Back to Essays home page

The Blake's 7 Characters
by Nicola Mody

Crew (in order of appearance)


Roj Blake

Blake is 32 or 33 when we first see him (he is 34 a year later at the beginning of season 2, and eight months pass between the first two episodes). He is an Alpha-grade citizen of Earth, an engineer, one of whose projects was the Federation’s failed attempt to build a teleport. When he was arrested for leading a dissident group, he was conditioned first to recant and betray his followers, then to forget that too and be a quiet model citizen. His immediate family, a brother and sister, were killed, but we later find he has an uncle and a cousin exiled on the planet Exbar. When he is contacted by rebels, charges of child molestation are rigged against him and he is sentenced to life on the penal colony of Cygnus Alpha.

Blake is an idealistic revolutionary, a good and honest man who genuinely cares for his motley crew of outcasts and criminals. His cause however comes first, as becomes increasingly apparent during season 2, when he is prepared to make compromises such as dealing with the Terra Nostra (the future Mafia), and begins to make errors of judgement.

Blake’s liking for his crew is returned by them. He is particularly close to Jenna; I think there might have been more than friendship there is his cause hadn't got in the way. He treats Vila the Delta-grade with some respect, complimenting him on occasion, and obviously enjoys his humour, returning Vila’s banter with deadpan wit of his own. He and Avon have a clash of personalities and aims, Avon resenting Blake’s idealism and his habit of keeping his plans to himself, yet despite that they are, perhaps unwillingly, friends. Blake does sometimes confide in and consult with Cally, the only other true revolutionary on the Liberator.

Blake’s goals are simple: to take down the Federation by any means necessary.


Vila Restal

Vila is perhaps 29 when we first see him in the holding cells, stealing Blake's watch. He is the only male referred to by his first name, either because of his low social status or, I think, because he prefers it—it’s friendlier and the name Restal was probably featured prominently on the wanted lists for most of his life. Vila is a professional thief, born into and brought up in the Delta service grades. He has survived more than one attempt to ‘adjust’ his mind to stop him thieving, but unlike with Blake and most others, it did not work on him. As a child, he was held in the Juvenile Detention Wards, and at age 14 was sent to a penal colony, possibly the CF1 (Correctional Facility One) he refers to later as an ‘academy’ he attended and in which he was technical advisor to the escape committee. He is obviously a brilliant thief, but appears to have only used his talent to steal enough to live on. Provided with all his needs on the Liberator, he is not seen to steal anything after Blake’s watch, but breaks through some of the most complex security systems in the Federation for Blake’s cause.

Vila has an engaging, witty, friendly personality, and the softest nature of any of the crew. Often derided as a weak coward, he describes himself as harmless, and is disarmingly honest about his profession and his fears, and he has an impressive number of those: personal violence, enclosed spaces, guns, blood, knives and the dark. However he is cool under fire as long as he has something to occupy his mind, like picking a lock or operating the Liberator’s neutron blasters, only getting scared when left alone to think. He is also often called an idiot, but he is a brilliant opener of locks, safes and complex computerised security systems. He has a low boredom threshold and sometimes asks silly questions because his attention has wandered, but also makes some very intelligent remarks and observations which are almost always ignored by the others because they don’t fit their preconceptions of who he is. The ‘sarcophagus’ alien refers to him as a genius masquerading as a fool and says he has a very high IQ. Vila starts as a resilient and basically happy person, but the accumulated blows of rejection and misfortune reduce him to depression and drink in season 4. Despite being often ignored by the early crew, and at first despised by later additions, Vila remains unaggressive, tolerant, and keeps his wit even at his most depressed.

Vila stays with Blake because, as he says to Avon, he likes him and has nowhere else to go. He responds to Blake’s respect and leadership and performs well for him, but resists when ordered about and bullied by Tarrant after Blake’s departure. Vila likes the early Liberator crew, being friends with Gan who is protective of him, enjoying the near-game of mutual insults with Avon, and having great affection from afar for Cally, whom he mourns in season 4. Whether he loved Cally or was just responding to her amused sisterly fondness is not certain. He likes Soolin, and Dayna too (despite her early contempt for him), and although he says repeatedly that he doesn't trust Tarrant, they get on well enough apart from the few times Tarrant bullies him into doing something, and they save each other's life more than once.

Vila wants a safe and comfortable life with people who like him, and dreams of finding a woman to love him and raise children with.


