More Blake’s Seven
There are those who might argue that I’d be better off and a better person if I devoted rather less time to reminiscing about Blake’s Seven and rather more time to advancing my understanding of academic topics that would further my research career and expand my pedagogic repertoire.
These people are, in a sort of limited but demonstrable sense, absolutely right. One day I will put aside childish things and become a man. One day I will focus and discipline my imagination in profitable ways. Today is not that day.
It’s often said about Blake’s Seven that it’s a version of Robin Hood in space. Certainly, in the earlier seasons, there is a ragged medieval forestry quality to the costumes, and Lincoln green is a preferred colour. Certainly there is a Sheriff of Nottingham (Travis) who is bested by Blake and his outlaws on a regular basis. Certainly these outlaws seem more interested in hit and run stunts than large scale insurrection.
There is an important tonal quality however that differentiates the Liberator spaceship from Sherwood Forest. These men are not merry. Such humour as does exist can be organised along a narrow continuum from wan drollery (Vila) to very very very very dry – in fact terminally dessicated (Avon). Merriment is impossible in this universe. By stressing the absence of Merry Men, it is worth noting that Cally, Jenna, Soolin and Dayna do nothing whatsoever to add to the jollification of the crew. Gan might just be Little John, but there is no Alan a Dale or Friar Tuck. At no point does anybody suggest a singalong around the camp fire. In a way it’s a shame they don’t because Avon’s reaction to any such suggestion would have been priceless.
I do recall Tarrant grinning a fair bit, but it wasn’t really a nice grin. Tarrant’s was a very slappable smile, the sort of smile that made you want to rummage around within your plane of vision for a length of two by four with which to inflict upon such a smile some physical and permanent damage. Only that violinist orchestra leader – Andre Rieu – possesses a more slappable smile.
But you know, at my time of life, I even miss Tarrant. And the joyless, songless stretches of the galaxy where the Liberator roams are still, for me, a kind of “Green World”.