We are very sad to report the death of Gareth Thomas. He was 71.
For many of us at Big Finish he was a hero in many of our favourite Science Fiction series - Roj Blake in 28 episodes of Blake’s 7, Adam Brake in Children of the Stones, Shem in Star Maidens, Owen Edwards in Knights of God, Kalendorf in our audio series Dalek Empire… and yet we should remember that Gareth’s decades-long career as an actor was much more than just one genre. His impressive TV credits include Sutherland’s Law, How Green Was My Valley, The Bell, The Citadel, Morgan’s Boy, London’s Burning, Heartbeat, Distant Shores and too many stage credits to mention, many of them leading roles for the RSC.
Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery says:
'When I was 10 a new sci-fi drama started called Blake's 7. It wasn't silly and it wasn't fake and it meant something. One of the main reasons it meant something was because they chose a leading man in Gareth Thomas with conviction and commitment. A talented actor that could bring alive scripts and make a space opera into the genuine struggles of a freedom fighter. As he came and worked for Big Finish, I met Gareth many times over the years - a jolly man who was a joy to work with and great fun down the pub! He will be greatly missed.’
Executive producer Nicholas Briggs says:
‘I was very sad indeed to hear this news. I feel privileged to have worked closely with Gareth on Dalek Empire. I first met him when he worked with Big Finish in Storm Warning. Naturally, I knew he was a great actor anyway, but I remember being so blown away by how brilliant he was in our Eighth Doctor debut that I just marched up to him and told him he was brilliant. He took the compliment so wholeheartedly that he made me feel like a million dollars too. That led directly to my casting him as Kalendorf in Dalek Empire. He took a real leap of faith to do it. I phoned him up and asked him if he wanted me to sell the idea to him. He said, simply, that he trusted me and Big Finish. It was great to work with him. Aside from his being so good, he was also very passionate about his character and majorly influenced Kalendorf’s trajectory in the series. Gareth’s performance opened up so many possibilities in the upcoming storylines at the time. He was a truly classy actor and a great bloke.’
Line producer David Richardson:
‘I was so fortunate to produce Gareth’s return to the role of Roj Blake, first in the Liberator Chronicles, and then in seven full cast Blake’s 7 audios. It goes without saying that he was a very fine actor, but what I’ll remember most about him is his twinkle - a lovely, warm sense of humour, and a laid back charm that made him such easy company at the studio. So my over-riding memory of Gareth will always be him sitting in the corner of green room, with a broad smile on his face.’