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Kerr Avon is a fictional character from the British science fiction television series Blakes 7, played by Paul Darrow. Initially one of a character ensemble, he increasingly became a lead character.

Kerr Avon
Avon

Avon as portrayed by Paul Darrow

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Affiliation: Liberator crew
Scorpio crew
Portrayed by: Paul Darrow
First Appearance: Space Fall
Last Appearance: Blake

Fictional BiographyEdit

A native of Earth, Avon is a highly intelligent, aloof and sardonic computer expert found guilty of an attempt to embezzle five hundred million credits from the Terran Federation banking system. First seen as a prisoner aboard the London, a cargo vessel transporting a group of convicted criminals to the penal colony on the planet Cygnus Alpha, he assists Blake in his abortive attempted mutiny on the journey, using his skills to take over the ship's computer. He subsequently boards the Liberator along with Blake and Jenna, and becomes a member of the original "seven."

Utterly self-serving, he has nothing but scorn for Blake's idealism, and their relationship is consequently somewhat strained. Despite this attitude, he single-handedly saves all of the crew's lives, including Blake, on several occasions. Avon eventually takes over as the group's leader after Blake leaves the series, although he is later challenged by Del Tarrant. Avon is not as successful as Blake in leadership, as his crew follow Avon out of convenience rather than loyalty. Also, Avon becomes increasingly paranoid during the time after Blake's disappearance, culminating in his obsessive and ultimately destructive course of actions in "Terminal". After the loss of Cally, he becomes even more paranoid and the seven focus more on defensive action against the Federation.

Avon's relationship with Vila is explored throughout the series and especially in series four; Vila says he "feels safe" with Avon, and in the final two episodes Vila is clearly deeply hurt by Avon's (unavoidable) decision (pointed out to him by Orac) to sacrifice Vila when a shuttle-craft's load must be lightened in the penultimate episode. The need for this sacrifice is avoided when Avon discovers an alternative solution, but the situation is recalled (and mirrored) when Tarrant offers to risk his life to save Avon's as the Scorpio crashes into Gauda Prime in the final episode. Upon next seeing Avon, Vila is very keen to know what happened to Tarrant.

Despite their dislike of each other, Avon and Blake come to trust each other. Before the start of the Intergalactic War, Blake tells Avon, "For what it is worth, I have always trusted you. From the very beginning." However, by the end of the series, Avon and crew re-discover Blake who now seems to be working as a Federation bounty hunter. Avon reacts badly to the knowledge that Blake has betrayed them all, and reacts by shooting Blake. He later discovers that Blake's role as bounty hunter was a masquerade, as revealed by a real Federation agent who herself (unbeknown to Blake) was masquerading as Blake's rebel accomplice. Having witnessed the massacre of Vila, Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin, Avon's fate will be revealed in may 2012 in the new novel Lucifer set after the events of the final episode.

Avon quickly became the most popular character on the show due to his darker nature, his unclear motives, and sardonic wit. Paul Darrow's portrayal led to the actor being permanently associated with the character.

Personal lifeEdit

Anna GrantEdit

Avon had an affair with a woman called Anna Grant whom he loved, and believed that she was betrayed by a Federation agent named Bartholomew, and was tortured and executed by the notorious Federation torturer Shrinker. However, during season three Avon killed Shrinker and attempted to locate Bartholomew, only to discover that Grant herself was Bartholomew and had been a Federation agent "running him." Avon killed her, but her dying words, "I let you go," implied that she had allowed him to escape. Avon's statement, "You never did," implied that he still loved her.

