Blake's 7 actor Gareth Thomas has died aged 71


Welsh actor Gareth Thomas, best known as the star of cult BBC sci-fi show Blake's 7, has died at the age of 71 from heart failure.

Official fan website Blake's 7 Online first reported the news, writing: "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."

Gareth Thomas  (REX/Shutterstock)

The tribute called Gareth "a fine actor, a real gentleman and always generous to his many fans. He will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans alike."

His death was confirmed by friend Andrew Mark Sewell, who worked as a producer on the reboot of Blake's 7.

Born in Wales in 1945, Rada-trained Gareth made his acting debut in 1965, before taking small roles in well-known series such as The Avengers, Z Cars and Coronation Street.

In 1972 he was nominated for a television Bafta for his performance in the BBC Play for Today, Stocker's Copper, and nominated again for his role as a Welsh hill farmer in BBC One's Morgan's Boy in 1984.

He earned a legion of young fans as Adam Brake, an astrophysicist who brings his son to the strange village of Milbury to study standing stones in eerie BBC children's drama The Children Of The Stone.

But Gareth's most famous role was as political dissident Roj Blake, the leader of a group of rebels fighting against the totalitarian Terran Federation, in Terry Nation's sci-fi drama Blake's 7, which drew in up to 10 million viewers a week in the UK.

He was cast in the show in 1978 and stayed for two series, until he insisted his character be killed off to the dismay of fans. However, he returned for the show's climactic final episode.

Gareth's other credits include London's Burning, Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders and Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.

He was also a seasoned stage actor, appearing in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company and English Shakespeare Company productions.

He returned to his role as Blake in 2012 in The Big Finish's audio series Blake's 7: The Liberator Chronicles.