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"The Making of Blake's 7" DVD documentaries
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Kevin Davies
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 9:19 am    Post subject: "The Making of Blake's 7" DVD documentaries Reply with quote

Hello folks,

It's been suggested by a friend that I re-post on B7 and other forums the recent statement I made on the DR.WHO Restoration Team's Technical Forum. This site was recommended to me some time ago.

I was commenting on the following statement:

"...B7E have implied to fans that they have been in contact with you to discuss changes to the Doccu's that would allow them to be included!..."

My reply was as follows:

"Are you sure it was implied? I wasn't aware of this. They probably implied they spoke to BBC WW, which I'm sure is more likely the case.

"I appreciate that unfortunate things have been said - on both sides, I believe. It all stems from the fact that things should have been agreed in writing long before I was given the go-ahead to make the DVD extras. But they weren't, and the reason why remains unclear to me.

"Paul Darrow and I chatted about all this at Cult TV last October and it seems we were both in similar positions - he says he was asked by B7E not to participate in the DVDs, nor to talk about them. I was told by BBC WW not to speak directly to Paul or B7E, and that the legal argument was none of my business, which was true. I'm a freelance hired hand. It was not my mistake that the rights hadn't been signed before I was given the go-ahead. I would also point out that I have not been party to all the arguments, I only wish I had. My usual stance is as peacekeeper. I'd like to think I could have negotiated an outcome and adapted my progs to suit the requirements of B7E. I probably still could...

"All the series 1 extras were edited in three weeks flat in Aug/Sept 2002 - all 9 intros, the blooper item, the trailer, the Blue Peter package and the 42 minute Part One "Making of" doc. It had to be done fast, I was told, as it was due for release in early 2003, with the others to follow at 3 month intervals. As it was, we couldn't get some members of the cast for interview that quickly, so Part One is missing certain well-known faces. (It was always planned that to save money I would use the nine interviews I had shot back in 1993 when the project first went belly-up.)

"The extras for Part Two were completed a little bit later in 2002, by which time we had shot some more interviews. This edit was a little more relaxed, the doc is 59 mins, and there are fewer intros etc. Hope you get to see the tribute to Travis II, and the series 3 trailer; they're a real hoot. I'm much happier with the series 2 content. The opening sequence of the doc (part two) is my favourite bit of all the docs - the B7 cast reading out their worst reviews from series one - very funny and honest.

"By the time we were making series 3 extras around Xmas 2002, I was aware that there was a legal problem, but was told to keep quiet and keep going, regardless. Paul Darrow was still "unavailable", and a Terry Nation tribute doc originally planned for series one, bumped to 2 then 3, was sadly scrapped totally when Nation's daughter Rebecca (whom I had spoken to) was reluctantly also forced to pull out under pressure. All of this was completely understandable, as far as I was concerned, and although I was very unhappy about it, again it wasn't really my business.

"I was at offline (rough-cut) stage for the series 4 extras in early 2003 when the final plug was pulled. I still have all my notes, the rough assemblies, etc., and a mountain of unique unseen material which would make series 4 the best (and longest) of all the extra packages. No outside company would have access to the material that we amassed - with much help, I should say, from the heroes at The Restoration Team!

"Paul Darrow, now parted from B7E, told me he is happy to be involved, and that he always wanted to be, right from the start. The current edit of the doc part three, in particular, could really have done with his input. Perhaps the BBC will get him in for the commentaries on 3 and 4, which have yet to be recorded? (I did not have anything to do with the series 1 & 2 commentaries, BBC WW did those all by themselves...!).

"I believe B7E want to make a documentary themselves, with a certain amount of emphasis on their new vision for B7, which the BBC is expected to pay for. However, the BBC have already paid for my four programmes which merely tell the story of B7 as it actually used to be, under the usual constraints of time and budget, just like the original show. Series 4 remains unfinished. I believe it's not too late to amalgamate the two concepts....

"If I do get the go-ahead to finish the job, I'd be delighted to inform you (if I'm allowed), but please don't hold your breath. It is totally out of my hands.

