Books - Blake’s 7: Origins

The complete first season of Terry Nation’s classic sci-fi adventure series are to be published as a collection of brand-new hardback novelisations by Big Finish Productions ...

Press Release

Blake’s 7 debuted on BBC television in 1978 and quickly developed a cult following of fans eager to enjoy the exploits of Roj Blake and his gang of rebels in their battle against the sinister Federation.

Now, for the first time, the original episodes have been adapted into full-length books, featuring lavish photos and artwork, and released as a single box set limited to just 1,500 copies.

Each adaptation comprises two stories from the TV series and has been written by a well-known sci-fi author. Here's some more about each of the writers:

The Way Back/Space Fall by Paul Cornell

Paul Cornell has written episodes of Elementary, Doctor Who (‘Father’s Day’ and ‘Human Nature’), Primeval, Robin Hood and many other TV series, including his own children’s show, Wavelength. He’s worked for every major comics company, including his creator-owned series I Walk With Monsters for The Vault, The Modern Frankenstein for Magma, Saucer State for IDW and This Damned Band for Dark Horse, and runs for Marvel and DC on Batman and Robin, Wolverine and Young Avengers. He’s the writer of the Lychford rural fantasy novellas from Publishing. He’s won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, an Eagle Award for his comics, a Hugo Award for his podcast and shares in a Writer’s Guild Award for his Doctor Who. He’s the co-host of Hammer House of Podcast. His latest book is the SF novella Rosebud and his latest graphic novel is Three Little Wishes from Legendary.

Paul Cornell said: “The story they tell puts onscreen a literal version of the escape from the horrors of mundane life that I experienced watching them. The Liberator's arrival liberates the viewer too. I was a desperately bullied kid, and here was the resistance and the ship that would take them away from all that.

“[I think Blake's 7 is so well-remembered after all of this time because] it's all things to all viewers, with a different tone every other episode. It deliberately went against a lot of the cliches of its time while embracing others with complete abandon.”

Cygnus Alpha/Time Squad by Marc Platt

Marc Platt wrote the Doctor Who television story Ghost Light, which he also novelised along with the television story Battlefield. He wrote the Doctor Who New Adventures novels Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible and Lungbarrow. He has written many Doctor Who audio plays for Big Finish Productions including Loups-Garoux, Spare Parts, Auld Mortality and several stories with former television producer of Doctor Who Philip Hinchcliffe including The Ghosts of Gralstead and The Genesis Chamber. For Big Finish, he has also written for the Blake’s 7, Dan Dare, Timeslip and Space 1999 ranges. He dramatised The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and H G Wells’s The Time Machine for audio.

Marc Platt said: “This has been a real treat. A chance to go back and flesh out our knowledge of Terry Nation’s epic Federation that wouldn’t fit into 50-minute episodes on a BBC budget.

“As well as re-watching the original series, we had the luxury of referring to the original Nation scripts with substantial extra detail which has fed into the books.

“I specifically asked Peter Anghelides if I could novelise Parts 3 and 4 of Season 1 (Cygnus Alpha and Time Squad) because that’s where we first get to know the Liberator and to meet Cally — two of the most intriguing characters. And yes, the Liberator is a character – it’s one of the original 7. If we dig into the ship’s nature, it definitely has an agenda and a psyche of its own. It needs to recruit a new crew, which means that Blake and his group are on trial here. The ship and the fugitives are wary of each other and their alliance is not yet confirmed.

“The context of the book also allowed me to fill in some detail as to why Cally was on Saurian Major and what fate befell the mission of her doomed squad. If indeed that was the squad at all – or was it the coterie of aliens on the drifting projectile that threatens to overwhelm the Liberator? We had a bit of a debate about that.

“What is intriguing about the original scripts is the amount of room and possibility available. Terry Nation was writing the entire first season (13 episodes) on his own with Chris Boucher as script editor. Ideas tumble through at a rate of knots. Some return, others vanish after one airing. Whatever happened to the Liberator’s treasure room, filled with alien jewels and wealth? Why was it there? Where does the endless supply of groovy outfits for our heroes come from? It was clear that we needed answers!

“What shines through most of all on this re-viewing is the casting of the leads. All of them inhabit their roles from the start as their characters struggle to survive in relentless alien environments. Their performances define how they appear in the book. It’s an excellence that endures and informs the stories, making them hugely rewarding to write. I found myself loving them all over again. That’s why Blake’s 7 is still going so strong.”

