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The Blake's 7 series of television and audio stories has several connections to the Doctor Who universe, and the two also share some behind-the-scenes commonalities.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Cast and crew connections[edit | edit source]

Blake's 7 was a dystopian science fiction series produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation at BBC Television Centre from 1978 to 1981. Since it was produced essentially "next door" to Doctor Who, the shows shared many cast and crew members. Perhaps the most notable connection is that Blake's 7 was created and often written by Terry Nation, a frequent Doctor Who writer who invented the Daleks. Paul Darrow, Michael Keating, Jacqueline Pearce, Peter Tuddenham and Brian Croucher, who all had starring roles in Blake's 7, have appeared as guest stars on Doctor Who. Notable guest stars on Blake's 7 included Robert Beatty, Leslie Schofield, Brian Blessed, Pamela Salem, Deep Roy, Peter Miles, Peter Craze, John Leeson, David Bailie, Julian Glover, John Bennett, Brian Miller, Jane Sherwin, Morris Barry, John Abineri, Kevin Stoney, Tom Chadbon, Aubrey Woods, Denis Carey, Bruce Purchase, Richard Franklin, Michael Sheard, Michael Gough, Colin Baker, Valentine Dyall, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Stewart Bevan, Lynda Bellingham, Richard Hurndall and David Collings.

Michael E. Briant, Pennant Roberts, Douglas Camfield, George Spenton-Foster, Derek Martinus, Gerald Blake, Andrew Morgan, Fiona Cumming, Mary Ridge and Viktors Ritelis were among the directors, and Chris Boucher was the script editor. Robert Holmes also contributed four scripts to the series.

David Maloney produced the first three series and Dudley Simpson exclusively scored it. Most of the other departments also had significant connections to Doctor Who, as well. Ken Ledsham and Roger Murray-Leach were amongst its production designers. Its costume designers included Barbara Kidd and June Hudson. Sheelagh Wells was a make-up designer, while Peter Chapman was a major force in the camera department, and Brian Clemett was the main person providing studio lighting.

Many actors from the Blake's 7 television series, such as Sally Knyvette, David Jackson, Jan Chappell, Stephen Greif, Steven Pacey and Josette Simon, have since appeared in Big Finish Productions' Doctor Who audio stories. In 2011, Big Finish obtained the Blake's 7 license and began recording full-cast audio dramas. This has encompassed 12 three-story volumes of The Liberator Chronicles, released from 2012 to 2016, and five series of The Classic Adventures.

Crossovers with the Doctor Who universe[edit | edit source]

The cumulative effect of the substantial behind-the-scenes crossover between Blake's 7 and late 1970s Doctor Who is that the shows look and feel very similar, almost to the extent that one could believe the two series are set in different parts of the same universe. Multiple sets and props were reused between the two shows: notably, the creature in the series D episode Rescue was a modified Sea Devil costume, and Federation trooper helmets appeared in Frontios.

At least twice during the televised run, writers and actors of Blake's 7 adopted this perspective explicitly: Terry Nation briefly advocated for the Daleks to appear as the major extra-galactic invading force at the end of Season B, and Tom Baker and Gareth Thomas, who played Roj Blake, thought it would be amusing for their characters to meet for a few seconds in a hallway on either show. However, both times the proposed connections were overruled by the producer and script editor.[1]

It was only after Blake's 7 and Doctor Who each went off-air that crossovers between the series began to appear in non-televised DWU fiction. The Terran Federation was mentioned in the Doctor Who Magazine comic Pureblood and John Peel's 1993 novelisation of The Evil of the Daleks, the gene-weapon-wielding Darklings of 61 Cygni were referenced in 1994's First Frontier, and Bernice Summerfield referenced a terrorist group called Blake's 7 in the 2000 Bernice Summerfield story The Dead Men Diaries. Additionally, the Blake's 7 planet of Gauda Prime was mentioned in the Tenth Doctor novel Prisoner of the Daleks.

The most substantial crossover began in 1999 when BBC Books released the Fourth Doctor novel Corpse Marker. It was written by Chris Boucher, author of three serials in Doctor Who season 14 and 15 and script editor of Blake's 7, as a sequel to his television serial The Robots of Death; however, it also featured the psychostrategist Carnell, who had first appeared in his Blake's 7 episode Weapon. The novel indicated that the character settled in Kaldor City two years after he first went on the run from the Federation, which would have followed his failure in Weapon.

Carnell's story continued in Magic Bullet Productions' Kaldor City series of audio stories, which featured many further references to Blake's 7 including the Butcher of Zircaster and Herculaneum alloy. Most notably, the series character Kaston Iago was played by Paul Darrow and was repeatedly hinted to be Darrow's character from Blake's 7, Kerr Avon, going under an assumed name to escape the authorities. This identification has never been made explicit by Magic Bullet Productions; however, in the story Metafiction, Iago's description of his life before arriving on Kaldor mirrored the events of the Blake's 7 television series point for point, including lines explicitly designed to address discrepancies or plot holes in the original episodes.

Other information[edit | edit source]

  • Lance Parkin dedicated a section of AHistory to discussing when in the Doctor Who timeline Blake's 7 could be set. The only hint at the rough time setting of Blake's 7 is in the episode Killer, where the first human vessel sent to deep space is said to have been launched 700 years ago, and in promotional materials which said a galactic nuclear war had taken place a few centuries prior. This nearly aligns with a 28th or 29th century setting for Blake's 7, with the atomic apocalypse being the Second Dalek War. Parkin notes that the Sixth Doctor audio story Three's a Crowd, set in the 29th century, mentions a Federation and uses Blake's 7 teleport sound effects, and the Terran Federation vaguely resembles the Earth Empire which was seen to govern Earth in that era in The Mutants and other stories.

External links[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

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