Jenna Stannis

Jenna is perhaps 26-28 when we first see her in the holding cells with Blake. She describes herself as a free-trader; Vila calls her a smuggler, but quickly adds that it’s an honour to be locked up with her. Vila also says that she’s a high grade, possibly an Alpha, and Servalan also calls her a superior-grade citizen. Whether or not she comes from Earth is unknown. Her smuggling past includes encounters with the Amagon pirates and the Terra Nostra.

Jenna is an accomplished pilot, and as such is often left on board the Liberator while others are on a mission. She is a tough no-nonsense woman, but her body-language shows that she is attracted to Blake from the start, and she acts protective and jealous when other woman are around, and is at first suspicious of Cally when she comes aboard.

Jenna stays with Blake because she loves him (I think) and because he is one of the few people she has ever believed in. She is close to Blake, mostly ignores Vila but sometimes shows amusement, dislikes and distrusts Avon, is friendly with Gan, and seems to accept Cally fairly quickly after her initial distrust and jealousy.

What Jenna’s aims and dreams are we never hear, but I would assume wealth and adventure, and once she meets Blake, a future with him.


Kerr Avon

Avon is perhaps 34 or 35 when we first see him on the prisoner transport ship London on the way to Cygnus Alpha. He is a computer expert who was arrested for an attempted embezzlement from the Federation computer banking system, which was not his first fraud, as he was involved in at least one other with Tynus, a colleague he encounters later. He also did the computer analysis for the Federation’s matter transmission project which Blake also worked on as an engineer, but they did not work together or meet. This does explain his later ability to work on the teleport systems of the Liberator and Scorpio.

Avon is a brilliant, logical, and sardonically witty man who suppresses his emotions and tries to keep himself aloof from the others (though his actions belie his act of not caring). A natural loner, he resents Blake’s leadership and challenges it frequently, angry that he is not consulted or told enough. Later however, he shows the same failings, seldom bothering to explain his plans to his crew. He trusts few people, but did once trust his lover Anna Grant whom he at first thinks was captured and died under interrogation after his embezzlement attempt. He later finds that she was a Federation agent who betrayed him to the authorities, and kills her although she appears to still love him. When he is told that Blake is dead, then loses the Liberator and Cally in short order after that, he withdraws even more and becomes more and more paranoid and close to breakdown.

He seems to regard only three of the crew as worthy of attention: Blake whom he challenges and argues with, Vila with whom he matches his wits at chess and well-crafted insults, and Cally whom he comes to respect and perhaps love. He despises Gan as stupid, and though he respects Dayna, Soolin and Tarrant's abilities, never becomes as close to them as he perhaps does with the original Liberator crew. By season 4 he has only Vila left from those days, his amusing sparring partner, whom he now keeps at a distance, his insults now having real bite. It is my belief that this is an attempt to destroy the friendship so that when he loses Vila too, it will not matter to him.

Avon states that he wants to be so rich no one can touch him, but by season 4 he seems to have taken on Blake’s aims, either because he feels he must after hearing of Blake’s ‘death’ and losing Blake’s Liberator, or because the Federation’s unrelenting pursuit has driven him to fight back.


Olag Gan

Gan is about 40 when we first see him on the prisoner transport ship London on the way to Cygnus Alpha. His grade and citizenship are not given in the series, though fan lore has him coming from the planet Zephron as the BBC advance publicity said. He was sent to Cygnus Alpha for killing the guard who killed his ‘woman’. It is worth noting that German has no word for ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ and uses ‘woman’ and ‘man’ instead, as I assume people do in the future, so I don’t see Gan’s use of it as dismissive. Marriage as such is hardly mentioned, though the Goths have pair-bonds. For the ‘murder’ of the armed guard by the unarmed Gan, the Federation also installed a limiter in his brain which prevented him from killing again. Given that he was being sent to a penal colony for life, the purpose of this is not clear, but perhaps it was a further punishment to render him helpless among brutal and violent criminals.

Gan is a gentle giant who shows kindness, sympathy, friendliness, a concern for ethics and morality, and readiness to endanger himself for others. Some regard him as slow, and Avon makes some cruel comments about his stupidity, but I see him as quiet and thoughtful. Unlike the quick-witted Vila, he does think before he speaks, and is an honest and straightforward person.

