Blake's 7

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Name: Blake's 7
Abbreviation(s): B7
Creator: Terry Nation
Date(s): 1977-1981
Medium: tv series
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
External Links: IMDB Epguides
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Blake's 7 is a British television show created by Terry Nation. It takes place in a dystopic interplanetary empire of the future. It ran for four series (each of thirteen episodes) between 1977 and 1981 and, like Doctor Who (a show that it shares many writers, directors, producers and actors with), it was made with the BBC's usual production values for science-fiction shows at that time (low special-effects budgets, minimal sets, and most outdoor scenes filmed in one or two locations). However, like Who at its best, Blake's 7 had consistently sharp, political scripts (in part due to the work of script editor Chris Boucher), intriguing characters and strong acting.

The show's name is an obvious nod towards The Magnificent Seven[1] In early drafts of the script, Blake actually had seven allies (in addition to himself), but many of these characters were cut - nevertheless the name remained, with Blake now counting himself and the computer Zen to make up numbers. By the fourth series Blake himself had left and there were only five regular cast members.

Aside from Westerns and Doctor Who, Blake's 7 was influenced by Robin Hood imagery (although less than you might imagine), Star Trek and, to a lesser extent, Star Wars. Blake's 7 also strongly influenced and is referenced by several popular US sci-fi shows that followed it, most notably Farscape, Babylon 5 and Firefly (arguably Spike's chip in Buffy is also a nod to Gan's limiter).[2][3][4]

In the 1980s-1990s, Blake's 7 fandom was one of the largest gen or slash communities around, and (for example) merited its own categories in the Fan Q Awards. Blake's 7 began during the period after the original Star Trek and before the first Star Trek movie; hence its fandom participated in the normalization of many common fannish practices of today, for example the social history of slash and print zines. Like most pre-web fandoms, early B7 fanfic was sharply divided into slash, explicit het (referred to in contemporary zines as "adult"), and gen.

With the rise of the internet, it gained two mailing lists, Lysator and Space City (later Freedom City), all now largely inactive, and two major archives The Blake's 7 Library and Hip Deep in Heroes, before a small number of fans moved over to Livejournal. Horizon still operates a relatively popular message board, which is largely for discussion, rather than transformative-fanworks.

Sadly, the community declined during the 21st century. Blake's 7 fandom was small enough to be considered a Yuletide fandom [5] until 2013, primarily because the challenge rules were changed and the fandom's archived works were counted towards the total. However, it is also fair to say that there has also been an upsurge in Livejournal/Dreamwidth activity since 2013, with new and old fans writing fic, making art, vids and (particularly on Tumblr) gifs.

Rumours of a remake have been circulating for many years (most recently in 2013[6]), but no remake has yet been made, unless you count B7 Media's re-imagined Blake's 7 audio series[7] (2007). Big Finish have been making Blake's 7 audios (with the original cast) since early 2012, although neither this series, nor the B7 Media version have made a significant impact on transformative fandom.

Fan Viewpoints

The final episode, "Blake," caused such an uproar in the fandom that even today, thirty years on, fans are still working out Post Gauda Prime (PGP) stories of their own. One fan writes: "What drove me into fandom was the last episode; it wasn't enough. I wanted to see more, discuss it, read about it." [8]

One fan writes: "What I find compelling about B7: fallible heroes fighting against insurmountable odds; a cold, unreachable type as one of the leads; plots that go off at unpredictable angles; and most surprising for a continuing series, discernible change in the characters over time and most of it not for the better." [9]

In 1990, a fan explains the show to some Star Wars fans: "About B7, it is an incredibly complex show, and I do advise anyone who might give it a chance to start with #1 and proceed in order to #52. The characters are so intricate it is scary. I still haven't worked up the courage to attempt even a vignette on any of them. But I love watching to sift for new aspects and ideas. And if ANH is fun to rewatch for the foreshadowing of things in RDTJ, B7 is full of that. It was 4th season of the show that hooked me. I think I had chills when I went back to 1st season and saw anew where they began, knowing how far they would eventually go. It put everything into new light." [10]

Due partly to the fact that Blake's 7 also features a Federation (whose symbol is an obvious take-off of the Star Fleet insignia), Blake's 7 fans have also compared the show to Star Trek. For more information, see Blake's 7 and Star Trek.

Common Tropes in Fanworks

Sue Clerc collected numerous tropes in her 1993 essay, Recurring Themes in Blake's 7 Fan Fiction.

