Terry Nation

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Name: Terry Nation
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Terry Nation was a producer, screenwriter, and novelist.

from the 1989 program book for Freedom City where Nation was a guest of honor, TACS is the artist

He created the Daleks and Davros on Doctor Who. He was also the creator of Blake's 7.

Nation also worked on The Avengers, Out of the Unknown, The Baron, The Champions, Department S, The Persuaders! The Saint. He also wrote scripts for MacGyver and A Fine Romance.

He interacted with fans at many cons where he was a guest of honor, and in Horizon Newsletter. There are many fan comments about Nation in Horizon Letterzine.

Nation was supportive of fanworks, and gave his specific approval to some zines in the form of introductions; Reflections in a Shattered Glass is one example. Nation supported fanworks in 1988 when he wrote a letter of support in the 1988 Blake's 7 Bootlegged Zines Discussion.

Nation passed away in 1997.


The Blake's 7 Wars

In 1989 and onwards, he embroiled himself in The Blake's 7 Wars when he and Paul Darrow (the actor who portrayed Kerr Avon saw the potential of profit in conventions and cooked up a plan to take over the not-for-profit fancons by controlling fanart displayed and sold at them and by requiring that guests of honor only commit to his own for-profit cons. One of the flashpoints in this controversy, was slash fanworks, a subject that was utilized as a strawman for the real topic: money.

Attitudes Toward Slash Fanworks

Fan Comments: Slash

[1993]: "I asked Terry Nation (creator of B7) what his opinion of slash. He thought it funny, because he couldn't picture Avon or any of the others doing anything like that. But he did agree that we were dealing with the characters, NOT THE ACTORS." [1]

[1995] "To my knowledge, Terry Nation has never voiced any viewpoint on the issue of slash, pro or con." [2]

[1995]: "I had several discussions with Terry Nation (the creator of the show) about the controversy and was Terry was in his cups (which he was usually every night at a con) he laid most of the problem at Janet's doorstep.His almost exact words were, "Imagine your working hard all day and you come home to a wife that has been receiving letters and writing to people all day and she is screaming at you to do something about all this *nasty* material out there. After a while you will do anything just to get some peace and quiet." Terry knew about slash, he didn't understand it, but he certainly was appalled by it and I gathered that Paul know about it as well and wasn't particularly concerned about it. [3]

Nation's Comments About Slash: Unknown Date

In 1994, Jean Graham wrote:

Terry Nation -- he feels quite parental toward his characters and finds slash personally offensive on those grounds alone, though beyond that gut reaction he'll live and let live (he'd just rather not see it, thank you). TN will frankly admit that the reason for his adverse reaction is a personal experience: as a very young teen working as a 'dresser,' he had to flee the insistent advances of a "flaming" (his word) pedophile actor. Many years later, as an adult, a director (and a parent), he again met that same actor, who was still discoursing on how much he "loved little boys." TN says, "I thought of my own children, and in that moment, I could quite cheerfully have strangled him." Yes, he's aware that slash has nothing to do with pedophilia, but since he feels parental toward his characters, you can see why he reacts as he does... [4]

Nation's Comments About Slash: August 1987

Nation and the creator of Robin of Sherwood (Richard "Kip" Carpenter) were on a writing panel at Scorpio. Excerpts from that panel:

Richard: I think [slash] a very sincere form of flattery, because it's imitation, which is a sincere form of flattery. [Mild laughter] I'm not too happy with what they call slash fiction [Oohs, aahs, and knowing moans mixed in with laughter and applause].

audience member: I'm new to this and I don't know what "slash" means. [Someone yells, "You don't want to know!"]

Richard: Will somebody stand up...?

panel moderator, David Smith: Okay, slash fantasy is the concept that the two male leads may be... more than just friends.

audience member: Is that all? [Laughter]

Dave: No, it could mean that they have an emotional or sexual relationship.