CallyEdit

During the show, a romantic attraction was often teased between Avon and Cally. The first indication of this was during the episode "The Web," when Cally tells Avon, "I'm interested in your work," and the two share a long, lingering glance (that also has the humorous side effect of making the normally unflappable Avon somewhat speechless). However, an actual romantic relationship between the two was never explicitly shown during the series. The closest they came to a romantic interaction was during the episode "Sarcophagus" when Cally's body was taken over by an alien lifeform seeking a host through which to live again. The alien tried to win Avon over (the only crew member not intimidated by it) by telling him, "Cally liked you," and that he could be at her side. Avon went so far as to kiss the alien (again, who was using Cally's body) in a ruse to gain its confidence and defeat it, freeing Cally in the process.

Similar references were made throughout the series; in the episode "Voice From the Past," Blake (under Federation mind control) fools Vila by telling him Cally and Avon have "paired up," which Vila quite readily believes. A slightly more bitter note is shown in the episode "Children of Auron"; when Cally reveals why she has never returned to her homeworld, she quite pointedly snaps, "Why do you imagine I've never gone back...affection for him?" at which point she storms off (and the other characters look towards Avon). In the next episode, "Rumours of Death", Avon assures Anna Grant, his former love interest, that there had been "nobody else" since he left her; he said this with Cally present, and she did not react visibly.

Cally and Avon quite often went on missions together and shared a knack for delivering quick-witted replies to the other's statements, which would somewhat indicate a growing affection for each other. However, Avon quite openly disdained her compassionate nature and her idealism, which he found to be only somewhat more tolerable than Blake's. Similarly, Cally at times openly mocked Avon's "cold" nature and often clashed with his more self-serving instincts. At one point during the episode "Horizon," Cally and Avon are the only two humans left on board the Liberator, and Cally pointedly rejects Avon's idea of leaving together (because he believed they were dead, whereas she believed they may still be alive). During the episode "The Keeper," Avon takes the ship out of orbit (and teleport range, unknowingly leaving Blake, Jenna and Vila stranded in a moment of trouble in order to follow Blake's orders that Travis must be stopped) to blast Travis' ship, thinking Travis is on board. When Avon later attempts to do the same to what he believes is Servalan's ship, Cally flatly refuses, reminding Avon of what happened last time, which unfortunately was the wrong decision because Travis was onboard and consequently escaped to go on and betray humanity to the aliens.

ServalanEdit

Avon had a contentious relationship with Servalan in season three. During the episode "Aftermath," Servalan offers Avon the chance to rule the Federation by her side; however, regardless of whether she is serious or not, Avon pointedly refuses, shoving her to the ground during their embrace and stating, "I'd be dead within a week." In the episode "Death-Watch," the two meet on a neutral planet, and after discussing Servalan's latest scheme, embrace and kiss roughly (Servalan also remarked that she viewed Avon not as an enemy, but as a future ally). In the episode "Rumours of Death," Avon takes pity upon Servalan who is chained to a wall; similarly, it is she who reveals to him the truth about Anna Grant. However, these brief moments do not diminish the attempts of Servalan to kill Avon and the rest of the crew (although, at one point in season four, she does purchase Avon as a slave from a slave trader, grossly outbidding anyone else's offer).

The Original TV SeriesEdit

Kerr Avon is a computer genius. He was described by Vila as the number two computer expert in the Federation, second only to the agent who caught him trying to steal five million credits from the Federation Bank. He helped Blake in his attempt to take over the London during their transit to Cygnus Alpha and went along as part of the prisoner boarding party to the Liberator. He has a brother, who he saw during an illusion manufactured onboard the Liberator when he, Jenna, and Blake boarded it.[1]

Avon was aboard the Liberator when the ship travelled to Cygnus Alpha. Already feeling Blake's crusade against the Federation was doomed, he tried to persuade Jenna to take the ship and its store of treasure and abandon Blake on the surface but she refused.[2]Avon was taken on a mission for the first time during the trip to Saurian Major, when Blake selected him and Vila to accompay him to sabotage a Federation communications complex. Avon was able to overload the base's reactor and destroy it. It was also during the mission that Avon first met Cally, who he would express rare affection for on later occasions.[3]