"Avon Ducked and Other Survival Tips"

The 1994 Lysator FAQ explains common post-Gauda Prime scenarios: "There are many, many ways to explain the survival of various characters. Fan fiction is rife with stories that let Our Heroes live to fight another day. Here's a brief list of some of the more common ploys, each of which has a myriad of variations. ... :

Avon ducked and the troopers killed each other in the crossfire.
Vila was shot in the back but fell the wrong way, ergo he wasn't shot.
Avon-and-Blake-set-all-this-up.
Servalan-set-all-this-up.
Orac-set-all-this-up.
Something-else-set-all-this-up.
It was the clone.
The Dallas version: the 4th season was all a dream.[11]

Dramatis Personae

the cast from the zine, The Measure of Affection
In order of appearance:

Seasons one and two:

In season three, Blake, Jenna, Gan, and Travis (B7 hewed to the British sexist/classist tradition that all women of whatever class and any working-class characters of any gender are referred to by their given name only) had all left the series one way or another. The two new characters in season three were:

By the beginning of season four, Cally and Zen had left the series, and were replaced (in Zen's case, a virtual replacement only) by another two new characters:

Cally's lack of surname had always been justified by her being "an alien": Soolin's lack of surname was never explained at all.

List of Pairings/Abbreviations

  • Blake/Avon (slash), referred to as "B/A" or "A/B"
  • Avon/Vila (slash), referred to as "A/V"
  • Avon/Tarrant (slash), referred to as "A/T"
  • Avon/Cally (het), referred to as "A/C" or sometimes "C/A." One fan writes: "I never saw [the Avon/Cally pairing] on the show, until I started watching Tashery Shannon and Gayle F.'s B7 songtapes. They mostly do B/A and A/C songs, and some of the clips they use for A/C finally work for me, at least taken correctly out of context"[12] and "Lots of C/A vids out there, Lots! But everyone must think Aurons are almost monogamous...she hardly ever gets another date--there must be 20 C/A's for every one C/T, and she never gets any body else. (B7 graffiti... Cally swings A/C--D/C.")[13]
  • Avon/Servalan (het), referred to as "A/S"

The list of other pairings in this ensemble show is long. Sandy Herrold once calculated that with:

12 major characters in B7 (Blake, Avon, Jenna, Cally, Vila, Tarrent, Dayna, Soolin, Servalan, Travis (leaving out Gan, since I've never seen him 'paired' in a songvid)) you have 61 possible pairings. So far, in my B7 vid watching, I have seen 19 pairings, so there's lots of possibilities left. I have seen: Blake/Avon, Blake/Jenna, Blake&Tarrant, Blake/Travis Avon/Blake. Avon/Jenna, Avon/Cally, Avon/Vila, Avon/Tarrant, Avon/Dayna, Avon/Soolin, Avon/Servalan, Jenna/Blake, Jenna/Avon Cally/Avon and a couple of Cally/Tarrant Vila/Avon, Vila/Tarrant, Vila/Dayna (1/4 of a single vid) Tarrant&Blake, Tarrant/Avon, Tarrant/Dayna, Tarrant/Soolin, Tarrent/Servalan Dayna/Avon, Dayna/Vila? Dayna/Tarrant Soolin/Avon, Soolin/Tarrant Servalan/Avon, Servalan/Tarrant, Servalan/Travis Travis/Blake, Travis/Servalan.[14]

Early Fandom and Distribution

The series was not broadcast in the US until the late 1980s, and video recorders were neither cheap nor common in the UK till after that time, so videotapes could not be shared. Fans in the US received tapes made by pointing a portable videocamera at the screen of the TV while it was broadcasting an episode. These camera copies were poor quality to begin with, and became poorer quality as they were copied and passed on. A joke circulating among American B7 fans after the series was broadcast in the US was "My tapes were so bad, I didn't realise Travis was played by two actors!"

Other fans would often put together videotape "recruitment" packages:
When setting out to hook a new victim into the B7 universe, Ann Wortham used to put together a "special gift" of a videotape that would start somewhere around STAR ONE, run about 6 episodes in sequence...and then run out in the middle of the seventh! This had the inevitable effect of sending the hapless recipient screaming to the telephone (usually in the middle of the night), demanding more episodes at the top of their lungs. Before the advent of all-B7 media fanzines, it also had the effect of sending them to their fanzine collections to dig up something--anything--in the way of a B7 story to read and temporarily satisfy their craving.[15]
The inability to access the show impacted fans across the world. In 1994, an Australian fan complained about the decline in fan clubs and the lack of reruns::
"How's life Down Under? Does Australia still have much of an active B7 fandom, or have things quited --oops--quieted down there much as they have in the US?

