Tuesday 21 December 2021

How Blake's 7 ruined Christmas 1981

It's the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Forty years ago, the finale of Terry Nation's Blake’s 7 ruined Christmas and traumatised a generation of fans (myself included). It would be left to Santa to save the big day, which he did with bounty from a galaxy far, far away...

Witnessing a battle-scarred Blake (brilliantly played by the late Gareth Thomas), seemingly betraying his former allies a la Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, left a younger cousin unable to eat their Fish & Chip supper (I had warned an aunt and preemptively set a timer recording on the new Panasonic VCR at home).

As for myself, it was an exciting, shocking and scary conclusion to a beloved sci-fi series synonymous with the early years of rehabilitation in the wake of a life-changing childhood injury. The final, fatalistic, image of Avon (Paul Darrow), surrounded by Federation troopers, became an unforgettable ghost of Christmas past.

Years later, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would achieve a similar feat.

Talk of Blake's 7 reboots has percolated for years. Microsoft purportedly planned to bring it to Xbox!

A new generation of fans can watch Blake's 7 ill-fated rebels on BritBox. Grahame Robertson's love letter to his favourite series, Blake's 7 Annual 1982, continues to raise money for charity. Now, that's a legacy worth celebrating halfway out of the dark.

Blake's 7 is available to stream exclusively on BritBox.

What are your Blake's 7 memories? Let me know in the comments below.

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