It was soon after this that Avon saved Blake from an explosive, in what he claimed was an automatic reaction. Blake apparently thought enough of Avon to refer to him as a "friend", although Avon wasn't present at the time.[4]When the Liberator came to the aid of the Ortega, a spaceship from Destiny, Avon and Cally ended up being left behind to help with repairs while the rest of the crew transported the ship's cargo, a valuable neutrotope, to Destiny. Avon investigated the murder of three crewmembers and unmasked one of the crew, Sara, as a traitor planning to sell the neutrotope.[5]

When Gan's limiter malfunctioned with potentially fatal results, Avon informed the crew of the existence of XK72, a neutral research facility that might be able to treat him, even though he had been planning to flee there if he ever tired of Blake's crusade. He made the decision sooner than expected when Blake placed the ship in danger by taking it through a gravitational vortex, offering the base's commander Farren teleport technology in exchange for sanctuary. When the pro-Federation surgeon Kayn betrayed the Liberator, Farren offered Avon a chance to stay on XK72 but he chose to return to the ship and warn them instead (somewhat fortuitously, since the Federation accidentally destroyed XK72 in the ensuing battle).[6]

Avon was given his first opportunity to command when Blake put him in charge of a team comprising himself, Jenna, Vila and Gan sent to locate survivors from a ship destroyed near Cephalon. Avon located a badly injured crewmember, Ensor, but accidentally left Jenna behind. Volunteering to return with the others to look for her, he instead encountered Meegat, who believed he was the promised one who would bring her people deliverance by launching the rocket containing their race banks. He accomplished the task and also rescued Jenna. It was also during the incident that he was first seen to kill someone, when he shot one of the Scavengers attacking the group..[7]

Not long after, it was found that everyone who had visited the surface of Cephalon was suffering from radiation poisoning. Remaining behind on the ship while Blake and Cally teleported down to Aristo, Avon became concerned when they failed to return and teleported to the surface with Vila. There he rescued the pair from Servalan and Travis and prevented the Federation acquiring Orac. He and the others were then cured by anti-radiation drugs provided by Ensor's father.[8]

During the mission to Horizon, Avon demonstrated his streak for self-preservation when the rest of the crew teleported to the surface one by one and were captured. After concluding with Orac's help that he could exist alone on the Liberator indefinitely and survive anything bar an attack by three Federation ships, Avon made plans to abandon the others...until he learned three pursuit ships were heading for the planet. He then launched a solo rescue mission that freed the others from Federation captivity.[9]Avon was part of the disastrous attack on Control[10]and afterwards assisted in the retrieval of Blake from the Host, even though he had hoped the others would abandon their leader in the aftermath of Gan's death.[11]

With the Liberator needing access to a Federation translator crystal, Avon, along with Vila, contacted his old friend Tynus, the senior technician at Q-Base, with regards to acquiring one. Tynus came up with a plan to make it look as though a crystal had been destroyed but also informed the Federation of their presence. While retrieving the crystal, Avon ended up fighting with Tynus and killed him by pushing him into a live electrical console.[12]

Avon attempted to turn Travis over to the Federation but this inadvertently resulted in Blake becoming trapped on Exbar with Servalan on her way. He insisted on teleporting to the surface with Vila to help him defeat Travis.[13]Not long after, a mission to Albian saw Avon reunited with Del Grant, the brother of his late lover Anna. Grant blamed Avon for his sister's death, since she had died under Federation torture while refusing to betray him after their fraud scheme was discovered. Avon claimed he was unconscious at the time, having been wounded in a struggle with a man who had agreed to sell them travel permits. Avon healed the rift between them somewhat by risking his life to defuse a Federation solium radiation bomb, which would otherwise have killed Grant and everyone else on the planet.[14]