B7 fandom in Australia is pretty much in a doldrums, as far as organised clubs go. Liberator Australis died a while back. The only active club related to B7 is New Horizons, which is a British Media SF club - the same group of people who put out the Enarrare' zine....

The ABC (Australia's equivalent of the BBC) doesn't help, when they say they will *never* show B7 again, and _now_ they say they will *never* show Doctor Who again! Not that they were treating it with any respect by showing it at 4:30 am like they were doing last year! Grrrr. And if the ABC don't show it, I doubt any of the other stations will. I can't imagine any commercial station showing an old British SF show - the TV stations don't think much of SF....."[16]
On the other hand, the show often appeared in unusual times and places:
Re the exact running dates of B7 in Communist Bulgaria: I don't know the answer, but the way I learned about it was from a LOC to the old Federation Archives in which a B7 fan recounted the experience of being a tourist in Bulgaria, and (I think) walking around in a B7 T-shirt and having people come up to her on the streets to express their own enthusiasm for the show. So that would place it approximately in the late 80's, I should think.[17]

Participation in the Fandom by TPTB

The actors, writers and producers of "Blake's 7" were frequent guests at cons, wrote fanworks of their own, wrote intros to zines, and were very accessible to fans.

While many fans enjoyed this close contact with the celebrities, this close intermingling had some devastating effects. See The Blake's 7 Wars.

Terry Nation, the show's creator, stated in 1978 that he did not want to support zines or clubs that had a focus of something other than "Blake's 7." A reporting of correspondence in August 1978 between Nation and two fans in the UK:

[Carl Hiles]: Below is a reply to a letter I sent to Terry Nation asking for some information to print in future newsletters.

[Terry Nation]: Thank you for your letter. I think I should make it clear from the start that I do not want material about Blakes 7 to appear in magazines that are dedicated to other television series as in the case of your Star Trek club. There are a great many clubs starting up that are exclusively devoted to Blakes 7 and of course these have my first loyalty.
[Carl Hiles]: I have written to Terry Nation three times now asking for the names of some of these clubs and have had no reply yet. I have also written to Seveners, the only Blakes 7 club I know of. Carole Fairman, president has written that as far as she knows there are only 1½ Blakes 7 clubs. The other is something to do with Omicorn but run as a separate club. [18]

Some Examples of Fourth Wall Violations

  • The 1988 Blake's 7 Bootlegged Zines Discussion, Terry Nation got personally involved in a fan dispute
  • Avon: A Terrible Aspect is a 1989 fanfic by Paul Darrow
  • Terry Nation's Introduction, includes a 1989 introduction by Terry Nation to a fic: "I read the opening chapters and found myself intrigued and absorbed. I was hooked. I read on with growing fascination and ever-increasing questions. Where was the story going? What was happening here? Had Joe written himself into a corner from which there was no escape? How could he make sense of what seemed an impossibly contradictory plot? With the questions answered, the manuscript came to an abrupt end -- a cliff-hanger of classic proportions. Desperate to know what came next, I called Joe."
  • many contributions by the celebrities to Horizon Newsletter, including reading and judging their fic, poems, and essays; from comments by Paul Darrow in Horizon Newsletter #9 in 1983: "It is fascinating to read such erudite compositions, but extremely difficult to establish who should be first, etc. In the end, the winner came in by a distance. All the others, I felt, were of almost equal merit."
  • A Poem, Gareth Thomas read aloud a poem at the convention Gambit by a fan named Mary G.T. Webber. A fan recalls this: "[Gareth] said it was the best Blake poem he had ever read and then didn't he call the lady out and hug her or something? [19]
  • "Interview with a Monster" was a fan-written play starring Gareth Thomas. It was written by Teri White. Thomas declared that "Teri's play was closer to his own self than anything he'd ever done, and that performing it would be intensely difficult because it was, even more than acting usually is, laying his soul bare." [20]

Fanworks Overview

Several early Blake's 7 fan clubs sprang up in the UK during and immediately after the first season was broadcast (1977-1978), and one of them, Blake's 7 Appreciation Society [21] is still active thirty years later.

front cover of a reprint of The Epic
Fanfic was published in zines from 1977 onwards. An early post-1st season story, written not long after the first season ended and before the second season was broadcast, was simply titled The Epic as it was at the time (50,000 words) the longest B7 fan story ever published.

