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Series 1

Series 1 Overview

The Scores

The Way Back: This is cheerful.7/10

Space Fall: This is much better than Doctor Who. – 8/10

Cygnus Alpha: Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Brian Blessed turns up.7/10

Time Squad: What a load of shit.3/10

The Web: It’s just a man sticking his head through a hole in a wall.1/10

Seek-Locate-Destroy: That was better than the last one. Still not very good, though.5/10

Mission to Destiny: Please tell me that didn’t happen.3/10

Duel: Why can’t they all be like that? Let Douglas Camfield direct every episode.9/10

Project Avalon: They have to stop ending episodes like this.7/10

Breakdown: Yet more faffing about when they should be blowing up the Federation.4/10

Bounty: An old man DJ-ing for half an hour.3/10

Deliverance: Captain Kirk would have shagged her by now.5/10

Orac: It was worth it to see Avon smile.5/10

Nicol has done the maths and Series 1 of Blake’s 7 has a mean average score of 5/10. Which is distinctly average. And pretty mean.

Sue: That sounds about right. It could be better and it could be worse.

Me: Very early on, you said Blake’s 7 was a much better show than Doctor Who. Do you still believe that?

Sue: Yes, I do. Definitely.

Me: Really? I’m surprised.

Sue: It’s the characters and the premise that I like. The execution could be a lot better, but the idea itself is solid. It’s more like Babylon 5 than Doctor Who, and I like that aspect to it. I like story arcs and anti-heroes and stuff like that. As long as Avon doesn’t leave, Blake’s 7 is miles ahead of 1970s Doctor Who.

7 Questions

Here are the best seven questions asked by you, our readers:

Hugh Dunne: If you could swap one Doctor Who companion with one Liberator crew member, who would it be and why?

Sue: That’s a very good question. The crew could do with a decent scientist, so I’d probably pick Romana. The first Romana because she’d look good in Robin Hood clothes. I’d swap her for Cally because Cally is ****ing hopeless.

The next question was also asked by Dean Jacobs, Brian Ferguson, and Ellie.

Matt Dolphin: If you had to kill off one of the crew, who would you choose?

Sue: Are all of these questions going to be about getting rid of members of the crew? OK, it’s a toss-up between Cally and Gan. Gan because I trust him about as far as I can throw him – and his sex face disturbs me – and Cally because she’s ****ing hopeless!

Steve Trimingham: What do you think the series says about the politics (social and sexual) of the 1970s?

Sue: I didn’t think I’d have to write an essay tonight; I’m not at work now, love. OK, let’s see: the IRA were big in the 1970s, so terrorism was very topical. As was paedophilia, or so it seems. So yes, Blake’s 7 basically reflected how grim things were back in the 1970s, while the costumes reflected how silly things were back in the 1970s. As for its sexual politics, it’s complicated. On the one hand, you’ve got strong women in powerful roles, but at the same time you’ve got women being punched in the face, acting as damsels in distress, or falling at men’s feet. But it’s Terry Nation so what can you do?

Many of you asked the next question, including Jess Patton, Paula, Travis’s Eyepatch, Steve Desmond and Jason U:

Steven Sharp: If you were making a re-booted version of Blake’s 7, who would you cast?

Sue gave this question a great deal of thought before she finally settled on:

Sue's 7

So that’s Stephen Mangan, John Simm, Michelle Collins, David Mitchell, Nick Frost, Patsy Palmer, Graham Norton, Paul Darrow, Joanna Lumley and Mark Gatiss. Actors who didn’t make the final cut included: Benedict Cumberbunch (sic) as Blake, Jane Horrocks as Jenna, Russell Tovey as Vila, Jamie Lee Curtis as Cally, Peter Capaldi as Travis, Joan Collins as Servalan and Miranda Hart as Gan.

Me: You do realise that you’ve cast Blake’s 7 as a sitcom, don’t you.

Sue: It needs a lighter touch. It’s too bleak.

Dave Sanders: If you were put in charge of Federation security, what would be your strategy to capture Blake?

Sue: That’s easy. I’d tell Blake that I wanted to negotiate with him on a deserted planet somewhere, and I’d offer to wipe those poor kid’s memories so they don’t think they’ve been molested any more, and because Blake is naive, he’d turn up, and that’s when I’d shoot him in the head. No messing about. Just shoot him in the head.

Me: But then you’d turn Blake into a martyr.

Sue: So don’t tell anyone that you’ve shot him in the head. Put out a story that he died raping a child. There you go. Easy. And the same advice goes to Blake. The next time you find yourself in the same room as Servalan or Travis, just shoot them in the head. Job done.

Robert Dick: Which cast member do you think would cope best with having a pint spilled on their good suit? And which one would react the worst?

Sue: Well, I’d like to think that Paul Darrow would handle it well, just in case I meet him, but I suspect that he’d punch me in the face. So I guess the actor who plays Vila would probably handle it best; he’d make a joke out of it. Orac would react the worst because he’d short-circuit.

And finally, dozens of you asked subtle variations on this:

Rebecca Harris: What would you do differently if you were the producer of Blake’s 7?

Sue: I’d put an apostrophe in the logo for a start, and then I’d hire Robert Holmes to write all the scripts, and I’d get Douglas Camfield to direct all the episodes. How hard can it be?

And there you have it. Sue has decided that the best question was posed by Hugh. Congratulations, Hugh, you’ve won a signed copy of our book and we’ll be in touch with you later this week. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to ask a question. We’ll be doing this again at the end of Series 2, probably as a podcast.

Me: Before I loosen the restraints, can you sum up Blake’s 7 so far in seven words.

Sue: Bleak; well-acted; engaging; political; convoluted; enjoyable; cheap.

Me: And finally, what would you like to see happen in Series 2?

Sue: I want Blake to clear his name because that’s been bugging me; I want to see more tension between Avon and Blake until they end up wrestling on the floor; I want to see Servalan booted out of the Federation for exceeding her reach, and I want her to join Blake’s crew; I don’t want to see Travis any more – he’s blown it too many times for me to take him seriously; I want Blake to concentrate on bringing down the Federation – none of this “let’s explore a planet like we’re in Star Trek” nonsense; and I don’t want Terry Nation to write any more scripts, but that’s cheating because you’ve already told me that’s happening. Thank God.

Next Time:

I had hoped to get Series 2 up and running this Friday, but I’m going away for a few days this week which means I can’t update the blog until Tuesday March 4th. Sorry about that. I’m a very bad man.

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Orac

The Box of Delights…

OracA very sweaty Gan walks through a door on the Liberator.

Sue: I’d leave it ten minutes if I were you.

Gan is feeling unwell.

Sue: It’s probably the space curry he had last night. And is it just me or is Gan always ill?

Avon is summoned to a private meeting with Blake.

Sue: Oh no, Avon is wearing his circus costume again. This is not a good start.

Blake tells Avon about their most recent adventure.

Sue: Yes, he knows. He was there.

Blake’s recap includes clips from the last episode.

Sue: Does Zen film all their adventures for them?

Blake also tells Avon about Orac.

Sue: They didn’t have the iPlayer back in the 1970s, so I can see why it’s taking them five minutes to get everyone who didn’t see the last episode up to speed, but you’d never get that today. They didn’t have a recap at the beginning of Series 2 of House of Cards and it took three episodes for me to remember what the hell was going on.

OracJenna isn’t feeling well, either.

Sue: She’s far too young to be getting hot flushes, so it has to be the space curry.

Blake and Avon watch a replay of Ensor’s ship exploding in Deliverance.

Zen: The explosion registered one point three. Disturbance peaked at one one five.

Sue: The weirdest thing, which they haven’t mentioned yet, is that you can see smoke rising up. In space.

Cally – who Sue now regards as the Liberator‘s resident doctor – discovers that Avon, Vila, Gan and Jenna are all suffering from radiation sickness.

Sue: I’m glad.

Me: That’s a bit heartless.

Sue: They said the planet was radioactive – Zen made a big deal out of it last week – so I’m glad they followed up on that. I don’t want them to die. Well, not all of them anyway.

The Liberator heads to the planet Aristo in the hope that Ensor’s father possesses some space drugs. Vila throws up.

Sue: The Liberator must reek of vomit and diarrhoea this week. I hope the furniture is stain resistant.

OracOn Aristo, an old man is tending to his fish.

Sue: I hope he isn’t Orac. You can’t have a geriatric terrorist on top of everything else.

It’s Ensor Snr. and he’s not feeling very well.

Sue: Do you think Terry was suffering from IBS when he wrote this. Everybody is sick. I can imagine Terry writing this episode on the toilet.

Sue fails to notice Professor Yaffle in Ensor’s lab, mainly because she’s too busy staring at an old man’s naked chest.

Sue: He’s basically a decrepit Tony Stark, and he needs someone to jump-start him.

Ensor communicates with an unseen “colleague”, but Sue isn’t listening to him. She’s listening the background hum.

Sue: I suppose he needs a bee to pollinate his plants, but that would get on my tits if I had to work there. I’d want to swat it.

The voice belongs to Orac.

Sue: He sounds like he could be dishy. When do I get to meet him?

Servalan and Travis have arrived on Aristo to steal Orac.

OracSue: I can’t help it, but whenever I see Servalan, I always think of Marc Almond.

Avon is familiar with Ensor’s research.

Avon: He engineered and developed a lot of radical new concepts in computer technology, so that even the most advanced computers are based on his work.

Sue: He’s Bill Jobs.

Me: Yes, Sue. That’s exactly who he is.

Avon and Gan are saving their energy by reclining on the Liberator‘s deck chairs.

Sue: Where are they anyway? Is this the Liberator‘s spa room?

The planet Aristo has seen better days.

Zen: The level of the oceans is constantly rising and they now virtually cover all traces of the cities built by early civilizations.

Sue: A bit like southern England right now.

Zen: Life is evolving in the oceans. An amphibian species have begun to develop.

Sue: I bet it’s full of Sea Devils.

Back in the teleport room, Sue notices that the crew are running low on bracelets.

Sue: Lesley Judd should knock up some replacements.

OracYes, we watched Blue Peter‘s ‘Make Your Own Blake’s 7 Bracelet’ extra on the Series 1 DVD before we started this episode. Sue thought the piece was charming, and Lesley was a consummate professional when it came to handling sticky-backed plastic and silver foil, but she also thought the relationship between the two programmes was a little odd to say the least.

Sue: I don’t see how the BBC can target a show about a convicted child molester turned terrorist to children. Or maybe that’s just me. What’s next? Peter Purves shows you how to make a sawn-off shotgun from The Sweeney out of a washing-up bottle?

Blake and Cally teleport to the surface of Aristo.

Sue: They made a right mess of the Ready Brek effect. You’d think they’d be getting better at that, not worse.

Blake and Cally run straight into a force field.

Blake: It’s a force barrier. The question is are we on the outside unable to get in or….

Cally: On the inside unable to get out.

Sue: It’s a bit like Under the Dome, only less shit.

Travis and Servalan are deep underground.

Sue: I hope Servalan has stocked up on Vanish, because she’ll need it when she gets out of here. But why is she here in the first place? Why didn’t she just send Travis to sort this out with an army of space vampires. You wouldn’t see M chaperoning James Bond like this. Travis must be even more incompetent than I thought.

OracTravis explores a gap in a rockfall while Servalan waits nervously for him to return.

Sue: (singing) And now I’m all alone in bedsit land…

Servalan is groped by a lizard. Travis shoots it in the face.

Sue: Servalan had a little wobble, there. I’m surprised by that. First, Travis has a heart, and now Servalan shows her vulnerable side. What an odd scene.

Servalan crawls over the rocks, but the next time we see her she’s…

Sue: Completely spotless. Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, Blake and Cally are twiddling their thumbs on a beach when they are suddenly confronted by…

Sue: An Angry Bird.

The flying object instructs Blake and Cally to follow it, but not before it has demonstrated its firepower.

Sue: So far, Blake’s 7 has predicted Walkmen and Attack Drones. That’s not bad, actually.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: Avon is projecting liquid out of every orifice right now. At least he’ll never wear that silly costume again. He’ll never get the smell out.

A groaning noise is coming from behind the empty bracelet dispenser.

Sue: Gan just evacuated his bowels again. This is bleak.

OracBack on Aristo, Blake and Cally step into a transporter, although it does take them five minutes to find the entrance.

Sue: This is just padding. The script must be under-running for them to piss about like this. JUST GET IN THE BLOODY THING!

Me: It’s a portaloo, for christsake, not the monolith from 2001!

Travis and Servalan avoid more lizards in the tunnels.

Sue: That one looked really good, actually. When they don’t move and the camera doesn’t dwell on them, and you can barely make them out, the monsters aren’t that bad.

Blake and Cally meet Ensor.

Sue: The water in that fish tank is filthy. He needs a filter. What kind of computer genius doesn’t invent a filter for his fish.

Cally tells Ensor that his son is dead.

Cally: I’m sorry. He tried desperately to reach you. He did everything he possibly could.

Sue: (as Cally) Including trying to blow my head off.

Ensor gives Blake his supply of anti-raditation drugs.

OracEnsor: Can’t stand them, myself. Filthy things, drugs.

Sue: That’s why he’s growing space ganja: for medicinal purposes.

And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Orac arrives. On a trolley.

Sue: So Orac is a massive Raspberry Pi. Well, I wasn’t expecting that.

Ensor bigs up his box of flashing lights.

Ensor: Orac has access to the sum total of all the knowledge of all the known worlds.

Blake: You mean it can draw information from any other computer without a direct link?

Sue: So it’s got wireless. Big deal. And if Orac is a computer, what does ORAC stand for?

Me: Orac doesn’t stand for anything. But you can stand things on Orac.

Travis and Servalan are still navigating Aristo’s tunnels.

Sue: If Servalan had any sense, she would have killed the son and brought the power cells directly to the old man, just like Blake has. She could have rang the door bell, walked it, and took it. Job done. She made this far too complicated for herself.

