B7 Rumor FALSE! Benedict Cumberbatch Is NOT Directing “Blake’s Seven” Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch played Stephen Hawking in "Hawking" in 2004 and "Curiosity" in 2011.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Hawking {image via BBC}

Benedict Cumberbatch, shown here as Richard III, will not be playing Kerr Avon in a reboot of B7.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III in “The Hollow Crown” {image via BBC}

Science fiction fans were disappointed when the rumors of Benedict Cumberbatch directing and co-starring in a new movie version of the BBC cult classic Blake’s Seven turned out to be just that: a rumor.  Chad Sternberger posted an article on the website The Studio Exec that genre superstar Benedict Cumberbatch would be making his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of Blake’s Seven.  The ubiquitous Mr. Cumberbatch has played Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Stephen Strange, and Khan Noonien Singh.  He’s provided the voices of Smaug, Sauron, Shere Khan, and the Grinch.  He’s also voicing Lewis Clark in Magik, due out in 2018.

B7 was popular in the USA in the mid-80s, when many PBS played it.

“Blake’s Seven” ran from 1978 to 1981 on the BBC.

Unfortunately, The Studio Exec is a satire site.  “Established in 2012, the Studio Exec is a satirical movie-based website, publishing spoof news, reviews, and comedy masterpieces.”  Readers must go to the website’s About page for this information.  Neither the article about Benedict Cumberbatch nor the the website’s home page condescends to mention that it is a satire site, which is why SF fans were rejoicing that Blake’s Seven was finally going to get the big screen treatment it has deserved for so long.  The Studio Exec jests their “work has been reported internationally and we have been directly responsible for three marital breakups, the sacking of fifteen copy editors, and the devaluation of the word ‘satire’.”  Their Facebook page claims “The Studio Exec is the internet’s number one movie and entertainment based satire / parody / comedy / funny website. Like the Onion, but actually funny.”  It sounds more like To Be or Not to Be, where Josef Tura (played by Jack Benny in the 1942 version) was “world famous in Poland.”

The article claimed that Benedict Cumberbatch would direct the movie, as well as play computer genius Kerr Avon.  Tom Hardy (Max in Mad Max: Fury Road, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) would star as Roj Blake, the freedom fighter played by Gareth Thomas in the original B7 television show.  Paul Bettany (the voice of Jarvis and the Vision in the MCU, Dr. Maturin in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) was allegedly already hired to play thief  Vila Restal and Cate Blanchett (Galadriel in the LOTR movies, the wicked stepmother in Disney’s live-action Cinderella) would have been Servalan.

So far, there is only one comment on Sternberger’s article.

How is this funny? The other articles are hilarious and obviously fake, but this is neither, so I wonder why you just felt like f**king with people without even being funny. Not cool.

Roj Blake was the leader of a group of freedom fighters in the popular British TV show B7.

Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, the hero of “Blake’s Seven” {image via the BBC}

Blake’s Seven ran from 1978 to 1981 in Great Britain.  Described by its creator, the late Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks) as “the Dirty Dozen in space,” B7 explored the fine line between freedom fighters and terrorists as Roj Blake and his crew fought the evil Federation.  Blake (Gareth Thomas) was a political dissident, falsely accused of child molestation and shipped off to a penal colony.  With the assistance of some other prisoners, he stole an alien spaceship and began fighting the Federation.  Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow) was a computer genius and embezzler.  Jenna Stannis (Sally Knyvette) was a smuggler and the pilot of their stolen spaceship, Liberator.  Vila Restal (Michael Keating) was the thief who could open any lock, if he was scared enough.  Olag Gan (David Jackson), having killed the Federation guard who killed his girlfriend, now had a limiter implanted in his brain so he could never kill again. Zen (voiced by Peter Tuddenham) was the ship’s computer.  Cally (Jan Chappell) was an alien telepath, and like Blake, the only one who was a political rebel by choice instead of circumstance.  The crew was later joined by Orac (also voiced by Peter Tuddenham), a supercomputer with an unbearable attitude, and by Dayna Mellanby (Josette Simon) and Del Tarrant (Steven Pacey) in the third season and Soolin (Glynis Barber) in the fourth season.  The villains were Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce), first supreme commander of the Federation space fleet and later president, and Space Commander Travis (Stephen Greif in the first season and Brian Croucher in the second season).

The "Liberator" was the home and weapon of Roj Blake and his rebels.

Roj Blake and his crew lived aboard the “Liberator,” a stolen alien spaceship. {image via BBC}

Many revivals of Blake’s Seven have been announced, but no TV or movie versions, to the best of this reporter’s knowledge, have ever gotten past the planning stages.  British radio has continued the legacy of the cult classic TV show, but these recordings are difficult to find in the USA.  DVDs of Blake’s Seven are currently only available in Region 2 format, leaving US science fiction fans at the mercy of their local PBS station.  The only possible benefit from this “joke” is that it might increase interest in bringing B7 to a new generation.

If Blake’s Seven were remade for modern audiences, whom would you want to see aboard the Liberator?

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