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Gambit

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I wanted Sue’s brother to watch this episode with us.

Gary: I don’t even know what Blake’s 7 is, Neil. And after what happened last time with Doctor Who, I think I’ll give it a miss, thanks.

Sue: Oh go on, Gary. You might enjoy it. And if we’re really lucky, we’ll see a man with a pert bum in tight leather trousers. Honest.

He’s tempted.

Gary: No thanks, I’m off to the Bingo.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

GambitSue: So is this episode set in a Gentlemen’s Club in Soho? What time do the strippers come on?

There’s a lot for Sue to take in, although the name ‘Robert Holmes’ in the titles cushions the jolt.

Sue: So we’ve got an elderly Patrick Troughton, Travis in a cowboy hat, and 1940s gangsters. It’s different, I’ll give it that.

Blake, Cally and Jenna prepare to teleport to Freedom City, where the grass isn’t green and the girls ain’t pretty.

Sue: Cally is dressed as a Princess Leia this week; Jenna looks like she’s going to a funeral.

Our heroes are searching for a cyber surgeon named Docholli; he’s the only person alive who knows where Star One is.

Sue: If Star One isn’t in this episode, Neil, I won’t be happy. Has anybody asked Orac where Star One is?

Me: I already told you: nobody knows where Star One is. No one at all!

Sue: That’s a bit silly. What if it breaks down? Where do you send the plumbers?

GambitFreedom City’s floor show is about to start. I brace myself.

Sue: Oh look, it’s Bette Davies meets Fanny Craddock on Britain’s Got Talent. I love her glamorous walking stick. I would definitely put her through to the live finals.

The Croupier introduces the main event: a game of skill against the undisputed Speed Chess champion, ZE KLUTE!

Croupier: Ze Klute challenges all comers!

Sue: But he’s only twelve!

Meanwhile, Servalan is auditioning for a part in Eyes Wide Shut.

Sue: She’s got a lovely figure but she could do with a space bra. And she’s sitting on the Liberator‘s sofa. What are the chances of that?

Servalan is accompanied by a man named Jarriere, or, if you happen to be Sue, Leo Sayer meets Pinocchio. And then Krantor turns up…

Sue: Have you spiked my drink again, Neil?

Krantor runs Freedom City.

Sue: This is what Liberace would have looked like if he’d supported Newcastle United.

GambitKrantor: They come to Freedom City because we are outside the Federation.

Sue: Is Freedom City like Sun City?

Me: Well, it isn’t a Queen-free zone, if that’s what you mean.

While Krantor and Servalan hatch their nefarious plans, I can’t help but notice that Sue’s jaw is still resting on the floor.

Sue: The set is so tacky, I can’t take my eyes off it. It reminds of The Generation Game. This scene will be repeated in a minute, but Brucie will play Liberace’s part and a grandmother from Rotherham will play Servalan. Just you wait and see.

When Servalan leaves, Krantor reveals his plans to his assistant, Toise.

Sue: No, this isn’t camp at all.

Me: It’s probably the campest thing ever broadcast on British television. Gambit makes Are You Being Served? look like Threads.

Sue: What is he wearing on his head?

Me: That’s K9.

Sue: Did they melt him down or something?

GambitMe: No, it’s John Leeson. The actor who played K9.

Sue: Oh, thank God for that.

Back on the Liberator, Avon convinces Vila that robbing a casino would be a bit of a laugh, even though it’s their turn to sit around doing nothing in the teleport room all day.

Sue: That’s not like Avon at all. That’s completely out of character. Avon would never be that stupid. Would he?

Orac says he can shrink himself down to the size of an iPod.

Vila: Talk is cheap.

Avon: It means he doesn’t believe you, and neither, as a matter of fact, do I.

Sue: Join the club, love!

Orac shrinks to an eighth of his normal size.

Sue: That is ridiculous. However, I’ll go along with it because a) he’s easier to dust and b) they can take Orac on missions now, so he can be a proper member of the crew for a change.

GambitMe: And you can stick a pair of headphones in him and listen to Michael Bublé.

Travis is drowning his sorrows in The Rink.

Sue: My mum and dad met in a ballroom called The Rink. He spotted her at a table, walked over and said “Are you dancing?” When she stood up and said “Yes!”, he said “Good, I can have your seat then.”

Blake, Jenna and Cally are hanging around Paradise City’s nightclub scene.

