Terry Nation's Blake's 7 Annual 1979

First Published:
Page Count: 64
Colour Photos: 7
Full Colour Illustrations: 31
Single Colour Illustrations: 36
Availability: Currently unavailable

Ah, the World annuals. A 64-page book series that were the bane of many a Who fan's collection. Usually jam-packed full of irrelevant articles on UFOs and ESP, along with feeble stories Robert Powell and one of the Nolan sisters? No, it's Blake and Jenna, silly! and art that in no way resembles its intended victims.

In fairness, the first of three B7 annuals is actually a slight cut above the usual World fare, though that's not to say it's any good. No author or artist is credited, so the names have been sheilded to protect the guilty. Yet there's a sense that they were at least trying, with the six ropey features actually tied in to the series. One of them, "Alien Encounters", actually adds to the continuity of the show. So add to your list of alien lifeforms transparent cats the size of mice, The Auron Kama Sutra was very popular on the Liberator...giant earthworms with servants the shape of faceless monkeys and the mighty Toad Men of Abigas. No, I'm not making it up. Or how about Blake's Wonders of the Universe where you can see a hollow planet in the shape of a human skull, or the Dry Sea of Voxx? It does feel a little awkward seeing what was essentially an adult show orientated so stagily towards children, but at least this annual tries. Unusually for World, there's even a few photos, with a seventh feature, the two-page "Meet The 7". This suggests Gan was from the planet Zephron, though this was never revealed on screen, and as it also states Cally came from Saurian Major then we can take it with the proverbial pinch of...

As for the stories, then we get six: Crystal Gazing (The crew are captured by "brown bandits"); Revenge of the Mutoes (Not the Mutos from the series, but green, bug-eyed dwarves - better than it sounds); The Body Stealers (An okay mind-swap story where it's revealed Zen can make tea); The Box (The longest and dullest of the collection); The Sima Experiment (An anagram of Mi As Experiment - surely not a coincidence) and Mother Ship (A giant space dragon reverts the crew to childhood). True to form, Gan gets not a single line of dialogue in these stories.

Make no mistake, this annual is unashamedly aimed towards the junior school end of the market, and is no work of art. The features can be read in seconds, while the stories are the literary equivalent of Mogadons. Yet if you know what to expect, then it's actually not all that bad within its field...