Cult TV '99

Panel session with Paul Darrow and Andrew Sewell

Here's what I can remember from the session with Paul Darrow and Andrew Sewell (the producer of the telemovie) at Cult TV. Quotes are close to the original, but not perfect. (I've got a poor quality tape of some bits, and can't always make out words perfectly) Bits unattributed or in brackets are my additions.

It will probably be screened spring 2001, but there's nothing set in stone about that date.

There will be a new director.

No Liberator. "It blew up, they cannot rebuild it." (Much though I love Liberator - my favourite ship of any SF show - I have to concede that Andrew has a point.)

No Blake. He's dead. (Aaah)

Best quote of the session after commenting on what they want to retain from the original show - Andrew to Paul - 'If you die, I'll kill you'

They definitely want to retain the wit and humour of the original series.

Andrew - "Invasion: Earth" had its heart in the right place but at the end of the day it was poorly executed in the character department and this undermined its dramatic credibility considerably... one of B7's strengths that we ignore at our peril! The audience and critical reaction to IE has done nothing to improve the Broadcaster's view that the Brits can't make audience pleasing SF ala B5, Buffy or Star Trek. This makes our (my) job that much harder.

Andrew (if I understood him correctly) wants to retain the 'UKcentric feeling' of the show. He feels that can actually be a bonus in the overseas market.

The writer is Bev Doyle. 'as far as UK writers go, one of the most commercially orientated writers going - catches that humour perfectly'

Paul - One of the reasons that I am involved in this is because Terry was a close friend; I'm proud to say I was almost a member of the family. I promised Kate (Terry's widow) that this would be Terry Nation's Blake's 7 -and that's why I've got this spurious title of associate producer. She trusts me to say no, that line is - We've got to have wit; we've got to have repartee. It will be there. That's part of the reason why I'm involved.

Andrew - We wouldn't be able to do it without Paul. The character of Avon will be a catalyst to this production.

Me - have you ever thought of involving Chris Boucher?

Andrew - I was waiting for this one. I have great admiration for Chris as a writer, but there are other equally good writers out there and we are looking to take a fresh attack on this project. But that doesn't mean that we might not approach Chris to do a radio play. That's always a possibility.

Me - If Chris did do a radio play, that would be brilliant.

Andrew - Well, Brian (Lighthill) and I have talked about doing another one, but obviously our priority is the telemovie. We have talked about the possibility of doing another radio play some time next year. That's still up in the air at the moment. I have to say that Barry (Letts) has turned in a treatment for the new one. I know that people have various mixed feelings as to what Barry did with the previous two, but I have to say that his treatment for this is very good. Doesn't necessarily mean that Barry will write it, but... he put in a damn good treatment, a cracking story

It has not yet been decided who will do the SFX, but a mixture of CGI and model work is intended at this stage. (Andrew is the Executive Producer for the BBCW international new media content for 'Walking with Dinosaurs', a show which involves masses of animation and he says looks really good.) He feels that total CGI can end up with something that looks too clean - he quotes B5.

Andrew - (with regard to whether the movie will go ahead) Nothing is 100% guaranteed. I always say that I'll believe in something when I'm sitting in the auditorium watching the final print being screened, so I'd be a very foolish person to say that it's a hundred percent guaranteed but we have a fantastic team. We have a very dedicated team. We have every reason to believe that it will happen. We'll do our darndest to make sure that it does.

It seems unlikely that any other members of the original cast will be involved though I don't think this has been ruled out entirely. It's basically passage of time and also uncertainty as to whether any given person would actually be available at the time of filming. (A valid concern - that's why Glynnis Barber didn't play Soolin in the first radio play)

Paul - I'd look a bit silly running around in black leather. Micheal Sheard - (who'd just dropped by) I'd like to see Paul Darrow in black leather! (enthusiastic response from audience...)

Paul - (sultry) You already have (laugh from audience) but I'm not saying anything. (Michael played section leader Klegg in 'Aftermath')

Cheers from audience as Micheal Sheard grabs the mike to tell a tall story about Paul when he gave him a lift while they were both working on Blake's 7. The short version is 'don't trust Michael when he says he knows a short cut...' That was pretty much the end of the session.

Conversations later on suggest that they haven't totally ruled out using original cast members in cameo roles or to play different characters. I'm not saying that it's planned, but I suggested it and the idea wasn't shot down out of hand.


PS. In the Cult TV awards ceremony, Michael Sheard won 'Cult TV personality of the year' (now you know why we've invited him to Redemption) but Paul (to his surprise - I was standing next to him when it was announced) - was voted into the Hall of Fame as best actor. Blake's 7 won the award for the best costumes and also won an award for best returning series.

Last changed on 02nd of October 1999 -

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