As with the original Doctor Who, B7 was broadcast "before the watershed" (before 8pm) and expected to be suitable for children, so episode scripts when televised could not include either explicit sex or swearing. Very early fanfic, written while the series was being broadcast, was in general expected by fan editors and publishers to correspond to BBC pre-watershed standards: though swearing might be permitted, even heterosexual relationships could not be explicitly sexual. Horizon began to produce "adult" fanzines, heterosexual relationships only (even an early reference to male/male rape was objected to) in the early 1980s, after the series was no longer being broadcast.

The very first online Blake's 7 fiction page was the website The Aquitar Files in early 1996.

Slash

Relations between the gen fandom and slash fandom varied over time. Unlike other fandoms of the time, many B7 zines had both gen and slash stories (especially many by Ashton Press). But because actor cons (see below for more info) were very common, gen fans often thought of the slash fans as an embarrassment. A quote from Paul Darrow, "Why is Gareth always raping me" was was frequently used by anti-slash fans to show how inappropriate the actors thought slash was, as well as blurring the line between the actor and the character.

In 2003, executive producer Andrew Sewell gave an interview in which he indicated he would do everything he could to root out slash fandom from Blake's 7 fandom. [22] "I think slash is distasteful. The actors that are represented do not appreciate it. And some produce this stuff on the web. I think it is bad taste. It has no reflection or bearing on what the show is and it is not a tribute to Terry Nation's legacy. I think it is an abomination. I think what is an abomination is the pornography. I have no problem with fan fiction, but I do have a problem with pornography. [23]

Asked what he planned to do, he said: "They will find out how I am going to clamp down on it. The moment you start doing something of an extremely dubious nature of the pornographic variety or for a commercial benefit without acquiring the rights, I and my partners will take a dim view of that."[24]

One fan's response to this 2003 saber-rattling:
On another note, I have noticed that there has been an anti-slash tirade by the new Blake's 7 brand owners. It strikes me that Blake's 7 has had the most anti-slash problems of any fandom, and in a brave-new-Internet-world in which slash sits happily side by side with het and gen fic in other fandoms (Buffy, Smallville and Pirates of the Caribbean are among many that spring to mind), this is saddening, and strangely old-fashioned. The anti-fandom comments coming from people actually trying to make money out of fans (who therefore should be keeping us sweet!) also seem misguided and (rather sadly) homophobic. I hope that it does not discourage anyone to post fic. In fact, in a spirit of defiance against the "rebranding" of our fave show, I hope that it encourages us to write and draw and vid and Photoshop more "abominations". And I rather hope the new owners of the brand read some fic, as over the years since B7 ended we've thought through every Post Gauda Prime scenario possible, and could save them a lot of time. [25]

In 2009, a fan Lillian Shepherd commented on Blake's 7 slash written while the show was on the air: "Certainly, most Blake's Seven fan fiction written in 1978-1981 was circulated on set. Oddly, the porn usually rose to the top, or so we were informed by David Jackson [the actor who portrayed Gan]." Another fan responded: "I'm not at all surprised the porn rose to the top and I'm happy to hear David Jackson admitted it. Of course, Mr. Darrow ordered it immediately delivered to his dressing room. (Oooh, sorry, that was evil)." Shepherd replied: "Read it! Hell, David wrote (or, to be more precise, taped) his own satiric R-rated fic, though I felt very privileged to hear the tape, as there were only a couple of copies, the original being made for the fan (Anne Harding) who he later married. The reason there was no B7 slash published in the UK until after the show finished was, in part, due to Pat Thomas promising Gareth Thomas that she wouldn't allow that kind of thing. You didn't cross Pat!" [26]

In 2015, Lillian Shepherd expanded on her previous comments and speculated on the relative lack of B7 in UK fandom:
The production and actors in a TV show might have an effect on the series fan fiction. The various fan clubs in B7 fandom were close to the show (the Liberator Popular Front's first act was to invite the whole cast to a party, and about half of them turned up) the director's secretary was a fan, so was one of the cameramen – which was how we got to see shooting scripts before broadcast! – and one of the actors became engaged to and later married one of the committee. He also made a scurrilous fan fiction tape for his girlfriend...