Travis blasts his way into Ensor’s base. Blake goes to investigate while Cally and Ensor beat a hasty retreat with Orac.

Sue: Orac is basically Wikipedia in a box.

Cally: Can you help me carry this?

Sue: (as Ensor) Yes, love. I’m having a massive heart attack but I’ll help you carry this massive box. Why the **** not.

OracFor the record, Sue didn’t notice anything unusual during the infamous “missing Travis” scene. But as soon as we finished this episode, we watched the extra feature where Vere Lorrimer and Stephen Greif explain just what the hell happened.

Sue: I thought the whole episode was badly directed, so I didn’t notice. Sorry.

Avon drags Vila out of his sickbed/deck chair. Vila smacks his head on a door. This gets the biggest laugh of the series so far.

Sue: That was brilliant. Poor Vila.

Avon snaps at Vila, when he really should be snapping at the person responsible for continuity, because an unconscious Gan keeps moving around the set.

And then Vila’s foot teleports into a puddle.

Sue: Avon and Vila make a great double act. I can actually see the point of Vila, now.

Ensor warns Cally about the lizards in the caves, but he doesn’t think they will harm them.

Sue: Yeah, but they will want to hump your leg. Just go with it and try not to shoot them in the face. It puts them off their stride.

Ensor drops dead. It was probably carrying that heavy box that did it.

Cally: Just a little longer and we might have saved you.

OracSue: Come and see what you could have won.

Blake and Cally leave Ensor’s corpse behind.

Sue: That’s right, let the giant lizards eat him. That’s nice.

Me: They have to save Avon, remember.

Sue: OK. Fair enough. Run!

Blake and Cally reach the surface, but Travis and Servalan are waiting for them.

Me: When I was eight years old, this was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen. And I’d seen Star Wars.

Sue: You were very easily pleased back then. Actually, nothing much has changed.

Me: I definitely knew that this was the final episode of the series, and that meant that anything could happen. I have incredibly vivid memories of this episode. Especially this bit.

Avon shoots Travis’s hand off.

Blake: Good shot, Avon.

Avon: I was aiming for his head.

Sue: That’s the best line in Blake’s 7 so far.

Travis’s hand is left in tatters. Again.

Sue: It’s back to space traffic for you, Travis. They’ll probably replace your hand with a large ‘Children Crossing’ sign.

Back on the Liberator, the crew prepare to switch Orac on.

Sue: Zen won’t be very happy about this. He’s seething with jealousy in the background.

Orac is even more unhelpful than Zen on a bad day, and after an exasperating conversation that goes round in circles, Avon throws Orac’s key away.

OracSue: That’s 100 million credits down the drain. Well done. Still, it was worth it to see Avon smile.

But Orac has predicted that the Liberator will be destroyed.

Sue: What’s Orac basing this on?

Me: The scripts for Series 2.

The crew watch helplessly as the Liberator appears to explode on their scanner screen. Sue yawns.

Cue credits.

Sue: Oh, sorry, was that it?

The Score:

Sue: That didn’t do anything for me. Some of the performances were nice, and Avon was brilliant as usual, but what was it about? Terry just banged that out. Yet more filler.

5/10

Me: Are you mad? That was the season finale!

Sue: You try telling Terry that. I mean, what actually happened? They found another unhelpful computer, they let Travis off with a warning, and they got some half-arsed premonition about something they’ll definitely avoid next time. So what?

Next Time:

This weekend, we’ll take a look back at Series 1 and I’ll publish the results next Tuesday. If you want to ask Sue a question, you’ve got until Saturday morning to do so. Just don’t ask her which member of the crew she would like to see die first. We’ve had lots of those. The best question will win a signed book and postcard. Thanks.

Series 2 will then begin on Friday 28th February, so there’s plenty of time to catch up with the series if you want or need to.

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Deliverance

The weekend they didn’t play golf…

DeliveranceThis episode’s title causes some concern.

Sue: I hope nobody gets raped.

Me: I hope Dudley knows how to play the banjo.

A space ship is heading for the planet Cephlon.

Sue: We’ve definitely seen that space ship before. Am I supposed to remember that? Ooh, that was a nice camera move into the cockpit. Very ambitious.

Meanwhile, on a space station somewhere…

Sue: And this is Servalan’s space station. Do I get a prize for knowing that?

Servalan is eight minutes behind schedule, but she couldn’t care less.

Sue: Shouldn’t the stars in that window be moving if the space station is revolving? How hard would it be to set up a roller with some stars on it. Come on, pull your bloody finger out.

Sue gets her first good look at the space ship’s pilot, Ensor Junior.

Sue: Oh yes, he was in EastEnders. It’s Fat Pat’s husband, Ray.

Me: Roy, actually. Or Tony Caunter to his friends.

Sue: His co-pilot looks like Prince Joffrey. I’d better keep my eye on him, just in case.

DeliveranceThe ship is caught in Cephlon’s gravity well and Ensor struggles to maintain control.

Sue: The director is really trying here. There’s a sense of urgency that’s been missing from some of the other episodes. It’s not Douglas Camfield, but it’s close.

Just when Ensor believes that the worst is over, an explosion tears through his ship.

Sue: Aww, they went through all that rigmarole for nothing. Exciting, though.

This crew of the Liberator witness this catastrophe first-hand.

Avon: She’s entering the atmosphere. Beginning to burn up.

Sue: Avon has changed back into his sensible clothes, thank God. I thought he’d gone permanently insane.

Two escape capsules jettison from the stricken ship.

Sue: Are the capsules made by Samsonite? Have they diversified into this sort of thing in the future?

Servalan is extremely pleased with herself when she’s informed about Ensor’s “accident”.

Sue: She’s gorgeous. I bet Servalan had a huge gay and lesbian following.

Me: Straight men fancied her too, you know.

DeliveranceAvon prepares to teleport down to the surface of Cephlon.

Sue: It’s oven-ready Avon. But at least he’s getting involved in the action for a change, so I shouldn’t complain. I bet Avon had a big gay following as well.

Me: Yes, and straight men fancied him too.

I think I’ve said too much.

Avon, Gan, Jenna and Vila teleport to the surface of Cephlon to find the escape capsules.

Sue: Imagine how slow Blake’s 7 would be if they couldn’t teleport anywhere. Actually, that doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s not exactly racing along as it is.

When Sue spots one of the planet’s hirsute natives, she pulls out her virtual banjo.

Sue: Dinga ding ding ding ding ding ding ding.

The Federation space surgeon named Maryatt didn’t survive the journey, but Ensor did. Just about.

Avon: There’s nothing we can do for him here. We must get him up to the Liberator.

Vila: Will he live through the teleport stress?

Sue: Why don’t they just teleport the capsule back to the Liberator?

Me: Because you can’t wrap a bracelet around that capsule.

Sue: But what if they daisy-chained lots of bracelets together? Would that work?

DeliveranceMe: It’s a nice idea, but they’ve only got four bracelets left.

This week’s alien planet is covered in a light dusting of snow.

Sue: Do they ever go anywhere sunny in Blake’s 7? It’s a very cold universe so far.

Me: It’s probably a metaphor for something. Or they filmed this in the winter. You choose.

The planet’s natives appear to be restless.

Sue: They had better not make Avon squeal like a pig, that’s all I’m saying.

Jenna retrieves Maryatt’s ID from the wreckage.

Sue: I like Jenna, but she’s a boring character. She never seems to do anything, even when she’s actually doing stuff, she doesn’t really seem to do anything. Does that make sense? She’s just there. Terry can’t write for women. Actually, he can’t write for men, but you know what I mean.

Speaking of women who have nothing to do, Cally is chilling out on the Liberator with her Space Walkman.

Sue: Cally’s listening to Big Band Swing. There’s hope for her yet.

Avon, Gan and Vila teleport back to the Liberator with a badly injured Ensor. It takes a while for them to notice that they’ve left Jenna behind.

Sue: That’s the second time they’ve done that. How can they fail to notice when one of the seven are missing? I know that Jenna is a kitten fart in a parka, but that is ridiculous. It’s like that time you stranded all those students in Whitby because you couldn’t count them back onto a bus. It’s unprofessional at the end of the day.

The natives have knocked Jenna out.

Sue: Why are the Neanderthals searching her pockets? What are they looking for? Extra-strong mints? Her credit card? What?

DeliveranceWhile Ensor recovers in the Liberator‘s medical bay, Blake and Cally search through his possessions.

Cally: What are those?

Sue: They’re contact lenses in a jumbo-sized matchbox, obviously.

Cally and Blake examine Maryatt’s ID.

Cally: According to his ID he was a Space Surgeon in the Federation Medical Corps. He’s got a double-A security clearance! He’s got a pass for any area in Space Command!

Sue: If Roy is working for the Federation, they should let him die.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Sue: There’s a war on. Blake needs to toughen up.

Ensor: Tell him… Federation have agreed… all terms. Will pay… one… hundred million credits for… Orac.

Sue: Right. I know that Orac is the last of the seven because you named a hedgehog after him, so this is quite exciting now.

Me: What are you expecting Orac to be like?

Sue: I think Orac will be the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter, and the Federation will hire him to kill Blake, because Travis isn’t up to the job, and it’s going to cost them a fortune. But Orac will betray them and he’ll join Blake’s crew. There, that’s what I think will happen. What do I win if I’m right?

DeliveranceAvon, Gan and Avon teleport back to Cephlon to search for Jenna.

Me: Oh, that reminds me – Jenna is pregnant.

Sue: Oh no, what’s Gan done now.

Me: No, the cat is pregnant. Nicol’s been doing some research and Jenna is showing all the signs.

Sue: That means Blake is the father. That doesn’t feel right.

We think Jenna will give birth in the middle of Series 2, so stay tuned for that, and feel free to suggest names for the litter while you’re waiting.

Meanwhile, in Blake’s 7, Ensor has recovered enough strength to take Cally hostage.

Sue: You ungrateful sod. After everything she’s done for you. I knew they should have left him to die. The IRA would have kneecapped him by now.

Ensor instructs Blake to break orbit.

Ensor: Do it!

DeliveranceSue: It’s like that time he got really angry and told Pat that her earrings were shit. He’s quite a good actor, actually.

Back on Cephlon, Vila laments the fact that the Liberator has buggered off without them again. To be fair, it is becoming a habit.

Avon: That’s largely academic at the moment. Let’s hope they’re back on station when we find Jenna.

Sue: Paul Darrow’s monotone is incredible. His delivery of those lines should be ridiculous, but somehow it’s electrifying.

And then Travis turns up.

Sue: Things must be serious if old leather pants is involved. Servalan fancies Travis so much, she –

Me: STOP IT!

Travis’s handling of the Blake affair has resulted in a demotion for the former Space Commander.

Sue: He probably has to deal with space traffic these days. It’s a bit of a come down.

Servalan lets Travis into her latest wicked scheme.

Servalan: Ensor showed me plans of his father’s creation – Orac. It is a brilliant achievement. There is nothing else like it in the universe.

DeliveranceSue: Hmm. It sounds to me that Orac could be a robot. Like Data in Star Trek, or a Cylon in Battlestar. That could be interesting. And is Servalan drinking crème de menthe?

Servalan kicks back on her couch.

Sue: She’s like Don Draper, lying on a sofa, drinking on the job in the middle of the afternoon, plotting and scheming. It’s Mad Ma’am.

Servalan: It occurred to me that if Ensor didn’t get back in time, then in a very little while his father would die. So I took the precaution of placing a small explosive device in his ship.

Sue: What a bitch! She’s actually getting off on this. She’s definitely tipsy.

Servalan and Travis make a pact to claim Orac for themselves.

Sue: It’s like that time Michael Moon and Janine Butcher got together. Pure evil.

But even Travis has second thoughts when he learns that the space surgeon Servalan sent to their death was responsible for replacing Travis’s bionic space eye.

Sue: I knew Travis had a heart, deep down inside. He’s not all bad, you know. I know exactly how this will end: Travis will change his mind, he’ll save Blake’s life – killing Servalan in the process – and then he’ll join the crew. That’s what I would do if I was writing this.

The indigenous cavemen attack our heroes with a ferocity that borders on the comical.

Sue: This is a bit lame. It’s very Monty Python, don’t you think?

Me: They’re being stoned to death by the Time Bandits.

DeliveranceOur heroes find their way into an underground bunker, where a woman in blue dress bows down before Avon. Her name is Meegat and she has been expecting him.

Avon: Are you alone here?

Meegat: Yes, Lord. Everything is as it was written. One waits.

Sue: And now it’s turned into The Life of Brian.

Jenna has been taken prisoner by the natives.

Sue: Jenna has been kidnapped by Ronnie Wood. It’s not good, this. She’ll probably sprain her ankle, next.

Avon shows incredible self-restraint for a man who is being worshipped as a god.

Sue: Captain Kirk would have shagged her by now.

Me: Are you disappointed or relieved?

Sue: As long as he doesn’t punch her in the face, I’m happy.

The underground bunker houses the controls for a rocket that contains the race banks of Meegat’s people.

Sue: So it’s a giant sperm bank in space. Right…

Sadly, Jenna doesn’t get a look-in while this is going on.

Sue: Avon has been sidetracked by a beautiful woman, and now he couldn’t care less about the other beautiful woman he’s lost. Unbelievable.

Avon prepares to launch the rocket.

DeliveranceSue: Has Avon actually checked that Jenna isn’t trapped in that rocket? I know she isn’t, but he doesn’t know that, and she could have wandered in there by mistake. You know what this lot are like.

Avon decides to continue his search for Jenna.

Sue: Hallelujah!

Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Ensor is losing the will to live.

Ensor: I’ve put the energizer onto automatic. If I let it go, it will spring back and the gun will fire. If I pass out, the gun will fire by itself. Now you make certain that I don’t go to sleep.

Sue: I’d stop talking if I were you, Blake; that’s bound to send him off. Ask Zen to pipe some Big Band Swing through the ship. That will keep him awake.

Avon and Meegat have a very special relationship.

