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article imageActor Gareth Thomas has died

By Tim Sandle     Apr 14, 2016 in Entertainment
London - Actor Gareth Thomas, best known for playing the lead role in the BBC series 'Blake's 7' has died of heart failure aged 71.
Gareth Thomas was an accomplished Welsh actor, of good enough range and delivery to join the Royal Shakespeare company. He will be best known for his role of Roj Blake in the cult BBC television series Blake's 7. The original series ran from 1978-1981, although it has been revived on radio and is currently enjoying a run through a series of audio dramas with Thomas reprising his role.
Blake's 7 stood out from many science fiction series and it was, to an extent, the antithesis of Star Trek. The future was bleak, controlled by an oppressive totalitarian body called the Terran Federation. Blake led a team of rebels opposed to the Federation, but without a concrete plan of what to replace it with. The activities of Blake's team, form on board an advanced star ship called the Liberator, blurred the boundaries between freedom fighters and terrorists. This was a show of moral ambiguities. In the U.K. alone Blake's 7 attracted an audience of 10 million viewers and the show was sold to 40 countries.
Thomas left the show after the second season, keen to try new roles. He returned for one episode in the third and fourth seasons. His final appearance was, for its time, one of the most shocking endings to a television series. Instead of winning, Blake is shot dead by his former compatriot Kerr Avon, before all of the heroes are gunned down and the Federation is triumphant.
On leaving the show, Thomas struggled to shrug off his association with Blake. According to The Daily Telegraph, Thomas remained philosophical about this: "One episode of Blake’s 7 will have been seen by more people than all the Royal Shakespeare Company shows I’ve done put together. People stop me in the street and say, 'Oi, you know who you used to be don’t you?’ I always answer, 'yes and I still am’.” A great deal of Thomas' post-Blake work was in radio plays.
Thomas, who was born in 1945, appeared in many stage and television roles. His other notable small box roles included the character Shem in the ITV sci-fi series Star Maidens and Adam Brake in the fantasy series Children of the Stones. For Doctor Who fans, Thomas appeared in one episode of the spin-off show Torchwood. Thomaqs' theater roles included Twelfth Night (as Orsino), Othello (as Cassio) and Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie (as Matt Burke).
Thomas died of heart failure on April 13, 2016. He was survived by his wife Linda.
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