Timeline of the Blake's 7 Wars

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Fandom: Blake's 7
Dates: 1988-1990
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Below is a list of events involving The Blake's 7 Wars.

These events are drawn from the public discussions in newsletters, open letters, and letterzines. These are not uncontroverted facts, but public statements as made by the participants based on facts as they believed them at the time.

Unknown Date in the 1980s


1983 - from the editorial of the slash zine, E-Man-Uelle #2: "Will the actors concerned read it and feel I'm violating the characters they in essence created and lynch me? I’ve heard that a couple of them have indeed picked this zine up from somewhere but I'm still alive to tell you all about it, so I guess it’s OK."

1983 - Scorpio con begins; it is a series of fan-run British media conventions begins in Chicago, Illinois with a large number of Blake's 7 fans in attendance. This is in spite of the fact that the show did not air in the US until 1986.


Gareth Thomas was a guest at the 1987 convention Scorpio and was quoted in The Freedom City Gazette #4:

As I say, everyone out there is paying my wages, and my reason for coming to an amateur con, not a professional one, its my way of saying thank you. Professional cons I've been asked to do, and I've turned them down. I said, no way, I will not do a professional con. Why? people say, because I know that some of the others do; Michael does, Jan does, I won't because those people out there have already paid to see me once already. Now they're paying to see me again. Why the hell should some bastard at the top cream that off? I don't want money for doing this. I want to say thank you. I don't want money, not for this. Why should some bastard up there be creaming it off? That's unfair of them. [1] [2]

From "Paul Darrow, Dirty Harry in Space," an article written by Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman in Starlog #116,

The fans will decide [the show's success in the United States], and, as Paul Darrow points out, the relationship between the actors and the fans of "Blake's 7" has been one where, 'They're not fans, they're our friends'."


  • January 29-31, 1988 - DSV One, a fan-run Blake's 7 convention takes place in Newark, New Jersey. In the months after the convention, one of the actors, Paul Darrow, discusses with fans his and show-runner's Terry Nation's plans for “for-profit” conventions. When they move forward with these plans, they select the DSV One convention organizer Laurie Cohen as their convention chair.
  • August 1988 - Terry Nation and Paul Darrow discussing and speculating about for profit convention plans. Darrow makes announcement to fans at TARDISCon in August 12-14, 1988 [note 1]
  • 1988 - Some members of the DSV One committee, minus Laurie Cohen, begin organizing Gambit, a New Jersey Blake's 7 convention to be held in Feb 1989. Ann W., a well-known US fanzine publisher and previous Scorpio and DSV One concom member, is one of 14 people on the Gambit convention committee.
  • 1988 - Marian Mendez begins planning Freedom City, an April 1989 Blake's 7 convention to be held in Maryland. She invites several former DSV One concom members to join, including Ann W. and Linda Terrell, another US fanzine publisher. Both agree to participate.
  • 1988 – Laurie Cohen invites Ann Wortham to help organize the Paul Darrow/Terry Nation's professional conventions. Wortham declines. Laurie Cohen also contacts other former concom members in various cities – it is unclear how many accept.[3]
  • October 1988 - Paul Darrow and his wife attend Zencon, a science fiction convention in Australia and ConFederation, a science fiction convention in New Zealand. During conversations with fans they are told, primarily by Kathy Hanson, that Ann Wortham, Leah Rosenthal (a fan artist), and Linda Terrell (another fanzine publisher), have written slash fiction under pseudonyms.[4]
  • October 1988 - Paul Darrow turns down an invitation to both the Gambit and Freedom City conventions due to work conflicts. According to some fans, he then begins contacting the other confirmed guests to ask them not to attend. None of the guests cancel in response (although one guest is replaced due to a work conflict).[5]
  • November 1988 - Terry Nation and Paul Darrow's plans for their for-profit cons are mentioned in a DarrowCon con report [6]
  • very late 1988 – “Name Withheld By Request” begins circulating through fandom alerting fans to the fact that TPTB are planning “for-profit” conventions that will compete with fan events. The letter states that only approved fan artists would be allowed to sell their art and that fan artists will be charged a 50% commission. In addition, only approved fanzines written by a “stable” of fan writers would be permitted to be sold. Finally, the Blake's 7 actors would be exclusive to these for-profit conventions and would no longer be attending fan-run events. The writer believes this is another attempt to rip off fans, states that they will not work for free for non-charitable events and announces they will fight this “hostile takeover by the Federation.” The letter does not mention either Terry Nation or Paul Darrow by name and topic of slash is not raised. This letter was printed in Federation Archives and Avon Club Newsletter #35.