Sue: They’re holding hands! Aww, that’s sweet. Although you could argue that Avon is taking advantage of someone who is obviously not quite right in the head. It’s a tricky one.

Gan warns Avon that he can’t get involved in Jenna’s rescue.

Gan: If it comes to killing, remember my limiter implant.

Sue: WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU, GAN?

Even Vila gets stuck in while Gan looks meekly on.

Sue: Gan is the biggest member of the crew, and yet he can’t do shit. They should ditch him the first chance they get. Just drop him off at a space circus. They’ll look after him.

Gan only gets involved when all the hard work has been done and Jenna is safe.

Sue: He’s giving these two cavemen a big drunken bear hug. “I really, really, really love you, mate!”

Limiter or not, the natives are easily overcome.

Sue: They’re so useless, I bet they couldn’t even make a pig squeal like a pig.

DeliveranceGan finally makes it back to the bunker.

Sue: I thought he was going to bang his head on the door on his way in. That may have helped him, actually. It could have dislodged the chip in his head that makes him such a waste of ****ing space.

Back on the Liberator, Ensor drops dead. But before he shuffles off this mortal coil, he makes his last, and somewhat curious request.

Ensor: The microcells… get to father…

Sue: **** you, mate! Blake should sell those cells to the highest bidder, and then he should dance on his bloke’s father’s grave, because he’s a **** and Blake is a terrorist. So there.

Blake: Zen, direct route for the planet Cephlon. Maximum speed.

Sue: What is maximum speed? Have we ever established that? I feel like I should know, but I don’t and it’s driving me mad.

Avon prepares to launch the rocket. According to Jenna, Avon is about to become a legend.

Sue: Don’t be daft. Avon was a legend long before he landed on this shit hole.

The rocket is launched, and then Avon instructs Zen to scan for suitable planets for it to land on.

Sue: Don’t you think he should have done that before he launched the rocket into space? For all he knew, he could have been firing it into a black hole.

Meegat is nowhere to be seen.

DeliveranceSue: Where the hell is she? They didn’t even say goodbye. What a load of rubbish. TERRY, YOU ****!

Blake asks Avon what it was like to be a god.

Avon: Don’t you know?

Blake: Yes. I don’t like the responsibility, either.

Avon smiles.

Sue: I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Blake. I think Avon loved it. I’d watch my back if I were you.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was pretty good, then it was awful, and then it was quite good again, and then it was just irritating. Basically anything that involved the cavemen was rubbish, and anything that involved Avon and Travis was all right. I didn’t understand the plot with the rocket at all. It felt as if the episode was a set-up for something else, and Terry was treading water. I’m looking forward to meeting Orac, though. I hope he’s dishy.

5/10

Ask Sue

We’ve nearly reached the end of Series 1, and I want to evaluate how Sue is coping with the series so far. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her about this series, or the next, please send it via our contact form. The best question will win a signed book and postcard combo. Closing date: Tuesday February 18th.

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Bounty

I Feel Love…

BountyThe episode begins with Cally evading Federation troops in a rattlesnake-infested forest (or maybe that’s Dudley).

Sue: The Federation are in this one. Good. Blake might blow something up.

Blake approaches Cally’s location, his trusty red picnic box by his side.

Cally: (telepathically): Guards. Don’t speak or make a sound.

Blake: I’d forgotten how useful telepathy is.

Sue: So had Terry Nation.

A vintage car speeds down a country lane.

Sue: Is that Bessie? Have Blake’s 7 borrowed Bessie and given her a paint job? They can’t do that, can they?

Me: You said Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who should share their resources. Well, here you go.

Sue: At least Jon Pertwee isn’t driving it. In fact, I think this lot are on their way to a sci-fi convention dressed as the third Doctor, Jo Grant, and some extra off Blake’s 7.

BountyShe’s wrong. It’s President Sarkoff.

Sue: Is he the president of a motoring club?

Blake and Cally follow that car.

Sue: That bloody cooler box again. Give me strength. Do they have to keep their bracelets below room temperature or something?

The Federation troops are on high alert. Sue thinks the perspex on their helmets should turn a subtle shade of red to reflect this fact, and she’s disappointed when they don’t.

Sue: At least we’re back on Earth again. I expected them to make a big deal out of that, but Blake has just waltzed straight back home.

Me: This isn’t Earth. At least I don’t think it is.

Sue: But there’s an antique car, a medieval castle, and, well, it looks like England on a miserable wet afternoon in November.

Me: It’s definitely an alien planet. They just confirmed it.

Sue: Couldn’t they tint the sky or paint in an extra moon or something? That’s lazy.

BountyPresident Sarkoff is played by the one and only TP McKenna.

Sue: He’s famous.

Me: If you tell me his name, I’ll give you a foot rub.

Sue: Julian Assange.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: What the **** is Avon wearing? Oh no, that won’t do at all. He’s got a massive silver arrow pointing at his cock.

At least Avon has made an effort.

Sue: I’m sure Gan hasn’t changed since we started this. I bet he stinks. And I bet everyone is too afraid to tell him that he stinks, just in case he goes mental and tries to kill them all again.

An unidentified ship is heading towards the Liberator.

Avon: If it turns out to be hostile, we’ll do a part orbit and lose it.

Sue: I’m sorry, but I can’t take him seriously when he’s dressed like that. He looks like he should be dangling off a trapeze.

BountyAvon: As a matter of fact, I don’t like the look of it either.

Sue: Did he just catch sight of himself in a reflective surface?

The unidentified ship is broadcasting a distress signal so Gan offers to teleport over there to investigate. If it turns out to be a trap, the crew have his permission to blow him to pieces.

Sue: Gan’s head needs seeing to again. It’s becoming a bit of a theme.

Back on the planet, Blake removes some rope from his cooler box. There’s no room left in the box for anything else, which makes Sue roar with laugher.

Sue: Un-****ing-believable.

Gan has teleported to the mysterious ship, and Avon instructs Vila to prepare to fire on it, just in case.

Sue: Seriously, though, what the **** is Avon wearing?

Gan assures the crew that everything is fine.

Sue: That isn’t Gan. He’s even more wooden than usual.

Vila tries to warn Avon but it’s too late.

BountyVila: It’s not Gan! Avon? Jenna? Answer me, one of you. I shall come out in a rash.

Sue laughs. Yes, she’s finally coming round to Vila, who is furious when he realises that he’ll have to investigate the incursion personally.

Sue: That’s what you look like when I ask you to empty the bins.

Sue isn’t impressed with the interior of Sarkoff’s castle.

Sue: Dear oh dear, what kind of restoration job is that? You can’t paint a castle silver! Kevin McCloud would go mental if he saw that. What happened to the natural brick work? I’m appalled.

Me: It’s a space castle. Space castles are silver.

President Sarkoff owns an impressive collection of vinyl records.

Sue: It’s all gone a bit weird now.

Doesn’t stop her from singing along to Tommy Steele, though.

Sue: They should have played something a bit more contemporary.

Me: Like what?

BountySue: Some disco.

Sarkoff owns the finest private collection of 20th Century Earth objects anywhere in the galaxy.

Sue: It’s basically Kiwi Alan’s second-hand shop down the road, but painted silver. I’ve told him to keep an eye out for any missing episodes by the way. No news yet, but I’ll keep you informed.

Now that he’s taken his hat off, Sarkoff reminds Sue of somebody else.

Sue: He isn’t Julian Assange, he’s Liberace.

Me: He’s a wonderful actor and it’s a travesty that you can’t tell me what his name is.

Sue: He’s very good. Far too good for this nonsense.

Cally climbs the castle wall.

Sue: The wooden panelling on the windows is driving me mad. It looks so cheap. I’m surprised they got planning permission for that.

The Federation troops saunter past Cally without a second look.

BountySue: The Federation are completely hopeless. The only reason this bloke knows what’s going on is because he’s the only one with enough common sense to push his helmet up.

Blake wants to take the exiled president back to his people, so he can unite them against the Federation.

Sue: This happened a lot in the 1970s: exiled revolutionaries hanging around foreign countries, biding their time. This is Terry Nation trying to be topical.

Sarkoff’s assistant, Tyce, doesn’t have any time for the president’s self-pity.

Tyce: He ran away and hid. Here on this empty, nameless planet which the Federation so generously provided.

Sue: Terry couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a name for the planet. That’s how spent he is.

Blake convinces Sarkoff to leave his self-imposed exile behind.

Blake: We captured a Federation cipher machine. Now before they changed the code, we picked up a lot of information. Our computers have been unravelling it ever since.

Me: See, there is a story arc. Terry knows what he’s doing.

Sue: How much have you had to drink, Neil? Again?

BountyTyce has a soft spot for Sarkoff.

Tyce: He was a very special man. Brilliant and proud.

Sue: Is he her sugar daddy, because their relationship is a bit weird if you ask me. Is it just the two of them stuck in this castle? No wonder he doesn’t want to leave.

It’s a moot point anyway, because the Liberator isn’t responding to Blake’s calls.

Sue: They’re off having a much better adventure than he is. It wouldn’t be difficult.

Sarkoff contemplates his fate.

Sue: His taste in music isn’t very inspiring. He should have put some Donna Summer on.

Let’s see if she’s right: (alternate link via YouTube)

[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”6718″]

A massive improvement, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sue: This is tedious. I’m sick of this guy moaning and feeling sorry for himself. If anyone should be feeling sorry for themselves it’s me for watching this rubbish.

Sarkoff: I should have realised that Tyce wouldn’t stay with me. Not now.

Sue: They are definitely shagging. On his antique electric blanket, surrounded by his antique teddy bears and his antique Goblin Teasmaid.

Me: Don’t forget his antique cock.

Sarkoff really doesn’t want to leave. We know this for a fact because HE KEEPS TELLING US.

Sarkoff: Where else would I go? This is all I have left.

BountySue: He can’t bear to part with his collection of glass ashtrays. Just think, if they still had that cooler box with them, they could save a couple of carriage clocks at the very least.

Blake destroys Sarkoff’s priceless Donna Summer 12-inch, and then he threatens to destroy Sarkoff’s precious butterfly collection as well.

Sue: Don’t worry, Blake wouldn’t hurt a fly. Even if it was already dead.

Sarkoff decides that enough is enough and he agrees to leave; it’s only taken Blake twenty-five minutes to convince him.

Sue: I don’t get it. If he loved those butterflies so much, why didn’t he take them with him? It’s not as if they need feeding.

Tyce cranks Bessie into life.

Sue: This is ****ing weird. Doctor Who could get away with this kind of madness, but in Blake’s 7 it sticks out like a sore thumb. I keep expecting the Autons to jump out of the bushes.

Bessie races away from the castle.

Me: Put your helmet on, we’ll be reaching speeds of three!

Blake begs the Liberator to teleport them to safety, but nobody’s home. However, as the car approaches a Federation checkpoint, the teleport finally kicks into life and Bessie explodes. Honest.

BountySue: They crashed the car with a sound effect. Is that because they weren’t allowed to blow Bessie up for real? That’s a shame. I would have enjoyed that.

The Liberator is seemingly deserted.

Sue: So who let them on board?

Me: **** knows, I’m drunk.

Blake: Where are they, Zen?

Zen: Please specify question more precisely.

Sue: Zen is such a dick. I don’t know how they put up with him. I bet he runs on Windows.

Blake finds Jenna in the teleport area, and she has some devastating news:

Jenna: They’re all dead.

Sue: Eh? What? No!

But it’s only a ruse and Blake is gassed by a mysterious assailant.

Sue: Is Avon doing that to Blake? Is this the mutiny he’s been planning? Is he finally going ahead with it? At least he had the decency to change his clothes first.

But it isn’t Avon, because Avon has been taken prisoner as well. And not only that – Jenna is now working for the enemy!

Sue: Why didn’t we watch that episode instead? They’ve been up to all sorts of exciting stuff while we had to watch an old man DJ-ing for half an hour.

The crew have been seized by the Amagons. Or as Sue so eloquently puts it:

BountySue: Space Sheiks.

Their leader, Tarvin, flirts with his new ally, Jenna.

Sue: Could there be less sexual chemistry between these two? What’s this episode called again?

Me: ‘Bounty’.

Sue: They should have called it ‘Turkish Delight’ instead.

Tarvin is a money-grabbing misogynist.

Sue: This isn’t racist at all. Absolutely not.

Zen: Information: Federation ships are now within scanner range.

Sue: Zen gives more information to the bad guys than he does to Blake. Whose side is he on anyway?

Jenna shows her true colours when she overpowers an Amagon. Sue is neither surprised nor impressed.

Sue: It’s as if two pantomimes have accidentally double-booked the same stage, and now the casts of Robin Hood and Aladdin have to fight it out to see who gets to put their show on. It’s insane.

BountyMeanwhile, Vila is trying – and failing – to extricate the crew from the explosive collars that have been placed around their necks.

Vila: I told you I couldn’t do it.

Avon: I believed you all along.

Sue: Ha! That was brilliant. Avon makes even the stupidest episode worthwhile.

Jenna overpowers her second Amagon of the day.

Sue: Right in the space nuts. Nice.

Gan wants to rip Tarvin’s head off.

Sue: Can Gan murder people again? You know, since his operation. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I wouldn’t leave my bedroom door unlocked if I was Jenna, that’s for sure.

Blake and his crew escape from their prison by throwing a disabled collar at an Amagon. He is killed instantly by an explosion of bright twinkly stars.

Sue: If you rub that collar really, really hard, you get three wishes.

Jenna takes down her third Amagon. Sue lets out a half-hearted cheer as she checks her watch.

BountyOn the Liberator‘s flight deck, Tyce tries to take control of the situation.

Sue: (singing) And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know…

Unfortunately, she fails miserably and Tarvin threatens to blow her head off.

Tyce: Shoot him, father. You owe it to me.

Sue: EH? WHAT? So now they tell us that she’s his daughter. Why did they take so long? Why make it look like they were involved in some sort of sordid sex thing? ****ing hell, Terry!

