Children of Auron
Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel…
Sue: Oh no. Not her again.
This episode is hemorrhaging marks before it’s even begun.
Sue: So what’s her crackpot scheme this week?
There is some good news, though.
Sue: She really suits the colour black. I was tired of seeing her dressed in white all the time. And her sparkly dog collar is very kinky. I bet you fancied Servalan, Neil.
Me: I was only ten at the time. Although I did have a poster of Debbie Harry on my bedroom wall. And Joanna Lumley, too. Maybe Servalan wasn’t my type.
Sue: It still looks like she’s late for a cocktail party, but it’s an improvement on her being late for a wedding.
Servalan has two right-hand men this week. The first is a young stud named Ginka.
Sue: Space Ninjas! Is that her latest plan? I she going to attack the Liberator with Space Ninjas? She’s had crazier ideas.
Her second right-hand man is a middle-aged chap named Deral.
Sue: ****ing hell, Neil! That’s your dad!
Oh. My. God. She’s right.
Sue: OK, he isn’t smoking a tab and complaining about his IBS, but it’s definitely your dad. It’s uncanny.
Me: Stop it! Blake’s 7 is weird enough as it is.
Servalan wants to attack an Auron space ship with her – gasp! – ionic beams.
Servalan: I want that pilot alive. Alive and vulnerable.
Sue: And in sparkly handcuffs, if you’ve got them.
Meanwhile, on the Liberator…
Sue: I wish Cally would do something about her shaggy perm. I hate shaggy perms. The number of shaggy perms I had to deal with when I was a hairdresser in the eighties. Unbelievable. Everybody wanted a shaggy perm.
Me: Did you have a shaggy perm?
Sue: Of course I ****ing did.
Sue is so obsessed with Cally’s hair, she misses a vital plot point and I have to rewind the DVD. Yes, the crew are heading back to Earth so Avon can exact revenge on a Federation thug known as Shrinker.
Avon: One of his victims was a young woman called Anna Grant. She was important to me.
Me: Do you remember Anna Grant?
Me: Yes you do. The one where Avon had to defuse a bomb with Duggan from Doctor Who. Remember?
Sue: Oh yes. He left her to die. He hasn’t mentioned her in ages.
Me: Yes, well now he’s out for revenge.
Sue: Why not. They’ve got sod all else to do.
The Auron space ship is attacked by ionic beams.
Sue: Hey! Flash Gordon wants his space suit back.
Me: Do you recognise the pilot?
Sue: Yes, it’s Flash Gordon.
Me: I’ll ask you again when he takes his helmet off.
Sue: Is it a young Stephen Fry?
Me: (exasperated) He’s the son of a Doctor.
Sue: Is he one of the Troughtons?
Me: Yes, very good! But which one?
Sue: I don’t know. There were loads of them, weren’t there? Christmas must have been a nightmare for Patrick.
Me: Yes, Sue, BUT YOU’VE ONLY MET ONE OF THEM!
Sue: Oh! Yes! It’s.. it’s… Michael Troughton!
To learn more about Sue’s epic encounter with Michael Troughton, please buy our book Adventures with the Wife in Space: Living with Doctor Who. While stocks last. I mean, come on, it’s less than four quid on the Kindle. You can’t buy a packet of tabs for that, and our book won’t give you cancer.
Sue: He’s such a lovely man. And I love his silver life jacket. I’m not sure how that would work in space, but there you go.
Back on the Liberator, Cally is telling Tarrant about her guerrilla past.
Tarrant: Where you exiled?
Cally: Yes. Why do you imagine I’ve never gone back? Affection for him?
Cut to Avon.
Sue: They’re having a lover’s tiff. Cally is jealous.
Me: (sighing) Of Dayna, I suppose.
Sue: No, stupid. She’s jealous of Anna. Avon is prepared to risk everything to avenge his ex-girlfriend. That won’t turn Cally on. Don’t you know anything about women, Neil?
Me: I’ll bear that in mind the next time I avenge an ex-girlfriend.
