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Assassin

As serious as Cancer…

AssassinVila has some bad news for Scorpio‘s crew.

Sue: Is it just me or is Avon tired? They’ve plastered him in make-up to try and hide it, but he looks like he’s knackered. And stressed.

A familiar voice stresses him out even more.

Servalan: Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects.

Sue: Oh joy.

This radio message, which has been intercepted by Vila, sounds like gibberish. Or does it..?

Sue: Well, there are five of them so they must be the subjects. Why do they keep drawing attention to the fact that they always seem to be two people short.

Domo is a planet, the ninth is a date, but who or what is Cancer?

Tarrant: (to Avon) You know about Cancer.

Sue: This is a cheerful start to the episode.

Cancer is a man.

Sue: What a stupid name. I bet he doesn’t go on many dates.

Cancer is a professional assassin.

Sue: OK, fair enough. He’s using a made-up name, like a professional wrestler.

AssassinMeanwhile, in Servalan’s floating bingo hall…

Sue: This is what every good spaceship needs: sexy mood lighting.

Me: Forget the plasma bolts, has it got a dimmer switch?

Servalan confers with her captain.

Sue: That man is so tall, I’m surprised Servalan doesn’t sprain her neck every time she gives him an order.

Servalan instructs her captain to lay in a course for the planet Domo.

Sue: If she’s still pretending to be somebody else, how is she paying for all this? And why has she put a contract out on Avon? I thought she wanted to rule the universe with him, or has she changed her mind about that? I mean, how much of a threat is Avon supposed to be?

Me: Well, considering that all the experts that Avon has tried to recruit are dead, not much.

The crew turn to Orac for some advice.

Orac: You must find this Cancer before he finds you.

Sue: Good idea, Orac. Preventive medicine is always the best course of action. I’m willing to bet good money that either the writer had cancer, or they knew someone who had cancer when they wrote this. It’s basically a metaphor for cancer.

Avon teleports to the planet Domo, where he allows himself to be captured by slave traders. Their leader, Benos (who Sue mistakes for a very young Jeremy Irons), takes possession of Avon’s teleport bracelet.

Sue: Typical. They’ve got this incredible technology that can beam you down to alien planets, but they can’t invent a bracelet that doesn’t fall off your wrist if you so much as look at it.

AssassinAvon ends up sharing a cell with a slave named Nebrox.

Sue: Is that William Hartnell?

I pretend not to hear her.

Sue: Is it, you know. It’s William Hartnell. Look!

Me: It isn’t William Hartnell. William Hartnell’s dead.

Sue: Well, it doesn’t half look like William Hartnell. It’s uncanny. He even sounds like him.

I pause the DVD and put her out of her misery.

Me: Oh yeah. I’d completely forgotten about that. Still, you can see why JNT hired him to play the part after he saw him in this. The resemblance is spooky. He’s even playing this part like the Doctor. He’s more like the Doctor here than he ever was in Doctor Who. He’s really good.

Nebrox begs Avon to trust him.

Sue: Oh, and he’s definitely Cancer. I bet you anything.

Servalan has the best seat in the house at Domo’s slave auction.

Sue: This reminds me of Game of Thrones, but without the sunshine. Yeah, it’s an off-season Games of Thrones. Those two bare-chested men with the fans – they must be freezing their bollocks off.

Domo looks like every other barren shit hole we’ve visited.

Sue: Did Rosie work on this episode? Oh, she did? Bollocks. This is not good.

AssassinNebrox and Avon share a meal.

Nebrox: It’s mangon. It’s a sort of stew made from fungus. It takes some getting used to, but it’s really very nourishing.

Sue: Whatever they’re paying him to eat that slop, it isn’t enough. Paul Darrow won’t go anywhere near it.

Me: And Paul Darrow eats MDF for breakfast.

Nebrox describes Servalan to Avon. Well, sort of.

Nebrox: I didn’t really get much of a look at her. She was tall, dark, obviously important and powerful.

Sue: Surely the first thing you say when you’re describing Servalan to somebody is that she’s got short black hair. Why would he leave that detail out? Unless he’s Cancer, of course. It’s pretty obvious, really.

According to Nebrox, Servalan purchased a male slave that very morning.

Sue: Avon is seething with jealousy.

He needn’t worry, because as soon as Servalan claps eyes on him, she can’t wait to splash her cash.

Servalan: I want him.

Sue: This should be fun.

Benos highlights Avon’s extra features:

AssassinBenos: Now I know he looks soft, and he talks soft, too, but you can tell the ladies he’s strong enough to work all day and still have plenty of energy left over for any little chores you might have for him in the evenings.

Sue: Oh dear. I think I’m having a hot flush.

Avon becomes the subject of a bidding war.

Bidder #1: Valeria bids two hundred.

Bidder #2: Natratof bids two hundred and fifty.

Servalan: I bid seven hundred vems.

Sue: I bid a million vems! How much is a vem worth, Neil?

Me: More than you can afford, Sue.

With Nebrox’s help, Avon gets his teleport bracelet back. However, just when it looks like Avon will do a runner, he changes his mind and rescues Nebrox instead.

Sue: Aww, bless. The Doctor is going to join the team. That’s brilliant.

AssassinThere then follows a really strange shot where Avon is captured in the middle distance. Blink and you’ll miss it – mainly because the director has decided to pack the foreground with panicked extras.

Sue: Who directed this? That was terrible. Inept, even. One minute you think Avon is free, and in the next shot he’s captured again. That was terrible!

Me: The director’s name is David Sullivan Proudfoot.

Sue: Are you taking the piss?

Me: No.

Sue: Is he a hobbit?

Me: Not to my knowledge.

Sue: Well, he’s got nothing to feel proud about. That was a shambles.

With Dayna’s help, Avon and Nebrox manage to escape in the nick of time, and it isn’t long before the Scorpio intercepts Cancer’s spaceship.

Sue: They should leave it alone. Everybody knows that Scorpio and Cancer are incompatible.

Tarrant and Avon teleport to the ship and walk straight into a trap.

AssassinSue: Either the money has run out and that’s Blake’s 7‘s worst ever monster, or this is a trap.

She breathes a huge sigh of relief when we see Cancer hiding on the ship’s flight deck.

Sue: He looks like Noel Edmonds crossed with Michael Ball, with a young Colin Baker thrown in for good measure.

Tarrant and Cancer engage in some fisticuffs.

Sue: This is a very realistic fight, but there’s no atmosphere. I’ve lost all faith in the director.

Cancer is accompanied by exotic dancer named Piri.

Sue: She isn’t what she seems. She must be Cancer. It’s a bit obvious, this.

Me: I thought you said William Hartnell was the assassin?

Sue: We were supposed to think that – to put us off. No, she’s definitely Cancer.