Sue: What’s with all the Christmas tinsel? Did they film this episode during the office party, because that would explain a lot.

Me: It does look like a post-apocalyptic school disco.

Sue: I’ll tell you what, though: Cally suits this sexy new look of hers. She’s turning into a right space babe.

Meanwhile, back in the casino, Ze Klute faces a new challenger.

Sue: Oh look, they’ve dragged Bill Oddie off the set of The Goodies.

Thrylce – yes, that’s his name – plays a mean game of chess.

GambitSue: I’ve just realised what this episode reminds me of.

Me: Ketamine?

Sue: No, The Hunger Games. OK, so it’s chess instead of running around a jungle shooting baboons with arrows – this is the BBC we’re talking about – but the costumes are very similar. They dress like pampered idiots in the Hunger Games as well.

Ze Klute beats Thrylce easily.

Sue: I’ve just remembered why chess isn’t an Olympic sport. I don’t care how fast you ****ing play it, it’s still chess.

When Thrylce loses, he pays the ultimate price: death by electrocution, which means he vanishes in a puff of smoke, obviously.

Sue: Have they hired Paul Daniels to do their executions for them? Because that looked like a magic trick to me.

Jarriere and Servalan discuss her plan to stitch Krantor up like a kipper.

Sue: They are simply summarising the plot. I’m waiting for Servalan to pull out a wall chart.

Krantor can’t be all bad because he own a cat. Oh, wait…

Sue: That cat does not want to be there. He’s clutching it so hard, he must have bruised the poor thing. I’d call the RSPCA if the poor thing wasn’t already dead.

Me: Actually, I think Aubrey passed away quite recently.

When Travis describes Servalan’s companion as a “powder puff”, Sue raises her eyebrows.

Sue: That’s a bit harsh. And besides, Leo Sayer is the least camp thing in this. And that’s saying something.

GambitServalan and Travis have a very complicated relationship.

Sue: OK, I’m confused. Are Servalan and Travis working together or not? I can’t keep up. I’m sure they were shagging each other the other day. And where the hell is Blake? Has he got the week off?

Blake, Jenna and Cally finally make it to the bar.

Sue: Robert Holmes has definitely seen Star Wars, but instead of a bar filled with weird aliens, they’ve filled it with men who are dressed for a night in a sex dungeon. Now I know why you asked Gary to watch this with us. It all makes sense now.

She’s nodding towards Krantor’s leather-clad assassin, Cevedic, who is asking the barkeeper, Chenie, for the whereabouts of Kline/Docholli. Look, it’s complicated.

Chenie: I swear I don’t know where Kline is.

Cally: She was lying, Blake.

Sue: So Cally’s a mind-reader now. You know, I get the impression that Robert Holmes didn’t watch a lot of Blake’s 7 before he wrote this episode.

Vila takes on the Big Wheel.

Sue: Oh dear. I was expecting a massive wheel on a wall, with flashing lights and fancy controls. But no. It’s just a tatty roulette wheel that’s seen better days. That is very disappointing. And cheap.

Chenie helps Docholli escape from Freedom City.

Sue: There’s a strong Western vibe to this; it feels like we’re watching a cheap, ultra-camp version of Firefly. The surgeon is basically a geriatric Han Solo. Or Indiana Jones’ dad. I really like him. He’s definitely the best thing in this episode. I bet they kill him.

There’s a lovely moment when Denis Carey can’t get his coat on. Here, take a look:

Sue: He’s such a pro, he just got on with it.

Me: It must have been five minutes to ten when they shot that scene.

Back in the bar, Jenna and Cally are causing a scene.

Sue: Are they pissed?

Cally: You slut!

Jenna: Ten-credit touch!

Sue: Because this is Blake’s 7, I thought that fight was real for a second. I wouldn’t put anything past Blake’s 7; it always feels like it could kick off between them.

The fight is, of course, a distraction, which Blake uses to sneak into the back of the bar.

Sue: Is Cally smashing Jenna’s head against the wall outside? The sound effects are terrible!

GambitServalan and Jarriere meet for cocktails and a quick recap.

Sue: Leo Sayer’s job is to sit there and have the plot explained to him. And thank God, because the plot is all over the place and it needs explaining. But everything has ground to a halt again. And who the **** is this guy anyway?

Vila is on a winning streak, but he wants to win more.

Sue: It’s not exactly Casino Royale.

Me: Actually, this does reminds me of Casino Royale, just not the one you’re thinking of.

