Story: Noted SF historian (and Doctor Who scholar) Adrian Rigelsford traces the brief but eventful history of the BBC’s other serious SFTV staple, Blake’s 7, from Terry Nation’s original (and somewhat hastily-conceived) pitch for the show through the production of the final episode. Brief episode synopses and cast lists follow a detailed examination of each season’s most momentous production events, and a special section at the end of the book focuses on merchandise and fandom. Features a foreword by series creator Terry Nation, who died two years later.
Review: It’s hard to compare with Sheelagh Wells and Joe Nazarro’s “Blake’s 7: The Inside Story”, but Adrian Rigelsford manages to come up with a nice companion volume to that nearly-definitive book. Wells and Nazarro leaned heavily on interviews with cast and crew, and many an unpublished photograph; in Rigelsford’s case, he had access to the BBC’s archives, loaded with photos, filming and studio filming recording dates, and all sorts of obscure facts that only a fan could love. While most of the photos are those that have been seen many times before, they’re sometimes presented as a spot-color background to the text, and most of the time they don’t cause any legibility problems (most) of the time).
Some of Rigelsford’s fanboy-fact-finding expedition yields some real gems – perhaps the biggest surprise in the book is that mention that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis tried out for the part of Dayna, a new regular character introduced in the third season. (I just can’t see Sirtis in that role – physical differences from Josette Simon aside, I just can’t imagine Sirtis essaying that character!)
Together, the two books are just about as definitive a behind-the-scenes history of Blake’s 7 as you could ask for.
Author: Adrian Rigelsford
Pages: 95 pages