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Thursday, 14 April 2016

In Memory: Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas February 12, 1945 - April 13, 2016
Sad news today that Gareth Thomas, or Roj Blake as I've always known him, has died aged only 71...


Back in the dim and distant past, when Sci Fi Television was all shaky sets and props that you could actually make yourself, there was a show that captured my imagination. That show was Blake 7 and Roj Blake was the man you wanted to be. You see, I liked Avon he was all sardonic and snidey with a sarcastic streak a mile wide. Yes, I loved his marvellous and witty exchanges with Blake about morals and just why he couldn't seem to ever materialise anyone on a flat piece of ground. But Blake was the man with the mission and the passionate belief that they could bring down the might of the corrupt Federation. Gareth Thomas played Blake to perfection as a disparate rebel turned rogue who just happened to find a state of the art space ship and steal it. That pretty much sums up Blakes 7 and the evil but ever so slightly attractive Servalan who was pitted against Blake really added some much needed glitter and Dad appeal. 
I watched every episode and never bought into the myth that Blake had turned to the dark Federationey side when he returned, after a brief holiday away from the Liberator, but was really rather upset when Avon (calling?) shot him. It just wasn't a very nice thing to do was it? So there ended the story of Blakes 7, well until those wonderful Big Finish people undeaded most of the cast and produced a series of splendid audios. But that's all I know Gareth Thomas for! I know he was constantly working, whether in Theatre or television, but he will always be remembered as Blake to me. Oh, and by the way, I would suggest that you resist the urge to revisit old Blake and his pals. Blakes 7 production values and budgets really don't date well and I prefer to remember Gareth and the show back in the eighties where it  belongs. I do wish, however, that current Sci Fi shows would remember that toilet rolls and Kia Ora bottles are really useful when making teleport bracelets. Cue instructional video from Blue Peter! Thank you Gareth for the wonderful memories and one more time, CONFIRMED! 

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