Servalan has planted a bomb in Travis’ arm.

Sue: I almost feel sorry for Travis. He’s so inconsistent, it feels like we meet a completely new version of Travis every two or three episodes. And this is the nice, misunderstood Travis.

Travis: My arm! What have you done to my arm?

Sue: There’ll be hell to pay if Servalan’s interfered with his wanking hand.

Travis searches for the only man who can fix his arm: Docholli.

Sue: You should probably get that eye seen to while you’re at it.

Meanwhile, Blake, Jenna and Cally have retreated to the wedding reception from hell.

Sue: The irritating tinkly background music hasn’t gone away, even though they’ve left the bar. That’s weird. And really annoying.

Travis encounters Krantor’s leather-clad henchman, so he shoots him.

GambitSue: Aww, wasn’t it nice of the bad guy to tell Travis everything he needed to know before he died. That was so helpful. Thanks for that.

Blake finds Docholli hiding in the loading bay.

Docholli: What do you want from me?

Blake: One piece of information: the location of Star One.

Docholli: Then you’re going to be disappointed.

Sue screams.

Back at the casino, Vila – with a little help from mini-Orac – has conquered the Big Wheel. However, as he waits for his winnings, he agrees to gamble everything on a game of Speed Chess against Ze Klute. This development takes Avon by surprise.

Sue: Forget Star One, I’d rather watch these two having stupid adventures together any day of the week.

Croupier: Les jeux sont fait!

Sue: The problem is, everyone is trying to out-camp each other. The director has lost control of the actors.

Docholli removes Travis’ robotic arm.

GambitBlake: It’s all right, it’s not primed.

Sue: They’ve disarmed him.

Me: Very good, Sue.

Sue: He isn’t armed.

Me: Stop it, Sue.

Sue: He’s ‘armless.

Me: I hate you.

Travis snatches his appendage back.

Sue: Club Blake over the head with your arm! Go on, Travis, sink even lower!

Travis expects Blake to kill him. He’s wrong, of course.

Blake: Our quarrel is with the Federation, not with you.

GambitSue: But he tries to kill you every other week. What does he have to do? Does he have to murder one of your friends? Oh wait, he’s already done that. KILL HIM!

With Orac’s help, Vila manages to eek out a draw against Ze Klute.

Sue: Orac can’t be that good if he can’t beat a twelve year-old boy at chess.

Me: He isn’t a boy, he’s Deep Roy!

Sue: What, the porn star?

Avon and Vila rush back to the Liberator with their ill-gotten gains.

Sue: Avon pretending to be innocent is very funny. I’ve never seen this side of Avon before. I think I like it.

Cue credits.

GambitSue: I could have watched a whole episode of Avon and Vila messing about together. The rest of it got on my nerves. Too much talking and not enough action. The incidental music was horrendous, and once the shock of the costumes wore off, there wasn’t much else going on. Oh, and Blake has a soft spot for Travis. There, I’ve said it. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. He obviously likes being stalked by him. It must turn him on. Either that or he’s got a death wish.

The Score:

Sue: That was mental. I enjoyed bits of it, but there was way too much exposition. I mean, what did Blake actually do in that episode? I expected a lot more from Robert Holmes. It just didn’t feel like Blake’s 7 to me. God knows what Gary would have made of that. And now I bet we have to visit another person who doesn’t know where Star bloody One is. I’m right, aren’t I?

5/10

Before we go, a little housekeeping. I’ve decided that running two separate Twitter accounts for both the Wife in Space and Wife and the Blake has become a pointless and confusing waste of time. So I’m retiring the @wifeandblake account in a couple of days. If you don’t follow @wifeinspace already, you should subscribe to that account to keep up with any site updates (and the odd kitten photo). The Facebook pages will remain separate for now. Thanks.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailers may include minor spoilers for the next episode.

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62 comments

  • April 16, 2014 12:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Alex Wilcock

    Ah, Neil, you win this week with “post-apocalyptic school disco.”

    Or just “school disco” would have done, as it’s 1979.

    Freedom City is now offering odds on Sue liking the next episode more than the one after, with an accumulator on anguished comments here + her grudgingly going for the next Terry ****ing Nation. Place your bets!

