Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

The Blake's 7 Annuals

Back in the day there were three Blake's 7 annuals, for the years 1979, 1980 and 1981. By 1982, of course, the show had ended with everyone being killed, so there wouldn't have been much point in another annual. The first two of them are pretty easy to get hold of; the third is rarer but accessible for the determined. No writing or art credits are given for any of the three, which is a big shame because the writing is OK and the art in places rather good. They were published by World Distributors, who also did the Doctor Who annuals for 1979, 1980 and 1981, so it's likely that the same team was involved - we know that Paul Crompton was the main artist for the 1979 and 1980 Doctor Who Annuals, and Glenn Rix for 1981, but I don't think we have any information about who wrote the stories. Surprisingly, there is no mention of the annuals on the Blake's 7 Wiki.

1979 Annual (original price £1.50) - second paragraph of third story ("The Body Stealers"):
Blake peered over the edge of the tower at the dark shapes swarming through the stormy Vemos night below. Cally clipped the bracelet shut on the thin wrist of the semi-conscious figure propped up in front of her against the tower wall. A flash of lightning lit up Rask's cruel features. Thin lips, hollow cheeks, a long sharp nose and two glazed oval eyes, staring with hatred at Cally from under a mass of lank hair whipped forward by the wind.
Fiction accounts for 49 pages out of 63. The stories are OK for what they are, nicely illustrated with two of them featuring alien race who have been inspired by Meso-American culture. The rest is mostly mathematical puzzles, with two pages introducing the Liberator crew, and four pages of rather imaginative detail for the Blake's 7 expanded universe (click to embiggen):


1980 Annual (original price £1.75) - second paragraph of third story ("Sabotage"):
Blake shivered as he watched Vola's gloved fingers working deftly on the lock. He'd expected it to be cold, but not this cold.
Maybe the least good value of the three, here we have only 39 pages of fiction out of 62, and the rest is entirely filled with astronomy and space facts, some of which were already out of date by 1980. The illustrations are good, though most seem reminiscent of publicity pictures.

1981 Annual (original price £1.95) - second paragraph of third story ("The Island"):
“Power banks 4 and 5 down to 20%,” called Cally, reading of her instrumental panel. “We can't take much more of this.”
We're back up to 50 pages of story out of 63 now, which is better. This is the most continuity-heavy of the three annuals (not difficult), set during the third series in that the crew includes Dayna and Cally, with Zen and the Liberator, and references to the recent destruction of Star One. Again, decent interior art. By the time the annual was in the shops for Christmas shopping, however, Zen and the Liberator had been destroyed on screen at the end of March, so it was several months out of date. However, I appreciate the fan service. The art is decent, and the non-fiction part of the annual is filled out with more space and astronomy facts.

If you want, you can get the 1979 annual here, the 1980 annual here and the 1981 annual here.



Tags: bookblog 2020, tv: blakes 7
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