  • January 2, 1989 - Laurie Cohen starts mass-mailing a press release by Terry Nation and Paul Darrow explaining their plans for the Pro Convention Tour. See Press Release to Fan Clubs, Fanzine Publishers, Fan Artists, and Fans and Dear Blake's 7 Fan by Laurie Cohen. It is mailed to to many fans and fan clubs. According to the press release, for-profit conventions will allow them to guarantee actors attendance. The bulk of the organizing, planning and work would be done by the local fans on a volunteer basis, with their production company, under Laurie C.'s direction, supervising and providing the upfront funding and keeping any profits. No fan artists, writers, publishers or zines would be pre-approved and art commissions would remain at the typical 10%.
  • January 3, 1989 - Dear Blake's 7 Fan by Laurie Cohen was also in the official press release packet; it seems to contradict the press release saying that they will be asking dealers to keep explicit zines and artwork out of the dealers room
  • January 3, 1989 - The press release package by Laurie Cohen includes a legal-looking letter from Paul Darrow and Michael Keating that identifies Ann Wortham, Linda Terrell and Leah Rosenthal, prints their home addresses, and revokes permission to use the actors' faces or likenesses. While this letter has a legal "look and feel", it is neither written by lawyers nor is it legally binding. This letter suggests legal action will take place starting January 30, 1989. See Paul Darrow and Michael Keating's 1989 Cease and Desist Letter.
  • January 3, 1989 - "Slash Fiction" by Janet Lees Price raises her and her husband's objections to slash fan fiction which she calls "tasteless".
  • January 1989 - Stand Up, Avon's Angels by Judith M. Seaman, printed in Avon Newsletter #35
  • January 1989 - The Paul Darrow That I Know... by Mary Moulden, printed in Avon Newsletter #35
  • January 1989 - Paul Darrow and Michael Keating's 1989 Cease and Desist Letter, sent to three fans
  • January 1989 - See Kathy Hanson's letter Now Paul and Janet Darrow are on the offensive about it., which was printed in Avon Newsletter #35.
  • January 1989 - Pressure Point #8 contains many comments
  • February 4, 1989 -- See Kathy Hanson's letter Background Facts on the Origins of the "Slash" Controversy in B7 Fandom..
  • February 1989 - Federation Archives First Addendum is published. Ann Wortham identifies herself as the "Name Withheld Letter" writer. She claims she did not sign the letter because she was concerned it might impact the conventions she was working on. Many LOCs take issue with the publication of an anonymous letter. While most support the concept of paying actors for attending conventions, a few worry that that professional conventions may drive out fan-run conventions (similar to what happened in Dr Who fandom). The existence and presence of slash at fan-run conventions is generally supported. The addendum reprints a copy of Darrow's "Unwortham's Lies" and "Slash Fiction" by Janet Darrow.
  • February 1989 - Just what is this "controversy" about, anyway? is a letter by [L S], with commentary by Linda Terrell, printed in Federation Archives
  • February 10-12, 1989 - at the Gambit convention, Terry Nation talks about his plans for the professional conventions. He also reads a letter from Paul Darrow thanking fandom for their support, indicating that the Gambit convention organizers withdrew their invitation to him and his wife and compares fans who do not take sides to Pontius Pilate. See See Paul Darrow's Statement Read Aloud At The 1989 Gambit Convention. With the exception of this letter, convention panels steer clear of the topic. Slash fanzines are present in the dealer's room and Ann Wortham's fanzine press is also in attendance. No restrictions are placed on what can be sold.
  • February 1989 - For General Distribution From Linda Terrell, a letter from Linda Terrell
  • February 1989 - Spies Who Judge Us, a personal editorial by Linda Terrell, printed in The Federation Archives
  • March 1989 - a second Federation Archives addendum is published. LOCS are mixed, with some supporting each side of the debate. One fan takes offense at the Pontius Pilate reference in Paul Darrow's letter that was read at Gambit saying that that the use of the religious metaphor was inappropriate and extreme. Most letters are supportive of slash, although one writer feels that it is peripheral to the main issue of pro vs. fan conventions. A UK fan announces this really is an American problem and suggests that the US fans work it out.
  • Spring 1989 - Pressure Point #9/10 is published with many LOCs. Among them is a lengthy letter from the Gambit concom stating that they did not dis-invite Mr. and Mrs. Darrow. Rather, they claim, the Darrows changed their minds about not attending and contacted the convention three weeks before the event to see if the convention could still pay their way. Given the late date and the pre-commitment of their limited budget, the convention stated that the Darrows were welcome to attend, but that Gambit could not pay their hotel and airfare. Both Mr. and Mrs. Darrow decided not to attend. The remaining LOCs run the spectrum from supporting the idea of professional conventions and removing slash from dealer's rooms to defending slash as free speech. Many fans express disgust at the public airing of accusations by both parties. One fan wryly points out that because the Federation Archives has a small circulation of 200 , that if Darrow and Terry Nation had been wise, they would have ignored the "Name Withheld Letter" and proceeded to organize what seemed to be a fantastic convention format. Another fan expresses doubt that the conventions will be successful due to their high overhead and the relatively small size of Blake’s 7 fandom in the US.
  • April 16, 1989 - Paul Darrow confirms via a phone call that he and Michael Keating will be guests of honor at Unicon June 24-25th, 1989 in California[8]
  • April 1989 - Freedom City Convention takes place.
  • June 1989 - A Statement Written by Diane Gies on Behalf of the Horizon Committee
  • June 24-25,1989 - Paul Darrow, Michael Keating, and Terry Nation are guests of honor at Unicon
  • June & December 1989 - the UK based Horizon Newsletter publishes their version of the events, and includes numerous LOCs from readers in two issues: #22 and 23. Most object to the publication of an anonymous letter and are supportive of Paul Darrow/Terry Nation. On the topic of professional conventions, most feel that actors deserve to be paid for their convention attendance. On the topic of slash, the majority express dislike of the genre with some calling it pornography and sadistic. A few writers point out that slash fiction is here to stay and that prejudice against it - and the fans that read and write it - is worrying. One fan explains that slash fiction does not eroticize violence, it eroticizes love. See Horizon's Summary of "The Controversy in Blake's Seven Fandom" (June 1989), fan comments in The Horizon Newsletter #22 (June 1989), fan comments in The Horizon Newsletter #23 (December 1989)