Piri: He said that he wanted me to help him to celebrate after he’d finished a job that he had to do.

Sue: It really is Game of Thrones in space, what with all the space prostitutes and everything. Although you don’t get to see any tits in Blake’s 7. Well, not unless you count Vila.

Soolin, Vila and Nebrox teleport to Cancer’s ship.

Soolin: You have been busy.

AssassinSue: Soolin’s very cocky all of a sudden. We didn’t hear a peep out of her for ages and now she’s strutting around like she owns the place.

Cancer promises to get his own back on Avon.

Cancer: I’ve never killed for personal pleasure before, but in your case I shall make an exception!

Sue: Oh dear. It’s all gone a bit panto, now.

Piri has a nervous breakdown.

Sue: Either they’ve hired a terrible actress or she’s Cancer. And if she is Cancer, Cancer is a terrible actress. Does that make sense?

Avon is rapidly running out of patience.

Avon: I’m setting a trap, not holding a convention for liberated slaves.

Sue: Brilliant. He’s stressed to hell, but he’s secretly enjoying himself.

Piri and Tarrant get to know each other.

AssassinSue: (singing) I’m a private dancer, a dancer for a money, I’ll do what you want me to do…

Tarrant lets Piri know that Avon isn’t his boss.

Tarrant: If we think he’s right, we go along with it, if we don’t, we don’t. We’re all free agents.

Sue: (as Tarrant) It’s a shambles; we hardly get anything done.

Tarrant is completely smitten by Piri.

Sue: I don’t mean to be funny, but Tarrant is easily pleased.

Me: At least it means you might stand a chance with him.

Sue: Hark at Robert Redford over there.

Nebrox and Piri reminisce about the time they spent in slavery on Domo. However, Piri doesn’t seem to know what mangon is.

Sue: That confirms it. She’s definitely Cancer. And Noel Edmonds is her private dancer. But what is she waiting for? Shouldn’t she be killing everyone by now?

Right on cue, Cancer escapes and Nebrox is killed.

AssassinSue: Is he dead or just out of focus? I can’t tell when it comes to this director.

Me: He’s dead.

Sue: Oh no. That’s rubbish. I wanted him to join the team full-time. He was wonderful.

Piri falls to pieces and Soolin slaps her to shut her up.

Tarrant: You enjoyed that, didn’t you?

Sue: I did. She’s really beginning to get on my tits.

Tarrant thinks Soolin is jealous of Piri.

Sue: Is he having a laugh? Soolin’s got absolutely nothing to be jealous of, whether she can pole dance or not.

As he bickers with Tarrant, it appears that Avon isn’t immune to Piri’s charms.

Tarrant: It certainly doesn’t speak highly of your much vaunted brains.

Avon: Your little friend seems to prefer them to your equally vaunted brawn.

AssassinTarrant: What was that supposed to mean?

Sue: It means she fancies Avon and she doesn’t fancy you. Although why she can’t fancy both of them is beyond me…

All this testosterone makes Avon very agitated.

Sue: Here we go. Time for a violent snog.

Piri: Don’t fight over me, please!

Sue: Has she got an alien power that makes men fall in love with her, because if she hasn’t THIS MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL!

They decide to lock Piri on the flight deck, because if somebody stayed with her it would reduce their chances of finding Cancer by a third.

Soolin: Well, do we stick together, or what?

Sue: Weren’t you listening to anything Avon said two minutes ago, pet? If you stay together, all that chat about cutting down your chances by a third wouldn’t make any ****ing sense. ARGH!

The crew split up and search for Cancer.

AssassinSue: It’s trying to be like Alien, but instead of a man-eating, acid-spewing monster, we’ve got Noel Edmonds skulking around in a bad mood. It’s not really working for me.

A mechanical spider is let loose on the ship.

Sue: A spider? What the ****? Shouldn’t it be a crab? Don’t tell me it didn’t say crab in the script. It should be scurrying sideways, too. What a farce!

Soolin takes a break, just long enough for the spider to creep up on her.

Sue: What the hell is she doing? She may as well wear a sigh that says “Kill Me”.

You’ll never guess what happens next…

Piri: I am Cancer.

Sue: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.

It looks like Piri has dedicated several hours to styling her hair for a torture session with Avon.

AssassinSue: Wow. If Tarrant fancied her when she looked ordinary, he’s going to crazy when he finds out she’s an S&M dominatrix.

Noel Edmonds is actually a professional entertainer who was hired by Servalan to act as a decoy.

Sue: She could have auditioned a little bit harder. He was crap. Or maybe he was supposed to be crap, in which case he deserves a BAFTA.

Piri planned to kill the crew when they returned to Xenon Base.

Sue: Or she could pull her finger out and do it on the ship. You know, to save time.

Servalan is over the moon.

Servalan: Congratulations, Cancer, you are a credit to our sex.

Sue: Really? I’m ashamed.

Piri believes that her crab spider has already nobbled Soolin.

Piri: I should imagine that blonde bitch is probably dead already.

Sue: Yeah, she’s a wonderful ambassador for feminism.

AssassinPiri places her magic spider on Avon’s trussed up body.

Sue: Right on his cock. Ouch! Actually, a crab would have been funnier. What a wasted opportunity.

Soolin and Tarrant come to the rescue and the spider ends up on Cancer’s arm.

Sue: At least she’s squishing it to death as it kills her. That’s nice.

Cancer screams the place down.

Sue: OH, SHUT THE **** UP!

There then follows a nail-baiting race to see who will reach the crew first. Will it be the Scorpio or Servalan?

Sue: What do you fancy for tea tomorrow night, Neil?

Cancer’s spaceship is blasted into a million tiny pieces.

Sue: They’re not really dead. Don’t ask me why – it’s just a hunch. Oh, look, they’re not really dead.

Not only are the crew not really dead, they’re sipping cocktails and kicking back on the Scorpio‘s sun loungers, although Vila does threaten to spoil the party mood.

AssassinDayna: Vila’s worried. He wants to know what became of that sweet little girl.

Soolin: Vila, all sweet things have one thing in common: a tendency to make you sick.

Cue credits.

Sue: Do you know what else has a tendency to make you feel sick? Forced comedy endings. Now pass me a bucket.

The Score:

Sue: The direction, the acting and the script let it down. Apart from that, it was great.

5/10

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99 comments

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 7:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Simon Ferns

    “Well all that suffering should make her a better artist” Soolin says this line with such a brilliant mixture of ennui and acid, that it is my favourite of the whole series.

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      August 6, 2014 8:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      My favourite line too πŸ™‚ Agree with Sue on the rest of it, the direction was a mess and we’ve just seen the worse performance by a supporting actor in B7.