Richard: Okay, I don't mind slash fiction, but it seems to me to place a very false emphasis on somebody's work. Okay, so it's fun to have maybe one piece of slash fiction, but when everybody starts doing it and it becomes the norm, then I think that it does affect the way people view the show, in a subconscious way. If they're reading lots of slash fiction about two male characters that are supposed to be lovers, when in fact in the series they're not, but are friends, what it is doing is somehow altering the concept of a friendship, making it a physical relationship, which I think is a little bit unfair to the original writers. That's all I feel about fan fiction, is that there is a little bit too much slash fiction. I don't know what you people feel about that

Terry: Are you people for it? Who's for it? [Not one hand is raised]

Richard: But there is a lot of it about! [One person says, "When there's a second year a show is on the air, there is slash fiction about it."] I mean, if there's two characters that you want to fall in love in a series that haven't actually consummated a relationship that was budding in the series, then I don't see why fiction can't take it to that limit if that happens to be your fantasy; that's fine. But at least all you're doing is building on a true relationship in the material that you're viewing and, as it were, not pervert it but twist it into something that isn't, then I think that's an unhappy thing to do. I don't mind stuff being sent up, you know. There's a wonderful fan magazine about Robin in Bunnyland [High-pitched laugh in the audience]. It's a wonderful mag because they're all rabbits! Marion's a rabbit and Robin's a rabbit... That's fine because it's quite clearly and unequivocally O.T.T (over the top) [laughter], and that's fun! But this other thing, I don't like it, I really don't. [Someone says, "You should be glad to hear that some of us don't, either."]

Richard: Yes, I am. I am personally very glad to hear that. The interesting thing is you don't get too much slash fiction in Britain for some unknown reason [mild laughter], it seems to me to be an American thing. [5]

Nation's Comments About Slash: January 1989

From RevelCon:

One panel was a slash panel: "At Revelcon in San Diego, we had a slash panel, and Terry Nation presided. He discussed the issue maturely and rationally. We didn't seek his approval and he didn't seek excuses. The panel broke up with UNDERSTANDING on all sides. Most all problems can be cleared up in a rational, mature DISCUSSION." [6]

From the list of requests from the committee in the "RevelCon" program book: "Fanzines. What you publish or read is your business. What you offer for public viewing is ours. Terry Nation states, 'I don't believe in any form of censorship, but please be discreet.' We ask that fanzines containing "slash" fiction please not be in view of the public areas of the hotel. Flyers may be placed on the flyer tables or on dealers' tables."

Nation's Comments About Blake's 7's Fourth Season

In a 1987 interview printed in The Freedom City Gazette , Nation stated his unhappiness with the fourth season of Blake's 7:

Joe Nazzaro: By the time the fourth season was finally renewed, you were already in Hollywood.

Terry Nation: I was gone. We had a new producer [Vere Lorrimer] who came out to see me, and he talked with tremendous enthusiasm, and, again, they talked about the kind of progression we wanted It was one day in Hollywood, that's all we had I was already working for Columbia, and I had not been able to give it as much thought as I wanted, but again, we came up with some ideas about the way we wanted to progress, but now I’m 6000 miles away, and it’s up to them, and I have seen that fourth season, and I don’t like it, and think that they lost direction, and I think the writers were tacky I think there was a lot of tacky writing, so what can I say? I should have been responsible. Joe: Looking back on it now, and knowing what you know, if you were given the chance to do the fourth season over again, what would you have done differently?

Terry: I think I would probably have tried to redefine menace, give the Federation, or part of the Federation, a new look I have to tell you, Joe, I can’t give you that one right now.

Joe: So this is not something you’ve languished over.

Terry: No. I know where we would go if we ever came back I know I would get them out of that dumb situation that they were put into at the end of the picture, although I admire enormously the dramatic moments of Avon standing over Blake’s body and raising the weapon and starting to smile, which I think is sensational but dumb They were really dumb to do it. I killed off the Daleks, you remember What a dumb thing that was to do, so I learned that lesson, and it should have applied to this. [7]

Further Reading


  1. ^ comments at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (March 24, 1993)
  2. ^ Leah Rosenthal: The Generic Slash Defense Letter
  3. ^ comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (April 10, 1995)
  4. ^ posted to Lysator (19 Dec 1994)
  5. ^ printed in Freedom City Gazette #4
  6. ^ from Federation Archives, second addendum, March 1989, comment by [L A]
  7. ^ from "Of Rebels and Renegades" interview by Joe Nazzaro conducted at the Hyatt Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey in May 1987, printed in Freedom City Gazette #3