Avon's status as the de facto second-in-command of the Liberator was made clear when he took charge after Blake was an apparent victim of Federation brainwashing. He was highly doubtful of the attempted coup being planned by Governor LeGrande and Ven Glynd and was proved right when it transpired they had been set up by Servalan and Travis.[15] Left alone on the Liberator while Blake searched for Dochelli, Avon and Vila used Orac to play the casinos of Freedom City and indulge in a dangerous game of speed chess.[16]

Avon was part of the team that attacked Star One, only to discover it in the hands of a group of aliens from Andromeda, who were planning an invasion of the Federation. During the incident, Avon killed Travis and, with Blake injured, took charge of the Liberator as it joined the Federation in battling the alien fleet.[17]

With the alien fleet defeated but the Liberator badly damaged, Avon, along with the rest of the crew, abandoned the ship. He found his way to Sarran, where he met up with both Dayna Mellanby and Servalan. Servalan suggest they use both Orac and the Liberator to rule what remained of the Federation but Avon quickly realised she would betray him. He and Dayna ended up returning to the Liberator courtesy of Orac, only to discover it already in Federation hands.[18]Posing as a refugee named Chevron, Avon learned that someone else was already disposing of the Federation personnel - this turned out to be Del Tarrant, a deserter posing as a Federation officer. Together, they managed to dispose of the remaining Federation troopers and Avon was left in command of the Liberator with a crew consisting of Vila, Cally, Dayna and Tarrant.[19]

Under Blake gone and the Federation in a disarray, the crew was less involved in resistance activity. Avon disagreed with Tarrant risking Vila's life on Keezarn and took the rest of the crew to the surface to rescue him from Bayban.[20]He decided to pursue a personal vendetta, making plans to gain revenge on Shrinker, the Federation torturer who he believed was responsible for Anna's death, although his attempt was delayed when the Liberator was instead diverted to Auron on a mercy mission. After Servalan's assault on the planet left almost the entire population dead, Avon sent Federation prisoner Deral to certain death at the hands of Servalan, even though he had helped save his life.[21]

Returning to his original plan, Avon allowed himself to be captured by the Federation in order to get close to Shrinker, then had them both teleported back to the Liberator. He left Shrinker to die by sealing him in an underground cave but also learned a Federation security agent, Bartholomew, had killed Anna. Discovering Servalan a prisoner during an uprising, he was shocked to also encounter Anna and learn she was Bartholomew. Avon ended up killing Anna in self-defence, after which in an almost suicidal move he freed Servalan and removed his teleport bracelet. It was only an act of sadism from Servalan that inadvertedly allowed him to return to the ship.[22]

When Cally was possessed by an undead alien, Avon refused to surrender to the alien's control and goaded her into attempting to kill him, knowing it would force Cally to fight back and allow him to destroy the alien.[23]Despite his apparent lack of interest in resistance activities, he went out of his way to foil Servalan's attempts to annexe Teal and Vandor.[24]

Soon after, Avon began receiving messages, apparently from Blake. Keeping this secret from the rest of the crew, he headed to a rendezvous on the artificial planet Terminal, only to discover it was a trap set by Servalan. Furthermore, his decision to fly the Liberator through a particle storm had irreparably damaged the ship. Avon and his crew ended up stranded on Terminal and the Liberator exploded as Servalan tried to take it out of orbit.[25]

Avon and his crew - bar Cally, who had been killed by a booby trap - were rescued by Dorian and his spaceship Scorpio. Transported to the planet Xenon, they learned that the 200-year-old Dorian intended to transform them into a gestalt entity that would hold all his impurities and grant him eternal life. Avon foiled his plans by killing the creature that currently served as Dorian's receptacle, causing him to age to death.[26] Avon spent the immediate aftermath of the incident working on a way to equip Scorpio with a functioning teleport, as well as foiling a hijack attempt by the Seska leader Pella.[27]

With the Federation now expanding again, Avon began taking a more active role in opposing them. He took his crew, including new recruit Soolin, to Helotrix to investigate the Federation's pacification programme, although he disagreed with Tarrant and Dayna's decision to assist the local resistance group with a raid. He was stunned by their report that Servalan was still alive and observed that he needed to kill her himself.[28]