      • Visit site
        August 6, 2014 8:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
        dpc

        Agreed. Nobody would have been worse… anybody would have been better. The overacting for such a critical role as Cancer wasn’t hammy. It was just bad. Bad! BAD!!

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 7:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Smile

    In reference to the trailer for Games about them having changed their clothes… sorry to be all pedantic, but they did that in this episode…

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 7:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    A fat cheque is Piri’s for wielding
    Her feminine wiles and gilding,
    But one crab-shaped come-uppance
    And she’s not worth thruppence.
    Who let Ben Steed into the building?

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    August 6, 2014 8:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Sassen frassen rassen Assassin.

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      August 6, 2014 8:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
      dpc

      That’s a better title for the story than “The Deadly Assassin”… πŸ™‚

  • August 6, 2014 8:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    I think the casting is perhaps the biggest problem. Piri is, as Sue points out, never quite believable as the sort of woman men who’ve just met her would fight over, and while she is possibly the most unpleasant and irritating female character on the entire series, I don’t think that was intended to comprise the whole of her characterization. I’d agree the script doesn’t help, making the actors do all the heavy lifting and stretching without so much as a batch of space pheromones to help them sell it, but a different actress could probably have made a world of difference.

    That said, I still love Assassin. Sue was having as much fun with the auction scenes as I always do, and the sub-Alien stuff on the ship generally worked for me too when I was a kid, even though I’m pretty sure I’d seen Alien by then (don’t tell my parents). That terrible spider let the side down quite a bit — why they ever think those effects stand a chance of working is beyond me — but for some reason the scene with the decoy staring blank-eyed and dead kind of made up for it. I even found Cancer’s overwrought screaming effective — annoying, but just committed enough to be rather more frightening than these sorts of deaths usually are.

    The comment from last time about watching these with a “local theater” mindset I think hits the nail on the head; for some reason I never had much trouble watching these for what they were trying to do, rather than what they actually realized, and with that mindset this works quite well.

    I’m surprised it scored 5/10 given Sue’s derision for it, but I’m not disappointed. I think that’s fair.

    • Visit site
      August 8, 2014 4:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      People can maximum diss it, but it wasnt boring. It had pace. All the previous Season 4 episodes have been deadly dull. If the writers were my students I would be throwing the script at them and asking: “Did you plan? Did you plan this? No. You did not”.
      I literally cant remember any of the stories. Sort of recall the Space Rats, and the headless robot.
      Plus, the worst of Series 1 and 2 were always redeemed in some way by Avon. Series 3 had some great episodes, especially Powerplay.

      Not Season 4.

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 8:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    Oh dear. I feel that the fun’s gone out of it all for Sue and Neil. Thank goodness the comments are still delightful. No mention of the moment when Avon tells Tarrant he’s got his back and then sits down to enjoy the spectacle of him being beaten up ( a favourite of mine ) but the hobbit comment and the crabs’ reference were wonderful. I also agree with Simon about Soolin’s artist line. Loved it. I guess younger viewers have seen many better written and directed takes on this idea but I really enjoyed it when I first saw it and still have an irrational affection for it.

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 8:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    dpc

    Assassin – the one episode after the mid-season paradigm shift I will never sit through because of everything Sue said.

    Hurndall would have made a nice addition to the crew, I agree…

    Piri was passable – crying aside – until she reveals her true self. Remember the Dr Who story “The Mutants”? I can’t think of any worse actors to do those scenes…

    “Games” was good, though. Won’t spoil any details until after she sees it though. πŸ™‚

    • Visit site
      August 6, 2014 9:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      I can, specifically *that* one from The Mutants who turns up later on in this season. Because words are no more than.

      Words.

      • Visit site
        August 6, 2014 9:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Eh??

        • Visit site
          August 6, 2014 10:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          Don’t worry. You’ll know when you see it.

          • Visit site
            August 6, 2014 11:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Anniew

            Ahh. Got it. Way past my bedtime. Bring on the cocoa Dearie. Who did you say I was?

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            August 7, 2014 12:33 amPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            You are Edna Dores, the gran from Fear Her, and I claim my five pounds. πŸ™‚

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        August 6, 2014 11:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Glen Allen

        Love it!

  • Visit site
    August 6, 2014 8:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    The actress playing Piri is either a cunning piece of commentary on weak female stereotypes actually turning out to be deadlier than the male, or the worst guest turn in the whole of Blakes 7. I’m a little torn at present as to which it is. But then that monumental piece of am-dram death by marsh-spider has me leaning toward the latter.

    I know I shouldn’t but I rather enjoyed Assassin, both then and now. What seems like it’s going to be a runaround in a quarry becomes a tense Ten Little Aliens as Cancer picks off the guest cast one by one (well, one, cos only Richard Hurndall actually gets offed…but at least he gives a little more of the kind of gentle gruffness that would convince JN-T to recast the first Doctor a couple of years later). The success – or not – of Assassin lies in whether or not you swallow Piri as either the pathetic damsel in distress or the sub-dom vixen who gives men the crab(s). The fact Tarrant is so easily suckered while the rest either want to slap or strangle the bitch probably best illustrates the quandary the viewer is faced with.

    Blakes 7 is now very much the villain -of-the-week show, and Serv…Sleer’s ongoing campaign to either bed or bollock Avon is stretching nylon thin. The lack of a dramatic frame to Blakes 7 is nothing new – season one was hardly immune to abandoning the fight the federation arc in favour of Blake and co. having completely unrelated japes in a gas works in Bristol – but four series on and the meandering, not to mention mediocre, ongoing narrative is doing the show no favours as the episode count runs out.

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      August 6, 2014 9:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Given that she’s just as bad after the Big Reveal, I know which one my money’s on.

    • Visit site
      August 6, 2014 9:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      You can accuse Blake’s 7 of many things but…’mediocre’?? I doubt if the show would be still be highly regarded and influential if that was true.

      People need to remember what Dr Who was knocking out as entertainment during the year that Season 4 was broadcast or indeed most other drama. For all its faults, Season 4 was a hit back then and the best is yet to come.

      • Visit site
        August 7, 2014 5:54 amPosted 3 years ago
        Smile

        I’m sorry, but why do you keep banging on about Dr Who whenever anyone criticises Blakes’s 7? I don’t know why you seem to keep asserting that the former at this time is obviously worse either. Warriors’ Gate, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, Castrovalva, Four to Doomsday, Kinda, The Visitation, Black Orchid and Earthshock – which comprise all the stories that were either shown or recorded in 1981 – overall I wouldn’t say that they were significantly worse – if at all – collectively than Season 4 of B7 on the whole, whether in production terms or artistically.

        Alright, so tastes will vary and all that, but it just seems bizarre to treat it as if it were some sort of obvious open and shut case.