Me: And that’s why you shouldn’t ship. I did try to warn you.

Sarkoff shoots the nasty, greedy, selfish, sexist space Arab in the nuts, and all’s well that ends well.

Sue: Nope. Not even remotely racist.

The episode concludes with Sarkoff and Tyce teleporting back to their home planet Lindor, which Terry named after a chocolate bar he was eating while he wrote this.

Sue: Another two bracelets they’ll never see again. It was hardly worth the effort.

Me: He’s ousted two days later for committing incest, and the planet is plunged into chaos.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was a bit weird. And not in a good way. At least it had something to do with the Federation, so it gets a few marks for that, but it didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t serious or exciting enough for me to care about anyone, and the panto villains turned the whole thing into an uncomfortable farce at the end. And I hate it when Avon disappears for twenty minutes like that. It’s crazy.

3/10

Ask Sue

We are galloping towards the end of Series 1, and that seems like a good time to evaluate how Sue is coping with the series so far. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her about this series, or her hopes for the next one, please send it via our contact form. The best question will win a signed book and postcard combo. Closing date: Tuesday February 18th.

Next Time:

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Breakdown

Emergency Ward XK-72

Sue: How many Terry Nation episodes is it now?

Me: This is Terry’s tenth script in a row.

Sue: I’ll be the one having a breakdown if this goes on much longer.

The Liberator is cruising through space…

BreakdownSue: Ooh, they’re pushing the boat out with a half-decent model this week. That’s nice.

On the flight deck, Gan is behaving very strangely indeed.

Sue: Is he having a stroke?

Me: The bells! The bells!

Sue: The chip in his head must have shorted out. See, I have been paying attention to this nonsense.

A crazed Gan attacks Jenna.

Sue: This is you when our broadband stops working, only you beat up the router instead.

Blake is the next victim of Gan’s violent assault.

Sue: Gan looks like a really mean Elvis when he curls his lip like that. Nice handheld camera work, though. We’re right in the middle of the action. I like it.

Blake’s crew subdues the giant oaf with some tranquillisers.

Sue: It’s too late for nicotine patches now.

Gan is in a bad way.

Sue: Aww, poor Gan. Unless this is what he’s like when he doesn’t have that thing in his head, in which case, I hope Gan dies.

Gan is taken to the Liberator‘s medical unit.

BreakdownSue: Why is this part of the ship on film?

Me: I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s something to do with them having to use up their filming allocation every episode or else they’d lose it.

Sue: Typical BBC bureaucracy. They should have done a deal with Doctor Who and come to some kind of arrangement to save some cash by sharing things. At least they’ve cleaned it up a bit. They could release this on Blu Ray. Well, this scene anyway.

Cally tends to Gan.

Sue: I had a curly perm like Cally’s. They were all the rage back then. She could do with some product in it, though; it’s looking a bit flat. I don’t know what it is about Cally but she reminds me of a miserable, anorexic Jamie Lee Curtis.

Avon chastises Blake for suggesting that Zen could give them a quick tutorial in brain surgery.

Avon: Oh, come on, Blake! This is not something you do by numbers, not even highly sophisticated ones. This is an area that has remained the exclusive province of specialists.

Sue: Avon is so cool. He says every line as if it’s his last. I still can’t quite believe that Paul Darrow said my name on a podcast; so much better than speaking to Tom Baker on QVC. I’d love to meet Paul Darrow in real life. I bet he’d be a right laugh.

The ship’s medical computer delivers its diagnosis.

Medibot: Severe neurological disturbance centered in the zero three zone sub four section of the cerebrum.

Sue: So is that computer one of the crew now, like Zen? Is that seven now?

Me: Don’t be ridiculous.

Sue comes up with the perfect solution to Gan’s predicament.

Sue: Just turn him off and back on again.

BreakdownMe: Turning Gan on is the last thing you want to do. Trust me.

Gan repeatedly clenches his fist.

Sue: Was Gan a dairy farmer in a previous life? Is he dreaming that he’s milking a cow?

Blake and Avon look for the nearest space hospital which specialises in space medicine for space diseases. In space.

Sue: It must have taken them ages to set up that perspex map. I bet they wasted hours getting it to stand up properly. No wonder Gan is almost dead.

Avon suggests that they head for a secret space laboratory called XK-72, even though it’s situated on the far side of some prohibited space.

Blake: Zen. Set navigation computers for direct route to space laboratory XK-72. Speed Standard by Six.

Sue: Make it Speed Standard by Seven – it’s quicker and your friend is dying. Or are you worried about being caught for speeding. Get a bloody move on!

The Liberator alters its course.

Sue: If that’s Standard by Six, I’d hate to see Standard by One. You could walk quicker than that. Look at it! It’s pathetic! Why doesn’t the ship go WHOOSH! as it rushes by. Come on!

BreakdownZen is his usual helpful self.

Zen: Attention. Liberator is entering prohibited zone. All primaries and auxiliary computer functions are now aborted.

Sue: What a ****.

Vila: What you see on the screen is exactly what’s there. Absolutely nothing. Why should I find nothing terrifying?

Sue: Because you’re a dick?

Me: Still no love for Vila, I see.

Sue: He’s growing on me. The problem with Vila is that he isn’t a real character. He’s a joke. A walking comedy cliché. I need to see another side to him before I can take him seriously.

Avon suddenly realises that they’ve made a grave error of judgement.

Blake: Because computer control is –

Avon: – part of the basic design concept!

Sue: Could we have that in English, please?

BreakdownMe: I think it means they’re too stupid to fly the ship without Zen’s help.

Sue: Now that I believe.

The Liberator tears through space…

Sue: One minute it’s a nice model, then it’s a cartoon. One minute we’re on video, and now we’re on film. There’s no consistency to Blake’s 7. It’s all over the place.

Back in the medical unit, Gan begins to stir.

Sue: Do I really have to look at Gan’s sex face? It’s putting me off my tea.

Me: If I ever form a band, remind me to call it Gan’s Sex Face.

Avon attempts to bypass Zen’s auxiliary computer systems.

Blake: Have you done it, Avon?

Avon: I can talk or I can work, but I can’t do both.

Sue: Avon can’t multi-task. Typical bloke. Get one of the women to do it!

Blake: Reduce to standard by three, Jenna.

Sue: That’s about 3 miles per hour, give or take.

Me: Or 80 billion spatials a second.

Sue: Terry ****ing Nation.

BreakdownGan shows us his world-famous impression of a pig, which miraculously ceases when Cally returns to the medical unit.

Sue: He’s acting like he’s been caught masturbating.

Sue doesn’t trust Gan any more.

Sue: If he can control his urges like that, he can’t be that ill. He’s just a raving sex pest at the end of the day.

Gan strangles Cally with a massive grin on his face.

Sue: That was horrible! Now I understand why we don’t have a cat called Gan. It’s the same reason we don’t have a cat called Peter Sutcliffe.

Gan’s next victim is Avon.

Sue: Blake’s crew is ****ing useless, especially when you consider what they’re trying to do. Which, incidentally, is what I want to see instead of this bullshit. I want to see Blake taking on Earth and clearing his name, and maybe blowing some stuff up. This is just filler.

Me: (singing) ‘Cause this is filler, filler night…

Have I mentioned that I’ve been drinking heavily throughout this episode?

Jenna is worried about a nearby gravitational vortex.

BreakdownSue: The hand-on-hip acting is off the scale in this episode.

Even Avon has had enough.

Avon: I’m finished. Staying with you requires a degree of stupidity of which I no longer feel capable.

Blake: Now you’re just being modest.

Sue: That was ****ing brilliant. Who needs Travis as your arch-enemy when you’ve got Avon standing next to you.

The Liberator enters the gravitational vortex.

Jenna: Standard by Twelve, still rising.

Sue: Standard by Twelve! **** me! I didn’t know that the ship could go that fast! Why have they been pissing about with Standard by Seven all this time. Put your bloody foot down!

The crew are attacked by a sheet of Mirrorlon, which, I’m surprised to learn, Sue has never encountered before.

Me: You work in TV Studio production and you’ve never wobbled a sheet of Mirrorlon at anyone? Wow.

Sue: Neil, it’s the 21st century. Things have moved on quite a bit since Blake’s ****ing 7. And besides, a sheet of tin foil is much cheaper.

When the Liberator arrives at XK-72, Blake tries to pass himself off as a Federation captain.

Blake: Tell them we’re an experimental ship out of Earth on a proving flight.

Sue: Whatever you do, don’t tell them I’m a convicted child molester. That never goes down well.

Jenna has dressed for the occasion.

Sue: Jenna is hitting the space disco as soon as they dock. I hope she’s wearing sensible shoes.

BreakdownAnd then, thirty minutes into the episode, Julian Glover turns up.

Me: Who’s that, Sue?

Sue: I have no idea – he’s got his back to me. Wait – oh yes! It’s… it’s… it’s him. He’s been in loads of things, including Doctor Who. He’s very good.

I remind her that he likes to get his testicles out on Game of Thrones and she nods sagely.

Sue: He’s very cutting. Can you imagine Avon and this guy living together? Actually, I’d pay good money to see that.

Blake teleports to the Liberator with Professor Kayn.

Blake: Avon, send someone across to collect Professor Kayn’s assistant, will you?

Sue: Stop calling him Avin! No wonder he wants to leave.

Before he teleports to XK-72, Avon asks Vila a very important question.

Avon: Why do you stay with Blake?

Vila: I like him.

Avon: That isn’t a good enough reason.

BreakdownSue: Is Avon planning a mutiny? Is that what’s he’s doing? Sounding out the crew before he decides to stay or go?

Blake escorts Kayn to the medical unit, which is now on video instead of film.

Sue: Make your mind up, for ****’s sake!

Kayn examines Gan with the same sort of disdain that my doctor reserves for complaints about my irritable bowel syndrome.

Kayn: Tell me why this man has a limiter implant.

Sue: Well, in a nutshell, our ship is crewed by convicted sex pests and murderers. It’s very embarrassing but what can you do?

Avon tells Vila that he won’t be coming back to the Liberator.

Sue: He’s going disco dancing with Jenna. The pair of them are going to get trolleyed.

Avon meets with XK-72’s administrator.

Farren: Who are you?

Sue: We’re Blake’s 7 and we’re a bunch of ****wits. Is it OK if I stay with you instead? You wouldn’t believe the idiotic shit we get up to.

Kayn decides to call the nearest Federation base.

BreakdownSue: Just as soon as I finish this game of Candy Crush.

Three Federation pursuit ships respond to Kayn’s call.

Sue: Is it Travis? It’s about bloody time.

Farren asks Avon to move in with him.

Sue: They’ve only just met!

Kayn delays the life-saving operation. He even places his feet on Gan’s operating table, which elicits a very loud tut from Sue.

Sue: The NHS has really gone downhill under the Federation. Blake needs to sort that out. He should put it on his list of things to do.

Vila decides to hurry things along by waving a gun in Kayn’s face.

Sue: Finally! Vila did something heroic. That’s exactly what I was talking about earlier. Vila is human after all.

The Liberator can’t move while the professor operates, even though the Federation are already heading their way.

Sue: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this is vaguely exciting. And, unlike some people I could mention, I haven’t been drinking.

Blake threatens to damage Kayn’s hands if he doesn’t cooperate.

Sue: He’s a very polite terrorist, but he’s still a terrorist.

Another doctor named Renor is much more accommodating.

BreakdownSue: They should take this guy with them when they leave. They need a doctor. You can’t fly around space, getting into battles, without a doctor – that would be insane.

Kayn finally agrees to operate on Gan.

Sue: There’s no sense of urgency. I’ve seen Man United take injury time corners quicker than this. And does this mean that Gan is out of warranty now?

Me: It’s the second time he’s been jailbroken this series.

The operation is a success and Blake escorts Kayn off his ship.

Blake: Is there any way we can thank you?

Kayn: You could try getting caught.

Sue: I bet Avon wishes he’d said that. No wonder he can’t wait to get shot of him. There’s only room for one sarky bastard on this ship.

Kayn teleports back to XK-72.

BreakdownSue: Another bracelet gone. They’re practically giving them away now.

Kayn isn’t happy with this turn of events and he takes his anger out on Farren, bludgeoning him to death in a fit of pique.

Sue: That was a bit random. But I suppose it’s difficult for a character to make much sense when he’s on screen for less than ten minutes.

XK-72 is accidentally blown to smithereens by the Federation’s pursuit ships.

Sue: What a waste. They were only a few weeks away from finding a cure for space cancer.

The Federation ships turn towards the Liberator.

Avon: Zen, increase speed to Standard by Eight.

Sue: No! Standard by Twelve, you idiot. Standard by Twelve!

Thankfully, Gan is back to his usual self and all’s well that ends well.

Blake: Oh, by the way, welcome back.

BreakdownThe crew guffaw with laughter.

Sue: How is that even remotely funny? Neil?

Me: Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Sorry, what was that?

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was rubbish, but on some strange level, I enjoyed it. Isn’t that weird? It’s all down to the performances because the plot was utter shite. Yet more faffing about when they should be blowing up the Federation and saving the world and stuff like that. And Gan gives me the creeps now. I wouldn’t like to beam down to a planet with him on my own, that’s for sure.

4/10

Next Time:

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Project Avalon

The Federation Strikes Back…

Sue: Is this one directed by Douglas Camfield?

Me: Wait and see.

Project AvalonI challenge Sue to name the actress playing this week’s featured Mutoid.

Sue: I have no idea, but I do know that Douglas didn’t direct this. I can just tell.

Her second challenge is to not only recognise the location for this episode – Wookey Hole – but to remember which Doctor Who story was filmed here as well. She fails hopelessly on both counts.

Sue: I haven’t got a ****ing clue. Was it a Tom Baker?

Me: Yes.

Sue: Something of the Daleks.

Me: Is that your final answer?

Sue: Something of the Cybermen.

Me: That’ll do.

Space Commander Travis has arrived in some frozen caves to set a trap for Blake. He intends on using a woman named Avalon as bait.

