Before we begin, let’s get something out of the way…
Me: Do you know what happens at the end of Blake’s 7, Sue?
Me: Are you sure about that?
Sue: Quite sure.
Me: What if I said Bob Fischer and John Williams told you what happened at the end of Blake’s 7 two and a half years ago?
Sue: I’d say I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone something John Williams told me two and a half years ago.
Me: Well, he didn’t exactly tell you, but you were in the room when they said it.
Sue: I still don’t know what you’re talking about, Neil.
I’m talking about our appearance on Bob Fischer’s BBC Tees radio show in December 2011, back when the Wife in Space blog was still knee-deep in Jon Pertwee. Because in the middle of that show, this happened:
You can listen to the full programme here.
So there you have it. Two years and eight months ago, Sue knew what happened at the end of Blake’s 7. But was she listening? Did she care? And, more importantly, does she remember?
Sue: Was John Williams on the radio with us? I’d forgotten he was there.
To be fair to Sue, I spoke to John about this a couple of days ago, and he’d completely forgotten about this conversation as well. So I believe her. Plus, she swore on all our cats’ lives, and she’d never do that unless she was being sincere. (The Blake’s 7 sequel was as a joke by the way. Like I said, we were knee-deep in Jon Pertwee at the time – a sequel was the last thing on my mind. And no, we’re not doing Babylon 5 next.)
Me: OK. So if you had to guess, what do you think happens at the end of Blake’s 7?
Sue: It was all a dream.
Me: Have another go.
Sue: Well, I expect things to come to a head between Servalan and Avon, of course. And I bet it ends on a cliffhanger. Does it end on a cliffhanger?
I press Play.
Sue: I can’t believe this is the last time I’ll ever hear this music. (She sings along to it for a while; faultlessly, I might add.) I feel a bit sad.
And then the first bombshell of the evening drops into her lap…
Sue: Blake! Is Blake in this? Is that the big twist? **** me, I wasn’t expecting that. I’m pleased, though; Blake will sort Avon out.
Scorpio leaves Xenon Base for the last time.
Sue: Well, this season has been a complete disaster for Avon. All those people he wanted in his army are dead, and now they’re homeless again. What a waste of a year.
Avon has tracked Blake to the planet Gauda Prime.
Sue: Is the planet made from cheese?
I should point out that Sue didn’t listen to Glen’s trailer before she saw the episode. When I finally played it to her, she blushed when Paul Darrow mentioned her name.
Anyway, a bounty hunter is busy roasting a rabbit on Gauda Prime…
Sue: Blake! It’s Blake. Bloody hell, it’s actually Blake… What’s happened to him?
Blake has been in the wars.
Sue: Oh no, his eye is almost missing.
Me: Does he remind you of anyone?
Sue: Oh God, yes… Blake has turned into Travis. That’s interesting. He isn’t working for Servalan, is he? He can’t be…
A young woman named Arlen has interrupted Blake’s dinner.
Sue: This forest is nicely lit. It’s very atmospheric. And it makes a nice change from yet another sand pit. This is probably one of the best shit holes that we’ve ever visited. Who directed this episode?
Me: Mary Ridge.
Sue: There you go, then.
At least Orac isn’t dead.
Sue: Why is Orac wearing Go-Faster stripes?
Me: It’s probably the only thing holding him together after last week’s accident.
Avon admits that he would have left Blake alone if Zukan hadn’t been such an arsehole.
Sue: He wanted to show Blake that he could do it without him. But he couldn’t. They need each other. It’s nice, I like it.
Arlen tells Blake that she is being hunted by bounty hunters. Only it turns out that Blake is the biggest and baddest bounty hunter of them all, and Arlen was his prize all along.
Sue: How did Blake end up like this? What’s gone wrong with him?
Back on Scorpio, Slave gets into a fight with Orac, which means the crew won’t discover that they are about to come under attack until it’s too late to do anything about it.
Sue: That was very funny. Stupid, but funny.
Blake escorts Arlen back to his base.
Sue: I can’t tell what’s more wooden – the actress or the stick she’s leaning on.
Me: Shut up, SCUM!
Scorpio is out of control and heading for Gauda Prime…
Sue: It’s a good job they’re wearing seat belts. Look at that – they’re upside down!
Two spaceships have popped out of nowhere to ruin their day.
Sue: They walked straight into this. Who are they anyway? Their ships look like spinning tops.
Avon tells Tarrant to pretend to crash the ship, but Tarrant won’t have to fake it.
Sue: What happened to all those amazing enhancements they made to their ship? They should be able to get out of this.
Scorpio is going to crash…
Sue: Just teleport off the bloody thing!
Vila: We can use the teleport!
Sue: It’s so obvious, even Vila knows what to do.
