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Whatever Happened to Blake's 7?

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Whatever Happened to Blake's 7?
Sky One recently announced plans to revive Blake's Seven for two new specials. Created by Terry Nation in 1978, the dark sci-fi show ran for four seasons and still has an impressive fanbase. But what has happened to the original Seven since they departed the Liberator and ended their quest to thwart the fiendish Federation in 1981?

Gareth Thomas - Blake

Now 63, the Welsh actor has kept busy since the heroic Blake was shot dead by his supposed ally Avon in the final episode of the show. He has acted in many plays, television shows and audio dramas, with notable guest appearances in staples like Bergerac, Midsomer Murders, Heartbeat, Taggart and London's Burning. Earlier this year, he was in a touring production of the John Steinbeck classic 'Of Mice And Men'.

Thomas hasn't strayed far from the realms of cult television, with a recent starring role as the suicidal Morgan in Torchwood's first season story 'Ghost Machine'. This follows on from parts in Big Finish's range of Doctor Who spinoff audio dramas.

Paul Darrow - Avon

Doctor Who fans will never forget Darrow's scenery-chomping turn as Tekker in the awful 1985 story 'Timelash', although he has never been able to shake off his association with Avon - not that he has made a sustained effort to do so. For in 1989 he wrote a book that explored the origins of the character's early life and family, while a decade later he was attached to an ill-fated project to resurrect Blake's 7 - and Avon - for the screen.

In recent years the 67-year-old has made brief appearances in Little Britain, Hollyoaks and James Bond film Die Another Day. However, he currently plies his trade primarily as a voiceover artiste for various documentaries and Oxford radio station Jack FM.

Michael Keating - Vila

The only actor to appear in all 52 episodes of the sci-fi show, Keating was recently unveiled as the star of a forthcoming series of audio drama prequels entitled Blake's 7: The Early Years.

The long stint on Blake's 7 must have left him shattered, as his next television role, in London's Burning came nine years after Vila was last seen. However, in the last three years he has made sporadic appearances in EastEnders as Reverend Stevens and has picked up a small cult following.

Jan Chappell - Cally

Much fuss was made over Stan Collymore's small role in Basic Instinct 2, but Blake's 7 fans were more pleased to see their beloved Cally pop up in the film as a random solicitor. Well, that's assuming any Blake's 7 fans have actually seen Basic Instinct 2.

Previously, Chappell's most notable post-Cally role was in the direct-to-video Doctor Who spinoff 'Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans' in 1995. One-off parts in The Bill, Boon, Spooks and New Tricks have ensured a regular stream of work, in addition to plenty of stage performances.

Sally Knyvette - Jenna

The blonde actress opted to ditch the acting after two series of Blake's 7 and head to university to take an English Literature degree. After some theatrical directing work, the acting bug eventually returned and she joined Emmerdale in 1988 as series regular Kate Sugden for three years.

Like many other jobbing actors, she has since surfaced in guest roles in the likes of Doctors, EastEnders, The Bill, Casualty and . Knyvette also works as a private acting tutor and runs workshops on Shakespeare. It's nice to see that her degree came in handy.

David Jackson - Gan

The man who played the strong but moral Olag Gan sadly died in 2005 of a heart attack at the age of 71. Previously, he had enjoyed an impressive theatrical career after leaving Blake's 7, appearing and singing in the original West End production of Phantom of the Opera alongside Michael Crawford.

Jackson also made several appearances in television shows like Minder, Only Fools And Horses and Lovejoy. In addition, he acted in the Doctor Who spinoff audio drama 'Sarah Jane Smith: Comeback' for Big Finish in 2002.

Peter Tuddenham - Zen

Tuddenham, who passed away in July 2007 aged 88, provided the voice of the Liberator's master computer Zen in the show and later supplied his voice for Orac and Slave too. He was seen in front of the camera after Blake's 7 though, playing an auctioneer in Lovejoy and a Minister in Bergerac.

However, his voice was his prize asset and he provided vocals for the all-important giant brain in 1987 Doctor Who adventure 'Time and the Rani' and continued to voice Orac in various fan made Blake's 7 spinoffs and video games.

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