This is what I think of as the 'Get Gareth' tape. Here we have Gareth Thomas (Blake), the man who shot him (Paul Darrow), the man who wrote the fatal script (Chris Boucher - writer and script editor) and the man who did the explosives for his stomach (Jim Francis - visual effects designer).
Chris talks about how he got his job as script editor (it was the first time he'd had that particular job) and how much he enjoyed working on the series. There's good-natured discussion over the fact that writers tend to be invisible to the audience. How often does someone say 'Great line' to a writer as opposed to an actor? There's also some very interesting comments on what happens when an episode comes out a little too long or too short. Which bits get cut/added? Rarely the ones that the writer would choose, it seems!
Paul and Gareth appreciated what Chris wrote for them. Paul, being a movie buff, also enjoyed trying to see where Chris had pinched his lines from!
Jim Francis started the old way, using foreground miniatures and multi-exposure shots. Many of these were used on Blake's 7, including some of the best shots, but new technology was beginning to appear. Writers aren't the only ones whose work gets cut. Many space shots were edited out too.
One thing Jim particularly appreciated was when Mary Ridge let him do much of the direction for the death of Liberator. It was very much a special-effects sequence and Jim had put a lot of work into it.
Jim had some particularly interesting comments to make with regard to the use of sound in explosions. (Time has led to the occasional minor slip in memory - it isn't a tin mine near Swanage; it's a quarry for Purbeck stone.)
Props presented inevitable problems - Paul's knack of breaking weapons is pretty well-known. It may not be B7, but I did enjoy Jim's story of the exploding fridge.
My favourite comment just has to be Sheelagh saying to Jim: "I now forgive you for dumping me in a dustbin full of slime." I'd never heard *that* story before.
Side 2 commences with discussion of the infamous last episode. I loved Terry Nation's advice to Chris about why you should always write the last episode yourself (buy the tape and find out why!).
Jim talks about the wonderful Scorpio landing sequence and how his work on The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy helped. He also mentioned one of the inspirations for the design of Scorpio, apart from the need for it to be able to land on a planet and manoeuvre in atmosphere. Destroying Scorpio took quite a bit of work - it was a robust model (made by Ron Thornton).
There were several questions that had been sent in by people who'd listened to earlier tapes including: Did Gareth regret being killed in 'Blake'? Was Blake a hero or a terrorist/freedom fighter? How would Chris have handled a new series if he hadn't had to kill Blake?
This last question led into a general discussion of the TV movie, how it came about, Terry Nation's ideas, the way the characters would get together and a fair bit more besides. I won't repeat all Paul's comments here - it's better to hear it direct from source.
If you want accurate information on the movie that hasn't been through the 'Chinese Whispers' game played by the newspapers, then this is probably the place to get it.
There was a little repetition from previous tapes - I'm sure I've heard Gareth's London's Burning story before - but the extra length of this tape and the introduction of Chris and Jim make it well worth the money. Recommended, especially for Chris Boucher fans.
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