"It's for BBC WW and B7E to decide between them. I only hope they can bury the hatchet between them.

"In the words of Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks (quoting Rodney King, I believe, after the LA riots)-
"Why can't we all just...get along?"
(Just before Nicholson was stabbed in the back!)

"Meantime, I'm back working on my first love, "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" yet again - this time it's a video trailer for the internet and a TV tie-in documentary to accompany the new radio series which has also been embroiled in its own controversy. All being well, we should be hearing news on that front very soon.... "

That's it.

I would like to add here that as far as I can make out, BBC Worldwide hadn't got permission in writing to use clips from the series in a documentary. I believe permission was requested by the BBC and may have been given verbally by Terry Nation's estate's representatives, but the contract had yet to be signed when I was given the green light. That the BBC encouraged me to continue production was perhaps down to mis-guided optimism that it would all be settled amicably. Unfortunately B7E dug in their heels, as they apparently had every right to. Nation's reps backed off and encouraged the BBC to come to an agreement with B7E before they could recommend to Rebecca Nation that she ought to become involved. I'm also given to believe there was an argument about the nature of DVD and whether DVD menus fall under the category of "Interactive rights" which B7E claim to hold.

Please note, that B7E HAS kindly allowed all the other extras to appear on the first series DVD, for which I am grateful. I hope they continue to find it in their hearts do so on future DVD releases.

And I'd like to believe it's not too late for B7E and BBCWW to build some bridges and come to an agreement before Series 3 and 4 hit the shelves next year.

If you have any queries about the actual content of the B7 DVD extras for series one, I may be able to answer here, but I won't get involved in any slanging matches.

Thank you.

Kevin Jon Davies
Producer/Director
Blake's 7 BBC DVD Extras
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THE_LIBERATOR
Goatboy


Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is, that was VERY illuminating thanks for sharing Kevin!

All this is such a shame!
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BlakNo1



Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing Kevin, very considerate of you.
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Mr-Stabby



Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.

Wow, the documentary was really going to be around 50 minutes long, that would of been so interesting to see, its such a shame that it didn't make it to the DVD.

Kevin, be honest with us, what did you think of the commentaries on the Series 1 DVD? Personally i thought the SPACEFALL one with David Maloney was very informative, but the others were poor in comparison. I believe a commentary should never have JUST the actors in it, because they don't really know THAT much about the production side do they really.

Also you say the Series 2 commentaries have already been recorded, may i ask if they are any better than the series 1 ones and who did them? Hopefully they got rid of Jacki Pearce and bought in Gareth Thomas, as i'm sure he'd have some more interesting things to say.
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Kevin Davies
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 2:20 pm    Post subject: The commentaries... Reply with quote

I heard the SPACEFALL one all the way through, and about half the PROJECT AVALON one before giving up. All I can remember is yelling at the screen when Stephen Greif correctly identified Glynis Barber as a Mutoid, only for Jacqui and Sally to contradict him. That's where a moderator would be useful.

The Doctor Who DVDs by Paul Vanezis and co are getting it right these days, I believe.

People seem to forget that production team members may have worked on a given episode for ages, whereas the cast only come in for a week, or a fortnight at most. No wonder they can't remember all the details years later. I think giving them a moderator to nudge them along is the decent thing to do. Perhaps next time they could at least show them the documentaries first?

The other problem is that they try to record six episodes in a day. I heard that by the time they got to the final one of series 2 a lot of wine had been consumed, and it all got very silly. Hilarious, maybe, but possibly embarrassing.

Gareth Thomas was not there for the commentaries, if I remember correctly, as either he was engaged elsewhere, or the BBC didn't want the expense of flying him down from Scotland again. (He had flown down to be interviewed by me, first on his own, then together with Michael Keating for the Making Of docs only a few weeks earlier. They were still hoping to get Paul Darrow involved at that point...)

I'm afraid I only get to hear the commentaries once they are on the discs, and have yet to hear the ones for Series 2. They were recorded by the team at Worldwide who commissioned me - Executive Producer/Commissioning Editor Joe Mahoney and his project co-ordinator Felicity Buddell - whilst I was frantically cutting the video extras, back in September 2002.