        As for most other drama that year… well, there’s Brideshead Revisited, When The Boat Comes In, The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George Shoestring, To Serve Them All My Days, The History Man, Nanny, Juliet Bravo, Tenko, Fanny By Gaslight, and, if we include 1982, Boys From The Blackstuff and Smiley’s People. I don’t suppose that’s an exhaustive list either.

        Blake’s 7 did do well in various ways, considering it was a relatively low budget science fiction series produced mostly on videotape, it managed to be reasonably strong on character and dialogue, and to achieve a particularly distinctive pessimism in its atmosphere, as well as a number of especially good episodes. I think though that it’s a little disproportionate to talk of it as though virtually nothing else at the time could rival it in quality. I don’t find it that much of a stretch, either then or now, that some could find some episodes, either tacky or mediocre. And yes, some might also think that about some contemporary Dr Who episodes too, but that doesn’t really gainsay said opinion.

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          August 7, 2014 6:32 amPosted 3 years ago
          Smile

          An extra couple of drama programmes from the same period could also include Secret Army and Sapphire And Steel, I think.

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            August 7, 2014 3:14 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Anniew

            A Smile as deadly as one of Avon’s.

          • Visit site
            August 10, 2014 12:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Were any of those dramas as seriously lacking in money as B7 though or as looked down on by the BBc? Operating under these conditions, B7 is awesome, 1st 2 series anyway.

            Seems to me what went wrong was concentrating more on ‘adventures’ they didnt have the brass to develop, special effects most of all, rendering some episodes ridiculous, than on the character relationships which is what made it in the beginning, and which required no more than a bleak backdrop.

            But your point about how many good dramas there were then is well made. That doesnt mean they are watchable now…I have Boys From The Blackstuff and it hasnt really held up that well. B7 mostly has, low-budget scenery and all. B7 also has this squabbling and passionate fandom….I dont think Juliet Bravo does ..that has to mean something.
            B7 did what so few dramas can: created characters which became real on their own account, which took on their own life. As Shakespeare’s have. No mean achievement. And we care about them and are engaged with them and this is 40 years later nearly.

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          August 9, 2014 7:00 amPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          It’s funny but I loved Dr Who all through the 70s, starting with Jon Pertwee and then Tom Baker (I remember him being on Swap Shop, introduced as the replacement and he was obviously going to be good)…but by decade’s end I never watched it any more, I suppose I though of it as a kid’s show I’d outgrown, so I am surprised by all this adult admiration.

          Had no idea there were all these episodes in the early 80s.

          But didnt something happen to make it less scary? Seem to remember it was genuinely pretty scary, then suddenly less so.

          Sorry, know this is kind of off-topic, but Dr Who does crop up a lot here. I am wondering whether it is actually worth amazoning some of these series.

          • Visit site
            August 9, 2014 10:47 amPosted 3 years ago
            Smile

            Dr Who in the 1980s is a very controversial subject among a lot of fans, really. Probably the most argued about era of the original run, at least in recent years. Sometimes the late 70s material as well. There’s certainly a significant amount of people, of those interested, who would argue that it became less scary or declined as it went on – and it didn’t end until 1989 – although there are plenty of views both for and against on those years.

          • Visit site
            August 9, 2014 3:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
            frankymole

            Read Neil and Sue’s “Adventures With The Wife in Space” Dr Who blog for the Tom Baker years to relive the full experience, but basically yes it was deliberately made less scary because of all the complaints from Mary Whitehouse. When the producer was changed in 1977, the new producer (Graham Williams) was explicitly told by his head of department to take out the horror. The only alternative he could insert was more comedy. A lot of fans didn’t like that. A lot of kids didn’t mind (but I did).

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            August 9, 2014 6:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Ah, frankymole, that’s it! I remember now! Mary Whitehouse! Her, and her Legion of Decency or whatever it was. She was never off the telly, wrecking everyone’s fun. What is it with people like that, they cant be satisfied to just switch off if they dont like it. Got to tell us all how to live. Why are they like that? Bolsheviks with cardigans: fixing how we shall all work and play.

            I mean, I do not like the pornification of TV now: no problem with porn, but not in the middle of Jane Austen. But I wouldnt start a campaign against it.

            And I really remember how the series used to be very scary, there was one with these things like shop window dummies and of course the Daleks…then it became suddenly dull…think this is why I stopped watching it. Although I cant really remember, I think I gave up on Blake’s 7 too in series 3, only watching the season 4 finale.
            I dont want to read Wife in Space without watching the episodes, or I dont see how it can mean anything to me. I read one or two and without that, I dont get what Sue is mocking, tho see it’s undoubtedly funny.

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          August 11, 2014 11:58 amPosted 3 years ago
          Smile

          I’ve liked both Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 for years, so wasn’t intending to do them down as such, just considering the perspective. I did try to address the point about the low budget for the latter – actually both of them, and indeed the way that SF on television tended to be looked down on then wouldn’t have done them any favours either. In practice, a lot of TV drama in the 70s and 80s would have been produced relatively cheaply, but those that were attempting science fiction, with spaceships and all the rest, would obviously have been at a greater disadvantage in those circumstances.

          I think there’s a combination of reasons for the relatively passionate fandoms that both programmes, and often other science fiction dramas have. Partly and indeed perhaps even mostly, yes, it’ll be the actual content and quality – obviously a highly subjective thing to quantify, but as perceived by those who are interested enough to write about it. I think also that something being science fiction or fantasy orientated often tends to make a difference and bring out a more devoted and involved following – perhaps something to do with the way this genre seeks to make the unreal seemingly real, which, for some of us, may lend it a more lasting vividness than many other other things attain. And possibly also when it is a programme which one was a fan of in childhood or adolescence or young adulthood, and is still interested in years later, then it’s effectively become a longstanding part of your life in its own right, so the associations are, or can be, very powerful ones.

          To repeat myself a little, I think that most Blake’s 7 manages very well, given the circumstances it was made under, and even the worst episodes may have had potential to function significantly better if there’d been time for some further thought as to what might work narratively or in a production sense. I do know, though, that there are those who wouldn’t be shy of saying that they thought it had dated badly since then in whatever respects. I remember people talking to that effect in the 90s. Indeed, I even once loaned someone a video of it after they’d been talking with me about how they remembered it and wondering they hadn’t repeated it. When I got the video back his comment was that now he could understand why they hadn’t. But there you are… you can’t please everyone. He’d liked it at the time, but whatever about it had worked for him then, clearly it no longer did. So it may also be with any of the other series this could apply to. You find Blackstuff dated and difficult to watch now, others might not mind it… it’s just one of those things.

