Blake's 7: Classic BBC sci-fi to return on Syfy channel

The cast of Blake's 7 Four series of the show aired on the BBC between 1978 and 1981

Cult classic sci-fi series Blake's 7 is to be remade for the Syfy network, it has been announced.

FremantleMedia International said 13 hour-long episodes will be written by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski.

It added, in a statement, that Casino Royale and Goldeneye director Martin Campbell was also on board.

The original series, which ran on the BBC between 1978 and 1981, followed the exploits of a group of renegades and convicted criminals.

Roj Blake, played by Welsh actor Gareth Thomas, was a political dissident arrested, tried and convicted on false charges by a brutal totalitarian government, and then deported from Earth to a prison planet.

Stealing a spaceship, Blake and his team conducted a campaign against the ruling Terran Federation.

Peak audience
Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan Servalan, the Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation was a villain

Comparing Blake's 7 with the hit US sci-fi series Star Trek, The Independent said in 1998: "No 'boldly going' here: instead, we got the boot stamping on a human face which George Orwell offered as a vision of humanity's future in Nineteen Eighty-Four."

At its peak, the series was watched by 10 million viewers and was sold to 40 countries. A range of Blake's 7 merchandise including books, magazines, annuals and toys were also released.

A radio adaptation, featuring This Life's Daniela Nardini as villain Servalan, was made in 2006.

According to FremantleMedia, the new series will be set in 2136 and will "tell the story of seven criminals - six guilty and one innocent - on their way to life on a prison colony in space, who together wrestle freedom from imprisonment".

It continued: "They acquire an alien ship which gives them a second chance at life and become the most unlikely heroes of their time".

Chief executive officer David Ellender said: "Blake's 7 was such a forward-thinking concept that the show continues to have resonance with audiences today."

The latest announcement is not the first time a remake of Blake's 7 has been attempted.

In 2003, a miniseries was shelved after actor Paul Darrow - who played Kerr Avon in the original show - left the project.

Later in 2008, Sky One announced it had commissioned two 60-minute scripts for a potential series but two years later said it had decided not to proceed.

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