If you’re familiar at all with my reviews of the region 2 DVDs of the BBC late ’70s/early ’80s sci-fi series Blake’s 7, you know that the bonus stuff on those is scattershot at best. Kevin Davies, the guy behind the brilliant More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS documentary aired in 1993 (as well as the documentary on the Hitchhiker’s Guide TV series DVDs), had a documentary ready to go for these DVDs, but it was nixed by the new rights-holders to the Blake’s 7 property, with rumors abounding that the Davies documentary reveled too much in the show’s legendary campiness for the tastes of the new owners of the copyright, who were wanting to retool it into a gritty, dark space opera. (In 5+ years, they’ve only managed to turn out some audio dramas, but that’s neither here nor there.) Davies’ work never saw the light of day, and the DVDs had odd assortments of extras that were probably of interest only to the diehards.
Little did I know that the BBC would later turn around and produce its own documentary that would’ve been perfect. I got my hands on a 2006 documentary called “The Cult of Blake’s 7”, which encapsulated the entire series, in half an hour, about as perfectly as anyone could, while interviewing most of the surviving key players you could possibly want to hear from (though Jan “Cally” Chappell was conspicuous by her absence). The show was irreverent, but never mocking – which is a very fine line to walk when you’re dealing with something that went to the excesses that Blake’s 7 sometimes went to. (The degree to which it’s become fashionable to make fun of B7 today really surprises me sometimes, so it’s admirable that the producers stayed this side of outright mockery.) Clips and snippets appear between the interviews, often hilariously appropriate to what’s being discussed. As the documentary was made for widescreen, it’s really startling to see how well many of the clips reframe in 16:9! The whole thing is narrated by Robert “Kryten” Llewellyn of Red Dwarf fame.
Anyway, it’s sad that this came along too late for inclusion on the final season’s DVD set, and even sadder that Kevin Davies’ project seems destined to languish in obscurity. (I’ve never quite worked up the sheer amount of gumption involved to e-mail him and say “Could I get a look at what you did have ready?” and I keep holding out hope that it might be released on its own someday, or just put on YouTube. I’d just like to see it. But in the meantime, this’ll do – I felt it did my favorite ’70s SF series justice.
I’ll be back soon to blog about More Things That Only I Care About. 😆