Classic British sci-fi show Blake's 7 returns … to Xbox

Blake's 7, the classic BBC science fiction show, is coming back.

A Microsoft-funded reprise of the 1978-1981 series is headed to the Xbox Live service, according to The Financial Times (paywall), replacing earlier plans to revive the show on the SyFy channel. SyFy's choice of director, Martin Campbell, will still helm the new production.

Blake's original run (available on euro-region DVD) offered all the hallmarks of British TV SF from the era: moral ambiguity, aspirations to realism, and distinctly wobbly sets. "No 'boldly going' here," wrote The Independent's Robert Hanks in a 1998 retrospective. "Instead, we got the boot stamping on a human face."

Set in the distant future, Blake's 7 pits a group of dissidents against the authoritarian Earth Administration. Melding The Dirty Dozen with space opera and an infusion of current affairs, it received high ratings but fell victim to Thatcher-era cuts and critical disdain. Devised by Terry Nation, the scriptwriter responsible for Doctor Who's Daleks, it kept a cult following long after its demise. The flame was kept alive by novels, comics and radio plays.

The show joins Microsoft's production of a Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi show, based on its popular game series Halo, in its lineup for this year's forthcoming XBox One console. Microsoft is gearing up to do battle with Amazon and Netflix, providers of online services who have invested heavily in original productions.