sir_guinglain: (Zen)
( Jun. 6th, 2014 09:33 am)
I watched Weapon last night for the first time in years, and in company dominated by a generation who had little familiarity with Blake's 7. The question kept being asked: Why spend so long on set-up before reaching the action? I could only answer flippantly that people talking in rooms was something that BBC multicamera studio drama did well. June Hudson's costumes were as ever pleasingly literal in the way they solidify character traits: John Bennett's Coser looks absurdly pompous in his high collar, but in profile on a two-dimensional screen the collar becomes a shark's fin. The medieval accent is present too, with Servalan and Blake presiding over competing courts with their long-cloaked knights in their armour, black for Servalan, green, brown or red for the outlaws of the greenwood vacuum.
I can't keep away from the archive, and have scanned and uploaded issue 27 of Tides of Time, published by the Oxford University Doctor Who Society in October 2001. This is another good one from the years after the McGann TV Movie and demonstrates the society's wide focus at the time, with reflections on the similarities between Robin of Sherwood and Blake's 7, a study of Blake's 7's Travis, a look at the obsession with the rural in British telefantasy, ponderings on possible interpretations of The Daemons, The Professionals fiction, an exchange of views on why Doctor Who was taken off air in 1989, and the usual much more.

The PDF is over here - it's just under 27Mb so right-clicking is recommended.

ETA: A fuller listing of the contents is available here, with another link to the PDF.
At Valiant 3 this weekend I picked up two books: From Byfleet to the Bush, the memoir of Jacqueline Pearce, and Patrick Troughton by his son Michael Troughton. Both are published by small presses whose main audience can be found among Doctor Who and telefantasy fandom, but they are very different books.

Jacqueline Pearce - Jack or Jackson to her friends - has written a demanding but compelling account of a troubled life in which her ambitions were sabotaged by her own complex psychological self-defence mechanisms, leading to often profound depression and battles with poverty, love false and true, and continued assaults by mental illness. Those looking for anecdotes about Blake's 7 and her portrayal of Servalan might be disappointed given Pearce's insistence that she recalls little of it thanks to her mental state for most of the time, but we do learn that the change from predominantly white to predominantly black outfits was of personal significance and that when arrested for possession of cannabis the officers concerned were greatly pleased that they had Servalan in custody.

Much of what Jacqueline Pearce relates in this book will be familiar to those who have suffered from depression: the self-destructive thoughts and actions, the interpretations of the world which turn out to delude more than they help, the sometimes bewildering advice from therapists. This is more of a depression memoir set in the acting world than a strictly theatrical one. There are times when self-criticism wins and one wants to tell the author that she is not the only person to blame for her misfortune: that it was reasonable for her to trust someone who made off with her money given her past experience of them, for example. There are well-known names among the friends and acquaintances who people the narrative - Sammy Davis Jr, Alan Bates, John Hurt, Jerry Lewis, Rupert Penry-Jones and Dervla Kirwan, among others - but they take their places among the non-celebrities who have buffeted their way through their lives with Pearce. The final chapters find Pearce in South Africa, where she now lives, comparing her own young self with the worldlywise young people who volunteered alongside her at an animal sanctuary, and finding a kind of serenity among the monkeys for which she cares. The author is charming throughout; her struggles to come to terms with her psychological make-up are evident and there are certainly periods when one feels she is looking for reassurance, but so, often, do most of us.

Michael Troughton's life of his father Patrick is a different animal. Unlike From Byfleet to the Bush, its production standards are questionable, with erratic paragraph spacing and inconsistent spelling, which neither author, subject nor reader deserve. Jacqueline Pearce was abandoned by her mother when very young; Michael Troughton's father likewise left the family home not long after Michael's birth but remained a regular visitor, performing the charade of the devoted husband to Michael's mother for the benefit of the outside world while quietly living elsewhere with his second family. Michael Troughton has access to his father's diaries and also his father's own correspondence with him, but many of the recollections are secondhand from other acting colleagues, and not particularly enlightening. The section on Doctor Who unbalances the book, much of it relying on Doctor Who Magazine interviews and familiar anecdotage. An insight into Patrick Troughton's character is difficult to establish and what we do learn is often unflattering. The impression one is left with is that as Patrick Troughton remains as elusive as he ever was to audiences, his conduct left him an enigma to his family.
[livejournal.com profile] thanatos_kalos and LeMc, editor of The Terrible Zodin, have launched a new Blake's 7 webcomic. The first instalment is a light-hearted pilot, and the stories proper start in a few weeks.
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Media Guardian report that Sky have commissioned a two-part 'event television' remake of Blake's 7.

ETA: The wording of the report suggests that production is still a long way away.

ETA 2 18:55: The Guardian have now added a gallery, with some captioning of dubious accuracy.
sir_guinglain: (Zen)
( Jul. 12th, 2007 04:13 pm)
I've just seen on Outpost Gallifrey that Peter Tuddenham has died. His performances as Zen and Orac, and in the final series, Slave, were quietly among the most memorable in Blake's 7; particularly, I thought, as Zen, whose farewell in Terminal was perhaps the most moving piece of dialogue given to a machine which I've come across.
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