Sue: Snow goggles are wasted on Travis; he should have a snow monocle instead.

Project AvalonTravis: This time we’ll be ready for you, Blake.

Sue: Did Travis look straight down the lens just then? It’s difficult to tell because he’s only got one eye.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Cally is tracking Avalon’s signal.

Sue: Cheer up, Cally, it may never happen. They always look so bloody miserable on this ship. Are they actually trying to out-frown each other?

Avon: We’ve come at the worst time, of course. The northern hemisphere is just entering its winter cycle. They call it the Long Cold. Something of an understatement, it lasts the equivalent of eight and a half Earth years.

Sue: It’s just like –

Me: Game of Thrones, but with less incest. Yes, we know.

Sue: Hey, this is Blake’s 7, there could be more incest.

A resistance group has gathered in the caves. Travis, flanked by four Mutoids, makes his presence felt.

Sue: (singing) Your lights are on, but you’re not home…

Travis wants to know where Avalon is, and he holds a gun to a man’s face in order to find out.

Me: Oh look, it’s Stuart Fell.

Sue: Oh yes, so it is. He’s dead then. Spectacularly.

Once again, Stuart doesn’t disappoint.

Sue: Ouch! That must have hurt. I’ll give him a 9.8 for that.

Avalon is taken away and the Mutoids massacre the rest.

Sue: We’ve seen this before, with the same shit guns. I wish Douglas had directed this. Very bleak, though.

Project AvalonThe featured Mutoid of the week still doesn’t ring any bells with Sue.

Me: Do you recognise her yet?

Sue: Has she been in EastEnders?

Me: Yes.

Sue: Is she the one who gave that blow job in the car?

Me: Not as far as I know.

Sue: Does she ever take her hat off?

Me: No.

Sue: Then I give up. Who is she?

Me: She’s Makepeace from Dempsey and Makepeace, otherwise known as Glenda Mitchell, or Glynis Barber to her friends.

Sue: You have to start somewhere, I guess. I bet she doesn’t like to talk about this, though.

Blake and Jenna prepare to teleport to the planet.

Vila: Surface temperatures are down to minus one-eighty. Better wrap up warmly.

Sue: That’s the understatement of the century. I’m sure you can’t survive in temperatures like that, especially in a Parka from Millets.

Project AvalonMe: It isn’t Fahrenheit or Celsius – it’s minus-180 Terrys. That means it’s a bit chilly.

Down on the planet, Travis is torturing Avalon..

Sue: Wait, don’t tell me: you definitely remember watching this scene when you were eight years old – it explains a lot, actually. Either they are interrogating her or they’re going to give her one hell of a tan.

Blake and Jenna join forces with Chevner, the lone survivor of the massacre. Chevner warns them that they will have to override the Federation’s security systems if they want to rescue Avalon, so Blake orders Vila down to the surface.

Vila: Now wait a minute, it’s cold out there, and I’m very susceptible to low temperatures. I’ve got a weak chest.

Avon: The rest of you’s not very impressive.

Sue: Brilliant. I half expected Avon to belt Vila across the chest with a handbag when he said that.

Project AvalonVila is dispatched to the planet, but not before he makes a big song and dance about it.

Sue: That was quite funny. At least the programme knows that Vila an irritating dick.

After Vila leaves, Avon and Cally exchange a meaningful look before laughing their heads off.

Sue: They are definitely shagging. All they have to do now is put Gan to bed and they’ve got the place to themselves.

Me: Just open a Live Journal account and be done with it, Sue.

Servalan arrives on the planet to give Travis his annual appraisal.

Sue: How many space minks died to make her coat, do you think? The bitch.

Servalan is feeling the pressure.

Servalan: There have been two attempts on my life… I consider Blake to be responsible.

Sue: Have we missed two episodes?

Project AvalonServalan: Oh, not personally, of course, but stories of his exploits are still circulating. They excite people.

Sue: Which exploits are these then? Are you sure we haven’t missed an episode, Neil? They can’t be talking about the one with the catheter cock monster, surely to God.

Servalan chastises Travis for not doing his job properly.

Sue: I bet they’re at it.

Me: Why not, everybody else is! Look, can you watch an episode of Blake’s 7 without imagining all the lead characters having sex with one another, just for five minutes.

Sue: It’s not my fault. Look at them! Tell me they haven’t done it, Neil.

Servalan changes the subject, thank God.

Servalan: I think the labs have come up with what you wanted. It’s totally new, and very costly.

Sue: Have the Federation been cooking up some space meth?

A prisoner is taken to a secured booth. A glowing ball is placed on a conveyor belt which rolls the ball into the booth and across a table.

Sue: This is the worst episode of The Generation Game ever. Sparkly ball… sparkly ball… sparkly ball. Didn’t he do well!

Project AvalonThe ball is smashed and the hapless guinea pig is turned to mush.

Sue: Whatever it is, it’s painless. He didn’t even flinch. Which makes it easier for the vision mixer, I guess.

When the process is over, all that remains of the poor bastard is his skeleton. Travis is very impressed with his new weapon.

Sue: He’s Chemical Travie.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Zen: Sensors report spacecraft approaching.

Avon: Identify.

Zen: Analysis indicates they are Mark Four Federation interceptors.

Sue: Is Avon blind? The baddies’ logo is on the ****ing radar screen. And who else could it possibly be? The Klingons?

The tunnels are by patrolled by a security robot and Blake’s gang are forced to take cover.

Sue: Watch out, it’s Dusty Bin again. It’s head can spin round and yet its peripheral vision still manages to be shit. How is that even possible? How can it not see four terrorists hugging that wall over there? That’s ridiculous.

Vila opens the hatchway which leads to the detention centre.

Sue: Vila should get himself a nice shoulder bag. That cooler box is a nightmare. There he goes – clunk, clunk, bang, clunk – down a narrow corridor like a baby elephant.

Project AvalonChevner leads Blake into the detention centre.

Sue: Wasn’t this guy in Crossroads?

Me: No, it’s not Ronald Allen, although I can see where you are coming from. It’s David Bailie.

Sue: The photographer?

Me: No. Although he does work as a professional photographer now, which is very confusing, especially as Big Finish keep pestering David Bailey to do a cameo.

Chevner searches the prisoner database for Avalon’s cell number.

Sue: Just free all the prisoners! Open all the doors and free everyone – it’s the right thing to do!

But Blake only has eyes for Avalon.

Sue: It’s quite exciting, this.

Me: Does it remind you of anything else?

Sue: Star Trek. They all remind me of Star Trek.

Me: Not Star Wars?

Sue: Oh yeah. I see what you mean. It is very similar. So which one is Chewbacca, because Vila is definitely C-3PO.

Still not convinced? Take a look at this:

[jwplayer mediaid=”6483″]

Blake frees Avalon from her cell.

Blake: I’m Blake. We had hoped to get you out sooner, we’ve had a bit of trouble.

Me: Aren’t you a little short for a Blake?

Blake blasts his way out of the detention centre.

Sue: I still think Douglas would have done it better, but that wasn’t bad at all.

The Liberator – which has been on an evasive detour – returns for Blake.

Avon: You’d better switch on the communication channel.

Gan crosses flight deck and switches it on.

Sue: Finally, Gan actually did something useful. Things must be serious.

As they escape, Blake’s gang are confronted by the Federation’s security robot.

Sue: There are five of you! Shoot the bloody thing!

They teleport to safety before the robot can attack.

Project AvalonSue: Oh my God, it’s actually peeing fire.

The Liberator hightails it out of there.

Sue: Servalan will have Travis’s balls on a plate for that. What a **** up. And in the middle of his appraisal as well.

Blake suspects that his escape was far too easy. Raising his suspicious further are the Federation’s new weapons.

Sue: It’s a mastic gun. I’ve got one in the shed.

Avon examines the weapon.

Avon: It’s not standard issue. Low energy bolt discharge. This could bruise or stun, but it couldn’t cause any serious injury.

Sue: Great for sealing windows, though.

Meanwhile, Avalon has changed into something more comfortable.

Sue: It looks like Christmas has come early for Gan. And it proves once and for all that the Liberator does come equipped with pyjamas after all.

Avalon tells Gan that Chevner attacked her.

Sue: She’s the baddie! It’s definitely her! Come on, Gan, it’s a Terry Nation script so it must be her. The Federation have brainwashed her. It’s obvious.

Avalon prepares to launch a chemical attack on the crew, and it takes the combined might of Gan, Jenna, Blake and Vila to restrain her.

Sue: Avon would have put his fist through her face.

Project AvalonIt’s a good job he didn’t because he would have broken his fist in the process. You see, the Avalon they rescued is a robot duplicate.

Sue: That’s a clever effect for its time. I can just about buy that.

Even though she’s a telepath, Cally never suspected a thing.

Cally: I still find it hard to believe.

Sue: What is the point of Cally again? I’ve completely forgotten.

Blake asks Avon to reprogram the robot, and then he teleports back to the planet and demands to speak with Travis.

Sue: The look on Travis’s face is priceless. I almost feel sorry for him.

Servalan and Blake face each other for the first time.

Sue: Do you think Servalan secretly fancies Blake?

Me: ARGHHHHHHH!

Blake instructs the robot to open its thumb and forefinger, just enough to grip a ball.

Sue: This isn’t the first time Avon has programmed a robot to do that. I’m saying nothing.

Blake: The robot will crush the phial in response to one of three triggers. A particular word, a specific sound or a certain movement. You had all better be very, very careful about what you say and do.

Blake teleports to safety.

Sue: If Blake was really a terrorist, he would have programmed the robot to drop the ball as soon as he got out of there.

Travis moves towards the robot and the ball is dropped.

Project AvalonSue: Or maybe he did. Or maybe Travis set it off. We’ll never know for sure, but this only works if Blake planned to murder the entire room, so I’m going with that.

Travis catches the phial before it can break.

Travis: If it takes all my life, I will destroy you, Blake. I will destroy you. I will destroy you.

Sue: They have to stop ending episodes like this. It’s a bit silly.

Me: I’ll get you, Blakey!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was pretty good. Some of it was very exciting. I think Blake’s 7 has finally found its groove. When Servalan and Travis are around it feels like we’re actually going somewhere. It’s all that mucking about on mysterious space ships and shitty planets for no apparent reason that I don’t get. This is what I thought Blake’s 7 would be like; it’s only taken them nine episodes to get there.

7/10

Next Time:

The next blog will be published on Friday 7th February. There won’t be an update this Tuesday. Sorry about that.

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Next

Duel

Eye to eye stand winners and losers…

This episode begins on a planet where a figure carved out of rock forms a very striking centrepiece.

Sue: It’s the sort of statue that you’d see outside a football stadium. Is it a goal celebration?

Me: No, it’s Yohan Cabaye tearing up his Newcastle United contract.

An old lady named Giroc has been summoned to this monument.

Sue: The Sisters of Karn have really let themselves go.

Giroc joins a younger woman named Sinofar, who has materialised out of thin air.

DuelSue: It must be freezing on this planet.

Me: Because her face is blue?

Sue: I’m not talking about her face. Neil. Stop pretending that you can’t see them.

Me: Yeah… I definitely remember this episode.

Sue: I bet you bloody do! She may as well have not got dressed.

There’s plenty of exposition in this scene and Sue tries to keep up.

Sue: OK, so the old woman is the Keeper. Are you sure this isn’t football related?

Meanwhile, on the flight deck of a Federation pursuit ship…

Sue: Oh good, it’s Travie.

Me: Travie? He’s a bad ass Space Commander, not a bloody dog!

The ship is piloted by two Mutoids.

Sue: Lady Gaga must have seen this episode. She wore a hat like that once, although I think it was made out of bacon.

Travis has pursued Blake across several galaxies.

DuelSue: It’s nice of him to hold the microphone like that. It saves the crew having to struggle with a boom in such a cramped set.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Jenna scans the alien planet below.

Sue: I like her space dress. Ooh, and that was a lovely focus pull. Who directed this?

Me: You tell me.

Sue: Is it Douglas Camfield?

She shoots, she scores. However, given that Douglas Camfield is the only Doctor Who director she can remember the name of, and there’s a photograph of him hanging in our kitchen, I guessed this would happen.

Me: Well done. OK, so if this is Douglas Camfield that means something else is different about this episode. Have you spotted it yet?

Sue: Yes, this one is quite good.

Me: No, something else. Come on, it’s obvious.

Sue: It’s the music. The music is different. This isn’t Dudley.

Me: And why is that?

DuelSue: Because Douglas hated Dudley’s guts. Something to do with a champagne bottle, wasn’t it?

Vila accuses Avon of being a machine, which Avon takes as a compliment.

Sue: Either Avon wants to shag Vila or he wants to kill him; he can’t make his mind up.

On the Federation pursuit ship, the Mutoid pilot recharges her plasma supply.

Mutoid: Opponents of Mutoid modification call us vampires.

Sue: Space vampires? Really? Brilliant.

She isn’t being sarcastic. Honest.

Sue: I’m well into this. Even the model shots look good. And I’m sorry, Dudley, I really am, but this music is a huge improvement. It’s really atmospheric instead of parp-parp-parp-maracas.

Blake, Jenna and Gan, oblivious to the threat posed by Travis, decide to explore the alien planet.

Sue: This place is obviously made from polystyrene in a pokey studio in Television Centre, but Douglas is getting away with it. I’ve seen a lot worse. There’s wind and everything. It’s nicely lit, too. It’s a shame they didn’t use film, though. This is when you need film, not when you’re standing in an empty room.

DuelGan spies Federation ships in the sky above them.

Sue: Classic Camfield three-shot. Lovely.

Sinofar also strikes a pose.

Sue: Her dress looks like it’s been painted on.

Me: She’s Isla Blair.

Sue: From the Generation Game?

Me: No, Isla Blair from the Royal Shakespeare Company. She’s married to Julian Glover.

Sue: That name rings a bell.

Me: He’s the randy old priest who gets his knackers out on Game of Thrones.