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      April 18, 2014 1:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Ann worrall

      Oh come on Alex who bets on certainties. She’ll hate it.cant wait for her reactions

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    April 16, 2014 12:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Look kids, there’s Aubrey Woods! Everyone join in with his Willy Wonka song:

    ————————-

    Who’ll take all the screentime
    While Blake gets nowt to do,
    Crowbar in a chess match and a caper film or two,
    The cunning man, the kelpto man and
    Their Tuddenham scam, when the B-plot’s out the way
    The captain lowers Sue’s mood.

    Who’s gay as a fruitbat,
    Watch his patrons fry,
    Dressed in New Romantic that would make June Hudson cry,
    It’s Krantor and his K-9 best chum,
    The campy men come but we won’t go into that
    ‘Cause it’s a wee bit rude.

    Grist and Croucher bite
    All the sets in sight
    Who can act the most malicious
    Kline is drinking like two fishes
    No way that could look suspicious

    Who’ll plot all their downfalls,
    Meticulously timed
    To blow them up together but it’s alright, it’s not primed
    The spanner in the vampy dame’s plan,
    Sue Perryman frowns when the cockney man escapes
    ‘Cause Bob said ‘will this do?’

    Gambit should come good
    With Sue Perryman or else we’re screwed.

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    April 16, 2014 1:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    The moment I saw Travis dressed as the Hooded Claw I knew I’d enjoy this one.

    While the title didn’t fulfil expectations – no Fred Dineage or Gareth Hunt – Gambit was a walk in the park compared to some of the dross Season 2 has dealt us. Though the Avon/Vila Ocean’s 3 sub-plot, whilst enjoyable, does feel like Terry Nation levels of padding.

    And amongst a cavalcade of welcome faces – Denis Carey, Deep Roy (not a pornstar, but he really should be) and John Leeson – I see Bill Filer finally escaped from The Claws of Axos (and its spin-off ‘The Filer Files’) to resume his search for the Master. I’m guessing he never finds him

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      April 16, 2014 1:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Or a convincing accent, unless the Master’s latest cunning disguise is ‘BBC hoodlum’. 🙂

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        April 18, 2014 1:10 amPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        He certainly discovers many interesting new ways to pronounce his name though, ably supported by the rest of the cast – is it Chevedeesh, Shevadick, Cleverdick? Obviously out to beat “Servolon” in some obscure competition…

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    April 16, 2014 1:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mark B

    It was nice to see Servalan in something chromatic (other than her creme de menthe habit).

    With Aubrey Woods and Deep Roy, this episode links to both film versions of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

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    April 16, 2014 2:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Simon Harries

    This is one of my all-time favourite episodes. I know many B7 fans detest it, but I love it to bits. Sylvia Coleridge does it for me, basically!

    • April 16, 2014 8:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
      encyclops

      I know many B7 fans detest it

      Really? They’re nuts! It is the MOST fun.

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        May 19, 2014 4:04 amPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        I loved Avon and Vila cooking up their scheme, manipulating Orac into miniaturising itself and Avon never looked better, really. I loved them acting innocent.

  • April 16, 2014 2:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Limb

    Rewatching in preparation for reading this blog I was surprised how little of the Avon/Vila sub-plot there actually was as it was that that stuck in my memory from before.

    But Jarriere was as puzzling as ever. Who is he? Where did he come from? What’s his job title? In his first scene he’s almost like a playful Gollum but then he abruptly turns into Servalan’s sounding board.

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      April 16, 2014 10:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Sally M

      I decided years ago that Jarriere was a chauffeur/old Servalan family retainer who knows (in his befuddled way) where The Skeletons In The Closet are. Which would explain why Servalan doesn’t simply strangle him at the umpteenth “I’m no’ followin’…”

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        April 17, 2014 3:34 amPosted 2 years ago
        Vera

        And why exactly she didn’t kill him at the moment he retired?

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      April 17, 2014 12:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Harriet

      What I love about Jarriere is that he’s so relaxed and playful around Servalan. Can you think of anyone else in the galaxy who’d kick off his shoes and put his stockinged feet up on the table while chatting to her?

      My own lengthy and almost entirely unwritten Jarriere saga has him belonging to a guild of freelance bodyguards/hitmen/whatever – they call themselves “free contractors”, other people call them hired killers. When he’s offered the job, he’s told “She wants someone discreet, but you know the form; just look confused if she asks whether you’re following the plot.” Because the last thing you want is for Servalan to think you understand her plans perfectly.

