Blake's 7 leader Gareth Thomas dies, aged 71

Sci-fi fans are mourning Blake's 7 star Gareth Thomas, who died onWednesday aged 71.

The proud Welshman reportedly died of heart failure.

Fans and colleagues were quick to pay tribute to Mr Thomas on Twitter and elsewhere, including friend Stephen Greif.

Reacting to news of actor, Gareth Thomas' death, fellow actor and friend @StephenGreif says: He was a welshman through and through #Blakes7

— BBC Radio Wales (@BBCRadioWales) April 14, 2016

His death was reported on a Blake's 7 fan site. It read: "It is with deep sadness that we have to announce that Gareth Thomas passed away this morning, 13th April 2016, from heart failure.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Linda, and his family and friends."

Mr Selfridge star Samuel West tweeted his sorrow at Mr Thomas's death.

Sad to hear Gareth Thomas, star of Blake's 7 and Children of the Stones has died. Taught me what leadership was. Diolch o galon. Siwrne dda.

— Samuel West (@exitthelemming) April 14, 2016


Comedia Robin Ince said 'if excitement I displayed during the titles of Blake's 7 could be bottled, we'd have a perpetual motion machine by now'.

If excitement I displayed during the titles of Blake's 7 could be bottled, we'd have a perpetual motion machine by now. RIP Gareth Thomas.

— Robin Ince (@robinince) April 14, 2016

Gareth Thomas was born in Wales and trained at RADA. He made his TV debut in a 1965 production of Romeo and Juliet. Mr Thomas had a varied career on stage and screen. His other TV credits included regular roles in London's Burning, Heartbeat and Distant Shores.

Mr Thomas played commander Roj Blake in Blake's 7, the story of a group of rebels who battled the evil Terran Federation from their Liberator spaceship. It ran for four series between 1978-1981.


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.