Sue: Oh yes. Well done him.

Vila sounds the alarm on the Liberator, and Avon nearly skids off the set.

Sue: That was brilliant.

DuelI pause the DVD.

Me: Have you forgiven Avon for punching a woman in the face yet?

Sue: He’s on probation.

Me: Some Blake’s 7 fans think you were a bit sexist for complaining about Avon smacking a woman in the face. Double-standards and all that.

Sue: They can **** off.

Me: They claim that Avon was well within his rights because Sara was trying to kill him.

Sue: She was unarmed when he punched her, so that’s completely wrong for a start. Look, he’s a bad lad. I get it. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, especially when there’s no need for it and he really enjoyed it. I love the way Avon runs, though, so can we just get on with it, please?

The Federation are closing in…

Blake: Maximum speed and range?

Jenna: Standard by four, about eight million spacials.

DuelSue: That’s about half a mile. Seriously though, this is excellent. It’s Das Boot in Space.

While the Liberator is bombarded by plasma bolts, Blake uses state of the art technology to work out his tactics.

Sue: I’m sure they’ve nicked that from Match of the Day. Are you absolutely sure this isn’t about football?

Avon isn’t convinced by Blake’s plan of attack.

Blake: Have you got any better ideas?

A violent explosion throws Blake into Avon’s arms.

Sue: (as Avon) We could have a cuddle while we wait to die, if you like.

Me: Stop that, please.

Blake prepares to ram Travis’s ship. And then everything grinds to a halt. Sue thinks there’s something wrong with the DVD, but when she realises that it’s all part of the plot, she gives me the thumbs up. In slo-mo of course.

Sue: I don’t think ramming the ship is a such a good idea. The Liberator‘s pointy bits will snap off.

When the two ships are a million spatials apart (about an inch), Blake and Travis begin screaming in agony.

DuelSue: OK, it’s gone a bit mad, now. I don’t have a clue what’s going on any more, but it’s going on for ages.

When normality is resumed – Sue says she could have made a cup of tea in the time it took – Giroc’s voice echoes through both ships.

Giroc: Your ship is tethered, held in a stasis beam, it cannot break free. Only your life support systems will function normally, the rest will remain in our control, until we have completed our task.

Sue: I didn’t understand a word of that. Did she forget to put her teeth in?

Blake and Travis find themselves on the alien planet with Sinofar and Giroc.

Sue: Oh, I see. The old woman is Yoda and the woman with practically nothing on is Q from Star Trek. I get it now.

Travis tells his hosts why he hates Blake.

Travis: This man is an enemy of the state and a fugitive.

Sue: You left out child molester. If you really want them to be on your side, start with child molester.

Travis’s response excites Giroc.

Sue: Are there only two woman left on this planet?

Me: Yes.

DuelSue: If I were Blake, I’d be saying “I don’t fancy yours much, Travis” at this point.

Giroc: Tell us, what is your dispute?

Travis: I have told you. This man is an enemy of the Federation, tried and convicted.

Sue: Just say it. He’s on the sex offender register.

Giroc appears on the Liberator‘s scanner to explain the offside rule to the rest of the crew.

Sue: She’s definitely got a William Hartnell vibe going on here.

Blake and Travis will fight each other to the death, but a friend will be sent to keep them company, which means Jenna also vanishes from the flight deck.

Sue: Thank God they didn’t send Vila. Blake would be dead in seconds.

Blake finds himself in a forest.

Sue: This looks great, but I bet it would look even better in widescreen.

Burn the heretic!

Sue: This is basically the The Hunger Games of its day. But with space vampires and magic wizards.

Giroc sends Blake into a tizzy.

Sue: That’s the best directed mind-**** I’ve ever seen. That was brilliant. Douglas was wasted on television.

Blake’s remaining crew monitor events from the comfort of the Liberator‘s coffee lounge.

DuelSue: I’m surprised Gan hasn’t got a tub of popcorn on his lap.

And then something terrible happens.

Sue: Oh no! Bad chromakey.

It appears that Douglas had to cobble together some pick-ups in the studio.

Sue: Either the episode was running short or something went horribly wrong on location. Poor Douglas. Oh well, he’s only human. What he did film looks great.

Blake sharpens some branches with his knife.

Sue: They’ll come in handy against the space vampire. Good thinking, Blake.

When night falls, Blake and Jenna hide in a tree.

Sue: Blake and Jenna sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Me: Stop it. Just stop it.

Sue: What?

DuelMe: Stop shipping.

Sue: Shipping? What the **** are you talking about?

I explain the basic concept of shipping to her.

Sue: Is it called shipping because they have sex on space ships?

Me: Yes, that’s exactly why they call it shipping. Now please stop it.

Meanwhile, Travis and a Mutoid are also sitting in a tree, but there no sexual tension. Instead, Travis passes the time by tormenting his companion.

Travis: I know who you were. Your name was Keyeira.

Sue: You were named after an exotic orange flavoured drink from the 20th century. It’s a very silly name.

Blake is attacked by a bat. Yes, a bat!

Sue: Oh dear. Douglas was definitely having a bad day. It can happen to anyone.

Avon is bored senseless and decides to go to bed.

Avon: Blake is sitting up in a tree, Travis is sitting up in another tree. Unless they’re planning to throw nuts at one another, I don’t see much of a fight developing before it gets light.

Sue: OK, I forgive him.

Morning arrives and the second half kicks off.

DuelSue: So, is Blake a vampire now? What are the chances of that? He gets turned into a vampire on a planet with a vampire on it, but he isn’t bitten by the vampire, he’s bitten by a random bat. That’s just bad luck. And speaking of bad luck, here’s some more bad chroma. It probably rained. That must be it. It looks like it’s been raining. Poor Douglas.

Blake climbs another tree.

Sue: Yes, they are definitely losing light in this scene. What a shame. They should put the floodlights on.

Jenna is abducted by the Mutoid so Travis can use her as bait. The Mutoid wants to snack on Jenna, but Travis won’t allow it.

Sue: She doesn’t get any sexual gratification when she drinks blood. It’s all done mechanically. That’s a bit shit; I wouldn’t want to be a space vampire.

Travis draws Blake out.

Travis: I have your friend. Your friend will die, Blake, unless you give yourself up.

Sue: Has the actor who plays Travis been in anything else?

Me: Loads of stuff.

Eat your heart out, Toby Hadoke.

DuelSue: He’s really good. I like him a lot. Wouldn’t it be great if Travis had a change of heart and joined Blake’s crew? He’d fit right in.

Travis springs his trap, but the hungry Mutoid makes a right pig’s ear of it and Travis and Blake end up fighting to the death.

Me: This sounds like Tangerine Dream.

Sue: Everything sounds like Tangerine Dream to you.

I’m serious. Listen to the soundtrack to ‘Duel’:

And then listen to this snippet from Tangerine Dream’s seminal 1973 album, Atem:

Me: It’s uncanny.

Sue: Whatever.

Sue couldn’t care less; she’s enjoying the testosterone-fuelled fight too much. Blake finally gets the upper hand but he refuses to kill his nemesis in cold blood.

Sue: That act of kindness will set Blake and Jenna free. It’s a bit obvious, but they did it quite well.

Sue is quite right: Sinofar sets Blake free, accepting that his encounter with Travis was a score draw.

Sue: Perhaps Blake should drop kick the old woman in the face before he leaves. You know, just to be “edgy”. She did try to get him killed after all. And she’s armed with a big stick, so he could call it self defence. No?

The Liberator breaks orbit.

Sue: I wish we could see the ship go VROOOOOOOOM! like they do on Star Trek. Never mind.

DuelThe episode concludes with Travis continuing his hunt for Blake.

Travis: He made one fatal error. He should have killed me.

Sue: That’s twice now. I think Blake has a soft spot for Travie.

Me: STOP IT!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was more like it! Why can’t they all be like that? Just let Douglas Camfield direct every episode; it isn’t rocket science. What I really liked about this episode was that you learnt quite a bit about Travis and Blake as characters. It’s a good set-up for the future. It looked great too, although I’ll have to knock a mark off for the bad chroma. And even though the script was a bit clunky at times, I really, really enjoyed it.

9/10

Next Time:

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Mission to Destiny

An Avon calls…

Sue continues to have a complicated relationship with the theme music.

Sue: It reminds me of The Onedin Line. It’s much too horny for me.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Sue: Too many trumpets, so don’t get any funny ideas. ‘Mission to Destiny’, eh? Sounds like the title to a bad seventies disco album.

She doesn’t mention Terry’s name any more. She simply sighs.

Mission to DestinyThis episode begins on:

Sue: The starship Ann Summers.

This starship is piloted by a very familiar face.

Sue: He’s familiar.

Me: He’s best known for playing a serial killer in Coronation Street, but you wouldn’t know about that because you didn’t watch it. I wouldn’t allow it.

Sue: What I do know is that he definitely had a crafty sniff before he said his line. He must have a really bad cold. Or a drug problem.

The Ortega‘s pilot attends to his duties.

Sue: Is that a Dot-to-Dot puzzle?

The pilot is bludgeoned over the head by an unseen assailant, who then smashes the Ortega‘s controls to pieces.

Sue: If we were watching Doctor Who, we wouldn’t have seen any blood.

Me: Unless you count those episodes of Doctor Who were we saw some blood, of course.

Sue: It’s a lot more adult than Doctor Who. It’s trying to be edgy and shocking. But it’s mostly shocking.

The Liberator stumbles across the stricken starship.

Blake: How long before we’re in teleport range?

Zen: That will depend on speed as yet unspecified.

Mission to DestinySue: Can’t they download a different voice for Zen, like you can with your Sat-Nav? You know, so he doesn’t sound quite so arsey all the time.

Zen: Confirmed.

Sue: Because every time Zen says “Confirmed”, all I hear is “**** you”.

Avon, Cally and Blake teleport to the Ortega.

Sue: This is nice and bijou. At least it isn’t just an empty room. There’s a nice selection of board games, too.

Blake can smell trouble.

Avon: Could be the change of atmosphere, a different recycle system to that of the Liberator?

Blake: No, it’s more than that. I can’t place it…

Sue: Whoever smelt it, dealt it.

Sue approves of Avon’s new look.

Sue: I like the different shades of grey. I guess it’s supposed to represent Avon’s character. That’s clever, and it also explains why Vila is dressed like a dick.

Blake and Cally search the Ortega‘s cabins, which contain the ship’s unconscious crew.

Sue: Did Blake just stifle a yawn? I know this is tedious, but even so.

Mission to DestinyCally suddenly succumbs to the arms of Morpheus and Blake has to snap her out of it.

Sue: (groggy) I can’t. It’s… a… Terry… Nation… script…

It’s gas, actually.

Blake: It’s Sono Vapour. Tranquilizing gas.

Sue: So the pilot didn’t have a cold or a drug problem after all. It makes perfect sense now.

Blake closes the cabin’s ventilator.

Sue: He pulled the knob off! It just bounced across the floor.

Blake finds Avon in the part of the ship where the crew grows their marijuana.

Sue: They had a heavy night on the spacey super skunk. They’re sleeping it off.

Cally continues to investigate the ship.

Sue: Either someone is playing an old silent film with a tinkly piano soundtrack in that room, or Dudley is taking the piss.

Mission to DestinySpeaking of film…

Sue: Why have they switched from video to film all of a sudden? Did they have some old stock they needed to use up?

Me: They must have gone on location to film this room.

Sue: What a waste of money! It’s just a panel with a thing sticking out of it! Did they really have to leave the building to film that? They could have shot that anywhere. I would have murdered the producer for that. And it’s really grubby film as well. If this was a Doctor Who DVD, it would look a lot better than this. This is worse than VHS.

Avon finds the gas cylinder which sent the crew to sleep.

Me: Maybe it was a weird sex game that went horribly wrong.

Cally finds the dead pilot, and then, when she’s sure she’s safe, she holsters her gun.

Sue: What a clart on! What kind of holster uses velcro? If there’s a gunfight, that velcro will get her killed, you mark my words.

The crew find a vital clue on the Ortega‘s flight deck: a series of numbers have been scrawled in blood.

Avon: Five four one two four. Whatever that might mean.

Blake: Could be anything. Call sign, transmission frequency, navigation index, anything.

Sue: Maybe it’s the date? I still don’t know when Blake’s 7 is supposed to be set.

Mission to DestinyOne of the Ortega‘s crew members, Sara, wakes up and screams the place down.

Sue: Auditions for Doctor Who are in the studio next door, pet.

When the rest of the Ortega‘s crew wakes up, everyone convenes in the ship’s games room. They all look as if they’ve been date raped.

Sue: Miserable bunch, aren’t they. They could give Blake’s crew a run for their money when it comes to seething resentment and barely disguised hatred for one another.

Me: Do you recognise anyone in this room?

Sue: They all look vaguely familiar. Are they Play School presenters?

I pause the DVD and point at John Leeson.

Me: Well that’s K9 for a start.

Sue: Like I’m going to recognise him! He looks nothing like K9. Is this what the actor did when K9 couldn’t appear in Doctor Who because the floors wouldn’t support him, he did some Blake’s 7 to keep himself busy?

Sue would rather spend some quality time with the regulars.

Mission to DestinySue: You’ve got six characters and a grumpy computer to deal with, so the last thing this show needs is another six characters! What was Terry thinking? And their collars are ridiculous. Are they a travelling band of court jesters?

No, they’re racing home to the planet Destiny with a cure for a nasty fungal infection that will wipe out the planet in a couple of months.

Sue: Blake should ask them to join his crew. They don’t like the Federation very much, and they are definitely mardy enough. It could be Blake’s 12, that way he would have a few in reserve, just in case anyone buggered off or died.

Blake offers to take a precious neutrotope to Destiny – it will take the Liberator four days to make the trip, as opposed to five months in the crippled Ortega. Avon and Cally agree to stay with the Ortega‘s crew until Blake returns.