The Web/Seek-Locate-Destroy by Gary Russell

Gary Russell has been an actor, a writer, a producer, and a loyal servant of demanding felines. He was editor of Doctor Who Magazine, various Blake’s 7 specials and the short-lived Poster Magazine, all for Marvel UK/Panini. He’s written a variety of Doctor Who computer games, novels, comics and non-fiction books, alongside books on Frasier, The Simpsons and a series of New York Times bestseller-listed books on the making of The Lord of the Rings movies. After a spell working as a script editor on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures for BBC Wales, he went to Australia, where he was the showrunner of Prisoner Zero, an animated sci fi series most recently shown on Netflix. For Big Finish’s Blake’s 7 ranges he has contributed both audio scripts and prose fiction. He is currently producing 2D and 3D classic Doctor Who animations for BBC Studios.

Gary Russell said: “I think the reason I requested Seek-Locate-Destroy is, for me, it really marks the point at which Blake's 7 wore its mission statement on its sleeve. We meet Servalan and Travis for the first time and we finally see the Federation for what it is. The previous stories, especially Time Squad, really just hinted at the Federation and its relationship to the President and the Earth Administration. But here in SLD, it's right in your face with the personification of sadistic military might (Travis) and sophisticated, clear-thinking scheming (Servalan). Blake's 7 doesn't get better than these two villains.

“I think Blake's 7 stands the test of time because it's a rare case in 1970s TV of no one being 100% good or 100% bad. Everyone is just shades of grey — and nowhere more so than in Blake's own crew. They aren't a jolly band of heroes choosing to fight for the common good, nor are they conscripted people, trained to do a job. They are a ragtag group of misfits and miscreants who, mostly, choose to hang out and do what they do because they really have nothing better to do and if they weren't doing this, they'd probably be back in prison or worse. But they don't really like one another. It's a TV series where the main characters, and the villains too, are forced to depend on one another out of circumstance rather than choice. That was refreshing back then. Terry Nation was very good at creating that mix of personalities that would enhance a given mission, but clash ethically."

Mission to Destiny/Duel by Jacqueline Rayner

Jacqueline Rayner is an award-winning writer who has published over fifty books and audio plays, including Blake’s 7: Mindset — a Tanith Lee-inspired audio drama set during Season C. She is also the current producer of Doctor Who — The Sixth Doctor Adventures for Big Finish Productions. Jacqueline lives in Essex with her husband, twin sons and several pets, the most recent of which is Cally the cat. As her married name is only one letter different to that of an Original Blake’s 7 cast member, she has accidentally referred to herself as ‘Mrs Darrow’ on more than one occasion.

Jacqueline Rayner said: “I'm a huge fan of murder mysteries and 'closed circle' mysteries are particularly fun, so I have always loved Mission to Destiny and its clever misdirection. I love its big cast of characters, too!

“Duel is the opposite as far as a big cast is concerned, but it's a lovely exploration of the psychology of both Blake and Travis, and their very different ways of looking at things. I love how the script doesn't spell things out but gives us all these flavours of what might be as there's a civilisation with a huge backstory that we're left to imagine. It's beautifully done.

“You can enjoy Blake’s 7 on many levels. The plots are fun and exciting, the characters have depth and there's a narrative that drives it onwards. It grips you enough that there's always the hope that maybe things will turn out all right for everyone this time round...”

Project Avalon/Breakdown by Steve Cole

Steve Cole’s first four books for children were published in 1997, and since then over 200 more have followed. The titles range from his own fiction series such as Astrosaurs and Cows In Action to official novels for Young James Bond and Doctor Who. More recently he has collaborated with astronaut Tim Peake on the Swarm Rising novels and has written several books enhancing children’s awareness of environmental issues (Tin Boy, World Burn Down, Welcome to Trashland). He is Editor of the Target Doctor Who novelisations and Consultant Editor for the Who list from BBC Books.

Steve Cole said: “My best friend and I missed most of series two of Blake’s 7 in 1979 because it clashed with the Cubs. But his mum made little books for each episode, complete with illustrations, to show us what we’d missed. How I longed for actual novelisations of each episode! It feels surreal that now I get to adapt two of them myself… though without illustrations as I couldn’t hope to rival Mrs Brown’s abilities.