Gan is protective of Vila on the way to Cygnus Alpha, and afterwards, and is a lot more patient with him than the rest of the crew is. He and Jenna get on well too, showing each other respect and friendship. Easy-going Gan likes everyone and meets Avon’s contempt with patience and self-control.

Gan never says what he wants from life, but I suspect that, like Vila, he wanted a quiet and happy life with someone he loved, but in Gan’s case, he had this and lost it.



Cally is perhaps 26-28 when we first see her on Saurian Major, where she is the sole survivor of a resistance group which was wiped out when the Federation released poison into the atmosphere which did not affect Cally because she was alien to the planet. She is from Auron, and her people are telepathic among themselves. With the humans, Cally can send thoughts, but not receive, except, it turns out later, from Vila, whose pain and strongest emotions she can feel. The Auronar, we discover, breed by cloning to enhance their genetic stock, and Cally has at least one twin/cloned sister, Zelda. The Auronar are neutral and preach non-involvement in others’ affairs, but Cally is headstrong and leaves to become a guerrilla fighter for the resistance. She tells Blake that she cannot return because she has failed in her mission on Saurian Major, but her disobedience in leaving may be another reason she is self-exiled.

Cally begins as a tough guerrilla fighter, fired by Blake’s cause and willing to die for it, but gradually changes to a quieter milder character who is often the voice of morality and reason, and occasionally reveals a soft heart. Nevertheless, under her reserve, the steel remains.

Cally is the closest anyone comes to being in Blake’s confidence, because she shares his revolutionary fervour. She is intimidated by no one, and at first appears to have no favourites, though I see some closeness between her and Avon in season 3. She regards Vila with a mixture of amused fondness and exasperation, but after the massacre of almost all her people in season 3, she seems to withdraw from everyone and become colder and more detached.

Cally wants to find a home, first being exiled from hers, then losing it. Although she likes the crew, I think she is still an exile, lonely and isolated among the non-telepathic.


Dayna Mellanby

Dayna is 20 or 21 when we first see her on Sarran, where both Avon and Servalan have separately crash-landed after the Andromedan war. She was born on Earth, but was brought to Sarran 20 years ago as a baby by her father, Hal Mellanby who once led a revolt on Earth, after which he was tortured and blinded, and his wife was killed. He fled to Sarran with Dayna, and lived there with her in hiding, designing and building weapons and defence systems, helped by Dayna as she got older. He also adopted a native girl called Lauren. Servalan, realising who he is, destroys his artificial sight, then kills him, and shortly afterwards Lauren is killed by her own people. Having lost everything, Dayna returns to the Liberator with Avon, and proves to be a valuable crew member with her knowledge of weapons use and design.

Dayna is a fearless young woman who has grown up in an isolated environment and has had little opportunity to learn tolerance of others. If she resents Avon for bringing death and loss into her life, she hides it well and perhaps takes out her unexpressed feelings on the defenceless Vila, whom she taunts, often quite cruelly, admitting at one point that his helplessness brings out her sadism.

Dayna is attracted to Avon when she first meets him, but there is no sign that she still is after the death of her family, although she never blames him for that. She gets on well with Tarrant, the next youngest, also a brash and adventurous sort. She is friends with Cally, who tells her about her family on Auron. She at first despises Vila, whom she sees as worthless. Both she and Tarrant are introduced to him by Avon while he is still unconscious, in very contemptuous and dismissive terms, and neither of them seem to pick up on Vila and Avon’s game of mutual insults, though the fact that Vila’s skills are not needed by the crew in season 3 does not help. Confident in her youth, strength and health, Dayna has no time for the weak and nervous, though she mellows as season 3 goes on and she either gets to know Vila better by the end of season 3, or learns more tolerance.

Dayna’s one expressed aim is to kill Servalan in revenge for the death of her father.


Del Tarrant

Tarrant looks about 22 when we first see him on the Liberator, but he was originally meant to be played by a much older actor, so I’d say he is a very young-looking 28 or so. Tarrant is a graduate of the Federation Space Academy. This was a five-year course of study and included training on Flight and Launch Simulators. Dynamic flux mathematics was one of his best subjects. He also studied at the Space Research Institute some 8 years before we meet him, not long after Egrorian left.  His first command was as a lieutenant under Jarvik on a Kairos patrol. He rose to space captain, but later deserted and became a mercenary, and was caught up in the Andromedan war. He boards the deserted Liberator, intending to take it over, but joins forces with Avon when he arrives, killing the Federation troops on board. Tarrant has an older brother, Deeta, who also left the Federation and became a professional duellist. It is not known whether he is related to Dev Tarrant, the double agent who arranged for the massacre of the rebels who contacted Blake, but the similarity of the first names of all three Tarrants suggests that he is.

