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First live-action, now cgi revival for Blake's 7

Following earlier news of a live-action revival of classic BBC sci-fi series Blake's 7, reported here, the producer behind the move has told C21 that a deal is now being finalised for an animated spin-off.

{We're not limiting our plans to live-action,{ said B7 Enterprises' exec producer Andrew Mark Sewell. {We're in the process of concluding a deal with a high-end cgi studio to make a new series based on the original scripts written by Terry Nation.{

Sewell confirmed that a 26×26' series was in the pipeline, with development due to begin before the end of 2003. {We aim to get off the blocks in early 2004,{ he said.

Explaining the cgi move, Sewell said: {The original series might have cult status in certain territories but it was made in 1979 on bugger-all budget so it's not the strongest way to introduce a new audience to the show.{

Created by British sci-fi veteran Nation (The Survivors) back in the late-70s, Blake's 7 followed a band of freedom fighters in their starship Liberator, fighting against the evil Terran Federation.

{It launched two years after Star Wars and on a BBC Television budget it could never hope to compete with the effects,{ added Sewell. {Instead it focused more on the characters and the story. Blake's 7 was always a drama first and science-fiction second.{

He said it was too early to talk about the voice talent for the toon but hinted that some of the original cast might be included, such as the actor who played Avon and fellow B7 founder, Paul Darrow.

B7 also has plans to extend the franchise into the world of games consoles, radio drama, magazines and books.

As far as the live-action revival is concerned, Sewell said that script development is already fully financed by private partners, and production finance would likely be a mix of private funds and broadcaster pre-sales.

{We expect to begin pre-production in early 2004, for a possible delivery date sometime in 2005.{ Three scriptwriters – one ad director, one Hollywood script doctor and a {well-known{ British drama scribe – have been drafted in to write separate scripts.

The live-action project would either be a four-part miniseries or a pair of telemovies: {They sell better internationally.{ B7 will appoint an international distribution partner at a later date.

Sewell described Blake's 7 as one of the few remaining British SF properties that was ripe for revival, the others being Quatermass, Dr Who, Red Dwarf and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The revival of Blake's 7 comes as other producers are dusting down vintage sci-fi shows from yesteryear, like Captain Scarlett, Time Tunnel, V, Quantum Leap and Battlestar Galactica.

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