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Characters & Relationships of
"Blake's 7"

"Blake's 7" does not limit its focus to any particular character or pair of characters. Nor does it limit its scope to just one side of the battle: the opposition is also given emphasis and development. The program examines a rich array of characters and it is their interrelationships which give this show much of its unique appeal.

Powerplay "Powerplay"
by Suzan Lovett

Among these relationships, the one between Blake and Avon falls within a tradition which includes Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and Capt. James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock of "Star Trek." Though Blakeand Avon don't exactly fit these molds, there is still much in them of what make the other pairings so popular: the contradictory yet complimentary personalities (with one character being a natural leader and the other a cold, brilliant loner) and the sometimes unacknowledged friendship between them. In the third and fourth series of "Blake's 7," this part of the original theme is rarely referred to, but it is never forgotten. It is revealing that each of those series ends by overtly returning to the Blake-Avon relationship.

The most continuous relationship on the show is that between Avon and Vila. Although they are always insulting each other, Vila sticks close to Avon. Avon, for his side, will usually choose Vila to take with him on a mission though Vila is never eager to go into danger.

No pair of characters can be considered as a self-contained unit however. There are always at least seven characters in interaction (although some of these are machines). Then there are the complex interrelationships each has with their enemies. These changing and varied combinations are the life force of the program and are what hold the fabric of the show together even when major characters come and go.

It is this blending of special personalities that make "Blake's 7" unique. Having been thrown together against their will, each member of the Seven adds individual traits which strengthen the unit as a whole. In the original crew, Blake provides the goal -- most of the others do not agree with it, but it gives them direction and cohesion, and they do go along with it.

Blake, along with Cally and Gan, also provides a moral foundation. Avon adds a cunning and cynicism that often detect traps, and he also has a pragmatic outlook that tempers Blake's more ideological approach to rebellion. Vila's voiced cowardice can give the others a more realistic view of the dangers inherent in some of their schemes. Jenna's cool practicality often makes the others pause to think things through more carefully. Cally, on the other hand, shows them all a calm caring, combined with a fearlessness that keeps everyone aware that gentleness is not a weakness. Gan's bravery and loyalty are models that have a tendency to keep even Vila from letting his fear run away with him. Replacements for the original crew reorganize the strengths of the team, demonstrating its essential resilience.

The individuals of the crew also possess different talents which frequently force each to depend on one of the others. Although some of these characters try to resist this reliance, they each adapt, which cannot help but strengthen the ties that bind them.

As previously noted, "Blake's 7" doesn't confine its character development to one side of the battle. Having created the Daleks for "Doctor Who," Terry Nation went on to produce a most extraordinary human villain for "Blake's 7" - Servalan, a woman of haughty, commanding presence, introduced in the sixth episode as Supreme Commander of Federation space forces. Twenty episodes later she takes over the Presidency. (It has been well-argued that if Servalan and Darth Vadar were in the same galaxy, he would end up working for her.)

The Seven also have to face Space Commander Travis whom Servalan appoints to destroy Blake, his team, and his rebellion. Travis, who has his own reasons for wanting to kill Blake, becomes a menace in and of himself as do both of these people. Though both become fugitives of the Federation themselves, it never interrupts their running battles with Blake, Avon, and company. Travis becomes an outlaw who hunts Blake on his own. When, much later, Servalan is declared a non-person, she just changes her identity to continue working within the system to regain power and destroy her old enemies.

These villains sporadically outsmart the "heroes" and win one, thus proving their superiority to such villains as the Master or the Daleks, who always lose to the Doctor in "Doctor Who". Unlike other action TV series, which side will finally triumph is always in doubt on "Blake's 7."

Back Introduction | The Beginning | The Production Team | Background
Characters | Morality & Humor | Sex & Death | Conclusion | Summary

Quotations & other material copyrighted to Terry Nation, BBC, et al.
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A continuity guide to "The West Wing" is also available,
And a guide to the 70's series "Kung Fu".