Tarrant is a brave, brash, impetuous and often gallant type who sometimes acts before he thinks, despite his obvious intelligence and good education. As an ex-officer, he has no understanding of the anarchic and independent-thinking crew he now finds himself with.

He regards the Liberator as his own ship, and at first takes command, but the battle of wills between him and Avon eventually ends with Avon in charge. He gets on well with Dayna with whom he may be more than friends, with Cally (as everyone does), and with Avon once Avon assumes leadership. He bullies Vila on occasion to get him to obey orders, but to be fair to both, Tarrant is a military man who expects obedience and a well-defined chain of command, and Vila is a thief who has been independent in the past, and never worked or taken orders readily. Apart from his battle with Avon and frustrated bullying of Vila, he gets on well enough with all of them.

Tarrant’s aims are not knownperhaps adventure and excitement?nor are his reasons for leaving the Federation.



Soolin is perhaps about 24-26 when we first see her on Xenon base. Her family were farmers, early settlers on Gauda Prime, originally from Darlon 4, and murdered when Soolin was 8 as their land was wanted for mining. As Gauda Prime was an open planet without laws, this was not illegal as such, but Soolin later learned to shoot from one of the killers, then killed him. She was Dorian’s ‘companion’ but they were not close, as Dorian planned to use her life-force with the others to lengthen his own life. She joins the crew after his death, stating that she does not give her allegiance but sells her skill as a gunfighter.

Soolin is a very cool, intelligent and logical person, who maintains a detachment from the others. She could presumably have left at any time, so she must have had a reason for staying.

She is not close to anyone, but takes little part in the taunts and bullying Vila is sometimes subjected to, and at least twice shows concern for him when he is unconscious. She is also sympathetic to Tarrant and Zeeona’s desire to be together, so one could assume that she likes the people she has found herself with. Perhaps she has even found somewhere that feels a little like home.

We never hear about Soolin's goals or dreams, but maybe she was looking for somewhere to belong.  



We first see Servalan as Supreme Commander of the Federation Space Fleet. As a young, bright cadet, she was considered by a tutor, Kasabi, to be unfit for command, and perhaps in revenge, she reported Kasabi to be teaching treason. She took a personal interest in Blake and the Liberator crew, often pursuing them in person. In the chaos after the Andromedan war, she becomes President of the Federation, but when she escapes the Liberator’s destruction, a coup forces her into hiding and she assumes the identity of Commissioner Sleer and continues to pursue Avon’s crew almost obsessively.

Servalan is a beautiful, intelligent and calculatedly charming woman who cares nothing for anyone or anything but the acquisition and holding of power.



We first see Space Commander Travis when he is called to Servalan’s headquarters and ordered to find and destroy Blake. His service number is later given as Alpha 15105, so he must be an Alpha-grade citizen despite his accent in season 2, perhaps he was promoted from another grade. Travis was involved in the original break-up of Blake’s dissident group four years before the series starts, when he and his troops killed most of the rebels. Blake shot him, thinking he had killed him, causing him to lose, at least, an eye and an arm. Travis refused plastic surgery, preferring the eyepatch the field medic gave him, and had his artificial arm fitted with a laser weapon. Before the series starts, Travis was suspended from duty for the massacre of civilians on Auros, but Servalan restores his rank before sending him after Blake, whom Travis hates and swears to kill. Later, Travis is put on trial for another civilian massacre on Zircaster, which presumably also happened before the series starts, but ironically is saved from execution when Blake attacks the space station. Servalan allows him to escape, deciding to use him as her agent in her attempt to find Blake.

Travis says at one point that there are no civilians in war. He is a man who has forced himself to be a killer in the service of his Federation. To him, the end justifies any means at all, though he has a brief attack of conscience when the doctor who saved his life is calculatedly killed. Perhaps because of this, when he encounters another doctor later, he shows a more human side. Despite this, he becomes so embittered by what he sees as unjust condemnation by his own people for his loyal service, that he betrays the galaxy to the Andromedans. His almost obsessive aim is to kill Blake for what he did to him.

Back to Essays home page