Blake's Junction 7

One of the curious offshoots of our Blakewatch project last year (if you missed it search for Blakewatch) was the ferreting out of Blake’s 7 related stuff and this can lead down all sorts of alleyways. One such diversion is Blake’s Junction 7, a short film made in 2004 by writer Tim Plester (who also created the superb Way of the Morris) and director Ben Gregor, under the Film Club banner. The film is an affectionate contemporary nod to the series, the idea was to make it approachable by people who had vague memories of seeing the show hence it mixes up iconic elements. For example both Dayna and Jenna are present even though in the series they never met. Shot over one- very cold- evening at Newport Pagnell service station it tells the story of Avon, Vila and co stopping over at a motorway service station for petrol, some food and a go on the games machines. Just like any family would in fact except they are dressed in their sci-fi regalia. 
Three things strike you about the production. Firstly, the cast is very impressive indeed. Mark Heap is Avon, Martin Freeman plays Vila so well that you know he would have got the role had a major film been made of the show. Raquel Cassidy is Jenna looking not unlike her in a rather large wig and the most outrageous casting sees Mackenzie Croolk dolled up as Servalan. Towards the end, Vila meets Blake, who is played by Johnny Vegas looking uncannily like Gareth Thomas did in the very last episode of the series.  How the filmmakers arrives at this cast appears to be thanks to Tim Plester, a jobbing actor who has appeared in dozens of small roles and made a lot of contacts along the way. Most recently he did something unspeakable in the notorious episode 9 of Game of Thrones season 3.  The team also managed to secure Peter Tuddenham to voice Orac one of the last things he did. This representation of Orac is excellent as the machine it rather tipsy and cheeky.

The second brilliant thing is the script which has the crew behaving like a family, with sulks, tantrums, messing about and accidents. Here, both Heap and Cassidy excel playing surrogate parents. Thirdly, it is filmed very well. When you see the behind the scenes feature, it was clearly awful weather and there wasn’t a lot of time but the professional look raises the film to another level. It’s amusing whether or not you’re familiar with Blake’s 7 lore.

Rather wonderfully, the dvd comes with two additional short films made by the same team. Ant Muzak is an earlier short from 2002 and is actually more laugh out loud funny. It features Adam and the Ants shopping in a supermarket. Nick Moran is a dead ringer for Adam and there are some exquisite visual gags – including one hilarious moment involving a security camera display - to be enjoyed. Gary Tibbs, one of the actual Ants appears as the shop manager though chances are you won’t recognise him from his dandy days.

The third film World of Wrestling is the most recent and features characters based on British wrestlers who were well known in the 1970s. This is another world altogether, long before the WWF and company. The troupe are travelling home on a night bus where they encounter other groups of wrestlers. Like the other two films, it is about extraordinary people in ordinary situations.

This trio of shorts is well worth checking out!

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