This had a downside in that all the published fan fiction ended up being passed round the studio, with the explicit stuff right on top.

Which brings me to why there was no B7 slash in this country until the show had gone off air. When Pat T was editing the first 'adult' B7 fanzine, Alternative Seven, she went to see Gareth Thomas in 'The Canterbury Tales', met him at the stage door, and bore him off to the bar to feed him vodka and slimline tonics. She told him about Alternative Seven. Naturally, his first question was: "Who does Blake get?" to which Pat said, "Well, in one story so far, Cally." "Oh," came the disappointed response, "why not Jenna?" At which point Pat told him that "If things go the same way here as in the States you're lucky it's not Avon." She had to spend the rest of the evening feeding him more booze and promising him that she wouldn't let such a thing be published. Such was her rep in fandom that, until she went back to the States, it wasn't. [27]

Luckily, slash fans pay little attention to TPTB, and Blake's 7 slash fans are no different. Slash fanfic began to be published in 1983: an early zine that included same-sex as well as mixed-sex relationships was The Big Boy's Book of 1001 Things to Do in Zero Gravity with a Federation Hand Blaster, first published August 1983, which includes what may be the first B7 slash story, Licence, pairing Del Tarrant with Jarvik, a character who appears only in a third-season episode Harvest of Kairos.

However, the first known B7 all-slash fanzine was E-Man-Uelle. The first two issues were published in 1983 (issues 1 to 8 came out roughly twice a year between 1983 and 1987). While badly produced and badly typed, these zines were the first to publish some B7 fan writers who later became better known in other fanzines and other fandoms: Julien, Jane Carnall, Julie Kramer, Bryn Lantry and others. These zines were stories pairing Kerr Avon with either Roj Blake (Blake/Avon) or with Vila Restal (Avon/Vila), which remain the most popular slash pairings.

Hermit.org hosts a link to fansites hosting [28]. Many early stories are still only available in fanzines: the slash library is an institution at British slash conventions. For more information, see Zines

The Fandom Imploded in 1989: The Blake's 7 War

In the late 1980s, when relations between many of the BNFs and many of the actors exploded, many fans -- starving for information in an era before the Internet -- blamed slash fans for the explosion. In retrospect, slash had little or nothing to do with the explosion, and had more to do with some fans' personal access to TPTB, as well as some of the actors and Terry Nation's decision to try to monetize and formalize cons on their own terms.

For much, much more about this topic, see The Blake's 7 Wars.

B7 Online

1990s and early 2000s

Blake's 7 fandom was an early participant in online communities. Blake's 7 fandom went online in 1992. The first mailing list was called Lysator and was named after the "Lysator Academic Computer Society", one of the first Internet-connected sites in Sweden. [29] Lysator was a very active list for many years. Several members of the community collaborated on a full set of episode transcriptions to facilitate discussion and provide fans who didn't have access to the series a way to enjoy it. They are still available at Judith Proctor's site.

Personal fan pages appeared from as early as 1994.[30]

In the 1990s, when B7 fandom hit the Net, a lot of the online new fans were quite startled the first time they heard of slash. Slash fans on the various B7 lists and newsgroups grew tired of repeating the same arguments, and drew up a The Generic Slash Defense Form Letter[31] still available on the net.

In 1995, Space City, a slash-friendly mailing list was spun off from the Lyst to allow discussion of slash and adult topics without controversy. This was replaced by Freedom City in 1999.

The very first online Blake's 7 fiction page was the The Aquitar Files ezine in 1996. The first site to call itself a multi-author archive might have been Hammer to Fall, founded by 1998 as the "Blake's 7 Story Archive". Print zines continued to be important throughout this period.