Sue: Why don’t they take them all home at the same time? There’s plenty of room on the Liberator. No furniture, but plenty of room.

Cally: We must help these people.

Avon: Must we? Personally, I don’t care if their whole planet turns into a mushroom.

Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. They should have given him his own series.

Cally heads to the ship’s stores to find some laser transfer linkage, whatever the hell that is.

Mission to DestinySue: Cally is painfully thin. She needs some mince and dumplings inside her.

Cally explores the stores with a very large torch.

Sue: It’s a shame their guns don’t light up. After all, their guns do look like giant light filaments.

Cally opens a cupboard, which results in a man rolling off the top of it onto the floor.

Me: That’s Stuart Fell.

Sue: Of course it is. Who else could it be? I was thinking about him only the other day. And before you ask, yes, Stuart fell very well.

Avon calls everyone to the ship’s drawing-room.

Sue: It’s turned into Midsomer Murders in Space. I don’t like it.

Avon: I know – we all know – that one of you is the murderer.

Dr Kendall: In the meantime, you will all resume your normal duties, and anything that you see or hear that seems unusual, report to me at once. Thank you.

Sue: And whatever you do, try not to get killed!

However, not everyone shares Avon’s suspicions.

Mission to DestinyGrovane: There could be somebody else on the ship, somebody we don’t know about, a stowaway!

Sue: Yeah, it could be the alien catheter cock monster out for revenge! Anything’s possible. And probably better than this.

Meanwhile, Blake is racing to Destiny with some life-saving anti-fungal cream.

Sue: I don’t understand why they didn’t all get on the Liberator and go there together. There are only so many board games you can play before boredom kicks in.

A meteorite storm is blocking the Liberator‘s path, but going around it will add several days to their journey.

Vila: Let’s go round.

Sue: Oh **** off, Vila.

A member of the Ortega‘s crew, a man named Sonheim, kills some time by flirting with Cally.

Sue: He’s the worst actor to appear in Blake’s 7 so far, and I’m counting that shit Ewok with the wild staring eyes. He’s dreadful.

Back on the flight deck, Avon is jumping to conclusions.

Cally: So who do you think it is?

Avon: Mandrian.

Sue: Which one is Mandrian again? I can’t keep up. They need name badges. Either that or just say “the one with the beard” or “the one with the lazy eye” – that’s the only way I’m going to keep up.

Mission to DestinyMeanwhile, the Liberator is flying through a meteorite storm.

Sue: Asteroids would have been very popular in pubs right about now, so that makes sense.

The Liberator makes it out of the meteorite storm just as its force wall runs out of power.

Sue: They sold that scene with face acting, a piece of string, and no special effects. I don’t know whether to applaud or boo.

I can tell that Sue’s attention is beginning to wander when she fixates on Avon’s clothes again.

Sue: There are typewriter keys glued to his tunic. What’s that all about?

Me: Maybe you press them and they heat up his vest. I don’t know.

Sue: They are driving me mad. I just want to go up to him and press his buttons.

Me: Yes, I bet you do.

Avon finally solves the case.

Avon: Right from the start, we thought that those were numbers. They are not, they are letters.

Cally and Sue: Letters?

Avon: Rafford was dying. It’s difficult to be neat under those circumstances. Let’s start with the one and the two.

Avon connects the dots to form a word: SARA.

Sue: So the Dot-to-Dot puzzle was a massive clue all along!

Mission to DestinySara holds everyone at gunpoint.

Sue: It’s either a gun or a torch. It’s difficult to tell.

Meanwhile, Blake suddenly realises that he’s left the precious neutrotope on the Ortega.

Sue: You should have checked before you left, you moron! It’s the first thing I tell my students when they take video equipment out of the building: always check the box before you leave! Oh, that makes me so angry…

At least Sue finally knows who Sara reminds her of; it’s been bugging her for ages.

Sue: I’ve got it! She’s Leslie Ash before Leslie Ash turned into a fish.

Avon punches Sara in the face. Sue is shocked and appalled.

Avon: I really rather enjoyed that.

And that line tips her over the edge.

Sue: Please tell me that didn’t happen.

She boos loudly at the screen.

Blake returns with the Liberator, which is just as well because another ship is on its way to blow the Ortega to pieces.

Sue: Hang on a minute. Did they have to go back through the asteroids again? How could they do that without their force whatsit? If they went round the asteroids, that means Avon has been sitting around for days. Terry Nation doesn’t understand time, does he?

Mission to DestinySeconds before Blake can teleport everyone to the Liberator, Sara tears off her bracelet and throws it across the room.

Me: That’s another one they’ve lost. The rate they’re going, they won’t have any bracelets left soon.

The episode concludes with Blake taking everyone back to Destiny.

Sue: WHY DIDN’T THEY DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? ARGH!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue yawns, and I don’t think the Sono Vapour is to blame.

Sue: What a boring place to set a story – a square space ship. So dull. Avon was the best thing in it by a mile, but I’m not sure about him becoming a space detective. It doesn’t suit him at all. And punching women in the face? He can **** right off. If he does that again I’ll have to switch to Team Blake. Apart from that, what can I say? It was pointless. And where the hell are Travis and Servalan?

3/10

Next Time:

Back
Next

Seek - Locate - Destroy

Good Greif…

Seek - Locate - DestroyForget what the opening voice-over says, according to Sue, this episode begins on the planet ICI.

Sue: This gave Ridley Scott the idea to film Blade Runner in Middlesbrough.

Before I can argue with her, a security robot trundles into view. Sue pulls a face at it.

Me: It could have been a lot worse, it could have been Metal Mickey.

Sue: It could have been a lot better, it could have been Dusty Bin.

The security robot opens fire on some electrical wiring which is flapping harmlessly in the wind.

Sue: Are you sure it’s a good idea to fire a weapon like that in a chemical plant? What does the robot do when it sees a crisp packet? Go nuclear?

Blake contacts the Liberator.

Blake: I’m down and safe.

Sue: Blake always goes down first. If Blake was really in charge, he’d make Gan go down first. I think Blake has a death wish.

The Liberator‘s crew prepares to join Blake on Centero.

Sue: They’re wearing colour-coordinated Millets anoraks. That’s nice.

Me: I’d like an anorak like that. I don’t think the outfits have dated that much.

Sue: That’s why I don’t let you buy your own clothes, Neil.

Vila teleports to Blake’s location.

Seek - Locate - DestroySue: It must be really difficult to infiltrate a secret base when the teleport effect has its own theme music. Don’t tell me the robot didn’t hear those trumpets.

Vila doesn’t really want to participate in this mission.

Sue: Vila is basically the Ian Beale of Blake’s 7. I know I’m supposed to empathise with him, but I just want to punch him in the face.

The security robot returns for another sweep, just as Vila attempts to break into a TOP SECURITY area.

Blake: Vila, take cover!

Sue: Where? Behind this ****ing ladder?

Vila eventually hacks his way into the compound.

Sue: Does this scene really warrant the Love Theme from Blake’s 7? Are Vila and Blake an item? That would make sense, actually.

Vila and Blake disable two Federation guards using the ancient martial art known as ‘panto’. Meanwhile, Avon, Cally and Gan, armed to the teeth with explosives, prepare to teleport down to the planet.

Avon: A fraction out and you could put us down in the middle of the security barracks.

Jenna: Don’t tempt me.

Sue: There isn’t a lot of love in Blake’s 7. It’s one big bitch-fest. And what does Blake carry around in those little bum bags on his belt? Extra strong mints? And why are they running around this place anyway? Have we missed an episode? What are they trying to do? How is this going to clear Blake’s name?

Me: This is basically what they do now: they land on Federation planets and they blow stuff up.

Seek - Locate - DestroySue: Oh, so they’re terrorists?

Me: Terrorists or freedom fighters, it’s up to you. Remember what was going on in 1978 when the BBC made Blake’s 7.

Sue: Oh right. I see. So Blake is a militant trade unionist.

Me: I’m talking about the IRA.

Sue: Only if the IRA were Welsh. So what does the shit robot represent?

Me: The weak pound.

Blake’s crew steal a Federation cipher machine.

Sue: So this is what Blake does now – he breaks into secret bases and he nicks stuff. Is it supposed to be Ocean’s 7 in Space?

Cally is assaulted by a Federation trooper with an enormous moustache.

Sue: What a terrible fight. What Blake’s 7 really needs right now is Stuart Fell.

Cally loses her bracelet before she can teleport back to the Liberator with the rest of the gang. Sue doesn’t understand why Cally’s bracelet doesn’t teleport back to the ship without her, but she’s silly like that.

Sue: I don’t believe this. They haven’t noticed that Cally is missing yet. They hate each other so much, they don’t realise that they’ve lost a crew member. That really is shocking.

Me: She wasn’t even wearing the red anorak.

Blake takes charge of the situation.

Sue: Why is Blake the boss? Did they ever vote on that? I don’t understand why Avon isn’t the leader; I know who I’d rather follow. I like Blake – he means well – but he’s a bit suicidal.

Seek - Locate - DestroyMeanwhile, on a space station somewhere…

Sue: Is it Servalan?

Me: Yes, love. Yes, it is.

Sue: She’s gorgeous and she isn’t wearing a bra.

Supreme Commander Servalan discusses Blake’s crusade with two men named Bercol and Rontane. The latter is played by Peter Miles.

Sue: He’s a bad guy. He’s always the bad guy. He was in Doctor Who and he was definitely the bad guy.

Me: Thank you. That’s what I wanted to know.

Servalan: I am aware of the danger should Blake become a legend. But let us keep this matter in its correct perspective.

Sue: She talks like Margaret Thatcher. Is that who Servalan is supposed to represent, a sexy Margaret Thatcher?

Me: Servalan isn’t in charge of the Federation, she’s in charge of the Federation’s security services.

Sue: Oh, so she’s a sexy M.

Servalan promises to put her best man on the job.

Rontane: May we know the officer’s name?

Servalan: Yes, you may. Space Commander Travis.

Sue: I was wondering when he was going to show up. Is this why you convinced our Kenny to call his dog Travis, because Travis chases the cats?

Seek - Locate - DestroyIt’s true. I did suggest that Sue’s younger brother name his dog Travis, and I didn’t mention Blake’s 7 once. I told him to name the dog after Travis Perkins, the building suppliers. Like that was less sad somehow.

Sue: So, if Servalan is a sexy M, Travis must be a sexy James Bond. Actually, that doesn’t work, does it. Maybe he’s a really ugly James Bond. Anyway, I like her big chair, even if it is a bit mucky round the back.

Blake and his crew have buggered off, speed standard by six, leaving Cally to her fate.

Sue: Unbelievable. Captain Kirk would never leave Scotty or Spock behind like that. And not only that, we’re back to Blake’s bloody 5 again. What a disaster.

Jenna gives Blake a hard time for feeling guilty about Cally’s death.

Sue: She never liked Cally anyway, in the sense that she liked her even less than the other people she doesn’t really like on this ship. It’s a bit bleak, this.

Servalan’s space station reminds Sue of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, if 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s special effects were made by Blue Peter, that is.

Sue: You can actually see a coat hanger sticking out of the top. Unbelievable.

A Federation officer named Rai questions Servalan’s decision to employ Travis.

Servalan: Travis is an advocate of total war. He carries out his orders with meticulous thoroughness.

Sue: They are really bigging Travis up. If he turns out to be completely useless after all this hype, I won’t be happy.

Seek - Locate - DestroyTravis finally makes his big entrance, and yes, he really is an ugly James Bond.

Sue: It’s Darth Vader meets the Phantom of the Opera meets the Borg.

Travis is given his marching orders: he must search for, find and kill Blake.

Sue: It’s For Your Eye Only.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Avon has used the cipher machine they stole on Centero to hack into the Federation’s battle computers. The crew will have to take it in turns to monitor the transmissions, because asking your large supercomputer to do it for you would be fruitless. And then Avon intercepts a transmission that mentions Space Commander Travis.

Blake: Travis! I thought he was dead. I was sure I’d killed him.

Sue: What a brilliant line. Terry just knocked it out of the park. It’s a huge coincidence, but I’m going to go with it.

After a quick Martini, Travis begins his investigations on Centero. He can’t understand why Blake led Federation personnel out of the cipher room before he blew it up.

Technician: I suppose they thought it was safer with us out of the way.

Travis: No. No. There’s something missing. I’m missing something.

Sue: Yes, an eye.

Seek - Locate - DestroyThe technician receives a report that something has been found under the rubble. He acknowledges this news by holding a communicator up to his throat.

Sue: Do the technicians on the ICI planet have throat cancer? Is the power plant radioactive or something?

Travis, who Sue believes is dressed as an evil, kinky Superman, extracts Cally from the rubble and reports back to Servalan.

Sue: His peripheral vision must be terrible. Why didn’t they give him a bigger hole? I’ve seen pin-hole cameras with bigger holes than that.

To compensate for this, Travis shows off his massive ring.

Sue: I bet that catches when he does up his flies.

It turns out that Blake and Travis have previous.

Sue: That was nicely done, the way they cut between Blake and Travis like that. They are really trying to build this up, even though this rivalry has turned up completely out of the blue. Sherlock needs Moriarty, the Doctor needs the Master, and Blake needs this guy. Yes, we get it. But would it have killed them to mention his name in the first episode? During Blake’s trial, perhaps? Story arc, my arse!

Blake tells his crew about his quarrel with Travis during a coffee break on the Liberator.

Seek - Locate - DestroySue: Did Blake shoot him in the eye? I want to see the flashback where Blake shoots him in the eye.

Back in the good old days, when Blake was public enemy number one, Travis ambushed and killed many of Blake’s friends.

Blake: Travis was already there. He’d been hiding in that basement for more than two days.

Sue: Flashback, please.

Blake: I saw Travis. And I fired. I saw him fall. I was sure I’d killed him.

Sue: We may as well be watching Jackanory.

Cally is placed in the hands of the Federation’s Interrogation Division.

Sue: If she’s was a proper telepath, she might be able to do something useful here. But she’s just a glorified ventriloquist at the end of the day.

