It has been reported that Gareth Thomas, who played Roj Blake on the sci-fi cult classic Blake’s 7, has died, aged 71.

Gareth_Thomas“It is with deepest sadness that we have to announce that Gareth Thomas passed away this morning from heart failure.

He was a fine actor, a real gentleman and always generous to his many fans. He will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans alike.” -Blake’s 7 Online

blake avonThomas was RADA trained and was twice nominated for a BFTA for his performances in Stocker’s Copper (1972) and Morgan’s Boy (1984).

His most famous role, Roj Blake, gained him a cult following in science fiction circles and he eventually returned to the roll in 2012 when Big Finish Productions began making The Liberator Chronicles. He had previously worked with Big Finish on Doctor Who audio dramas such as “Storm Warning” (2001), and Torchwood “Ghost Machine” (2006).

He will be sorely missed.

Blake’s 7 was a massive influence on me. It was a story where the heroes weren’t always heroes. Indeed, it was a show where the very ideas of what makes someone a hero were questioned repeatedly. Anyone who has read The Sea-Stone Sword will probably see the influence of this show.

Roj Blake wasn’t a perfect man, he was deeply flawed and often morally ambiguous. Though the sets could be wobblier than a Doctor Who monster, Blake’s 7 was thought provoking and intense. Gareth Thomas’ performance was part of what made the show so gripping. He added depth and nobility to the character while still stripping away the veneer of heroism to show us a very human man.

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Joel Cornah
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is the author of a number of novels and novellas including; The Sea-Stone Sword, The Spire of Frozen Fire and The Silent Helm, with the upcoming novel The Sky Slayer, expected some time in 2016. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, head of the Doctor Who department, and member of the Tolkien Society. He is a frequent blogger for the Pack of Aces blog, focussing on issues of Asexuality in media, specialising in sci-fi and fantasy.