Blake's 7 was the hit BBC space opera launched in the wake of Star Wars, though with a grittier sensibility and produced on a fraction of the budget. Over 13 episodes the first series introduced freedom-fighter Blake (Gareth Thomas) as he escaped from the Orwellian Federation, gathered a crew of low-life rebels, salvaged an alien starship called the Liberator, and began striking back against the forces of Supreme Commander Servalan (sultry Jacqueline Pearce). The effects were cheap, and alien planets were represented by a disused quarry or an industrial complex, but the strong characters and cynical storylines created by Doctor Who veteran Terry Nation remain involving.
The perfect foil for Blake was Paul Darrow's Avon, a near psychopathic criminal mastermind who only fought to save his skin. The cowardly Vila (Michael Keating) was almost as memorable, while the female leads were Jenna (Sally Knyvette), a smuggler and pilot, and determined Auron telepath Cally (Jan Chappell). Also on board was Gan (David Jackson), inhibited from violence by a brain implant. With even the good guys being criminals, including murderers, this was a galaxy far, far away from previous screen space opera. Though undeniably dated, the show is still vintage TV SF, right from the opening three-parter "The Way Back / Spacefall / Cygnus Alpha" to the cliff-hanging shocker "Orac", which introduces the final member of the un-magnificent seven.
On the DVD: Blake's 7, Series 1 presents the 13 episodes across five DVDs so as to maximise picture quality. Following the BBC's Doctor Who DVDs the 4:3 images are as strong as one could expect from a 1970s TV show shot partly on video (interiors) and 16 mm film (exteriors). Film shots have some grain and vary considerably in quality while the video material shows occasional minor tearing and flaws in the tape. Otherwise these are as good as Blake's 7 is ever going to look. The same is true of the mono sound, which is clear and undistorted.
Each DVD is introduced with a CGI reincarnation of the series' famous logo and three episodes are offered with a commentary. These are "Spacefall" (Sally Knyvette, Michael Keating and producer David Maloney), "Seek-Locate-Destroy" (Keating, Jacqueline Pearce and Stephen Greif) and "Project Avalon" (Knyvette, Pearce and Greif). The chat ranges from high-school reunion playfulness, including singing the title music, to some more serious insights into making the show, to an amusing running debate as to whether Glynis Barber appears in "Project Avalon". Other extras are "2 out takes, a missing scene, 1 robot, 2 flat feet and a blooper". These are exactly what they say: an extract from Blue Peter in 1978 with Lesley Judd making a Blake's 7 bracelet; nine clip compilations introducing the main characters; a synopsis for each episode; and a trailer for the Series 2 DVDs.
The Way Back
Mission To Destiny
Contains all the episodes from Series 2 of Blakes 7:
Voice from the Past
Total Running Time: 620 minutes
Region Code: 2
In a future time The Federation is the law and must be obeyed by everyone. One man, Blake, wants to remain free. Featuring all thirteen episodes: 'Aftermath', 'Powerplay', 'Volcano', 'Dawn Of The Gods', 'Harvest Of Kairos', 'City At The Edge Of The World', 'Children Of Auron', 'Rumours Of Death', 'Sarcophagus', 'Ultraworld', 'Moloch', 'Death-Watch' and 'Terminal'.
Intergalatic adventure with an interplanetary resistance group battling for survival against a totalitarian super-power. Roaming a universe of boundless space and restrictive discipline, freedom-fighter Blake, with the crew of the spaceship Liberator, is locked in combat with the all-powerful forces of the Federation.
Containing all thirteen episodes from the fourth series:
Features all thirteen episodes from the fourth and final series of the television space drama.
*Only a bit more expensive at Play, if you prefer, but everywhere else is considerably more expensive