Blake decides to return to Centero to save Cally, even though it’s obviously a trap.

Blake: Zen, immediate course change. Direct route to Centero speed standard by six.

Sue: Why not make it standard by seven? If you really cared about Cally, you’d go speed standard by eight!

Zen: Liberator is turning onto new course heading, now.

Sue: Even the computer hates them. There’s no respect. Blake needs to take everyone on a team building weekend after this.

Seek - Locate - DestroyTravis lies in wait on Centero, and aside from pointing out some horrendous and completely unnecessary chromakey, Sue soaks up the details of the trap that has been set for Blake.

Travis: Which leaves just one chance factor: exactly where they’ll teleport down. The odds are against them being able to zero in on the interrogation room.

Sue: He’s a little on the camp side but still very intense. I’m not sure about him yet.

Travis taunts Cally and then he incapacitates her so she can’t cry out to Blake when he arrives.

Travis: Now this won’t hurt.

It definitely hurts.

Sue: Cally will use her ventriloquism to guide Blake in. She’s finally found a use for her naff superpower.

Travis stalks the security compound with a stern look on his face.

Sue: Travis is thinking to himself: we need better architects. Our planets are complete shit holes.

Seek - Locate - DestroyWhen Travis returns to the interrogation room, Cally has already been freed by Blake.

Blake: I got here first.

Sue: They should have monitored the room for trumpets.

Cally turns the tables on Travis.

Sue: Tell him it won’t hurt and then poke his other eye out.

Blake decides to let Travis live.

Sue: Big mistake. Shoot his other hand off at least!

Sue gasps when Blake shoots off Travis’s robotic hand instead. And then Blake and Cally teleport away seconds before some Federation troops arrive.

Travis: Don’t stand there, you idiots! Launch the interceptors!

Sue: Travis sounds like he’s about to burst into tears. He’s a big baby.

Back on the Liberator, Blake fondles Travis’s tiny gun.

Seek - Locate - DestroySue: Well, you know what they say…

The episode concludes with Travis vowing to hunt Blake down.

Sue: Given what I’ve seen so far, I won’t be holding my breath.

Cue credits.

Sue: Hang on a minute. How did Blake get through all those security measures? Did Cally do something clever, and I missed it, or did they do the one thing that Travis said they definitely couldn’t do? I’m confused.

Me: Blake arrived there before they put Cally in the interrogation room. He hid there. You know, like Travis did to him in the flashback we never saw.

Sue: Well that wasn’t very clear. Hang on. So Blake was in the room the whole time Travis was in there with Cally? Travis needs to get that eye seen to. He can’t see shit.

The Score:

Sue: Well, that was better than the last one. Still not very good, though. It was just one big set up because they forgot to do it earlier. But at least it’s going somewhere. I think. But it needs to start bucking its ideas up. Oh, and Avon did sod all again.

5/10

Next Time:

Back
Next

The Web

Saymon says…

The WebSue: We’ve landed on the planet of The Prisoner balloons, and a Yeti is running riot.

This is what I’ve done to Sue. Whenever she sees a mysterious alien web these days, she automatically thinks it’s a Yeti. Not a giant space spider – a Yeti. Not that there are any giant space spiders in this story, but you know what I mean.

Sue: Center Parcs has really let itself go in whatever the hell year this is supposed to be.

Inside a domed habitat, a disembodied voice is repeating the same phrase over and over again. Sue can’t make out the words because the music is too loud. But if Sue’s brain can’t make out three simple words, it goes into meltdown when she finally claps eyes on the source of this half-whispered mantra.

Sue: What the hell is THAT?

Words can’t describe it, but Sue has a bloody go anyway.

Sue: It’s an alien catheter cock monster!

My wife looks disgusted. I’m laughing like a drain. It’s a defence mechanism; I haven’t seen this episode for 36 years and seeing it now brings back floods of memories, none of them pleasant.

The WebSue: That was really disturbing. And this is even worse!

Yes, Blake is reclining in bed with his shirt open. Sue laments his absent six-pack as he strolls half-naked onto the Liberator‘s flight deck.

Sue: Blake wants Jenna to see his chest. Is he trying to laugh her into bed?

Meanwhile, Cally is touring the Liberator‘s rather spacious interior.

Sue: There are a lot of empty rooms on this ship. The aliens who designed it didn’t think it through. Why would you have a massive room like that for one single panel? The ship must be dragging lots of unnecessary weight. It can’t be very fuel-efficient.

Vila bumps into Cally in a corridor.

Vila: Cally, what do you think of the outfit?

Sue: You look like a medieval butcher.

Cally caves Vila’s head in.

Sue: Nice hand-held camera there. That was nicely done. And Vila has been asking for that for a while.

Cally finds Avon tinkering with the Liberator‘s flight systems.

Sue: Avon has decided to dress as a bad guy. Everybody else has gone for a Merry Man look, but not him. He’s dressed as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Cally puts her finger to her temple and then she asks Avon where the ship’s forward detector links are located.

Sue: She’s the only telepath I know who extracts information from people BY ASKING THEM!

The WebAccording to Sue, you can cut the sexual tension between Avon and Cally in this scene with a laser saw.

Sue: She doesn’t have to be a telepath to know what Avon is thinking right now. For heaven’s sake, get a room!

But Cally has other things on her mind, like sabotaging the ship.

Sue: Blake should have vetted his crew better.

Me: His crew is made up of thieves and murderers, and he’s a convicted child molester, so I’m not exactly sure how a vetting process would work.

Gan is resting in his room when he is called to the flight deck.

Sue: Does no one ever wear pyjamas on this bloody ship?

Me: Just be grateful that he didn’t get his baps out.

Blake and Avon confront Cally, who has burnt out the ship’s detector links.

Avon: Look at the burns on her hand.

Sue: Wow. That is very realistic. Too realistic for this time slot. This is a very disturbing episode and we’re only ten minutes in. The direction is interesting, too. I like the POV shots a lot.

And then – and this completely ruins the mood – we pay another visit to the alien catheter cock monster.

Sue: I don’t know how they did it, but that is stupid and scary at the same time. I don’t want to look at it but I can’t take my eyes off it. And by it, I mean IT! Look, Neil!

I can’t. It’s 1978 again and I’m about to wet the bed.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: Is Zen made from copper? Does he ever get verdigris? I bet Zen would look nice with some verdigris.

Thanks to Cally’s handiwork, the Liberator is flying blind.

The WebZen: Position is unconfirmed.

Sue: Why doesn’t somebody just look out of a window?

The Liberator is ensnared in a giant space web.

Sue: Is it the Great Intelligence? Are monsters from Doctor Who allowed to appear in Blake’s 7? Or is that against the rules?

Me: I think Terry Nation wanted the Daleks to appear in an episode but the BBC vetoed it.

Sue: He would have pulled out one of his old scripts, changed all the names, and hoped no one noticed.

Avon demonstrates the ship’s automatic repair systems to Gan.

Gan: That is fantastic!

Sue: It’s Gantastic! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

And then this happens:

Avon: There’s always a market for technology like this.

Gan: I don’t think Blake would agree to that.

Avon: There will come a time when he won’t be making the decisions.

Avon smiles. Sue laughs.

Sue: The cheeky ****er. I love him.

The WebBack on the flight deck, Jenna is giving Blake one of her funny looks.

Blake: Jenna? What’s wrong?

Sue: Your flies are undone.

And then the alien catheter cock monster – Saymon to his friends – uses Jenna as a conduit to drop a very confusing bombshell:

Saymon: We have examined your ship most carefully through our daughter Cally.

Sue: Eh? What? Pardon?

Blake tries to fire his way out of the web with the ship’s neutron blasters, but Vila forgets to raise the neutron flare shield. The idiot!

Sue: This is the best bit. I love how they still don’t know how to work the ship yet. They haven’t got a clue. Four months they’ve had to work it out. Four months.

The Liberator doesn’t make much headway.

Blake: How much distance have we covered?

Zen: One hundred spatials.

The WebSue: How long is a spatial? Is it an inch? A mile? What?

Me: I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s ‘spatial’ or ‘spacial’.

Sue: I think I’ve finally worked out why Avon hates Blake so much. It’s because Blake won’t stop calling him “Avin” and it’s getting on his tits.

Blake prepares to teleport to the co-ordinates given to him by the alien catheter cock monster, but if Sue thinks this creature is the weirdest thing about this episode then she’s in for a bit of a shock.

Sue: Oh… My… God.

Sue is momentarily lost for words as the Decimas wreak havoc on Center Parcs.

Sue: Shit Ewoks. That’s what they are. They’re shit Ewoks.

Me: That’s a tautology if ever I heard one.

Sue: Look at that one with the wild staring eyes! Wow. Either he really loves his job or he’s high on ketamine.

And then Sue hits a brick wall.

The WebSue: I thought Blake’s 7 was going to be easy. I thought it was going to be this gritty, adult space drama. But it’s shit. Utter shit! Even Doctor Who would have thought twice about this. How many months will it take us to get through Blake’s 7? I’m having second thoughts.

Blake teleports down to the planet.

Sue: He looks like he’s going fishing in that anorak. At least Millets is still going in the future.

A Decima throws a spear at Blake. It grazes our hero’s hand.

Sue: Actually, that was really good. Basically, the make-up department are saying, if you want gory, messed-up hands, that’s fine. Not a problem. Bring it on. Anything else, forget it.

A Decima pleads with a very confused Blake.

Decima: Help us! Help us please!

Sue: What the ****? You just tried to kill him!

A door in the habitat opens and a humanoid dressed in tin foil and see-thru plastic – so Sue immediately spots his bright red underpants – kills the little fella with a shock stick.

Sue: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Blake is introduced to two humanoids – Novara and Geela – who, according to Sue, look like they are waiting for Steve Strange to turn up so they can form a band. Geela tends to Blake’s wound, which looks really nasty. In fact it’s so nasty, I have to turn away.

The WebSue: You can look now, Neil. They cured it with some bacon. Ha! Cured bacon.

For some inexplicable reason, Sue falls for Novara’s charms.

Sue: Is he the final crew member? I like him. He can stay. This is what Paul McGann will look like when he goes grey.

Blake watches helplessly as a Decima cries its little heart out.

Sue: Aww. I feel sorry for it. Sorry and a little bit nauseous.

I’m wiping tears away too, because I’m laughing my head off.

Geela: It’s almost as if they had emotions.

Sue: Almost? It’s crying its ****ing eyes out! I’m not worried, though. Blake will save them.

Me: I don’t want to give too much away, but one of those little critters is the last crew member. You have to guess which one. They call him Weepy, and he gets into all sorts of funny scrapes. Put the cushion down, Sue. I’m joking.

Blake would love to stop and chat but several Federation pursuit ships are closing in on the Liberator.

Zen: If they maintain present course and speed they will pass at a range not exceeding two million spacials.

Sue: That’s about a yard, I think.

Novara and Geela tell Blake that they created the Decimas.

Sue: They must be really embarrassed about that. I bet you can’t take them anywhere.

And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, and for approximately two and a half minutes, Sue engages with the plot.

Sue: It’s a fascinating moral dilemma, I think, but I don’t really give a shit. And Blake is hogging all the plots. Yes, his name in the title of the programme but Avon doesn’t get a look in. Blake loves it when he’s the centre of attention.

Blake meets with Saymon..

The WebMe: Gareth Thomas isn’t acting here. That look of horror and disbelief on his face is completely genuine. This was his reaction when he saw the Saymon prop for the first time.

Sue: It’s just a man sticking his head through a hole in a wall. His arms, legs – and his ‘you know what’ – are made from pipe cleaners. Actually, I can’t listen to this any more. I can’t take it seriously.

Avon teleports down to the planet with the power cells Saymon needs to destroy the web (and the Decimas).

Saymon: If the Decimas reach him, he’ll be in danger. Those power cells must be protected.

Blake: I don’t give a damn about your power cells. There’s a friend of mine out there.

Sue: Aww, Blake thinks Avon is his friend. How adorable. Poor Blake.

Avon strolls towards the domed habitat.

Sue: What’s the point of these orange balls? The last time I saw this many inflatable balls, I was at a Muse concert.

Blake catches up with Avon.

Avon: What’s going on?

Blake: Let’s get under cover first.

The WebSue: Or we could just squat next to this tree. Good grief. I’m losing what little patience I have left, Neil.

Blake buries the power cells in the undergrowth. And then he throws away the box that they came in.

Sue: Why not put the cells back in the box and bury that instead? What if a shit Ewok accidentally steps on them? You idiot, Blake.

It’s all academic anyway, because the cells are immediately discovered by Novara.

Sue: Oh well, that killed two minutes, didn’t it, Terry.

And then the Decimas go batshit mental and all hell breaks loose.

Sue: Did you put something in my tea, Neil?

The revolt is as violent as it is relentless.

Sue: Vicious little bastards, aren’t they. They make the Ewoks look like cuddly teddy bears.

Me: Er…

Sue: And that noise! That noise is giving me a headache. Make it stop! Please!

Me: Utini!

The WebThe revolt culminates in a scene where the Decimas play football with their parents’ rotting heads. I’m not making this up. Sue is horrified, appalled, and a little bit sick.

Sue: This is definitely the most messed-up piece of shit you’ve ever made me watch, Neil. When we divorce, this is definitely Exhibit A.

Me: I’m sorry. I must have blocked it out. I definitely saw it in 1978, though. It traumatised me. In fact, I didn’t sleep for weeks. It’s all coming back to me now. In fact, I think I may need some counselling.

Sue: Not on your salary, you don’t.

The episode concludes with Blake and Avon pontificating about all the weird shit they’ve just been put through.

Sue: They should all go back to bed and pretend it was just a dream. That’s what I’m going to do.

Cue credits. Thank God.

The Score:

Sue: It was too noisy, too gory, and too stupid for words. They should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know what else to say.

1/10

Sue: And that’s only because Avon was in it. A bit.

Next Time:

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