The Making of Terry Nation's Blake's 7

Written by:
Adrian Rigelsford
First Published: 1995
Page Count: 96
Colour Photos: 37
B/W or Tinted Photos: 53
Availability: Try Amazon

Timing is everything, of course. Had this been released in the late 80s, or in the aftermath of the series, then it would have possibly been, like The Programme Guide, an indispensable bible for fans who had little access to the source material. As it is, The Making Of came out in 1995, just two years before The Inside Story. I have my reservations about that work, too, but it effortlessly eclipses what we have here.

Not actually bad per se, the back cover's promise of "in-depth analysis of episode production and plot development" is, in reality, just cursory. What's more, Rigelsford's writing ranges from putting exclamation marks everywhere to dull regurgitation of shooting schedules. ("Maloney started work in a disused quarry in Cinderford, shooting from 5 to 7 February.") It's hardly awe-inspiring stuff and, as anoraks are the only ones that would buy this stuff, then you might also be distracted by the number of minor factual errors, such as Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis being veterans from the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who (their first work on the show was for William Hartnell) and the security robot "that was seen in several of the stories in the show's first year." (Er… so that'll be two then?) Most significantly, it has Blake being consciously designed as the final episode of the series, something that conflicts with Chris Boucher's own recollections.

Perhaps most important is the design. Again I refer to my first sentence, because it has the look and feel of an 80s work. The blurred and poorly cut-out photographs, the grainy montages (the image seen here is by far the best of them) and the terrible cover. If this had been made in 1985 then I'd be giving it a three-star rating with not much difficulty, save for the fact that it's so badly made some of the pages fall out as you read it. But when this was published just half a dozen years before the onset of the 21st century it makes a mockery of its witless layout and poorly exposed photographs. (Page 48 in particular being a real stinker).

There's a nicely self-effacing intro by Terry Nation, which presages a chapter on the origins of the programme, and a chapter and episode guide on each of the first four seasons. A final three-page chapter on "Selling The Myth" gives a bare nod to the merchandise built around the show, with Rigelsford letting his personal views seep through as he makes pointed criticism of Afterlife. I mean, like The Making Of is the Holy Grail and all! Highest praise goes to Marvel's poster magazine, which Rigelsford claims "promises to chronicle the making of the series as never before." Errr… isn't that what this book was for? What a turnip!