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    April 16, 2014 3:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    San

    It is a talky story, but so much fun, with great secondary characters. Visually it is an oasis in the first two seasons’ drabness. It’ll be interesting to see whether Sue changes her mind on how it fits within Blakes 7 in retrospect.

    On the B plot outshining the arc as much as Krantor and Toise do the crew–well, yeah, the hunt for the location of Star One is a bore almost as much as Blake.

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    April 16, 2014 4:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Am disappointed, without any right to be. A great mixture of high camp, and the pathos surrounding Docholli. And I did enjoy Aubrey Woods: splendidly OTT. One of the highlights of season 2, but only 5? I fear for Orbit.

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    April 16, 2014 5:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “They are simply summarising the plot. I’m waiting for Servalan to pull out a wall chart.”

    I think that’s meant to be the joke, although I could be wrong.

    I always thought this was popular with B7 fans? Although mainly for the Avon/Villa stuff.

    I remember Sue wanting Robert Holmes to write all the stories? Is this still the case?

    (Although I think “Orbit” is safe, the tone is very different and the script much better.)

    Maybe this episode would have benefited from a bit (or a lot) more money. It reminds me of “Timelash” in Doctor Who. A near-the-end-of-the-season production where the money has either run out or been allocated to the season finale. Oddly enough, Paul Darrow and tinsel feature in both.

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    April 16, 2014 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Marky Mark

    Blakes 7 back to its high camp best (?!) When the French (?) woman with the legs appeared, I thought I was watching a bad (was there any other kind ?) episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo – wasn’t this Edith ?

    However, nice to see Aubrey Woods and John Leeson (so that’s what he looks like !) camping it up splendidly.

    And I have to say I nearly spat out my tea when I saw that Ze Klute was played by Deep Roy – surely not his real name ?? But nowhere like pornstar looks (or body), so I think we can rule that out.

    But my favourite bits were when people said Cevedic, which I heard variously as…

    Sever Dick
    Shave-a-Dick
    Clever Dick
    Serve-a-Dish (a distant relation of Servalan ?)

    Whoever he is, he was pretty creepy in that bar scene with Jenna & Cally…

    Nearly at Star One, Sue – don’t fret ! 🙂

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      April 16, 2014 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Marky Mark

      The other thing I’ve been meaning to say for weeks is that I am a huge fan of Dudley Simpson (although I’m getting slightly bored of his quick little drum beat fanfares whenever anyone gets teleported down to a planet) – IMHO, I would say that Blakes 7 is “probably” the best TV theme tune I’ve ever heard – discuss…

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        April 16, 2014 8:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        Nothing to discuss – it’s just a fact that it’s the best TV theme tune ever

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          April 18, 2014 11:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Mippy

          Nah Hitchhiker’s is the best. Blakes’ 7 and Doctor Who are tied in 2nd. 😉

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            April 18, 2014 11:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            A big hand please for the Great Prophet Starquone.

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            April 18, 2014 11:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Harriet

            Not sure Hitchhiker’s really counts as a TV theme tune as it wasn’t composed for the show, was it? I think it was a number they borrowed from The Eagles. Whereas the music for Doctor Who and Blake’s Seven was commissioned specifically for those series.

          • April 19, 2014 5:38 amPosted 2 years ago
            encyclops

            Ima let you finish, but The Prisoner had the best theme tune of ALL TIME.

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            April 19, 2014 12:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Frankymole

            You can’t beat a bit of Grainer.

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    April 16, 2014 6:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    A triumph of style over substance, this one. The witty dialogue, ridiculous costumes and insane performances keep it entertaining, but when you think about it, there’s no actual plot until the last five minutes. Travis showing up everywhere is getting annoying as well – it would have been better if him being Docholli’s bodyguard was part of a trap for Blake, but it seems to be just a massive coincidence. Hopefully they’ll give him a week off next time.

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      April 16, 2014 8:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      “Travis showing up everywhere is getting annoying as well – it would have been better if him being Docholli’s bodyguard was part of a trap for Blake,”

      I thought that was the idea – he knew Docholli had information about Star One and was waiting for Blake to show up

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    April 16, 2014 7:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    tom harries

    I always liked this one, because they knew/decided to have a filler episode and just went to town. It’s full of actors I really like, most of who seem to be amazed that they’re getting to mess about like this on an early-evening BBC1 show.

    “Sue: That’s not like Avon at all. That’s completely out of character. Avon would never be that stupid. Would he?”