Dayna, Soolin and Vila successfully teleport to Gauda Prime. However, when it’s Tarrant and Avon’s turn to abandon ship, Tarrant refuses to budge.
Sue: Oh no. Avon is going to leave Tarrant there to die. Avon didn’t try to talk Tarrant out of it. I bet he doesn’t even say goodbye.
Avon: Goodbye, Tarrant.
Sue: Oh, thank God for that. Does this mean he’s forgiven him for sleeping with Servalan?
Me: And that just about wraps things up for Tarrant…
Sue: No way… Does he die? Really? I suppose they don’t need him now that Blake is back…
An out-of-control Scorpio roars across the sky above Orac and Avon.
Sue: It’s a shame we can’t see the ship crash. Nice wind machine, though.
And then Sue gets her wish.
Sue: Wow. We really are going to see it crash. Hey, this isn’t bad at all. Come on, Tarrant, you can land this thing.
When Scorpio hits the ground, the ship’s seating arrangements take a turn for the worse.
Me: Scream if you want to go faster!
Sue: He did it! He’s landed it. He’s fine.
And then the ship tears itself apart and Tarrant falls to a very grisly death. Honest.
Sue: Oh dear. At least he died a hero. He got the ship there so the others can repair it later.
Me: It’s going to take more than a screwdriver and some MDF to fix that, Sue.
Avon considers his next move.
Avon: All right, Orac, where is the nearest settlement and how do I get to it?
Sue: Initiate Google Maps, Orac.
Blake reports to a man named Deva (“He’s been in a few things.”) so he can brag about his latest conquest.
Sue: I like Blake’s outfit. It’s very Game of Thrones. He should have looked like this from the start.
Blake is a bounty hunter without a conscience.
Sue: I bet Avon is the next person on his list. He’ll be sent to capture his friend, but he won’t go through with it. Not Blake. Never.
A woman named Klyn tells Deva that a spaceship has crashed in a nearby plantation.
Me: She’s Paul Darrow’s wife.
Sue: Is she? Did they meet on the show?
Me: No, they were already married.
Sue: Aww, that’s nice. Do they get any scenes together?
Blake is given his next assignment.
Sue: What happened for Blake to get into this state? His make-up is fabulous, by the way.
Deva warns Blake that time is running out.
Deva: The representative from the Federation High Council could come at any moment.
Sue: I wonder who that will be… Still, it is the last episode. Ah! I know! Does Avon kill Servalan? Is that how it ends?
Orac warns Avon that he may have to spend the night in a forest.
Avon: When I want your impersonation of a pain, I’ll let you know.
Sue: Ha! I really am going to miss this show. Hang on… Avon’s carrying Orac with one hand. I don’t think he should be doing that.
As night falls, Dayna, Soolin and Vila discover a cabin in the woods. Dayna kicks the door in.
Sue: There goes any protection that place may have given them. And that hole will create one hell of a draught.
Vila: Are you serious? The state the roof’s in, it’s the same as spending a night in the open.
Sue: You should have come in through the roof, then.
Vila is sent to search for firewood.
Sue: Just use the door you just smashed in. There it is, over there. You won’t have to go far.
Meanwhile, in the Scorpio‘s charred remains…
Sue: Come on, Tarrant. Don’t be dead.
Me: He’s dead, Sue. Just look at him.
Sue: He isn’t. … Is he?
Me: At least Slave is still alive, so it’s not all bad news.
Tarrant stirs in the wreckage…
Sue: He’s alive! Come on, Tarrant! I knew they wouldn’t kill him. If they were going to kill him they would have blown him up in space; it would have been easier to film.
Slave, however, is damaged beyond repair.
Slave: Crash damage and power loss make it impossible for me to continue. May I express the humble hope that the same is not true for you, Tarrant.
Sue: Aww…. That was sweet. I didn’t like him as much as Zen, but that was really sad.
Tarrant has to scramble for cover when a flyer opens fire on Scorpio‘s wreckage. And then Blake turns up to save the day.
Sue: This looks amazing when you consider that it was shot in a TV studio. Everything about it – the lighting, the camera moves, the set – brilliant. Why wasn’t Blake’s 7 like this all the time?
When Vila turns his back on the hole where the cabin’s door used to be, a pair of bounty hunters are allowed to waltz into the property with surprise on their side.
Sue: Vila, you numpty!
Luckily for Vila, Avon comes to the rescue.
Sue: This episode feels like a Western to me. The only thing missing from this is some horses.
Avon: The fire was stupid. Putting Vila on guard was suicidal. What’s the matter, is staying alive too complicated for you?
Sue: Brilliant. I’m really going to miss Avon’s banter.
Avon hid Orac in the bushes outside.
Sue: Why is Orac pretending to be a Christmas tree?
Me: Well, this is Blake’s 7‘s Christmas special.