Some fans embraced online fandom, citing greater access to communication and fandom content. Others were horrified at the exposure and increased visibility. From a January 1996 comment by a fan:
I hate computers. I'm roadkill on the information super highway. I'm truly sorry to hear there's B7 slash available on the net (or whatever). I'm afraid some highly moral person will stumble onto it and raise a stink. My husband was surfing (?? Is that the term??) the net and discovered a B7 list or lists. Did he have fun sneering at the comments! I absolutely hated it! I feigned disinterest. At least with this APA and fanzines, there's PRIVACY!!!!!! I don't want my 13 year old daughter looking over my shoulder at a computer screen — or my husband - and discovering EXACTLY what I mean by ADULT fanzines. Oh, well, I know I'm in the minority....AGAIN. And what am I writing this on? The damned computer — and I honestly really would rather have a typewriter!!!!!! [32]

Fans associated with this period of production include: Alicia Ann Fox, Belatrix Carter, Calle Dybedahl, Carol Mc, Chris Blenkarn, Delmonica, Emma Peel, Executrix, Firerose, Hafren, Harriet Monkhouse, Helen Patrick, Ika, Jenner, Judith Proctor, Kathryn Andersen, Leia Fee, Manna, Marian de Haan, Marian Mendez, Mistral Amara, Morrigan, Neil Faulkner, Nickey Barnard, Nicola Mody, Nova, Pat Fenech, Pat Jacquerie, Penny Dreadful, Predatrix, Sally Manton, Snowgrouse, Steve Rogerson, Sue Clerc, Susan Cutter, Susannah Shepherd, Una McCormack, Vanessa Mullen, Vickie McManus, Willa Shakespeare, Zenia and many others (please add more).

The Move to Livejournal

Fandom moved onto Livejournal in 2003–2005; the mailing lists and archives continued to be used but printzine publication tailed off. Within the year, communities such as b7_rpg were founded, with several more (largely founded by Vilakins) appearing throughout the decade. (For more information, see Websites, Lists and Communities.) Several ficathons were held in 2004–2006. Blake's 7 fielded several hundred recs in 2003–2007 on Crack Van.

Fans associated with this period of production include: AstroGirl, Executrix, Hafren, Pink Dormouse, Sally Manton, shimere277, Snowgrouse, Van Donovan, Vilakins, Zenia (please add more).

2010s

Text from the Federation
In around 2012, several fans began posting material (including gifs and archive material) to Tumblr - some of the main figures seem to be: destructobot, perfectchichi, lileclaire (please add more if known). These fans were only active for a few years, with new fans with new fans joining later in separate movements though their content continued to be re-blogged for some years.

Blake's 7 takes on popular Tumblr community/memes were founded, most notably: Fuck Yeah, Blake's 7 (most active in 2010-11) and Texts from the Federation (2014-2016). sirjohnsmythe ran Secret Santa for several years, and other users, particularly bruinhilda organised live re-watches. In 2017 castielslight proposed that Tumblr users create an ezine, Rebels and Fools.

In 2013-2016, there was a (small, but significant in terms of output) resurrection of the Livejournal/Dreamwidth fanfic community, led to some extent by fandom-recruitment posts written by Lost Spook[33] and Aralias[34]. Not all fans who posted new around this time were new to Blake's 7 (although some were, and had previously been interested in classic Doctor Who) - many, such as Executrix, were simply encouraged by activity in a previously quiet(er) fandom. Several Russian fans also participated in English-language fandom. New Livejournal/Dreamwidth communties were founded, including Blake's 7's first kink meme, Sexually Liberated! (2014-) and BlakeFest. In 2015 Aralias published the paper zine [and Prejudice], which featured a new cover from Suzan Lovett.

Interestingly while LJ/DW fandom was mainly focused on the ship Blake/Avon (influenced by key figures, and to some extent because the platform[s] continued to play host to influential B/A fans from zine-era, such as Judith Proctor and Willa Shakespeare) and Tumblr seems to have initially gone this way, by 2016-17 Tumblr fandom became increasingly focused on Avon/Vila.

It is also worth noting that most of the (extensive and still growing) documentation of the fandom on Fanlore took place from around 2009 onwards.

Fans associated with this period of production include:

For even more information about Blake's 7 online-fandom, see Lists and Communities and Archives.

Conventions

Small, fan-run conventions were arranged in the UK in the early 80s. The second of these (The Teal Vandor Convention) took place in Holborn, London and was run jointly by the two UK clubs - Liberator Popular Front and Horizon. A number of the cast and some production staff attended (unpaid!). British Blake's Seven fandom also had a significant presence at the 1979 World SF Convention in Brighton UK.

flyer for Orac (1988)

Conventions - some were fan run with actor guests and some were professional. In addition, not all conventions focused solely on Blake's 7 but were often bundled with other sci-fi and fantasy shows

Zines

Print zines

Online zines

These either started out as ezines, or were archived on the web after going out of print.

