Avon Calling! ‘Space Opera: Blake’s 7 – A Tragedy in Four Acts’

❉ Miwk Publishing announce a complete production diary of the cult series Blake’s 7.

Have you ever wanted to know how the oppressive future of the Federation’s Earth dome was brought to light in BBC TV Centre? How a lead actor breaking his foot almost meant Blake never visited space station XK-72? Or how Avon could see the Scorpio flight deck when he stood over Blake’s corpse on Gauda Prime? Space Opera: Blake’s 7 – A Tragedy in Four Acts will answer all of these questions and more.

Space Opera: Blake’s 7 – A Tragedy in Four Acts is a complete production diary of the BBC Television series Blake’s 7. Working from scripts, studio plans, production paperwork and a wealth of interviews, the plan is to put the reader firmly in the centre of the action. From the original scripting stage through to studio and location production and post-production. There are moments when more than four episodes are simultaneously in production in a single week.

Scorpio flight deck illustration: Andrew Orton

The entire story is told in chronological order, day-by-day whether it’s in the production office or the canteen, the make-up department or the studio itself, each day’s activities are covered in full.

‘We’ve been working on this for a little over seven months now’ says Matt West, ‘we’ve got a while still to go which involves conducting he interviews we’ve already set up. The bulk of the factual detail is covered, but the interviews will add more colour and first person perspectives. We’ve tried to interview as many people as possible who haven’t previously discussed their work on the show, not just guest actors but riggers, cameramen, scene-shifters… anyone we could track down really!’

Andrew Orton explains the book further, ‘Matt and I had written Maximum Power, a very silly book about Blake’s 7, with a few colleagues some years ago, before I then opted to write an ambitious investigation into the literary, mythological and historical themes of the television series Robin of Sherwood in Hooded Man. Space Opera is like neither of these. We became fascinated with how the BBC put Blake’s 7 together. To that end, we’re not splitting the series into episodes so we can describe their plots in detail with our favourite quotes attached. This is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment, blow-by-blow account of all aspects of this fascinating production which managed to put a group of rebel criminals into space to wage war against a galactic Federation, all from a room in Shepherd’s Bush.’

Not final cover art.

Blake’s 7 was a frantic production as Andrew explains, ‘By the 1970s, the BBC had the making of populist drama down pat, and was brilliant at it, with its set design departments and costume departments and special effects departments. And yet… the production of Blake’s 7 was often a chaotic duel, with hectic schedules, accidents and breakdowns, and last minute script changes always on the horizon. It takes a certain kind of planning to put the first episode of a series like this out six days after Star Wars was released, and the irony was not lost on the production team. We want to tell this tale in their voices, to discover their stories, and build the complete picture of how this remarkable series was made. A book that is nearly forty years overdue!’

‘One would hope’ says Matt, ‘that by the end of this project the ultimate book will give context to some episodes and scenes and show Blake’s 7 for what it really was: Great drama but bloody hard work for all involved!’

❉ Space Opera is scheduled for release early in 2018. Follow Miwk’s Facebook and Twitter for further updates. A small number of copies of Maximum Power! are still available here.

❉ News source: https://www.facebook.com/notes/miwk/space-opera-blakes-7-a-tragedy-in-four-acts-by-andrew-orton-matthew-west/1478715012174220/

❉ We Are Cult is not responsible for the content of this news release.

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