Story: Tony Attwood provides a concise, episode-by-episode breakdown of the BBC’s most underrated (and underbudgeted) science fiction series, Blake’s 7 (1978-1981). In addition to the customary cast listings and plot synopses, there are also brief interviews with cast members Paul Darrow, Michael Keating and Peter Tuddenham, script editor Chris Boucher and producer Vere Lorrimer. The late Terry Nation, creator of the series, also wrote the book’s original 1982 foreword about the genesis of his ideas.
Review: Still the only BBC-endorsed official guide to Blake’s 7, The Programme Guide is handy not only for its chronicle of the show’s 52 produced episodes, but its very brief interviews with the show’s cast and crew.
I’ve been a harsh critic of Attwood’s Blake follow-up novel, “Afterlife”, and despite his having contacted me since then to tell me that “Afterlife” was written from unrealized plans for an unproduced fifth year of Blake’s 7, I still stand by that opinion. But his guide to the show is enjoyable precisely because it doesn’t just stop with the show itself. Ironically, one of the most useful chapters in the book details the fates of the main characters – so far as we know them – for the benefit of any budding authors waiting to write further adventures of Avon and the crew. (Attwood didn’t necessary follow his own advice when he wrote his own book, but to each his own.)
Hopefully, if Paul Darrow’s plans to produce a revival movie or two come to fruition, Attwood will have the chance to revise and re-release the book; it’s a bit startling that no one thought of this in the wake of the two 1998 radio plays, actually.
Author: Tony Attwood
Publisher: Target (later reprinted by Virgin)
Pages: 192 pages