Avon spent much of the next few months attempting to recruit scientists and technology to fight against the Federation. He often found himself at odds with the rest of the crew: he received disapproval when he sacrificed the life of Doctor Paxton to evade a Federation attack[29], while he himself was furious with Tarrant and Dayne for destroying Muller's android, even though it posed a threat to human life.[30]

Contacted by an old associate, Keiller, Avon agreed to help out with a plan to steal a large quantity of gold from the planet Zerok, during which he and his crew killed several of the Zerok security forces. Avon had guessed, but not told anyone else, that Keiller's employer was Servalan and was hoping for a chance to dispose of her. Instead, Servalan left with the gold after paying the Scorpio crew with a worthless currency.[31] Not long after, Avon received an offer from the rogue scientist Egrorian, who had developed a new weapon, the tachyon funnel. After Avon realised Egrorian was working for Servalan, a series of double-crosses left Avon and Vila trapped onboard a shuttle with a rapidly decaying orbit. Needing to lose some weight in order to reach escape velocity, Avon was quite prepared to throw Vila overboard until he located a lump of parallel matter planted by Egrorian and jettisoned that instead.[32]

Avon attempted to form the leaders of non-aligned planets into an anti-Federation alliance but was betrayed by one of the warlords, Zukan.[33] With the other delegates knowing its location, Avon choses to destroy the base on Xenon and instead set course for Gauda Prime, where he and Orac had traced Blake some time previous, intending to form a new alliance around him. Scorpio was then destroyed in an attack by the planet's authorities and Avon teleported off the crashing ship with Orac. Joining up with Vila, Dayna and Soolin, who had teleported ahead of him, he followed a bounty hunter's flyer to a base only to learn that the bounty hunter was Blake and his captive was Tarrant, who claimed Blake had betrayed them. Before Blake could explain the truth, Avon shot him repeatedly and killed him. Moments later, the base was attacked by Federation troopers. Avon stood motionless as his entire crew were gunned down around him, then stepping over Blake's body as though guarding it, he aimed his gun at the troopers surrounding him and smiled. The gunfire heard subsequently probably meant his end.[34]

TriviaEdit

  • Paul Darrow appeared as Avon in 51 of the 52 episodes of Blake's 7. The only episode in which he did not appear was the pilot, The Way Back.
  • In the final season, the BBC demanded that the metal studs on Avon's boots should be removed, as they were "unacceptably aggressive."

FootnotesEdit

  1. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Two: Space Fall
  2. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Three: Cygnus Alpha
  3. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Four:Time Squad
  4. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Five: The Web
  5. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Seven: Mission to Destiny
  6. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Ten: Breakdown
  7. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Twelve: Deliverance
  8. Blakes 7, Season A, Episode Thirteen: Orac
  9. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Four: Horizon
  10. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Five: Pressure Point
  11. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Six: Trial
  12. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Seven: Killer
  13. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Eight: Hostage
  14. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Nine: Countdown
  15. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Ten: Voice from the Past
  16. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Eleven: Gambit
  17. Blakes 7, Season B, Episode Thirteen: Star One
  18. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode One: Aftermath
  19. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Two: Powerplay
  20. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Six: City at the Edge of the World
  21. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Seven: Children of Auron
  22. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Eight: Rumours of Death
  23. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Nine: Sarcophagus
  24. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Twelve: Death-Watch
  25. Blakes 7, Season C, Episode Thirteen: Terminal
  26. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode One: Rescue
  27. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Two: Power
  28. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Three: Traitor
  29. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Four: Stardrive
  30. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Six: Headhunter
  31. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Ten: Gold
  32. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Eleven: Orbit
  33. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Twelve: Warlord
  34. Blakes 7, Season D, Episode Thirteen: Blake

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