Websites, Lists and Communities

There are several Blake's 7 communities on livejournal, most have very low to no traffic as of 2010.

Archives

One of the challenges facing Blake's 7 was that, as an established fanzine fandom like Star Trek, discussion of online fan fiction was often met with hostility.

For example, in 1993 on the Lysator mailing list one fan asked:
"I know this question has been asked before, but I never saw the answer. What I'd like to know is whether there's any B7 fanfic available over the network. And if there isn't, what exactly are the barriers? (I'm assuming that writers want to be read, and readers want to read -- and the net seems a natural way to distribute stuff.) So what's the story?"[35]
She received a swift and negative response:
"I posted a message about ftp sites for fiction, and received a reply

(off-list) that it's considered rude to compete with the zines by putting files on "the circuit". And that people write for zines for a) editing; b) distribution; and c) free copies of the zine.

Fair enough. What I'm now wondering is whether anyone has ever suggested an e-zine? This would be based on a theme, edited, and released as an 'issue' - only instead of being distributed through snail mail, with paper correspondance, currency conversion problems, etc. it would be distributed through the net. You'd lose the artwork and aesthetic quality of good formatting, so in some sense you'd have an inferior product, but you'd get the content, fast and free. And it would be the editor's responsibility to ensure good content. This would satisfy a), b), and c). (I'm assuming that no one's in this to try to make money...). Yes, you'd be competing with existing zines -- but hey, competition's part of life.

What are the problems with this idea? If you have any thoughts, please reply to me on or off list.

(Where I'm coming from: I'm involved in the local [gopher]] and in trying to start a community Freenet. We are digitizing everything that isn't nailed down by copyright. Just preparing for the post-Gutenberg revolution...)"[36]
Her question was met by silence, until one list member finally explained:
"I have heard a few concerns about electronic publishing, however, chief of which seems to be the impossibility of copyright control. Once a

piece is in the ether, anyone with a keyboard can adapt, adjust, mutilate or destroy it very easily--granted, this could be done with hard copy too, but the ease of access in electronic format is awesome. "Circuit" stories (stories already released to unpublished circulation) were already vulnerable to this sort of tampering, and so seem fair game for e-access, but I think most writers prefer to have their works of genius have the modicum of protection granted by being published in a printed zine.

There are also several newsgroups devoted to the airing of fiction

of one sort or another, which seems to provide a venue to those who are interested in releasing their brain children to the ether--"[37]

In short, in 1993, there seemed to be little interest in or tolerance to the idea of online fan fiction.

In 1998 when a fan asked: "Where can I get me some of this fan fiction," his question was answered with four responses regarding information about how to purchase zines. [38]

Fortunately, that changed over time and several fan fiction archives were established.

  • Personal Fan Fiction archives can be found here.

Other Fanworks

Fanvids

The vast majority of Blake's 7 fanvids were made in the 1980s and mid 1990s. Very few of these vids have survived conversion to the digital age.

  • A memorably heartbreaking videotape fanvid contained scenes from the last episode to the song Send in the Clowns.[39]
  • True Believer by Viv Nichols of the Media Cannibals
  • Crimson & Crystal (sung by Julia Ecklar), vid by Cybel Harper
  • Comedy Tonight and Hotel California by MVD are extremely clever uses of images to create something entirely different from the show.
  • Studs in Black Leather set to "Everywoman's Lament" by Jillian Courtenay - a clever filk song that pairs "Nights in White Satin" with fandom's fetish for men in black leather
  • Tell It All - by Mary Van Deusen - a Blake character study vid
  • Hold On by Liz J. - Sandy Herrold wrote: "A good video; made even more by the line, "Don't you recall how you felt when you weren't alone," The clip is Avon in the third season, it has stuck in my mind ever since."
  • Cold--Biography of a bastard in 4/4 time by DeeJay -- Sandy Herrold described it as "Every clip in order, to a song that was made for Avon, as if narrated by Vila"
  • Some of the most innovative vids of the 80s were made by Gayle F and Tashery S, including Walking and Falling, and Continental Drift. Both can be found on their Shadow Songs vid collection.

Most of Blake's 7 fandom had become quiescent by 2000, however, a few computer vids did appear online. In 2002 both Morgaine and Xanthe offered their vids here and here respectively (sites are offline, archived versions are offered where available).