          I should perhaps also have made it clearer that I don’t wish to discourage or disparage enthusiasm for Blake’s 7 in itself. So if someone says, for example, “Blake’s 7 was my favourite programme in the 80s, and it’s still the one from that era I enjoy watching the most, because of etc” then, great. No problem with that at all, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone’s free to have their own preferences. There’s a lot of things from then that I would probably prefer B7 to as well. It’s more just that I don’t think it would be too difficult for someone to be able to justify a preference for many other things from then too, including programmes that weren’t Doctor Who.

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      August 6, 2014 11:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Richard Baker

      Caroline Holdaway, according to her IMDb entry at least, had been acting on television for about three years by the time she played Piri/Cancer. And yet she still manages to glance straight at the camera at least twice during the course of the episode.

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      August 7, 2014 3:15 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Two of the guest cast are offed, because Cancer kills that male entertainer who was pretending to be Cancer, as well.

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    August 6, 2014 9:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    The DVD commentary by Darrow and Pearce is hilarious on this one!

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    August 6, 2014 9:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    I also loved the pissing contest between Avon and Tarrant over Piri. I couldn’t buy Tarrant’s interest ( except perhaps that he does enjoy being a gallant hero) but thought that Avon’s response was more about vanity. He’s so used to being worshipped as a God that he can’t stand it when Tarrant is the preferred one. It doesn’t say much for Tarrant that he fails to spot that Piri’s basically calling him thick when she tells him she doesn’t like clever people. Generally I thought this episode was an attempt to redress the male bias in the series and show that the women were often the more savvy as neither Avon or Tarrant shines .

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      August 7, 2014 3:19 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Avon was just getting a rise out of Tarrant, that’s all. They weren’t competing for Piri’s attentions, as Avon saw her as worthless – he goes for women, not girls, remember!

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        August 7, 2014 10:51 amPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Mmmmm. He only seems to have gone for one woman. I agree he doesn’t fancy Piri but why would he need to get a rise from Tarrant who is behaving like a twat? Unless…. Surely not!

        (Sorry for the swear Karyl. )

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          August 9, 2014 6:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          No, Annie, I agree with Franky. He was sick of hearing Piri’s whining and double sick of Tarrant’s posturing, plus Tarrant is always trying to put Avon down. It was a perfect opportunity to take Tarrant down a peg or two.
          No way in the whole galaxy Avon would fight over that admiring eyes, finger-in-mouth, silly-little-me type. It says very little for Tarrant that he found it charming.

          Also, Tarrant said, loudly, that Avon is not the leader, when in Avon’s eyes, he surely and certainly is. It’s a democracy, said Tarrant, and we have a referendum on everything. And if Avon has fucked-up ideas, in our collective opinion: then, we dont go along.

          And since this is manifestly untrue, and was said to impress Piri with Tarrant’s, ahem, independent manhood, it wasnt unreasonable for Avon to shut him down. And it’s been a long time since we heard that cutting wit: “Sit down now, Tarrant. She knows you’re very brave…” Worthy of Original Avon. (Original Avon or Classic Avon? Now New Improved Avon: with biological action…)

          It was also playground-level hilarious.
          “You’re a twat Tarrant”.
          “What did you call me?”
          “Nowt. I never called you nowt”.
          “Yes you fuckin’ did. (Chest shove) “yer think yer rock, don’t yer?”
          “More than you!” (shove and fall together in pitiful wrangling and kicking).
          Dayna, and Soolin and Cancer gather round: “Scrap! Scrap!Scrap!”
          Nebrox rushes in and pulls them apart and makes them shake hands.

          It’s basically what happened.

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      August 7, 2014 11:11 amPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      Yes, it was good all that wasnt it? I am interested to see the polite way these comments are not just straightforwardly saying: Guys wouldnt fight over Piri because Piri isnt hot.
      It’s what I thought. I did enjoy that a lot though. The idea that helpless little female will just melt a man’s heart, while they seem pretty much immune to the fabulous tough charms of the others.
      Its not like this isnt actually true or anything. I was in Thailand once, on Krabi which is where people go for rock-climbing. and it is full of dare-devils..and there around the fire in the evening were all these amazing women, with astonishing bodies, swapping tales of free-diving and sky-diving (No, just dont even add that comment) and world travels and adventures…and who were the equally cool men all over? The one person who hadnt done any of these things and is miles too afraid to do them anyway. (it was me). I was ashamed of them, I was, really.

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        August 7, 2014 12:28 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Smile

        I think that it maybe brings out the protective instinct in some men, a sort of ‘Don’t worry, I’ll try and look after you’ kind of thing, if that makes any sense.

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          August 7, 2014 3:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          All men are different. Avon is different to Tarrant. Paul Darrow has also said Avon was attracted to women not girls, i.e. older capable and self-reliant people. Tarrant tended to go for more emotionally-driven women (especially with funny hair).

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            August 7, 2014 6:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Well, dont know about all. Some things have a pretty universal application. In my experience.
            I did like how Avon didnt go for her though. Loved it when he was sticking it to Tarrant. “She knows you’re very brave”.
            And really she had a nerve with the “dont fight over me”…as if Avon would go for a sniveller like that! Helpless is one thing: weeping another. Still, shame on you Avon, for being fooled: what’s happened to all his intelligence?

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            August 8, 2014 3:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            Avon was probably hoping the reveal wouldn’t be so obvious and boring (like “that is what I reasoned you would look like – a poor man’s S&M dungeon queen). Or maybe he’s going mad!

            Incidentally, wasn’t the Piri actress that one in the Robin of Sherwood “Cromm Crac” episode as the village bike who tried to seduce Jason Connery? She acted pretty much the same in that…

        • August 7, 2014 8:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          I think that’s exactly it — Piri is supposedly bringing out Tarrant’s protective instinct, and it’s pissing Avon off, perhaps because it reminds him too much of Blake. She probably doesn’t have to be the hottest woman in the room (and with Soolin around, good luck) to accomplish that, but to my mind she has to be a little less pathetic. There’s a fine line between attractively helpless and annoyingly helpless.

          I’d add to Frankymole’s comment that even the same man can be different at different times with different people. I won’t deny I’ve been attracted to women (and men) because of that protective instinct — but I’ve also been attracted to others because I admired their strengths. Sometimes the strongest attractions combine the two — you know they’ll need you sometimes and you’ll need them sometimes.

          Krabi is gorgeous, at least the touristy parts of it are. If I ever make it there again, though, I’m wearing a shirt when I go snorkeling, that’s all I can say. Transoceanic flights are even less fun with a vicious sunburn.

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            August 9, 2014 6:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            I wonder how all the men would take to uncritical Bangkok Girl admiration.
            Tarrant: he’s going to go for it.
            Vila? He’s going to go for it, but rather surprised and a bit uncertain at how unlikely that is. If it had been Vila in Assassin, he wouldnt have fallen right for Piri’s act, I dont think. Even though he is a total lech, apparently.

