The Battlestar effect
I can't tell you how disappointed I am. You go away for a few days and back home earth shattering news rocks the TV world. No not Dawn Airey, but the return of 'Blake's 7'.
Anyone who has been here before will know that I am of the firm belief that 'Battlestar Galactica' is some of the best television ever made and that reimagining the show as a dark and desperate struggle for survival in a post 9/11 world has made for compelling viewing.
While at the end of the 1970s the US was enjoying the camp original of 'Battlestar Galactica' we had 'Blake's 7', which was as dark as British sci-fi gets.
A band of rebels on the run in a cool ship from the totalitarian Federation regime, and now it is on its way to Sky One.
Actually that was two cool ships, and one after the other they all ended up in small pieces. First the Liberator.
…and then Scorpio, each with their distinctive onboard computers.
Slight worry as the station has little track record with drama (it did some sub-'Buffy the Vampire' show called 'Hex', but it had short bumpy, cast-changing run). But Sky also had a co-production role in the "re-imagining" of 'Battlestar Galactica' so it does know TV magic when it sees it.
'Blake's 7' has already made a little comeback with audio stories, but a move to TV is what fans have really wanted. Sky has commissioned two 60-minute shows and six scripts have in all been mapped out. I just hope it doesn't go the way of Sky's botched remake of the 'The Prisoner', which got dropped.
For a Big Brother/1984 set-in-space story about a society that controlled the lives of its civilians, 'Blake's 7' is perfect for a return. The only shame is that they did not do it sooner because it looks unlikely that any of the cast will make a reappearance — retired as most are.
Oddly enough, like the new 'Battlestar Galactica', now in its fourth and final season, 'Blake's 7' only ran for four years until Paul Darrow's Avon shot dead the eponymous Blake in the final episode in a spectacular shootout.
Why the BBC hasn't moved on this before, after the success of revamping 'Doctor Who', is anyone's guess, but as a broadcaster it has never handled sc-fi very well — even now (softening Doctor who with earlier timeslots and the awful Catherine Tate).
Oddly enough, it is making a 'Blake 7' -alike show about outcasts from Earth looking for a new home… which is odd, but very BBC like.
The success of the show will depend on whether Sky One can sell it, as the BBC has done with 'Doctor Who', in the US. First time around, the BBC sold 'Blacke's 7' in 40 countries around the world and that was in the 70s/80s, when most of the ships and props were made along strict guidelines set by 'Blue Peter'.
Sky has already said that Blake will be back as a character and you have to hope Federation boss Servalan will also return. She brought a dark touch of glamour to the show and Daniela Nardini, Anna from 'This Life' fame, would be a shoe-in — she has been playing the role in the audio dramas.
The best role and the best lines belonged to Avon. The cool, cold and calculating cynic, who pretty much always dressed in black, and much will rely on who gets cast there.
There's so much to look forward. In the meantime, there is always YouTube. My favourite line: "Staying with your requires a level of stupidity I'm not capable of", but here are some more of top quips.