“Wealth is the Only Reality”: Blake’s 7 and Thatcherism

Braithwaite, Phil orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8349-6448 (2018) “Wealth is the Only Reality”: Blake’s 7 and Thatcherism. Colloquy: Text, Theory, Critique, 35/36 . pp. 28-53. ISSN 1447-0950

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At the time of Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979, British science fiction television changed its focus and style. It replaced the traditional moral standards and collectivism of the consensus era with individualism, Machiavellian behaviour and moral relativity.
In this paper I look at one of the series of this era, Blake’s 7 (1978–1981), alongside the rise of Thatcherism. Using Darko Suvin’s notion of “cognitive estrangement,” I analyse how the series engages with its political milieu and investigate how it anticipated the tropes of Thatcherism.

Blake’s 7 ultimately presents a strong critique of many aspects of Thatcherism, from Thatcher’s stated belief in individualism and independence to her authoritarian style of leadership, and reflects on some of the failings of the neoliberal economic system in its early stages.

KEYWORDS: Blake’s 7, British television, ethics, dystopia, politics, cognitive estrangement, science fiction, Thatcherism

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