    Actually, it’s entirely in character for Avon; he was, after all, originally banged up for trying to rob the Federation Banking System. The show often forgot that Avon is a thief like Vila; he just operated in a diferent field. And most criminals tend to assume they’ll get away with it.

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      April 16, 2014 7:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Chris Allen

      “The show often forgot that Avon is a thief like Vila; he just operated in a diferent field.”

      That probably a good explanation for why Avon did it, for the sport, the challenge and the satisfaction of doing it.

      After all, as Avon said in “Cynus Alpha” there’s more money in a single room aboard the Liberator than in the entire Federation banking system, so they’re not short of cash.

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        April 18, 2014 1:18 amPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        Always seemed a bit strange that Blake didn’t use the fabulous wealth on Liberator to try to finance some anti-Federation activity (Avalon might’ve done some good with it, or Del Grant – or even President Sarkoff on Lindor). The nearest we get is Avon being all sentimental about the crystals they offer to the Terra Nostra.

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    April 16, 2014 8:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    “That’s a bit silly. What if it breaks down? ”

    Yes that could be a problem.

    “That’s not like Avon at all. That’s completely out of character. Avon would never be that stupid. Would he?”

    Avon attempt a robbery? No I can’t imagine him doing that, no precedent for that at all is there?

    • April 16, 2014 8:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      It wasn’t the fact that he wanted to rob something that seemed strange to Sue, it was the cavalier way he went about doing it that she thought was a little odd.

      • April 16, 2014 8:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
        encyclops

        I can see that. I’d posit that this is the kind of thing he ought to have been doing all along — it would have seemed more in character if he had.

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        April 16, 2014 8:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        That I can understand then. It only seems to be Vila who’s at serious risk though, which I guess is in character. It’s a very Robert Holmes take on Avon I think , he liked his con artists

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    April 16, 2014 8:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I really like this episode but there’s no doubt it’s flawed. Scored lower than Voice From The Past though? Anyway…
    Aubrey Woods, Denis Carey, and John Leeson are all great. The Avon and Vila sub-plot is the best bit though. Clearly not padding but actually the episode Robert Holmes wanted to write. The naughty schoolboys bit at the end always amuses me.
    I think this episode needed at least another rewrite, it gets bogged down in plot exposition but I still don’t understand why the bomb in Travis’ arm isn’t primed at the end. Is it just me? I cat help feeling that Holmes was used to writing Dr Who where he had twice the running time to play around with.

    Can’t argue with Sue on this though

    “But he tries to kill you every other week. What does he have to do? Does he have to murder one of your friends? Oh wait, he’s already done that. KILL HIM!”

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      April 17, 2014 6:58 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Not just you. Everything Bob Holmes thinks about Blake is adequately summed up in the script’s three-word phrase – either he really wanted to inflict some collective damage upon the dullest half of the crew and was overruled, or he simply couldn’t be bothered to think of a good reason why Blake should get out of it. But it’s also the only reason why Servalan doesn’t stroll off with ultimate victory and end the series there and then, with “it’s not primed” being really quite shockingly poor. 🙂

  • April 16, 2014 8:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    encyclops

    I’m stunned! Not because she didn’t like this episode, which is a 10/10 for me easily. But because I distinctly remember thinking (and apparently mistakenly remember writing) “I’m gonna bet ‘Gambit’ goes the way of ‘Robots of Death'” and lo and behold I was spot on. Avon and Vila should have taken ME to Freedom City.

    Sue: Forget Star One, I’d rather watch these two having stupid adventures together any day of the week.

    EXACTLY!

    Ah well. Good call on almost getting Gary to watch it too; shame he didn’t stick around.

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    April 16, 2014 9:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Harriet

    And besides, Leo Sayer is the least camp thing in this.

    Quite so. Jarriere is a sex god. Not to mention my favourite character in the whole 52 episodes.

    And who the **** is this guy anyway?

    The Guy with a Pearl Earring! The only man in the galaxy who sits around shooting the breeze with Servalan in their stockinged feet! That’s who!

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      April 16, 2014 10:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Sally M

      Absolutely. Jarriere totally rocks 🙂

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      April 18, 2014 1:22 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Looks a bit post-coital, that pic. Although Jarriere’s costume also has something of the jester about it – perhaps he was Servalan’s fool for comic relief. Or maybe the galaxy’s worst Psycho-Strategist/Puppeteer.

