Zur Einführung sowie zu den Episoden „The Way Back“ und „Spacefall“ (Series A, episode 1 & episode 2):
Über Terry Nation, den Erfinder der Daleks, sowie Macher von “Survivors” und“Blake’s 7” – und ein wenig der Grund, warum ich viele seiner Geschichten und Dystopien mag:
One of the most misunderstood descriptions often applied to Terry Nation is the term ‘hack writer.’ A hack, simply put, is a writer who produces fiction with a view to making a living rather than art; unfortunately, in recent years, the term has also come to designate writers whose style is poor and whose stories are cynically-written. However, hack writing also makes for a good deal of discipline, an engaging prose style and an ability to present complex themes plainly and succinctly; Dickens, Hemingway and Heinlein were all hack writers. While Nation may not have been a Dickens or a Hemingway, it is no insult to call him a hack, and indeed, being able to work in this manner was one of his greatest strengths. Nation, furthermore, was a politically astute hack. He was intrigued by the themes of fascism, collaboration, evil and the depths to which humans can sink in the name of greed and self-aggrandizement. He was also fascinated by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, three novels whose themes of totalitarianism, resistance, class conflict and mind alteration would have a strong influence on Blake’s 7 as they did on his Doctor Who stories. In the early 1970s, Nation had developed a programme, Survivors, about an Earth where nine-tenths of the population have been wiped out by a plague, in which he had hoped to explore these themes in greater detail; however, producer Terence Dudley had increasingly steered the series in a different direction, aiming for more action-oriented scripts and fewer social dramas. This caused a bitter falling-out between Nation and Dudley, and the two were never reconciled. In 1975, with Dudley having effectively taken over Survivors, Nation pitched several ideas for new series to the BBC. Most of his proposed scenarios were police dramas, but the one that attracted the attention of Ronnie Marsh, the Head of Drama Series (at the time, BBC Drama was split into three sections: Plays, Serials and Series) was a space opera with the provisional title Blake’s 7.
Über die Grundidee:
The idea, furthermore, of a group of villains as the protagonists is more than a bit of a deviation from the norm of space opera. Although the alien-invasion storyline was soon (by 30 April 1976) abandoned in favour of the more familiar storyline of an ordinary man named Rog (later Roj) Blake discovering that he was once a rebel against the oppressive Federation, Nation was obviously hoping that Blake’s 7 would be what Survivors was not: a means of telling a deep, serious story with political overtones, through the familiar, enjoyable format of a space opera.
Über Chris Boucher, ein Name, den man sich merken sollte:
Holmes had declined, but suggested his protégé Boucher instead; Boucher, under Holmes’s influence, had written two acclaimed serials for Doctor Who (and would later write a third) and showed a good deal of depth and intelligence as a writer. Furthermore, Boucher’s philosophy of scriptwriting is, in his words, to ‘make the audience work,’ preferring complex scripts in which the ideas are not all spelled out to the viewer, but can be discerned from careful observation of the characters and plot.
Über Vertragsbedingungen für die Schauspieler:
The series was originally slated to run for 26 episodes, split into two blocks of 13. The cast were initially contracted with options on the BBC side, which meant that the BBC could let any cast member go at any point, but that they could not leave without the BBC’s consent. A fixed fee was also included in the contract, to ensure that if one actor became particularly popular, they could not use this as a bargaining chip.
Vorstellung der Grundcharaktere:
Originally, ‘Blake’s 7’ were indeed to have been Blake plus seven others; as well as Avon, Gan, Vila and Jenna, the regulars would have included Tone Selman, Brell Kline and Arco Trent. (…) was originally called Cral Travis (…)
Cally was a late addition to the team, intended to balance out the gender mix of the regulars; she was explicitly described as being like an Israeli terrorist girl in early drafts of “Time Squad” (and there appear to have been elements of Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who creation Leela, a plainly-spoken primitive warrior woman who was herself named after a female Palestinian hijacker called Leila Khaled, and Kali, the Hindu goddess of death, in the mix as well).
Avon as he appears in the series – a self-interested, ruthless, ambitious figure with a certain sort of leadership quality – is an amalgam of two antagonistic figures in the original draft scripts: Arco, who plots against Blake but develops a grudging respect for him after Blake saves his life, and Avon, a self-serving, treacherous coward who follows Arco.
Über Boucher / Avon und wie Schauspieler ihre Charaktere formen:
Boucher appears to have had a good deal of input into the characterisation of Avon in particular. (He is on record as saying: ‘There was not a line of Avon’s on which I did not have some form of influence’.) Vila also changes somewhat over the course of the series as transmitted: originally he seems to have been thought of as a slippery, devious character with a harder edge, as evidenced by his portrayal in “The Way Back” and “Breakdown”. (Brian Croucher, who later was to be cast as Travis for the second season of Blake’s 7, was originally considered for the part.) Later, prompted perhaps by Keating’s style of performance, this ambiguous edge softens and Vila becomes more solidly a humorous figure.
Über Statisten und Geldmangel:
the lack of budget at this stage means that extras were frequently re-used: in “The Way Back”, the men wandering in the corridors of the dome are all later to be seen in prison cells and awaiting transportation, and then, a scene later, are back in the dome.)
Über Avons Bruder und das Verhältnis Avon/Blake:
He may have disappeared in such a way that his death is fairly assured (as is common in totalitarian states), or to such a degree that Avon does not know where to start looking for him; we do not know. One way or another, we do know that Avon is strongly attached to the memory of a brother whom he cannot contact. This gives a strong clue to the nature of Avon’s obsession with Blake; the love-hate nature of their relationship suggests that Blake may, for Avon, be a substitute for the vanished sibling, for whom he feels love but also, possibly, anger arising from his disappearance.