Back on the Auron ship, all hell is being reflected back at us with Mirrorlon.
Sue: Did they lace Michael’s drink with LSD? Because this is a bit weird.
Michael Troughton has definitely seen better days.
Sue: So Servalan has unleashed the bubonic plague. What a bitch. That’s low, even for her.
Me and Sue: URGH!
Sue: Oh my God, Michael Troughton is leaking custard. Thanks for that image. CUT!
Cally is freaking out on the Liberator‘s flight deck.
Cally: They’re all dying. Dayna, they’re all dying!
Sue: There’s custard everywhere!
The planet Auron is in the grip of a deadly epidemic.
Module Six: First case was an hour ago. It started with the children.
Sue: And I thought Happy Valley was bleak. Jesus…
A woman named Zelda is instructed to prepare Auron’s genetic stock for evacuation.
Sue: That woman looks like Cally.
Me: It’s her twin sister, silly.
Sue: Of course it is. I should have known that because Cally never stops talking about her. It’s Zelda this, Zelda that, all the time. She never shuts up about her.
Cally convinces the crew to divert to Auron.
Zen: Confirm course change to zero three one zero. Destination: the planet Auron. State speed.
Tarrant: Standard by Six.
Sue: No rush. Take your time.
Servalan is interested in Auron’s ability to clone DNA.
Deral: It does seem a little… excessive. To afflict the whole planet merely to indulge –
Servalan: Indulge nothing! This, Deral, this is merely a bonus. My primary objective for Auron’s affliction, as you call it, is to seize the Liberator.
Sue: OK, let me get this straight: Servalan is going to wipe out an entire planet just so she can get her hands on a space ship that isn’t that good in the first place? It keeps getting damaged and it’s taken over every five minutes. And she’s going to clone herself while she’s doing it? Did she come up with this idea in the shower?
Meanwhile, Tarrant is giving Avon a lesson in compassion.
Tarrant: As long as Cally is part of this crew, she has full call on your loyalty and support, no matter what the risks.
Sue: Is he having a laugh? What about Vila? You hypocritical knob! Unbelievable.
Orac explains how Auron could have succumbed to an epidemic.
Orac: Auron has had a policy of neutrality and isolation, the planet has now been kept completely free of all disease for more than three decades.
Avon: Without disease there would be no natural resistance to infection.
Sue: After thirty years? That seems a bit quick, but I can’t be arsed to go to Wikipedia and check.
Ginka cures Auron’s replication expert, Franton.
Ginka: There’s a mirror to your left.
Sue: It’s just like 10 Years Younger. Or Not What to Wear. Or that Gok Wan one where everyone was naked. And why does Servalan have an art gallery on her space ship?
Sue: There, on the walls. She’s decorated her space ship with abstract paintings.
Ginka says he can only cure six people at a time.
Sue: That’s all right. There’s probably only six people on that planet anyway. In fact, the Liberator could probably beam them all up.
Me: “Beam them up!” For ****’s sake, Sue!
Deral is fed up with Ginka’s bad attitude.
Deral: I’m tired of your insubordination. I’m tired of your not very subtle attempt to undermine my authority.
Sue: Is this what your dad was like when he was the shop steward in his factory? I bet he was.
Me: Stop it.
Servalan wants to replicate herself.
Sue: Broody and vain. This is a recipe for disaster.
Avon contacts the Liberator to see if Orac has come up with a cure yet, but Vila can’t hear him because he’s got his helmet on. Sue laughed at this, whereas a week ago she would have tutted. So that’s good.
Ginka’s men storm Auron’s control room and Tarrant, Avon and Cally are taken prisoner.
Sue: Space Ninjas! He may be an irritating dick with an attitude problem, but at least he gets the job done.
Servalan’s DNA is injected into a synthesised placenta.
Sue: Are you sure they’re not just making Yorkshire puddings in there?
Deral looks at the basting tray and contemplates a future filled with mini-Servalans.
Sue: It is a scary thought. I don’t mean to be funny but Servalan doesn’t really strike me as Mum of the Year material.
