Note Paul Darrow will not be involoved - the original press release said he was, he has since parted company with the project.
It has also been a joy to work with Paul on Ghostwatch LIVE, a unique event that takes place this weekend. You'll find brief details under 'cast news' below, but the full story will be revealed tomorrow in part two of this newsletter.
Until then, please remember your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org is always welcome and indeed encouraged.
Andrew Mark Sewell,
Executive Producer, B7 Enterprises
"The Tale of Anonymous, Hollywood and Taking the Heat"
With three names, Andrew Mark Sewell, our erstwhile lead Producer, stands out from the crowd. Try standing behind him in a supermarket when he's signing his credit slip and you're in a hurry. Of course, standing out in a crowd may prove awkward. You become an obvious target figure.
Thus it is that, whilst the other two Musketeers, Paul Darrow and Brian Lighthill, chortled away in the background, Mr. Sewell took the flak. As soon as it was announced that a Blake's 7 TV Movie was in the offing, more enthusiasts for the programme that we ever knew were out there proffered advice, scripts, casting suggestions and, upon occasion, abuse.
Tabloid newspapers told the fantasy world that half the casts of "Coronation Street", "EastEnders" and "Bad Girls" were going to be in it. Pure fantasy, of course.
Somebody even spread a rumour that Brad Pitt would play Avon as a young man. Whilst confessing that a combination of Bad Girls and Brad Pitt would be, shall we say, enticing, poor Andrew Mark had to sooth the breasts of the savages... sorry, fans... squash the rumours and suffer the abuse.
This wasn't easy but, with two saints' names and the surname of a well known art critic our hero pulled through.
Where is he now?
Well, pretty much where he was when we last encountered him. Bearing the brunt of the enterprise. (Enterprise?). But progress has been made. New logos, artwork and music have been commissioned. Contacts have been made and interest in high places piqued. Oh yes, there was still the small matter of a script. Enter... Anonymous.
Anonymous was working on something else for a big shot in Hollywood and didn't want his/her name revealed until the time was appropriate. Meaning when the script was signed, sealed, delivered and hailed as a masterpiece. Anonymous, of course, is the best selling author of all time. Think about it.
It takes time to prepare a script. Particularly when certain expectations must be met and rigid guidelines adhered to. Thus it was that the triumvirate after a couple of meetings with Anon and the promise that there would be no telepathic 'Ghost Otters' they bleated encouragement and told him/her to get on with it.
It takes money to relaunch a cult. Rights have to be paid for, lawyers must scan myriad documents, experts in various fields must be contacted and briefed and the Three Musketeers cannot live by bread alone.
So, dear reader, or Internet scanner, you will appreciate that the Blake's 7 TV Movie cannot appear on your screen in a blink of Avon's eye. It takes a blinking long time.
Still... slowly, but surely, we're getting there. Always remember that the Tortoise triumphed over the Hare.
Scripts arrived. Script no good. That is to say, the script was very good. Anonymous knows a thing or two, but it wasn't quite what we had in mind and would not have met Terry Nation's requirements, unless read under the influence of LSD. It is, after all, Terry Nation's "Blake's Seven". Script is being re-written. Time passes.
Problems arise. Do we have distribution rights in Ulan Bator? Should Servalan dolls be fully dressed? (We're thinking of holding a referendum on that one.) Will there be a CD-Rom game? Will there be a documentary film on the making of the TV Movie? Or a book? A jigsaw puzzle? Can we get Lyle Lovett to record the theme song? (Just kidding folks.) All sorts of time consuming problems.
But...hey... if you can't take the heat...
The Blake's 7 TV Movie is coming your way but... slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.
Fear not, we're saving the last waltz for all of you lovely people... out there in the dark.
A personal message from Paul Darrow:
Terry Nation's "BLAKE'S SEVEN"... The new and eagerly anticipated TV Movie and possible series. The Saga goes on and on, and on, and on.
Do not despair. Everything comes to he/she who waits. (cf. John Milton, poet.) To travel hopefully is better than to arrive. (cf. R L Stevenson, novelist.) Almost there. (cf. Andy Williams, vocalist.) Seriously though, folks ... (cf. Hughie Green. Hughie Green?) Everything in on track - (I've been told to say this) - for the realization of our dreams. The nightmare of procedures regarding the 'setting up' of the project are at an end. We are on red alert. Well ... amber. All that remains is to 'make the deal' with one of a number of interested investors and all of a sudden we'll gallop apace.
Question is ... with whom shall we climb into bed? I'll rephrase that. With which TV distribution company will the interests of the new... newish ... 'Blake's Seven' be best served? That's the stage we're at. It's now up to the sharp traders. What do 'they' want from 'us'? What will we get from them? We'll find out sooner rather than later and we'll keep you informed. Meanwhile, Andrew Mark Sewell - all three of him - slaves away on your behalf. (And mine - I need the money.) Simon Moorhead has joined our production team in place of Brian Lighthill. (Brian is now 'a consultant'. Nice one, Brian.) And for me ... I struggle on in the hope that Avon will not be on his death bed when the cameras start rolling.