I have no idea what they are planning for Series 3 and 4, but they do know Paul Darrow wants to take part. Fingers crossed, ladies...and certain gents!
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Rojblake



Joined: 16 May 2004
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Location: Peckham, Nelson Mandela House

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the posts Kevin. I know a LOT about copyright, rights, and intellectual property as that is the line of work I am in. I know it can be very complicated as to who owns what and what you can do with what you own. I appreciate the pressure you, Paul and the Nation estate were put under regarding the extras. Whether it was your intention or not but what you have said in this thread has just gone to strenghten my dislike and belief that B7E do not give a fig about the original show, no matter what AMS says, and that they are ONLY in this for the money. B7E seeming like they wanted the documentary to be about their vision of the new B7 and not about the making of the original is just plan stupid, IMHOP. Fine, if they want to do a "Our vision for the future of B7" documentary go ahead but what has gone before needs to be told on its own.

It really is a shame that the rights to Blakes 7 are now so messed up with, it seems, people who do have the rights wanting diferant things from the show. And it would seem that the rights in question overlap in a lot of areas which makes it even more complicated when you have people with differant agendas.

I really wish B7E would just go away.
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Mr-Stabby



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, a moderator that is the way forward.

The ITALIAN JOB Dvd had a moderator which made it a MUCH better commentary, because the producer kept falling asleep, but when the moderator asked a question, he would go on again for another 5 minutes. so yes, we need a fan to be a moderator

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THE_LIBERATOR
Goatboy


Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr-Stabby wrote:
Yes, a moderator that is the way forward.

The ITALIAN JOB Dvd had a moderator which made it a MUCH better commentary, because the producer kept falling asleep, but when the moderator asked a question, he would go on again for another 5 minutes. so yes, we need a fan to be a moderator

I'm available
No no, you've got to much on. I however am availbale 24-7
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Davecabs



Joined: 27 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Commentaries moderated by fans can be good. The Tomorrow People ones are really entertaining but the Survivors ones are terrible. The fan who does that one seems to be too afraid of pushing the discussions on and there are far too many blank spaces while the cast are enjoying watching the episodes.
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BLAKESCREWE



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don`t find commentaries on DVDS that satisfying , most of the DR WHO ones seem to consist of everyone having a laugh , listen to Peter Davison , Colin Baker , Frazer Hines etc if you know what I mean ! .
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Davecabs



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BLAKESCREWE wrote:
I don`t find commentaries on DVDS that satisfying , most of the DR WHO ones seem to consist of everyone having a laugh , listen to Peter Davison , Colin Baker , Frazer Hines etc if you know what I mean ! .


I like a combination of interesting observations on the programme and the cast having a laugh. The funniest one was Peter Davison, Nick Young and Peter Vaughan-Clarke while watching 'A Man For Emily', the Tomorrow People story that Davison starred in. The story is the worst TP story of all and Davison is dreadful in it. He obviously hadn't watched it for a long time and was quite distinctly embarrassed by the whole experience. He wasn't overly interested in talking about Sandra Dickinson, either, who he split up from a while ago.
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BLAKESCREWE



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I nearly bought that one in the Virgin sale , as it was on a double bill with the Jedikiah story , but alas , I turned it down for something else ! .
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Davecabs



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BLAKESCREWE wrote:
I nearly bought that one in the Virgin sale , as it was on a double bill with the Jedikiah story , but alas , I turned it down for something else ! .


It's worth buying for the commentary and 'Revenge of Jedikaih', but don't get an introduction to the Tomorrow People by watching 'A Man For Emily'. I'm a big TP fan and I found it difficult to watch. It's a pseudo comedy episode - and just fails on every level.
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ORAC
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been waiting to buy a Tomorrow People boxset and now they're in a sale...SOLD!!!
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Steve Rogerson



Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They should be able to edit and stop-start these commentaries, or go back and do bits again. it is clear from thing like the Lord of the Rings commentary, for example, that this can be done. Surely it is not too hard for others to do it too.
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