“Project Avalon has always been a favourite, as it’s got so much action and such high stakes. Breakdown offers so much potential with Gan in violent anguish as his limiter goes haywire, but on TV we stay on the outside looking in. In prose we can get inside his head and show just what he did to be fitted with that brain implant.

“For me, and I’m sure for the other authors, writing these novelisations has been like a love letter to the past, and to characters we have known and loved for over 40 years. It is the ship, the set-up and the stars that leave Blake’s 7 so well-remembered after all this time.”

Bounty/Deliverance by Una McCormack

Una McCormack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has written many novels, audios, and short stories based on Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as several Blake's 7 audios for Big Finish.

Una McCormack said: “I picked Bounty and Deliverance for two reasons. Firstly, I thought it would give me a wide range of female characters to work with. Not just the leads (Jenna, Cally, and Servalan) who have some great scenes in these episodes, but also the guest characters, Tyce and Meegat. The other reason was that I was interested in both the worlds we see (Lindor and Cephlon) and their respective societies.

“The ending is surely one reason that Blake's 7 is so well remembered, but I'm sure that Terry Wogan's affectionate piss-taking each week raised its profile too! And it's remembered fondly because even when it's being a bit rubbish, it's also being completely brilliant.”

Orac/Redemption by James Goss

James Goss is an author, producer, and journalist. For BBC Books he novelised Douglas Adams’ Doctor Who stories ‘City of Death’ and ‘The Pirate Planet’ as well as the unfinished ‘Shada’ and the lost adventure ‘Doctor Who and the Krikkit Men.’ He adapted Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency as an award-winning stage play with Arvind Ethan David. Other plays include 7 Spies at the Casino and The Gentlemen of Horror. James has worked on over 200 audio productions for Big Finish, BBC Radio, and BBC Audio as a writer, producer, and script editor on series including Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Torchwood and Dark Shadows. His audio Dead Air is a Best Audiobook winner. For the BBC, James created the Doctor Who website and commissioned animations including Scream of the Shalka, The Infinite Quest, as well as early animations of missing episodes.

James Goss said: “The thing I loved most about this was getting into the original scripts. You could see the vision of Terry Nation, racing on far ahead of what the BBC could achieve — he never writes rooms, he writes chambers, he doesn't write quarries, he writes ancient cities sinking into sand. It is full of vistas that are alive and vibrant and populated which was very different from the spartan, frequently freezing, locations that the production team provided. Maybe Blake's 7 is so fondly remembered because it tried when perhaps it shouldn't.

“When I was a child, I worshipped Blake, but as a very old man, I now realise what everyone else has, that Avon is the real hero, the guiding light both of Blake's 7 and perhaps of our lives. A weary genius all too aware of that Dorothy Parker quote - ‘in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending.’”

Producer and Commissioning Editor Peter Anghelides said: “Our wonderful writers bring their talent, imagination and wit to these new novelisations. Each of them already has an impressive track record as a novelist, not to mention a wide range of other writing in prose and other media.

“Unlike conventional novelisations, which tend to be written before a TV show or movie has been completed, these are all informed by the available reference materials, 45 years of the show, and the inventiveness of our authors. They are all big fans of the series – our very own ‘Blake’s 7’ for this unique collection.

“The Nation Estate very helpfully allowed us to see original drafts written by Terry, some hand annotated, to reference as the origins of the TV show. Where appropriate, we’re staying faithful to the original series. For example, some draft scripts feature the characters Arco Trent and Brell Klein, who make it onto Liberator – but (spoiler alert) they won’t be escaping Cygnus Alpha in our novels.

“However, along with BBC filming, camera, and rehearsal scripts, those early drafts have informed these brand-new novels for all thirteen episodes of that first season. And with Redemption as the conclusion of Terry Nation’s original fourteen-story run, it’s the first time that any of the second season has been novelised!”

Blake’s 7: Origins is due for publication on 27th March 2023, marking 45 years since the original broadcast of the first season’s final episode. 

The set of seven is now available to pre-order for just £99.99 (plus postage & packing) exclusively from These books are not available to buy separately.

All the above prices include the special pre-order discount and are subject to change after general release.

Images - Big Finish

Powered by Blogger.