Blake's 7 The Inside Story

Written by:
Joe Nazzaro and Sheelagh Wells
First Published: 1997
Page Count: 128
Colour Photos: 40
B/W Photos: 112
Production Drawings: 14
Availability: Try Amazon

The Inside Story is a good book, though you might be forgiven for wanting a little bit more. Its title suggests either an in-depth account with reams of info, or a salacious, gossipy tome. Sadly, it's neither, The Inside Story being a glossy, A4 work with over 150 photographs. Many of these are high quality, and while the odd one might be a little grainy (p.70, 72, 117) and one might be printed in reverse (p. 63), the vast majority are wonderful. Particularly of note are over forty behind the scenes photographs, with page 29 (right) and 50 producing the biggest smiles.

The book is divided into ten chapters: Starting Out; The Cast, Part 1; Location Tales; Special Effects; Costume and Make-Up; Studio Stories; The Cast, Part 2; Season 4; Blake and Where Are They Now? Things are book-ended by a Neil Gaiman introduction and a rudimentary episode guide. Ironically, it's the chapter I left till last, Make-Up, that turned out to be the nearest to what I'd expected. Jacqueline Pearce and Brian Croucher had their grievances with the series, though these are glossed over. The book tries to give the impression of an old boy's club, where everyone was best of friends, up for a playful prank or jolly wheeze. The only place this mask really slips is when discussing costume designer Nicky Rocker. Jacqueline Pearce, Mary Ridge, Paul Darrow and Sheelagh all take turns to put the boot in, with only Gareth Thomas being positive. Perhaps uncharitably, Nicky is not given the right of reply here, or maybe he declined?

Another good target, taking place over three chapters, is Deep Roy, who broke his collarbone during a rehearsal fight with Steven Pacey. Never one to bear a grudge, Deep claims: "An apology is no good when you injure yourself [] maybe he was trying to prove he was a macho guy." Other Roy moans come concerning Moloch: "I was in pain, and on medication, and pissed off when they were laughing at the puppet. I was doing them a favour - they were supposed to do the lines and get me out of there." Generally, though, the book is more of the luvvie backslapping variety, with moderately informative snippets rather than gallons of detail. It's a nice book, and I enjoyed reading it, even though you could get through it in a couple of hours. Is it worth 12.99? Maybe, maybe not. It's recommended, certainly, but you can live without it.