            And Avon? Uncritical admiration from someone they pick up. What would he think?

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    August 6, 2014 9:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Katie c

    Cancer an assassin for hire
    Owns a spider attached to a wire
    Her acting is dire
    But did she inspire
    David Tennant in Goblet of Fire?

    Inspired by her v. annoying flicking tongue…

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      August 6, 2014 10:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      Oh VERY nice.

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    August 6, 2014 10:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Karyl

    The whole episode is kinda crapola. I mean REALLY! The actor that was playing the part of Cancer was about as threatening as a three year old with a rubber band!

    Piri was more irritating than Nicola Bryant’s character Peri from Doctor Who! And THAT is saying something!

    Paul Darrow doesn’t look tired; he looks freaking exhausted with all of the crap that Season Four turned out to be.

    And they said the word ‘BITCH’ on TV??? In the early 80’s??!!?? How’d they get away with it back then? It’s like getting away with saying the ‘F’ word on Sesame Street!

    Okay, maybe not THAT extreme, but COME ON! I know that the censors in England weren’t QUITE as strict as here in the U.S. (Benny Hill anyone?), but saying THAT word? Without bleeping it over? Either the script writer had a boatload of chutzpah, or he had run out of F**** to give.

    • August 7, 2014 12:19 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Callaghan

      It’s possible – nah, likely – that word is less shocking over here. A hoary old discussion, I know, but one I’m interested in. Dr. Who had copious uses of ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ in the 1970s and it was no big deal, whereas I’m given to understand you’d never hear them on 1970s US family TV. ‘Tw*t’ seems to be quite jocular here but I get them impression is a very naughty thing to say in the US. ‘Bloody’, ‘bugger’ and ‘bleeding’ were much stronger words, though, whereas to Americans they don’t seem to be taboo at all. And you’d never have heard Piri commenting on Soolin’s ‘fanny’.

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        August 7, 2014 11:13 amPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        I remember PJ O’Rourke saying in the 90s, I think, that “God’ got bleeped on US TV

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          August 7, 2014 4:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          “Sonofabitch” seems to crop up on lots of US shows, even in the 80s.

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      August 7, 2014 10:53 amPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      Re Avon and exhaustion: You can be slim with wrinkles or fat without so many. Believe me I know – and drastic dieting = loss of energy.

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        August 7, 2014 6:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        It’s true, but slim and exhausted suits him. It’s definitely right though…the really top yoga people at my studio, they look flabby, they eat lots of healthy carbs but yoga doesnt burn it off. It does make you feel fantastic, but you look out of shape.
        You can also be slim with no wrinkles: Botox!
        I’m glad they had no Botox then. I wouldnt like a botoxed Avon.
        They had a yoga room on the Liberator, didnt they? That didnt last long.

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          August 7, 2014 10:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          To be honest Fiona I’d welcome him saggy and baggy with love handles as much as thin and interesting with wrinkles. The only time I didn’t feel much phwoar was when he wore those ridiculous shoulder donuts and even then I’d have enjoyed ripping them off him.

          • August 7, 2014 11:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
            encyclops

            When I was a kid, I never would have guessed that between (classic) Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, the latter show would have the greater contingent of female fans. Shows what I knew.

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            August 8, 2014 3:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Well he seems to still look pretty good now!

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    August 6, 2014 10:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    ‘The direction, the acting, the script let it down. Apart from that it was great.’

    Ouch!

    • August 7, 2014 11:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      She said something similar about “The Twin Dilemma.” I worked it into my attempt to hit the big time and have my Johnny Cash parody featured in a Wife In Space audio post. I didn’t make the cut, but I’m still quite proud of how it turned out.

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        August 8, 2014 1:12 amPosted 3 years ago
        Ann worrall

        I’d listen to that!

        • August 9, 2014 9:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          If Neil doesn’t mind, I’ll post a link to it here:

          http://encyclops.com/?attachment_id=833

          Enjoy!

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            August 10, 2014 12:05 amPosted 3 years ago
            Anniew

            I did! (Enjoy it). I can see why you’re proud if it. It’s clever and funny and you really do sound like Jonny Cash.

          • August 10, 2014 3:44 pmPosted 3 years ago
            encyclops

            Thank you! I had a lot of fun making it.

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            August 11, 2014 8:41 amPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Dude that is so good! You can really sing! Does sound exactly like Johnny Cash as well. It was well funny.

  • August 7, 2014 12:37 amPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    A plus point for this episode is that Soolin shines in it. A minus point is that Tarrant is as much of a prat as fandom often paints him. And this isn’t the last time that he’ll go ga-ga for a dangerous lady. At least the next time he’ll have a far superior script to work with.

    “Assassin” is kind of fun I guess. Knowing the identity of Piri right from the start makes the first half of the episode ultimately more enjoyable than the second for me. And Richard Hurndall does well with a part that could easily have been anonymous “red shirt” material. I really liked poor old Nebrox although it would have been cool if he really HAD been Cancer, I’m sure he’d do villainous very well.

    Not sure about the dominatrix outfit though, not really his style.

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      August 7, 2014 3:20 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Hurndall does a splendid villain the Avengers episode “Legacy of Death”.

  • August 7, 2014 1:27 amPosted 3 years ago
    Andy Luke

    It seemed early we were in for good Avon/Vila stuff, ah but no. That was shite.

    How much better would it have been if Sleeravan had hired the Animals and given them banana splits buggies for weapons? Just a thought.

  • August 7, 2014 1:39 amPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “How much better would it have been if Sleeravan had hired the Animals and given them banana splits buggies for weapons?”

    I’d give an episode like that that 11/10 just based on that synopsis.

    Hopefully not a spoiler but the duplicate ORACs mentioned in the “Games” trailer could perhaps be explained by events in in a future episode. Avon likes a bit of contingency planning…

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    August 7, 2014 2:05 amPosted 3 years ago
    Katie c

    But Glen, is it really Orac, or Avon’s contingency planning, you know what I mean? πŸ™‚

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    August 7, 2014 3:04 amPosted 3 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Good point, no Piri (or at least a different actress) and Nebrox as the villain might have made this a good episode. As it is I can’t get over how bleedin obvious the trap is, and how dumb Tarrant and Avon are written. But I will add a point for the auction scene. That was fun.

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    August 7, 2014 7:30 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Jesus thank God computer, much like the Liberator, seems to have repaired itself. I hope I’m not going to jinx it saying that., Seeing Avon get taken by slave traders was definitely not to be missed.

    Everyone seems to have lost 20 pounds, at least. Soolin looks much less Ukrainian now, and her uniform is hanging off her, Avon, as they said, look skinny, though completely fantastic, and Servalan could not be that curvy, surely? Playtex 24-hour girdle, got to be.