"Other songvids by fans can be found under the vidder's name here on Fanlore. A few VCR-era songvids are listed below where the vidder's name cannot be identified

  • "Where The Boys Are" - this vid was shown at Zebracon 1995

Other Fanworks

Further Reading/Meta

References

  1. Although the show's name is Terry Nation's, it is worth noting here that Boucher and Paul Darrow (Kerr Avon) were both big Western fans. Commentaries make it clear that some of Darrow's favourite Avon-moments are nods to Westerns, written in for him by Boucher i.e. 'Stick to action, Blake. That's what you're good at' in 'Trial' (a nod to 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid').
  2. B7 Media: Blake's 7
  3. TV Tropes: Blake's 7
  4. Lost Spook commenting on Aralias's journal
  5. "And suddenly, I'm realizing that Blake's Seven would be legit, right? The show ended 10 years ago, it only has 4 listed interest comms on LJ (three of these inactive), it's got exactly 100 stories on FF.net, it's a British show hardly anybody under the age of 30 has seen or has necessarily ever heard of -- that counts as obscure/inactive." -- a comment in 2007 at Vehemently' journal; Archive
  6. BBC News: 'Blake's 7 cult BBC classic 'to be remade for Xbox Live'
  7. B7 Media: Blake's 7 the audio series
  8. from Comlink #40
  9. a reader's LoC in Comlink #40
  10. from Southern Enclave #25
  11. Lysator, which notes it was Partly derived from a longer version posted Jan 22, 1994 by Nicole Vifian
  12. Sandy Herrold's Feb 1993 post to the Virgule-L mailing list reposted here with permission.
  13. Sandy Herrold's post "Pairings in B7 songvids (longish)" from the Virgule-L mailing list dated April 4, 1993, quoted with permission.
  14. Sandy Herrold's post "Pairings in B7 songvids (longish)" from the Virgule-L mailing list dated April 4, 1993, quoted with permission.
  15. Subject: EHA post to Lysator on May 1, 1994.
  16. Subject: Re: mscl. post by Kathyrn A. to Lysator on May 1, 1994.
  17. post by Sondra S. to the Lysator mailing list dated May 11, 1994.
  18. reported by Carl Hines in Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter V.2 N.2
  19. "Lucky girl! No, I wasn't there. I just saw the vid." -- from a fan in Rallying Call #16 (January 1996)
  20. "So that Teri needn't boast, I'll report what he said: that he wants to perform the play, along with one other short serious play that he has in hand and something lighter that he needs to find. And he used it to illustrate what he was saying about acting: that it isn't as easy as people think, especially when it goes that close to the bone. He said straight out that Teri's play was closer to his own self than anything he'd ever done, and that performing it would be intensely difficult because it was, even more than acting usually is, laying his soul bare." -- from Rallying Call #16
  21. Horizon, the Blake's 7 Appreciation Society
  22. TPTB's dim view of slash continues to this day. Swell, who now owns the rights to the show, has been lobbying for a remake of the show and plans were announced in 2013 for a US remake to be shown on XBox Live.-- [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blake%27s_7#Television Wikipedia article, Blake's 7 TV revival.
  23. What is the way forward for Blake's 7? interview with Andrew Sewell, Nov 2003.
  24. What is the way forward for Blake's 7? interview with Andrew Sewell, Nov 2003.
  25. Emma at Liberated, an adult Blake's 7 fic archive, November 15, 2003
  26. Melody: Erotica versus porn writing: I am actually going to be quasi-controversial today; archive link, see original post for more context, December 18, 2009
  27. Fandom Past - A Talk Given at Nine Worlds 2015
  28. Blake's 7 fanfic online
  29. [1]
  30. For example, B. King & D. White Blakes' 7 Site has a date of May 1994 on one of the subpages. -- Wayback link).
  31. The Generic Slash Defense Form Letter
  32. from Rallying Call #16
  33. Non-Spoilery Guide to Blake's 7 (and why Classic Who fans should watch it) by Lost Spook on Livejournal
  34. 'why you should watch blake's 7' by Aralias on Livejournal
  35. Subject: Re: Electronic Fiction by Janice A. dated Sept 29, 1993.
  36. Subject: Re: Electronic Fiction by Janice A. dated Sept 30, 1993.
  37. Subject: Re: Electronic Fiction by Agnes T. dated Sept 29, 1993.
  38. Lysator, June 1998
  39. Shown by the Skaro Hunting Society in the mid-1980s. Maker unknown. (busaikko)