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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Blake's 7 set for hi-tech return
Paul Darrow, Gareth Thomas and Michael Keating in Blake's 7
Paul Darrow (left) will be the only original cast member to return
One of the stars of cult sci-fi series Blake's 7 has signed a deal to bring the show back to screens more than 20 years after it ended.

Paul Darrow, who played the ruthless anti-hero Avon, is in a consortium that has acquired the rights to the show from the widow of its creator, Terry Nation.

Made as a UK answer to Star Wars or Star Trek, Blake's 7 became a hit between 1978-81 - despite its shaky sets and basic effects.

A new TV mini-series, starring Darrow, will have a budget of $5-6m (3-3.7m), the show's website said.

That will lead onto a full series or a string of TV movies, the consortium members hope.

Darrow has acquired the rights with producers Andrew Mark Sewell and Simon Moorhead.

Paul Darrow and Sally Knyvette in Blake's 7
The programme had such a gritty and dramatic style
Paul Darrow
"British science fiction has remained in the doldrums far too long," Mr Sewell said.

"We believe that our plans will deliver a compelling science fiction drama that appeals to the sensibilities of today's audience both domestically and internationally."

The new mini-series will pick up the story 25 years on, but Darrow will be the only original cast member to return.

A tentative transmission date has been set for spring 2005, its website says - conditional on "many factors, not least financing".

The group behind the new show say it has endured better than any other British sci-fi series, and there is a strong global appetite for science fiction.

Darrow said: "The programme had such a gritty and dramatic style that was every bit as great an influence on the genre as the original Star Trek."

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