Avon refuses to answer Vila when he repeatedly asks him where Tarrant is.
Sue: This is brilliant. Avon thinks he’s dead, but he won’t tell them the truth. He never tells them the truth. They should know that by now.
And then the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Tarrant and Blake locking perms.
Sue: Of course, they’ve never met before. Although you’d think Tarrant would know what Blake looked like, with Blake being so famous. Even if he did have a massive scar over his eye.
Blake seems to playing mind games with Tarrant.
Sue: Blake found a teleport bracelet in the wreckage. So he must know… So why doesn’t he just say something?
Blake flies Tarrant back to his base in his flyer.
Sue: This isn’t half bad. They’ve definitely pushed the boat out for the last episode. I’m so glad this is a good one.
However, when Avon’s gang climb into their flyer, Sue feels the urge to sing The Jetsons theme.
Sue: It’s a good job they didn’t do another series after this. Imagine if this had been their spaceship for a whole year…
Me: I’d have paid good money to see that.
Tarrant tries to mask his surprise when Blake mentions a young smuggler named Jenna.
Sue: So Jenna’s definitely dead, then?
Me: It looks that way.
Sue: Blake could be lying. She might be back at his place. He is obviously testing Tarrant, although I don’t know why he doesn’t just tell him who he is. Talk to each other!
When Klyn detects an unauthorised flyer in the area, she suspects that the Federation observers must have arrived.
Sue: (checking her watch) She’s cutting it a bit fine.
When they reach Deva’s office, Blake turns the tables on Tarrant.
Blake: This one has a very high Federation price on his head.
Sue: I don’t believe him. Blake is pretending. Blake can’t be the bad guy – it wouldn’t be right.
She’s spot on, of course. Blake tests his recruits before he tells them the truth – he’s raising an army against the Federation.
Sue: I knew it. Thank God for that.
Tarrant escapes from Blake’s clutches before he can discover the truth. When he reaches the base’s tracking station, he wrestles Klyn to the floor…
Sue: Paul Darrow won’t be very happy when he sees that.
And then Tarrant gets into a fight with Bobby Ball and all hell breaks loose.
This is Nicol’s cue to start filming Sue on her iPhone. This explains the weird aspect ratio, the bad sound and the poor lighting – it was the only way we could pull this off without alerting Sue to what was going on, so compromises had to be made.
This also explains why Sue looks at the camera a couple of times – she’s actually looking at Nicol, who she believes is browsing the internet on her phone, like she always does when Blake’s 7 is on. So I’m a genius. Or at least I would be a genius if my wife hadn’t turned up to watch the episode wearing her pyjama bottoms and – to use Sue’s words – “with no make-up on and her hair a ****ing clip!” In fact, it was touch-and-go whether Sue would let me post this video at all.
Sue, I love you. I really do. And I promise you this is the last time I’ll ever film you without your consent. And I actually mean it this time.
So here it is: Sue’s unedited reaction to the last five minutes of Blake’s 7. (If YouTube takes it down, here’s the same video on Vimeo.)
After a heated discussion about the ethics of filming somebody in their pyjamas without obtaining their permission, we talked about what just happened.
Me: You really didn’t know?
Sue: I had no idea. I still can’t believe it. I thought one of them might die, but not all of them. I feel numb after that. And that video will be shit. I didn’t say very much – I was too shocked to say very much. And my hair is a ****ing clip!
Sue seems to be in denial when it comes to Avon.
Sue: I think he’s still alive. You didn’t see any blood when the others got shot, like you did with Blake, who’s definitely dead. And if they are dead, why were so many shots fired at the end? Maybe the others got their guns back and they fought their way out… Or maybe Orac teleported Avon out at the last second and the guards shot themselves by mistake? No? It could have happened.
She wanted to give it an 11, but you know, graphs and stuff.
Sue: It must have been a very brave thing to do back then. Actually, I don’t think they’d try something like that on TV now. It’s too depressing. Yeah, Blake’s 7 was years ahead of its time.
And on that bombshell, we are both down and safe.
There will be one more blog update in September. It will either be a video or a podcast (we haven’t decided yet) and Sue will use it to reflect on Series 4 and Blake’s 7 in general. So if there’s something you’d like to ask Sue about the show or the blog, please send it via our contact form and I’ll put the very best questions to Sue. The best three questions will win a signed copy of our book, Adventures with the Wife in Space: Living with Doctor Who.. (If you enjoyed this blog, please buy our book!) And if you would like to send a question as an audio file – so we can drop it in the podcast or vidcast – please send me the URL where I can download it (Dropbox etc). The deadline for your submissions is: Sunday September 14th. Thanks.
And finally, if you backed this blog via Kickstarter, please check your email, or login to your Kickstarter account later tonight for an important message regarding your ebooks.