  1. ^ Gareth Thomas Convention Appearances quoted at Hermit.org, referencing a quote in Freedom City Gazette #4
  2. ^ Thomas may have been alluding to Paul Darrow's appearance at the San Francisco Creation Con March 14-15, 1987.
  3. ^ Source: Pressure Point issue #9/10 and Federation Archives Second Addendum published in March 1989.
  4. ^ Source: Multiple letters in Pressure Point #8 and Federation Archives Second Addendum, March 1989. One of the New Zealand fans also circulates her own open letter in 1989 confirming that she had discussed the identities of some of the slash fans with the Darrows.
  5. ^ Source: letters from the Gambit Concom in Federation Archives Second Addendum March 1989 and Pressure Point #9/10.
  6. ^ "It was a fantastic weekend, [with a small group of fans showing Darrow around San Diego] and we wouldn’t mind at all doing it again. If Terry Nation’s proposed convention tour]] becomes a reality, San Diego will be more than happy to host one of the events, or help to organize it in whatever west coast city it selects." - ref> from Avon Newsletter #36
  7. ^ Source: Pressure Point #9/10. Also mentioned in Federation Archives First and Second Addendums.
  8. ^ "Now that I have your attention I am thrilled to announce that according to a phone call from Mr. Paul Darrow on Sunday April 16, he will be making his only 1989 appearance in the United States at UNICON '89. He has guaranteed that he will be here - Paul's play will end touring the weekend before the contention and he starts filming on his new television series the beginning of July and he has decided to spend his only free weekend with us. He is very excited about this convention and intends to do everything he can to make this a "rousing success". Michael Keating is still coming and in a rare moment of modesty Paul confirms that the "Paul and Michael show is not bad"." -- from the third Unicon progress report

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