Gareth thomas

SFX was sad to learn of the pass­ing of one of the greats of sci-fi TV

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

it was an­nounced on 13 April that Gareth Thomas – the ac­tor who, for many will for­ever be re­mem­bered as TV free­dom fighter Roj Blake – had passed away from heart fail­ure at the age of 71.

Blake’s 7 was just one role in an al­most 50-year screen ca­reer, which be­gan in 1965, with Thomas play­ing Ben­vo­lio in a TV adap­ta­tion of Romeo And Juliet. It wasn’t long, how­ever, be­fore he was chalk­ing up genre cred­its. He ap­peared in Qu­ater­mass And The Pit, The Avengers, An­glo-Ger­man sci-fi se­ries Star Maid­ens and the won­der­fully chill­ing Chil­dren Of The Stones be­fore land­ing his defin­ing role.

Blake’s 7, when it started out in 1978, was a tougher, grit­tier se­ries than its BBC sta­ble­mate, Doc­tor Who. Blake him­self was a free­dom fighter ded­i­cated to bat­tling the tyran­ni­cal forces of the Fed­er­a­tion. Thomas im­bued the char­ac­ter with dig­nity and de­ter­mi­na­tion for two se­ries, be­fore de­cid­ing not to re­turn for se­ries three. He made one last ap­pear­ance in the show, re­turn­ing for its fa­mously bleak fi­nal episode in se­ries four.

Later in life Thomas made high pro­file ap­pear­ances in The Stran­ger­ers, Torch­wood, the re­booted Ran­dall & Hop­kirk (De­ceased) and his own favourite role, the ru­ral drama Mor­gan’s Boy, for which he was nom­i­nated for a Bafta. He recorded sev­eral Blake’s 7 au­dios and was also a reg­u­lar fix­ture on the sci-fi con­ven­tion cir­cuit, where his many fans have fond mem­o­ries of talk­ing with one of the icons of TV SF.

Thomas’s Blake went missing for 25 episodes of his own show!

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