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    April 16, 2014 9:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    San

    I wish Holmes could have written guest characters for EVERYBODY’s stories. I just realised Aubrey Woods was the Controller in “Day of the Daleks”. That was a good performance too, but I’m so glad he got to play something like Krantor, all the stops out. Such an interesting face to paint up, the nose, the eyes, wicked mouth, strong features…

    John Leeson’s ‘do was totally revisited in Babylon 5.

    Oh–the casting of Jarriere was terrific too. Ungrateful role, but that face is a story in itself.

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      April 17, 2014 12:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Harriet

      Oh–the casting of Jarriere was terrific too. Ungrateful role, but that face is a story in itself.

      The lovely Harry Jones. I don’t know whether he’s still going; IMDB doesn’t list any credits for him after 2000 (when I went to see Quills purely because he had a tiny part in it).

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    April 16, 2014 10:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ian

    This episode still confuses me:In Series 1 we saw Avon and Jenna discover a room of various jewels and riches on board the Liberator.
    What happened to this cash to require more dosh?

    • April 16, 2014 11:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
      encyclops

      Even if you figure Avon’s not just doing it for the challenge, and that he would actually be satisfied with less than everything, there’s no doubt in my mind that Blake has earmarked the Liberator’s entire stash for The Cause.

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        April 17, 2014 12:28 amPosted 2 years ago
        Chris Allen

        Very true although the only time I can recall that they mention them ever (trying) to spend it is to buy Terra Nostra help in “Shadow”.

        With Orac’s help I could envisage Avon setting up a string of fake identities as fall-back contingencies, each equipped with bank accounts funded by his share of the Big Wheel winnings. Or stolen directly from other banking computers.

        Orac has to be a cyber criminal’s wet dream.

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          May 19, 2014 4:06 amPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          I wonder what happened to all their winnings then. At the start when we meet Avon, Vila says he almost stole 5 million credits from the Federation banking system and that is the same amount they just won. What can they spend it on, trapped on the Liberator, specially if they need to hide it from Blake?

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    April 16, 2014 11:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Katie C

    Sue says it reminds her of the Hunger Games…that’s just what I’ve been telling my 13 year old daughter(she still won’t watch it!) Maybe I should tell her they’ve melted down K9!
    Avon’s hilarious trying to look innocent at the end, especially as he’s standing there still wearing his teleport bracelet, I wonder if they ever got found out?

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    April 17, 2014 12:27 amPosted 2 years ago
    executrix

    Although it wouldn’t pass muster in Sunday School (if the Federation HAD Sunday Schools) Avon has a strong sense of honor. The money in the Treasure Room belongs to the Liberator crew, whereas the Big Wheel money belongs to Avon and Vila (although I’m sure Avon thinks it’s way off a 50-50 split), because they stole it fair and square.

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      May 19, 2014 4:12 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Belongs to Liberator Crew? he tried to get Jenna to leave Blake on a prison planet and run off with it!
      Still the thing about Avon is his better nature is always tripping him up. He’s never the heartless guilt-free psychopath he pretends. It’s cute, really.

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    April 17, 2014 9:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ann worrall

    I think part of the point of the episode is that Blake’s on this suicide mission to destroy the known world and the Avon and Villa sub plot is about people having fun albeit in a dishonest way! Who exactly are the criminals here? It is a gloriously tacky episode set in the future equivalent on a frontier dive and Docolli and Krantor beautifully acted in different ways. Jarriere is obviously Servelan’s pot head nephew or brother-in-law who she’s been pressured to try out by the family. “Oh come on Servie. He really needs a job. I thought you said you were the President or something. surely you can find SOMETHING for him?” How can Sue not love it? Or am I just as tacky as Toise

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      April 18, 2014 12:26 amPosted 2 years ago
      Geoff

      So are we saying that Jarriere is some kind of intergalactic Dan Quayle/ W Bush figure? I can go with that. B7 lifts do many themes from the contemporary world: Technology, brilliant but crap at the same time…corruption at every level of the establishment…why shouldn’t a little nepotism sneak in too?

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    April 18, 2014 12:01 amPosted 2 years ago
    Robin

    Oh dear. I had a feeling this might happen. But even by B7 standards, Gambit really is pretty extraordinary. Cant believe there’s no mention of Avon spitting out his food in surprise though. I have two main observations:

    Jan Chappell in that outfit was responsible for some very complex feelings when I was a teenage nerd and watched this.

    and;

    Also when I was a teenage nerd I had a weird encounter with the man who played Jarriere in a hotel in the highlands. Upon entering the bar he made a beeline for me – the only other person in the room – and uttered: “Er, scampi?”