Deral teleports to the Liberator to negotiate its surrender, but Dayna ambushes him.
Vila: You tried to trick us, Servalan. Naughty. One hostage to us.
Servalan: And three to me.
Sue: It’s pretty good, this. Just as long as they shoot Tarrant first.
Avon and Cally manage to escape after a skirmish with some Federation guards.
Sue: Here we go. Here’s this episode’s rubbish fight scene, right on cue.
Servalan is so distraught by this unexpected turn of events, she flings an empty cup at an impotent guard.
Sue: He should have stood there and taken that cup in the face. He acted like she’d just thrown a hand grenade at him.
Our heroes head for the replication plant – the only place Servalan won’t obliterate from orbit.
Me: I have a very vivid memory of this episode. Especially this scene where they’re running across the dam with all the explosions going off.
Sue: Really? What’s so special about it? Did it make you scared of dams? Did it put you off dams for life?
Me: What’s so special about it is I’m in my late-twenties, I’m living in Christopher Street, and I’m watching this episode on UK Gold, in bed. It’s 1994 or 1995, I think, and it’s a Sunday afternoon; I think Glen Allen did the continuity. Anyway, you walked in on me while I was watching it.
Sue: I knew it. You did fancy Servalan.
Me: My hands were definitely above the covers. And I remember asking you to watch it with me.
Sue: What did I say?
Me: You said I had to hold a ladder steady for you. Just think, we could have got this out of the way twenty years ago if you’d been more open-minded.
Our heroes make it to the replication planet, where they are shown Servalan’s surrogate womb.
Sue: Servalan’s biological clock is ticking. And now that Travis is gone, this is the next best thing, I suppose. And she’s never going to shag your dad. No offence.
Cally and Zela are finally reunited.
Sue: I hope Zelda doesn’t have a curly perm.
Dayna teleports to Auron so she can save the day.
Sue: I love Dayna. She’s my second-favourite character in Blake’s 7. She’s game for anything. They could use her a lot more.
Ginka tells Servalan that Deral swapped her placentas with his. Yes, really. Servalan orders her giant crocodile to fire on the replication plant.
Sue: Hang on a minute. When did he find out about that? Who told him that? That doesn’t make any… Wait a minute… I think he’s making it up!
Thanks to Dayna’s initiative, Franton, Tarrant, Cally and Avon are teleported to safety. However, Zelda stays behind to save Servalan’s babies. Sue bites her nails.
Sue: Bloody hell.
Cally feels her sister die.
Sue: How bleak is this?
And then Servalan feels her children die.
Sue: ****ing hell.
Servalan is fighting back the tears.
Sue: Is this really happening, Neil?
Servalan kills Ginka with the flick of a switch.
Sue: She’s a Bond villain. But instead of feeding her henchmen to the crocodiles, she flies around in one.
Deral is teleported into Servalan’s extremely disappointed clutches.
Sue: Servalan just killed your dad, Neil. How do you feel about that?
Me: I think I might put a poster of her on our bedroom wall.
Sue: You’ll have to take Debbie Harry down first, love.
The Liberator heads for pastures new.
Zen: Course zero three two zero for the planet Kaarn.
Dayna wants to know if Cally will leave the series or not. No one would blame her if she did.
Avon: Cally will stay with us. We are closer to her than they are. Besides, a nursery of five thousand, would you want to go with them?
Dayna, Tarrant and Vila: HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA HA! HA!
Sue: Is that really appropriate after what’s just happened? If Cally was a real telepath, she’d have heard that.
Sue: That wasn’t bad at all. I’m sorry if I didn’t say very much in the middle, I was enjoying it too much.
Sue: That was Servalan’s best story so far. We saw a different side to her.
Me: Yeah, we saw the hitherto hidden baby-murdering side to her. Lovely.
Sue: I still felt sorry for her. I know, I know! It’s mad, isn’t it. I can’t explain it.
Me: Still no 10 out of 10, then?
Sue: No. It was a bit too bleak for me. And Michael Troughton wasn’t in it enough.