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Blake’s 7 set to fly again

Good news for British sci-fi fans as start-up B7 Enterprises secures remake rights to the cult 1970s drama Blake’s 7 – some 25 years after the original series first aired on BBC1.

After a deal with the estate of the late creator of the show, Terry Nation (The Survivors), B7 Enterprises now has rights to develop and produce a range of new properties based on the original show, including telemovies, series and feature films.

The deal also gives the company all rights to the characters, format, title and scripts from Nation’s original series. The show eventually ran over 52 hours from 1978-81 and even went across the pond to US public network PBS in 1986.

B7 Enterprises was set up by former creative director for interactive at BBC Worldwide, Andrew Mark Sewell, alongside film producer Simon Moorhead and actor Paul Darrow (who played anti-hero Avon in the original series).

The deal was brokered by agent Roger Hancock, who represents the Nation estate, and comes after lengthy negotiations, which now make Sewell, Moorhead and Darrow the creative and commercial custodians of the Blake’s 7 property.

“We’ve had select rights for some time now, but to move things forward and establish what we hope will become a credible franchise we needed the full suite,” said Sewell. “Fortunately, Terry’s widow, Kate Nation bought into our vision for reviving the show 100%.

“British science-fiction has been in the doldrums far too long and we believe that our plans will deliver a compelling SF drama that appeals to the sensibilities of today’s audience both domestically and internationally.”

In the pipeline is a four-hour miniseries that is set 25 years from now, featuring a new cast and characters, based on an earlier idea by Nation. Sewell promised that Avon would appear in a final showdown.

Inspired in equal parts by Star Trek and Star Wars, the original show followed a band of freedom fighters in their starship Liberator, fighting against the evil Terran Federation.

“The programme had such a gritty and dramatic style that was every bit as great an influence on the SF genre as the original Star Trek,” said Darrow. “Terry and I were close friends and we will produce a worthy tribute to his creative legacy taking his original concept into an entirely new and exciting realm that will win a whole new audience.”

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