TV

The Best 1970s British Sci-Fi TV Series (That Aren’t Doctor Who)


On UK TV in the 70s, it wasn’t all about the TARDIS

Space: 1999 promo poster cropped
Photo: ITV/BritBox

A history of the most underrated British science fiction of the 1970s is, largely, just a history of British science fiction of the 1970s. It gets a bad rap. Think “1970s British Sci-Fi” and your mind will be flooded with associations of dodgy special effects, less-than-perfect gender politics, and so much knitwear. That, and a certain time traveller with a predilection for scarves and jelly babies.

But the truth is the 70s was a golden age for British science fiction stories with ideas and ambition, completely unrestrained by any concept of production values. While even the most pedestrian attempt at modern science fiction telly feels it has to go toe to toe with the MCU’s latest CGI eyeball-blaster, a year after Star Wars was on our screens the Doctor was still routinely facing off against dressed like this, and it was better for it.

Blake’s 7 (1978 – 1981)

Stream on: ITVX (UK); BritBox (UK & US)

Probably the first 70s British sci-fi show you think of that doesn’t feature a TARDIS, although it and Doctor Who have always shared some DNA – the show’s creator was Terry Nation, also the creator of the Daleks. A crossover was suggested multiple times; once when Nation wanted to bring the Daleks in as the Big Bad of season B/series two, and once when Tom Baker and Gareth Thomas, the Blake of Blake’s 7, proposed that they run into each other in a hallway on both shows.

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