    At that age pretty much any dialogue with a stranger is terrifying, but I remember being particularly unsettling – I was unsurprisingly at a loss as to what was expected of me and the two of us had an awkward, silent stand-off for some moments before he repeated his request.

    It transpired he was trying to order a meal and mistook me for a functionary. If I’d recognised him as a character actor who’d starred opposite a bra-less Jackie Pearce it may have sent me over the edge. To me – indeed, the whole family – he’ll always be scampi man.

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      April 18, 2014 1:22 amPosted 2 years ago
      Harriet

      You met Harry Jones!!!

      I am deeply envious.

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      April 18, 2014 5:10 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      There’s another verse; the scampi man can.

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    April 18, 2014 3:49 amPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    I think the more interesting story was occurring off-screen by this point. According to a Star One con-goer this was the episode that concretized Gareth’s decision to leave, as even the guest actors had bigger roles than him in it. Not to mention Jan & Sally famously ad-libbing “We don’t want to come back – you can keep it!”, or words to that effect.

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      April 18, 2014 11:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Oh, now it makes sense – I did find it hard to credit that the man who EDITED FOR SPOILERS.

      • April 18, 2014 11:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Neil Perryman (Author)

        How hard is it not to give it away all the time?

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    April 18, 2014 5:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    > b) they can take Orac on missions now, so he can be a proper
    > member of the crew for a change

    Yes, Blakes 7 will remember a new and really useful technology they invented for one episode and use it in the future. That is a thing that will definitely happen.

    > You know, I get the impression that Robert Holmes didn’t
    > watch a lot of Blake’s 7 before he wrote this episode.

    Hee!

    I always get the feeling in Blakes that Robert Holmes just doesn’t want to write characters he didn’t think up himself. (Which is a little unfortunately, when you’re job is to write episodes in a series.) He loves to write Avon and Vila because he can turn them into a comedy criminal double act, and he writs great dialogue so it’s usually fun, but a lot of the time it doesn’t really come over as being *them*.

    After Avon and Vila, it’s his characters of the week, and then it’s Blake, and then…well, I suppose at least Cally and Jenna are *in* this one, so they do better than they did in Killer.

    > I could have watched a whole episode of Avon and Vila
    > messing about together. The rest of it got on my nerves.

    I think it got on Robert Holmes’s nerves, too.

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    April 18, 2014 11:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I’ve just concoted a theory that the scenes with Jarierre and Servalan are some kind of meta-textual joke by Robert Holmes sending up the conventions of the villain having an overly elaborate plan and also of the villain having a sidekick to explain the plan to in order to explain to the viewer what is going on. In this instance Servalan’s plan is so elaborate that no matter how many times she explains it to Jarriere he doesn’t get it, and neither do we.

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    April 20, 2014 4:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nick Mays

    I must have been developing my hyper-critical tendancies as a 17 year-old when I first watched this back in ’79. I said something like “The bloody BBC are trying to do the Star Wars cantina… with no money and stock costumes!”

    I also recall liking the Jenna/Cally staged fight but being mildly disappointed that there wasn’t any clothes ripping involved. Hey come on! I WAS only 17! 😉

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    May 10, 2014 6:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    I just loved it when they were stashing the money and Avon was trying to be innocent. Its nice to see Avon no good at something, it’s humanizing, because let’s face it, Avon is a genius, well handy in a fight, and always right about everything and if he wasn’t so spectacularly pretty, it would be unbearable. (But he is spectacularly pretty, so he can do anything he likes…)

    He should have remembered that when he asks Blake about his missions, he always does it in his bored contempt mode, with a nasty remark primed in case Blake says, well, Avon, I fucked up.

    It’s a pity they didnt have the expression “Fail’ then. I can just hear Avon say, “Fail’. “i got Gan killed, Avon”. “Fail”.

    Avon never says “how did it go? …good, great, terrific”. If Avon is nice, you’d have to ask if he has been taken away by aliens.

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    June 16, 2014 1:08 amPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    A canny old writer named Robert,
    The lead actor’s stature he’s clobbered;
    A second banana
    To Aubrey Woods’ smarm and a
    Psychotic chess-playing hobbit.

    (ducks)

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