts to soften Avon's character, as he believed that it was Avon's anti-heroic qualities that appealed to viewers. He was also sceptical of the idea of Avon searching for Blake, considering Avon's oft-stated aim of taking control of the Liberator.
Jacqueline Pearce had fallen ill and was hospitalised shortly after Series Three had finished recording. Believing that Pearce may not be available, a new female villain - Commissioner Sleer - was devised. When Pearce indicated her availability for the series, Sleer became Servalan's pseudonym, Servalan being considered dead by the Federation's new regime.
Pip Baker and Jane Baker wrote an unmade episode for the Second Season called "Death Squad", in which Blake, Gan and Jenna would infiltrate a Federation facility attempting to create 'super-soldiers' by administering drugs to humans, leading to Blake and Gan becoming exposed to the drugs and Jenna being held by Servalan as an inducement for the scientist behind the plan. This was scrapped ostensibly on cost grounds, although Chris Boucher had concerns about the quality of the script.
The Legend of Robin Hood was one of the influences behind the series. In English mythology, Robin Hood was a thief and archer whom led a band of outlaws against the evil Prince John and the cruel and corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham by stealing from the rich and giving their loot to the poor, whom the Sheriff and Prince John committed acts of injustice upon. In a possible future reboot of the series, 1 episode could end with Blake and the Liberator crew being told about the Robin Hood legend and that they are reminded of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
In Blakes 7: Death-Watch (1980), Dayna quotes "The electronic warriors strike again". Two years later, TRON (1982) was released and was about electronic warriors fighting each other to the death as gladiators in video games. In the same episode, Deeta Tarrant competes in a gladiatorial ceremony, which interplanetary feuds are settled, by having combatants fight each other to the death in a duel.
An episode never thought of by Terry Nation or the writers, that would happen in Series 1 or 2, would had followed Blake as he set out to settle a score with Terran Security Officer Dev Tarrant (Jeremy Wilkin returning in the role).
An episode not thought by Terry Nation or the writers, which would had happened in Series 2 or 3, would had seen Cally fall in love with another telepath, whom is a lone survivor of a attacked spaceship.
An episode not thought of by Terry Nation or the writers which would had happened in Series 3 or 4 would had followed Avon whom is poisoned by an assassin working for Servalan and doing what it takes to foil Servalan's latest scheme, as well as finding an antidote.
The proposed characters for the series were: Rog (later changed to Roj) Blake, Vila Restal, Jenna Stannis, Kerr Avon, Olag Gan, Arco Trent, Tone Selman and Brell Klein. The descriptions of Blake, Jenna and Gan are similar to those of the developed characters. However, Vila's character is somewhat different, described as "thirty five, good looking athletic", he appears more similar to the popular fictional character Simon Templar than the Vila portrayed on screen. The Arco Trent character was described as a powerful figure in the Administration who had become a scapegoat for a group of corrupt officials involved in arms dealing. Arco would plot against Blake but would gain respect for Blake after Blake saves his life. Arco's sidekick would be Avon, a self-serving, treacherous coward. The characters of Selman and Klein did not appear in the pilot script, which noted that these characters would join the series in a later episode. The characters of Trent, Selman and Klein were removed from the series, although Trent and Selman appear as Blake's fellow prisoners and are then killed in the broadcast version of Blakes 7: Cygnus Alpha (1978). These characters were removed in order to control costs and to give the remaining characters more work. Avon acquired Arco Trent's scheming nature, while Vila, who now acquired the cowardly aspect originally planned for Avon.
Josette Simon did not look back on the show with fondness, believing that the showrunners took advantage of her naivety and lack of confidence to get her to play a "hot exotic warrior woman" part that she saw retrospectively as both sexually and racially demeaning.
For the opening titles, Terry Nation had originally envisaged a vast computer that would print out pictures of each of the characters; these would be deposited in a tray marked "Enemies of the State" before the appearance of the title caption.
During the final season, Vere Lorrimer wrote lyrics, titled Distant Star, for the series theme music with the notion that Steven Pacey would sing them over a new arrangement of the theme by Norrie Paramor. Pacey did not agree with this idea, and Dudley Simpson created a more lively arrangement of the theme for the closing titles.
SPOLER: The apparent massacre at the end of the final episode provoked a strong reaction from many viewers, who were upset to see their heroes meet a grisly fate. Chris Boucher believed that the date on which the final episode was broadcast - 21 December 1981 - was unfortunate, and has since described himself as "the man who killed Father Christmas".
Chris Boucher was inspired by Latin American revolutionaries, especially Zapata, in exploring Blake and his followers' motives and the consequences of their actions. This is most evident in Blakes 7: Star One (1979), in which Blake must confront the reality that in achieving his aim of overthrowing the Federation, he will unleash chaos and death for many innocent citizens.
It was originally intended that Cally would wear black contact lenses when she goes into an alien trance to make her look more alien, as well as having red skin and hair. These ideas were finally abandoned to reduce costs and save time.
Due the Sam Wanamaker, Save the Rose Theatre : press day (May 1989) , has several colloquial 'nicknames', two of which are 'RosieT', and the 'Bard's , _Blake's 7_ (1978) Unofficial reunion day' , due (with guest stars), over 10 featured actors/actresses attended.
