Paul Darrow's Final Blake's 7 Work Will Release Next Month

Darrow as Kerr Avon, one of the most magnificent bastards of British sci-fi.
Darrow as Kerr Avon, one of the most magnificent bastards of British sci-fi.
Image: BBC

Paul Darrow, best known for playing the unscrupulous anti-hero of the British sci-fi cult classic Blake’s 7, Kerr Avon, passed away earlier this year, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most beloved charismatic assholes of classic sci-fi. Now, his final contribution to that legacy is about to be released.

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Computer hacker turned unlikely leader of Blake’s insurgency Avon was one of the handful of survivors from Blake’s 7's iconic bloodbath of a series finale—allowing Darrow to return to the role in recent years performing in full-cast audio dramas for Big Finish.

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Set in and around the events of the latter half of Blake’s 7, the stories have seen Darrow’s Avon lead the crew of the Liberator in the wake of the titular Blake’s disappearance, taking the fight to Servalan and the villainous Federation—a fight that will continue in next month’s Blake’s 7: Restoration Part 2.

Set during the show’s third season, the four-story audio series sees Darrow’s final performance as Avon joined by original actors Jan Chappell, Michael Keating, and Steven Pacey, who played Cally, Vila, and Del Tarrant on the show, respectively, as they’re joined by actress Yasmin Bannerman as Dayna Mellanby, a character originally played by Josette Simon.

Illustration for article titled Paul Darrows Finali Blakes 7/i Work Will Release Next Month
Image: Big Finish

The four stories see the battle-damaged Liberator attempt to find safe harbor and perform vital repairs, while the Federation’s newest president hatches a sinister plot to reaffirm its ruthless grip across the thousands of worlds under its control.

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While Big Finish’s Blakes series will continue in the wake of Darrow’s passing, the company has stressed that they will not recast the role of Kerr Avon to do so—instead, the character will be written out of the series in Restoration’s third part, due to release in February next year, leaving Part 2 to be the final fitting testament to a role Darrow has breathed life into time and time again over the past 40 years.

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Blake’s 7: Restoration Part 2 is set to release on CD and digitally in November 2019.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

bluehinter
bluehinter

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy Big Finish’s Blakes 7 audio play range.

In some ways, they work even better than the Doctor Who ones, which are hamstrung slightly by the audio-only format, and the fact that there’s only so many different settings on a ring modulator to choose from before all your aliens start sounding alike. 

The lost of the series three main actors, Gareth Thomas, Paul Darrow, and Jacqueline Pearce, have certainly dealt the line a major blow, but not a fatal one. Avon and Servalan were always the hammy heart of the show, and they continued to steal the spotlight (and chew the scenery) in audio format. It’s now down to just Villa and Cally (and I suppose Tarrant, but everybody hates Tarrant) which isn’t as satisfying as it could be, but as Big Finish have demonstrated in the past, the format still works remarkably well. It’s rather east to write out all but two of the main characters since A) Someone always has to remain behind on the Liberator to operate the teleport and avoid Federation Pursuit ships, and B) there’s at least 50/50% odds that any information Liberator receives is a trap, so they tend to only teleport down whoever is absolutely essential to the mission. (Which is also a good excuse to have that character explain what they’re seeing to the rest of the crew on the ship)