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    August 7, 2014 8:13 amPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    And if I hadn’t passed over Dave Dearie you should have it. The five pounds I mean. What sort of Grandma do you think I am?

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    August 7, 2014 8:18 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Bracelet fell off wrist because Avon has gotten so skinny! True, though, you’d think a simple adjustable buckle would be standard.
    I am in the middle of watching it..I like to read along with Sue. But now she reckons the old guy is Cancer…damn, I didnt think that! His eyes are so rheumy and watery. I figured he was up to no good…also, his wealth of information was a bit startling…how could he know what was gong on if he was in a slave hut?

    Also, when Avon changed his mind and rescued him: “You promised!” that was really good…I thought Avon would be very ruthless and give one of those charming shrugs and devastating little lip twists, little pretend-regretful pout…but no…so you have to know something is up.

    So this is well exciting, since whatever the outcome, everyone has to have been second-guessing everyone else.

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    August 7, 2014 9:28 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    I knew it was her! But that was brilliant…feminine wiles, and men falling for them, and cool women left and right. Awesome.
    I like Soolin now, and she looks good slimmer…and Servalan looked absolutely fantastic. Wasnt she wearing that frock during Terminal? “Maximum Power!” I remember thinking her underarms looked bingo-wingy at the time. Not any more and without going the Madonna muscles route. The producers must have seen the crew was starting to get to the middle-aged spread years…well, Avon and Vila and Servalan, anyway, and they must have put them on a diet. A drastic one by the weight loss.
    Nowadays there’d be a spin-off diet book. Dayna and Soolin showing off their ‘bikini bodies’ and Servalan being fab at forty…you know how they do. In the Blakes 7 days…they just didnt know how to monetize….
    There’s no doubt the whole bunch looked slender and the females were all sinuously parading about. They were all doing these hip-swinging snaky motions…except Cancer, and she started that too with the change of hairstyle. It was all a bit campy femme fatale but very cool. Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother is about the only halfway modern comparison I can draw. Jacqueline Pearce would have been very good in that role.
    Great, wonderful, completely gripping…how come it wasnt like this from the start of the show. That’s well risky to run half the series as complete forgettable bollocks which Avon did not redeem the way he did Gambit and Horizon..where have Avon’s quotable lines gone? It’s a tribute to how intense the show was in the first place and to the loyalty of the fans, that people still tuned in hoping it would improve.
    Either that or they could not be arsed to stand up and change channels, given most TVs still didnt have remotes. I know plenty of shows just spun to boring ends in my house literally because once ‘sat down’ (as in “I’ve just sat down!” if asked to go through the living hell of ascending to feet again) nobody was going to disturb this sacred sitting to traverse two feet of suburban living room and put Corrie on instead.
    Not that Corrie was allowed in my lower-middle class home because it was too close to the bone for people trying to escape the working classes. So that is in fact why my parents watched Blakes 7. They had just sat down, and Corrie was common.

    • Visit site
      August 7, 2014 4:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      If we’re doing looks and weight-loss… Soolin looked fine throughout Series D, but Dayna seems a bit scrawny compared to her lovely Series C figure.

      • Visit site
        August 7, 2014 6:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        I love Blakes 7 at least partly for the whole look of the thing. The way all the scenery is so cheap, but the people look wonderful. Such a variety of faces.

        I turn on my TV today and except for brilliant Nurse Jackie, it was cop show after cop show with the same face, the same chiselled jaw and the facial hair..or the girls with extensions…just always the same face. I think it is this idea that symmetrical is beautiful. It isnt. Interesting is beautiful, symmetry is dull.

        The women on this show are so cool as well. Bit like Charlie’s Angels.

        • Visit site
          August 8, 2014 3:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Yes, there are lots of wonderfully odd and characterful faces on old British telly. It is a shame when casting directors just go for “shop window dummies”, luckily they don’t all do so. But lots do. I fear for the proposed B7 remake!

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            August 9, 2014 7:28 amPosted 3 years ago
            Anniew

            It’s the inhumanly perfect teeth that get me. Takes all character from the expression.

          • Visit site
            August 9, 2014 7:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Not just the teeth, Annie. Its the way the teeth have been reduced in size and braced and moved in the mouth: its created that jawline that is all the same. It works the facial muscles and steadily moves the bone.
            Paul Darrow has a great smile, but today they would shave down his teeth. He’d need to have tiny same-size pearlywhites.

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    August 7, 2014 9:50 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    “Is he a hobbit” lo! That is a ridiculously Tolkein name. David Sullivan Proudfoot…and yes, that bit was simply terrible…it just jumped to him being held and apparently in Servalan’s command.
    “My slave should call me mistress” seriously!

    And then, they didnt do anything at all with this very, very, very promising situation.
    I had, like, turned the phone off, and everything…and then what! They teleport away!

    Spin-off money possibilities, wasted again.

    • Visit site
      August 7, 2014 7:59 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      The director’s name makes me think of Percival Proudfoot Pugsley, and I bet I’m the only one here who gets *that* reference without Googling it.

      • Visit site
        August 7, 2014 8:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Even Google has not helped me. Please reveal all and receive my unguarded admiration! ( actually you have it anyway but tell me cos I’m curious)

        • Visit site
          August 7, 2014 10:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Oh. Oh. Found it. Bash Street. You’re right. Would never have got in in a million years. You are the Alpha aspy.

          • Visit site
            August 8, 2014 5:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Hey, I am the Alpha Aspie. Dave will have to fight me for the title.

            We can have a staring contest. First one to MAKE eye contact loses.

          • Visit site
            August 8, 2014 7:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Sorry, is this turning into another Ben Steed battle of the sexes again?

          • Visit site
            August 9, 2014 6:50 amPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            lol Dave.
            Poor old Ben Steed. (That name, it kills me).

        • Visit site
          August 7, 2014 11:18 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Benway

          According to a search on DuckDuck Go, (I didn’t Google it! ;)) Percival Proudfoot Pugsley is the real name of Plug from The Bash Street Kids. I never knew that.

  • Visit site
    August 7, 2014 11:15 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    That was Sue’s best review by miles.

  • Visit site
    August 7, 2014 10:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Licence

    That bit when they first arrive on Cancer’s ship and the dummy is dressed in a jacket and wig always reminds me of Revenge Of The Surfboarding Killer Bikini Vampire Girls.

  • Visit site
    August 8, 2014 10:41 amPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    I was sure you’d made that up but Google informs me it was made and was one of Rimmer’s favourite films. Even had a sequel. But hey. Just because it can be made doesn’t mean it should.

  • Visit site
    August 8, 2014 12:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    This is for Wyngate who’s camping. ( I am assuming under canvas) ‘ And he ( Paul Darrow ) eats MDF for breakfast’. LOL Neil.