Terry Nation wrote all 13 episodes of the first series. Providing a large amount of material in a short time would prove difficult for Nation. Admitting that he had agreed to write every episode out of "ego and supreme confidence", Nation later recalled that he returned home following the commission and told his wife, "I think I've got myself into deep trouble!". Nation informed Chris Boucher that he would only be able to deliver the first draft of each script, telling Boucher, "...you can have rewrites or you can have the next episode: which do you want?". As a result, while Nation created the plots, Boucher provided a great deal of input into the characters and dialogue. According to Boucher, "Terry came up with the characters, he came up with thirteen good stories, but he didn't come up with the dialogue. I remember saying, and I think it's pretty close to the truth, that for a long time, Paul Darrow [playing Avon] never spoke a line that I hadn't written or altered to make the lines sharper"
Space Commander Travis originally appeared in the first episode Blakes 7: The Way Back (1978). Originally named Cral Travis, he was the one who betrayed Blake's group to The Federation and would appear later on with a mechanical arm and eyepatch.
It has been claimed that Roger Murray-Leach based the general shape of the Liberator's main hull on that of a cordless microphone, adding the three nacelles to disguise its shape. This may have contributed to the common but apparently unfounded rumour in fandom that the Liberator was originally intended to face the other way, flying with its "engine" section (the business end of the original microphone) facing forward. Another story is that the domes were shaped to be reminiscent of a Persian mosque when the spacecraft was stood on end, thus enhancing its exotic appearance to western audiences.
The green globe that served as the Liberator's engine in the original production drawing was egg-shaped but was redesigned as a sphere because the power of the internal light that was used to make the engine pulsate would melt the globe if production staff left it on too long (which they often did), and a sphere was faster to reproduce than the egg shape.
In early 2000s. An unknown man called Daniel Williamson had written a re-telling of the final scene in Blakes 7: Blake (1981) for a online website dedicated to the series "Louise and Simon's Blake's 7 fan site". Williamson's retelling of the famous cliffhanger is featured in the episode guide on the website.
Four video compilations were released between 1985 and 1990, and the entire series was released on videocassette starting in 1991 and re-released in 1997. Subsequently released as four DVD boxed sets between 2003 and 2006.
If Blakes 7: Blake (1981) had not been the finale and a fourth season had happened. It is possible Avon may not had been killed and would had been taken prisoner by the Federation or survived the final shoot-out (Which several gunshots are heard during the final closing credits) and leaves Gauda Prime and recruits and forms a new band of rebel warriors and gains a new spaceship and continues the fight for freedom against the Terran Federation and vows to finish what Blake started.
An episode not thought of by Terry Nation or the writers which would happened in Series 3 and would had taken place shortly after Blakes 7: Powerplay (1980) and would had followed The Liberator crew as they set out to pick up Jenna, whom Orac has tracked down to a hospital facility on another planet, following the battle with the Andromeda invaders. Only to find Jenna is not on the planet and the hospital facility and The Liberator soon discover that something sinister is going on in the hospital facility.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Gareth Thomas made a final appearance as Blake, and insisted that his character be killed off in a definitive manner. Although the fourth series performed satisfactorily in the ratings, the series was not renewed for a fifth time and the final episode had an ambiguous finale. Except for Blake, whose death was contractual, the characters were shown being attacked in such a way that their survival would had been possible had a fifth series been commissioned.
The fate of Jenna Stannis was not revealed until Blakes 7: Blake (1981), when Jenna is mentioned by Blake, when Blake tells Tarrant that she had taught him to use a random flight program and had died self-destructing her ship, also destroying a number of other ships, while blockade running.
After the third season, Jan Chappell had become dissatisfied with the role of Cally. She was asked to reprise the role, first for six episodes, then three and finally one. She refused, but recorded a voiceover for Cally's death in Blakes 7: Rescue (1981).
At the end of the 2nd series, Gareth Thomas had decided to leave the series, so he could move on and do other acting roles. Terry Nation and David Maloney tried to work out a way on how the series could on without it's main character. It was decided that at the end of Series 2, which concluded with The Liberator standing alone against the Andromeda invasion fleet. Avon would assume command of The Liberator. However, Thomas would make a cameo in the Series 3 finale Blakes 7: Terminal (1980) and would reappear as Blake for the last time in the finale Blakes 7: Blake (1981), in which the character was killed off.
The mother of a upset younger viewer wrote to Peter Tuddenham (The voice of Zen) whom was devastated over the demise of Zen the Liberator computer in Blakes 7: Terminal (1980) and couldn't go to sleep and had written to ask the voice actor, if Zen was alright and the actor wrote back and assured that he was very much alive and that the character of Zen had indeed died.
Jan Chappell decided not to return as Cally in Series 4, as she had become dissatisfied with the role and had personal commitments. She was asked to reprise the role, first for six episodes, then three and finally one. She refused, but recorded a voiceover for Cally's death in Blakes 7: Rescue (1981).
The first proposal for the series' conclusion, titled Attack, involved Blake returning to lead an assault on the Federation on Earth, finally defeating them. This idea was rejected by Vere Lorrimer, who thought it "...would be like five men trying to defeat the German army". Influenced by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Wild Bunch (1969), Chris Boucher decided that concluding the series in a shoot-out would provide a more memorable ending.
Jenna and Vila were supposed to be killed off in _Star One_. Chris Boucher was aware that Gan's death earlier in the season had upset some viewers, so the decision was made to separate Blake and Jenna from the others. Vila was kept on due to his popularity with fans.