Kerr Avon

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Kerr Avon
Blake's 7 character
First appearance Spacefall
Last appearance Blake
Portrayed by Paul Darrow
Information
Species Human
Gender Male
Affiliation Resistance

Kerr Avon is a fictional character from the British science fiction television series Blake's 7, played by Paul Darrow (in the later B7 audio series, Avon is played by Colin Salmon). Initially one of a character ensemble, he increasingly became a lead character.

Fictional biography[edit]

A child of the colonies, Avon possesses genius-level intelligence, and is an aloof and sardonic computer expert found guilty of an attempt to embezzle five hundred million credits from the Terran Federation banking system. First seen in the second episode, Space Fall, 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 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." The ship's security system caused Avon to see a projection of his brother, nearly killing him until Blake shot the security field.

Avon acts self-serving but in reality, when it comes to actions, he is more selfless than any of the others, constantly saving the lives of almost everyone he comes across and including the entire crew several times over, with nothing to gain for himself.

Avon was far more paranoid during Blake's leadership. He was much less paranoid after Blake left. Avon was a cautious man. He tended to think first before he leapt. As a result he didn't tend to take as many uncalculated risks.

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 second to last 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.

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 apparently betrayed them all, and responds 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 (unbeknownst to Blake) was masquerading as Blake's rebel accomplice. Having witnessed the massacre of Vila, Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin, Avon's final action is uncertain. He smiles as he raises his gun.

20 years later Avon finds himself stranded on a planet of outlaws and the power that has risen in place of the federation the quartet attempt to capture him while Avon tries to take this opportunity to escape the planet at the end of this adventure Servalan and Avon have their final confrontation with Servalan wanting to know the location of Orac, she is killed by Avons lover and he leaves the planet and recovers Orac on Gauda Prime before leaving in an alien grey ship[1]

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, and he has written one novel (Avon: A Terrible Aspect) which examined the early years of the character prior to the TV series.

Personal life[edit]

Anna Grant[edit]

Avon had an affair with a woman called Anna Grant (often referring to Avon in their younger days as "Colonial Boy") 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 marooned 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.

Paul Darrow
Paul Darrow.JPG
Actor Paul Darrow

Cally[edit]

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).

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 (and the others to their fate). During the episode "The Keeper," Avon takes the ship out of orbit (and teleport range, leaving Blake, Jenna and Vila stranded in a moment of trouble) 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.

Servalan[edit]

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 "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. 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). 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).

First name[edit]

Avon's first name is usually given as Kerr, with a double r. However, it is occasionally spelled Ker, and in Darrow's noncanonical novel Avon: A Terrible Aspect, this is explained as a short form of his full name Kerguelen, roughly meaning desolation.

Avon's possible survival[edit]

In the novel Blake's 7: Afterlife, Avon and Vila survived the shoot-out in Gauda Prime and eventually wound up on a new ship (captained by Avon's sister) which was christened "Blake's 7". This novel was not well received and is generally discounted by fans. Paul Darrow purchased the rights to the show and was originally part of the recent project which would have been called Blake's 7: A Legacy Reborn. Reportedly, Darrow would have made an appearance as an aged Avon in what he described as "Napoleonic Exile" on a penal planet, his exploits long forgotten, most or all of the others long dead. (This scenario is close to one described by Blake's 7 creator Terry Nation.) Avon would have passed the torch on to a new group of escaped prisoners who would become the new Seven. It was not clear if Avon was to be their leader or he was to die. Due to creative differences, Darrow left the project which has since gone into development hell.

In 2012, Big Finish approached Paul Darrow to write a Blake's 7 novel set after Gauda Prime dealing with the life of Avon after the death of Blake; Darrow agreed and his novel Lucifer was released in both printed and audiobook (read by Darrow, ISBN 978-1-78178-110-4) form in June 2013. The plot takes place twenty years after the death of Blake; the old Federation has fallen to be reformed under the leadership of the four leaders known as The Quartet (two male former military leaders, a male economist and Dr. Pandora S [a ruthlessly ambitious female scientist]) who co-exist in an uneasy alliance. Avon has been living in exile, but even though he has no ship or shipmates to help him he has his own plans and agendas for survival while old enemies (including Servalan) and dangerous new ones (including Gabriella, Travis' daughter) appear.

End credits[edit]

The ambiguous ending was done with the possibility that those who wished to stay on for the proposed fifth serial would only be stunned or wounded. Those who did not: their characters would be explained as having been killed. Blake's actual death was in the contract (as per Gareth Thomas' request, a different type of gun was used by Avon as well as showing blood and Blake's dead body). The end credit sequence for this episode is interpreted several ways by fans. The last scene of the series ends in Avon pointing his gun at the camera and smiling. The scene freeze frames for a few seconds and abruptly switches to the end credits. Instead of the end credit music, a single shot followed by several others in quick succession is heard. Among the more wild theories is that Avon gets off a few shots or that he might have escaped after shooting all the Federation troopers. However, since a follow-up serial never materialised, most fans assume that the gunshots heard represent Avon shooting once before the guards open fire and kill him.

Trivia[edit]

  • 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 very first episode, 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."[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ big finish novel Lucifer