Blake’s 7: The Merchandise Guide by Mark B Oliver (book review).
Look, we all know about ‘Blake’s 7’, it was a much-loved, trend-setting show that fans still think of fondly. So fondly in fact, that merchandise is still being released for it. So what better way to honour the show you love than by cataloguing this merchandise?
This book, ‘Blake’s 7: The Merchandise Guide’ is obviously a labour of love for Mark B. Oliver, who has gone above and beyond to find every piece of ‘Blake’s 7’ merchandise released.
Covering, take a deep breath, books, audio books, t-shirts, games, toys, soundtracks, videos, DVDs, clocks, jigsaws and models, no stone has been left unturned in the quest to find every piece of memorabilia launched for the show. Oliver’s dedication to detail is outstanding, covering even prominent magazine features about the show.
For items that don’t fit into one of the categories above, there’s a nice scene-setting opener that details some of the other merchandise that was once available including an ice lolly which obviously doesn’t exist anymore, unless people are willing to check the back of their freezers as I’m sure it would be worth quite a bit. Talk about frozen assets… ahem! He also mentions an Hitachi Colour Television advertisement with a still from the show, highlighting just how popular ‘Blake’s 7’ was at the time.
As well as the merchandise lists, there are also some great interviews with script-writers Trevor Hoyle and Chris Boucher which give some added insight into the phenomenon that was ‘Blake’s 7’.
Of course, this book isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes and while cataloguing the VHS releases shows some attention to detail, they’re not going to be easy to come by given it’s a dead format. It also suffers from a lack of picture captions which is fine if every piece of merchandise is mentioned on the page but in the early chapters, there’s a few loose images that don’t make sense without some explanation. A minor quibble perhaps but if the same attention to detail that Oliver put into researching this book was put into the layout then it would be so much better.
It’s an admirable quest from Oliver and a worthy addition to any ‘Blake’s 7’ fan’s collection.
(pub: Telos. 190 page illustrated small softcover. Price: £19.99 (UK), $39.95 (US), $39.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84583-059-5)
check out website: www.telos.co.uk