Meanwhile, Sewell, Moorhead and Darrow are involved with "Ghostwatch 2001" brought to you by BBC Worldwide on UK Horizons, BBC Prime, the Web, the Net, BBC America... anything that isn't terrestrial. Which is apt in a way because ... the programmes deal with the 'Unknown' - ghosts, spectres, ectoplasm, hallucination and just maybe, an experience of a lifetime. Or dead time - depending on your point of view. Kind of like setting up "Blake's Seven" the TV Movie/Series. All around Halloween, the BBC and Net stations referred to will be broadcasting a series of programmes about the paranormal. Not least among these "Ghostwatch 2001". There are vignettes concerning certain ghosts to be found, perhaps, in a place that is world famous for entertaining them. If torturing and beheading can be called entertainment. I mean... The Tower of London ... where we have been privileged to film, in the dead - (sorry) - of night. Not just any night(s), but... Halloween.
Trick or treat? Find out by watching with us on Ghostwatch 2001. You'll definitely see me - "Watch the Avon you're likely to see in the new, Blake's Seven. Watch him age before your eyes if a real ghost appears. What am I talking about? Watch him run. In addition - "Feast your eyes on Ms Claudia Christian, star of 'Babylon Five'. If a real ghost appears watch him run." (In which direction, I leave to your imagination.) Whatever happens, and something might, you'll want to be there.
You don't really believe there are ghosts? Neither do I. On Ghostwatch 2001 we'll be proved to be right. Want a bet? Just remember ... you might not see a ghost, but how can you be sure that a ghost isn't seeing you?
(c) Copyright 2001. Paul Darrow. B7 Enterprises Ltd.
Attention all Blake's 7 fans!
I, Claudia Christian, am here to announce that Paul Darrow is an absolutely incredible man and I am thrilled to be co-hosting Ghostwatch Live at the Tower of London with his eminence.
Furthermore, I implore you to join us this weekend!
Gareth Thomas (Blake) is playing a tyrannical father in 'Rutherford & Son' at the Playhouse Theatre, Salisbury until 27th October. He recently appeared as a sick farmer in the BBC's daytime soap 'Doctors' and plays the telepathic Kalendorf in the latest Big Finish 4 part CD series 'Dalek Empire'. He also recently won Best Fringe Performer for his role as Joseph Leibovitz in the Edinburgh Festival production 'Moving Objects', which won a Fringe First Award as Best Play.
Sally Knyvette (Jenna) is currently filming on 'Family Affairs' and is currently rehearsing at the Tricycle Theatre, London where she will be assistant directing a benefit performance of 'Twelve Angry Men'.
Paul Darrow (Avon) has been working on an exciting new project for BBC Worldwide called 'Ghostwatch Live' in which he co-presents live coverage from the Tower of London on 26/27 October (broadcast on UK Horizons & BBC Prime, and a streamed broadcast over the web). He also narrates 6 mini-documentaries recounting tales of some of the Tower's most famous residents whose spirits are believed to still haunt the Tower to this very day, and a documentary 'Secrets of the Paranormal' also to be shown on UK Horizons and BBC Prime on 31st October as part of their 'Haunted Weekend' celebrations.
Michael Keating (Vila) can be seen in a TV commercial for Lottery Instants and has recently filmed some corporate video presentations.
Jan Chappell (Cally) can be seen in Ep. 5 of the current series of 'Holby City' playing the Director of Nursing.
Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan) will be playing Maud in JB Priestley's 'Dangerous Corner' at the Garrick Theatre, London for a planned 6 month run opening 6th November, having transferred from the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Steven Pacey (Tarrant) will shortly be filming for the BBC drama 'Murder in Mind' playing Frank, a philandering husband.
Josette Simon (Dayna) was recently seen in 'The Vagina Monologues' at the New Ambassadors Theatre, London W1.
Glynis Barber (Soolin) is currently filming on ITV's new afternoon soap/drama series 'Night and Day' to be screened 3 times a week from November. She plays a teacher, Fiona Brake.
Stephen Greif (1st Travis) is preparing to narrate his first complete book by Jake Arnott called 'He Kills Coppers', a follow up to 'The Long Firm'. He recently did some filming on 'Shackleton' for Channel 4 and plays the evil Kwundar in the Big Finish Doctor Who CD 'Primeval' with Peter Davison.
Brian Croucher (2nd Travis) has just recorded 3 episodes of 'The Bill' for ITV, playing a 'bent copper', due to be shown sometime in November. He will be appearing in 'Aladdin' playing the Emperor of China from 19th December to 6th January at the Dacorum Pavilion, Hemel Hempstead.
Top 10 - Paul Darrow, Gareth Thomas and Jacqueline Pearce were interviewed for Channel 4's 'The Top 10: Sci Fi' broadcast on 13th October. Blake's 7 naturally featured amongst the Top 10 shows, coming in at No. 6!
Many of the cast appear regularly at SF conventions and signing sessions all over the country, and you may want to check out some of these special events:
26/29th October 01 - the Cult TV Festival - a 4 day celebration of Cult TV programmes with special guests including Sally Knyvette and Jan Chappell at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. For more information see http://www.culttv.org.
4th November 01 - signing session with Paul Darrow at the 2001 Memorabilia Fair at the NEC, Birmingham from 11am. Paul is a guest of the 10th Planet SF Shop and will be appearing at their stand signing Blake's 7 and Doctor Who items.
8/10th February 02 - the Starfleet Ball multi media convention at the Carrington House Hotel, Bournemouth includes guests of honour Sally Knyvette and Jan Chappell. For more information see http://www.sfball.com.
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