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Who Survived Gauda Prime?
by Nicola Mody


Many people think that everyone died in that final horrific shootout on Gauda Prime. I prefer to think that at least some of them lived on, as that gives me the freedom to write a future for the characters.

And I'm justified. Terry Nation intended that there was to be another season with at least Avon and Vila, or if there wasn't, a spin-off series for those two. For proof, I've included the text of a letter from Tony Attwood, who wrote the Programme Guide and the officially-sanctioned sequel, Afterlife.

Also, Chris Boucher, who wrote the final episode, intended that any character but Blake could survive if there was another season or series and the actor wished to return.

Who survived in my universe?

Blake died. The actor Gareth Thomas had it written into his contract that he was to die on screen and not be brought back into any future seasons or series. I choose to adhere to this on my 'standard timeline', but there are always alternative universe stories in which all bets are off.  :-)

Avon and Vila survived, as Terry Nation intended to use the characters further (see Tony's letter below).

Dayna probably died, as she was shot by Arlen's gun (the others were shot by Federation troopers, whose blasters could have been set to stun) and, well, she looked dead. However she may just be wounded.

Soolin and Tarrant may well have survived, especially if they were just stunned. Tarrant was injured earlier when Scorpio crash-landed, and that could have affected him in two ways: his weakened state could either mean that a gunshot or blaster wound would have more serious consequences than otherwise, killing him, or that he could have been felled by a relatively minor wound and thus survived.

Jenna too may still be alive despite what Blake told Tarrant; after all, he was testing him. Although in reality Sally Knyvette was unlikely to have rejoined the cast, I don't see why we can't bring her back in fan fiction, although I probably won't.

Terry Nation's hopes for the future

I wrote to Tony Attwood, the author of the Blake's 7 programme guide and the officially-sanctioned sequel, Afterlife, to ask him about his plans for a sequel to Afterlife, who would have survived had there been a fifth season, and what was considered canon now that others have the Blake's 7 rights.

Tony's very kind  and informative reply follows:

I wrote Afterlife very much with Terry Nation's agreement, after it became clear that the planned 5th season was not going to go ahead because of copyright agreements over other matters involving Terry. 

It was agreed that I could write it as I wished providing (and remember I am now working from memory from quite a few years ago).

a)  The story line could be adapted into TV, if an agreement suddenly did occur.  So the book actually runs as four episodes which just about hang together but which could work as TV in the sense that if you missed one you could make sense of the next.

b)  Blake was dead - no funny attempts to bring him back.

c)  Vila and Avon live on.

The aim of all this was also to leave the door open for a totally different series based on Vila and Avon - and I certainly liked that idea.  As Paul once said to me, "it's one man and his dog".  It was a jokey comment, but quite right - and it works wonderfully.  The two characters needed each other.

Afterlife, with the official Terry Nation and B7 logos was very much official - and Terry and I signed a contract about it.

The plan was then to do a second novel assuming that there was no movement on the TV series.  This was "Blake's 7: State of Mind".  But that did not happen.  I remember saying, "OK guys let's do the next one," but Terry was busy in the states, and his agent said, "I think we should hold because something is happening at the BBC."  Then I got the contract for Companions of Doctor Who, and then something else, and gradually the whole plan got lost.  Sad, but such is the way of publishing.

Afterlife is now out of print, but I am thinking of doing a special limited edition, and will announce that when I am clear what the film situation is.  I have not been in touch with anyone from the film, so I don't know about the rights, but I am told that Paul has bought up the rights to use the format.  That doesn't invalidate anything earlier - it just gives him the rights to use B7 format for a film.  I am sure the film will have nothing to do with Afterlife, because they will be doing their own thing, with no reference back. 

The canon issue is therefore as so often very muddy.  In the world of making the series and the books and film no one thinks of canon, only of buying rights and making a profit on the project.

Hope that helps,

I also recently saw an interview of Paul Darrow done in the 80s in which he confirms that Terry Nation was hoping for a spin-off series with Avon and Vila. What a pity it was never made.

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