    • Visit site
      August 8, 2014 3:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      You know that was the thing I had to google. I had a vague idea it was some kind of vile vegetarian meat that gave me stomach ache, but that is something else, TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein. Jesus, MDF wold sincerely be my choice over that.

      • Visit site
        August 8, 2014 3:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Of course “Paul Darrow” is what I would have chosen for breakfast really. Also any and all other meals, including elevenses., brunch, and tiffin.

      • Visit site
        August 8, 2014 4:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        I bet vegetable processing companies are a front for something else! But to say more would be a spoiler πŸ™‚

        • Visit site
          August 8, 2014 6:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Clever!

  • Visit site
    August 8, 2014 5:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Everyone, nearly, is dissing it, but just run it by the previous totally forgettable episodes. This story had a structure, a coherent structure. It was pretty fast-moving. There was no part in the middle where I just tuned out because the writers couldnt manage to extend it to fill 50 minutes and so droned on about whatever in spades for a minimum quarter-hour. None of the previous episodes can make this claim to have pace, especially the one about some rebels and the blusher guy…cant remember any more than that.
    Also, for all everyone going how obvious it was, Sue thought Nebrox was Cancer. So not a bad red herring. And the finale: even though you know they arent going to die, when you’re a kid, you DONT know that. And it was for kids too, or even mostly. And its a nice idea, Dayna racing to the rescue, Servalan racing in for the kill.
    It had some excellent scenes: the slave auction was great. Servalan hob-nobbing with Verlis: that was splendid. Pair of wicked witches. Would love to see Verlis again: evil fat lascivious mercenary middle-aged bad bad female….and powerful and in command. I want to be invited to their late-night parties. I bet Verlis wears out half-a-dozen new captives every time.

    Bad: should have had at least one scene with Servalan having Avon as her slave. Still, it went out early, I suppose. What’s the betting on that appearing in a remake.
    The old guy, Nebrox: brilliant. Avon, very unexpected behaviour, I really thought he’d ditch the guy, so that gave us yet more layers to our endlessly complex leader. Nebrox would have made a good addition to the crew, bring some personality. Speaking of which, Soolin suddenly developed one.

    Not to mention, Avon looks spectacular again, and someone clearly had a quiet word re the hair. Now if he could revert to moving normally, instead of making sudden dramatic gestures every time he makes a half-turn, and glaring wildly at nothing, we’ll be set. He reminds me of the “Grandmother” when you play “Grandmother’s Footsteps”: you know how you suddenly swing round and freeze and stare, trying to catch them all moving? It’s like that. I know he looks paranoid, good, but it’s well OTT.

    Everyone looked spectacular, and had new clothes as well. And I thought the guy-they-thought-was- Cancer had an amazing face, it looked carved. Best of all, this was a woman’s show, bad women and good women and brave women and deceitful women: there was such an array! Even Avon can be distracted by ‘a pretty face’: here they fell right down on the job with sloppy weepy Piri, not convincing, but she scrubbed up well as the Assassin. Love the hair. And love the idea a female assassin takes the time to get into her Sunday best and have a blow-dry and manicure before setting her magic spider on a helpless bound man’s crotch. Style matters.
    I was also delighted to see the writer resisted the temptation to have Piri climb aboard Avon for a quick grind a la Miley Cyrus, or at the very least I was expecting her to lean in and kiss him, I really was. Something like Avon you’re so beautiful (kiss kiss) /so are you going to let me go then?/Fraid not, I’m Cancer, this is my spider disguised, insanely, as a crab. Farewell, Avon.

    Bet it was the first draft.

    Also I expected a James Bond set-up, as mercilessly parodied in Austin Powers: “No, Scott. I’m just going to leave them in an easily escapable situation, and assume everything went according to plan”. I guess in fact that’s what Piri did with Soolin. Moral: shoot people in the head. Personally, and then shoot them again.

    It was camp as Blackpool seafront, but so what. It used to be Shakespeare, now its music hall. OK. Local theatre: good description.
    It’s a good episode and lot of fun and it was not boring.

    • Visit site
      August 9, 2014 1:58 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      “And the finale: even though you know they arent going to die, when you’re a kid, you DONT know that.” To be fair, Blakes 7 is one show where you don’t know all the heroes are going to live: David Maloney saw to that as far back as Series B with Gan, then we also lost Zen and Cally, and who knows what has happened to Jenna and Blake – she might be dead and he’s been reported dead and has not been seen for a season and a half.

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    August 8, 2014 7:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Smile

    Betty Marsden, who played Verlis, can be seen as Terry Scott’s wife in Carry On Camping, the one where they take in Charles Hawtrey as a Hitchhiker, and where there’s a scene where she has to remove buckshot from his backside.

    Actually, there’s two connections with Terry Scott in the cast, as Caroline Holdaway, playing Piri, was also the titular couple’s daughter in an episode of Terry And June.

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    August 9, 2014 7:39 amPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    Sleeravan
    Joined a caravan
    And bid for a slave in the desert
    But once again
    He escaped her snare
    Which had to disconcert.
    Her back up plan
    Was a sneaky girl
    Very adept at lying.
    But Sleeravan learned
    She’d chosen wrong
    When she made such a meal of dying.
    The moral here
    Is a simple one:
    If assassination’s your game,
    Don’t muck with Piri
    Hire Sue instead
    And get her to shoot them in the head.

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    August 10, 2014 10:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Nick

    “Cancer and Scorpio aren’t compatible.” Classic Sue! πŸ™‚

    As for the episode itself… Just another runaround Servalan’s-hired-help-assassin-of-the-week episode. I think the series was truly on its last legs at this point.

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    August 18, 2014 12:57 amPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Got a bit of catching up to do, been away for the annual Space Rats convention in Blackpool (google Rebellion Festival if you’re curious), then a very stressful week off, weekend away camping and returned to a house covered in cat shit. I’m back at work tomorrow after 11 days off and I feel twice as stressed as when I went off. So to summarise:

    Assassin is shit

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      August 18, 2014 1:06 amPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      To elaborate a bit – a load of camp over the top crap. Like Star Drive the basic plot is ok, but the scripting, direction and performances are painful. Phiri/Cancer is probably the worst performance ever in B7, other than perhaps the guy with the dodgy leg who threatens Docholli in Gambit.
      It’s not boring I’ll agree, but it is embarrassing (the first episode I watched in company outside of a small circle of friends who already liked B7) I think the twist is pretty obvious (can’t remember from when I first saw it). Has Cancer really become such a feared assassin by successfully pulling off this trick every time? The “credit to our sex” line from Servalan bugs me. She seems to much of a Thatcher type figure, busy climbing the ladder in a male world, to be remotely concerned about what her “sisters” are doing in the gender war.

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