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Orbit

The Odd Couple…

OrbitBlake’s 7‘s 50th episode is written by Robert Holmes. (Sue thinks Gold should have been the 50th episode, but what the hell does she know.)

Sue: Come on, Robert!

She must have forgotten the 2/10 she gave to Traitor

Sue: You know you are in for a treat when you see Robert’s name at the start. Bring it on!

Scorpio is orbiting the planet Malodar.

Sue: I’ve only just noticed that the flight deck is modelled on the Sydney Opera House.

Malodar is a little on the chilly side.

Sue: At least it isn’t another sand pit. They should count themselves lucky.

Two men named Egrorian and Pinder have been anticipating the Scorpio‘s arrival.

Sue: OK, so we’ve got two mad dentists who think they’re in The Hills Have Eyes. I think I can go with this…

Egrorian is a wanted criminal, but as Vila says, aren’t they all?

Sue: Is Soolin a criminal? When did that happen?

Me: Last week when she shot all those innocent mine workers to death.

Sue: Oh, OK. Fair enough.

OrbitVila doesn’t believe that Egrorian is hiding on Malodar.

Vila: What is the point of having money if you have to exist on a hole like that!

Sue: Every planet in this universe is a hole like that. I still haven’t seen a planet with more than five people living on it.

Vila warns Avon that Egrorian’s invitation to meet for a chat could be a trap.

Avon: Why do you think I’m sending Tarrant?

Sue: I knew it. Avon wants Tarrant out of the way as soon as possible. I wouldn’t put it past Avon to set him up. I really wouldn’t.

Egrorian wants to make a deal with Avon. After certain conditions are agreed, Avon demands to see Egrorian’s face on the Scorpio‘s viewer screen, much to the scientist’s dismay.

Sue: If I looked like him, I wouldn’t want to show my face either.

Avon decides to bring Vila to the meeting on Malodar.

Avon: After all, you always say you feel safe with me.

Sue: Did Avon just clip Vila round the ear?

OrbitVila begs Avon to take one of the women instead. Egrorian might have forgotten what they look like, and Vila thinks they could help grease the wheels, so to speak.

Sue: That might work if Soolin or Dayna were blindfolded, I guess.

Scorpio leaves a small shuttle in its wake.

Sue: That was a lovely bit of Chroma. Simple but effective. I don’t know why they don’t do that sort of thing more often.

Avon puts his feet on the shuttle’s dashboard.

Sue: He’s got chewing gum stuck to his boots. Oh well, at least Avon seems to be enjoying himself this week. Is this what happens when you go round the bend, Neil?

Me: Why are you asking me?

There’s a rumour going around that Egrorian absconded from the Space Research Institute with help from a Federation insider.

Sue: I wonder who that could be…

Dayna: Servalan?

Sue: REALLY? DO YOU THINK?!

OrbitWhen they arrive on Malodar, Avon and Vila are subjected to a security screening.

Sue: Does the mad scientist want a sample? Do they have to piss in that urinal?

Egrorian and Pinder’s relationship is strained to put it mildly.

Sue: They remind me of Basil Fawlty and Manuel. And I don’t know why Avon or Vila would need a gun; Vila could take these two on his own. Oh God, look at the stains on his coat. That’s disgusting.

When Pinder greets his visitors as “Ma’am”, Egrorian explains that his assistant doesn’t understand the difference between men and women.

Sue: That’s a clue. They must have met Servalan recently. It’s hardly a twist, though, is it?

Egrorian butters Avon up.

Sue: This is very funny. I could watch these two all day. The make-up on the mad scientist is fantastic. It is make-up, isn’t it?

Egrorian eventually cuts to the chase.

Egrorian: Now, then, Avon. What would you say if I offered you mastery of the galaxy?

Avon: Oh, I would say thank you.

Sue: Ha! This is brilliant.

Egrorian introduces Avon to his Tachyon Funnel.

OrbitSue: Is that a Tachyon TV? Is this where you got the name for your old website, Neil?

Me: No.

Avon: What does it do?

Sue: It tells crap jokes.

Me: OK, you can stop that now, love.

Egrorian demonstrates his funnel’s immense firepower with the destruction of a small moon.

Sue: That must have ****ed the planet it was orbiting. This has taken a very dark turn. This was funny a minute ago, and now it’s a bit grim. It’s classic Robert Holmes, this.

Avon could destroy the Federation with a weapon like that.

Sue: Hang on a minute… We’ve only got his word for it that it does what he says it does. They could have been watching anything on that TV screen. They’re far too trusting.

Egrorian makes Pinder vacate his seat so Vila can sit down.

Sue: They’re like an old married couple.

Me: So which one are you?

Sue: (ignoring me) And now he’s making a move on Vila. His boyfriend doesn’t like that one little bit. Aww, bless him.

OrbitSue adores Pinder.

Sue: This is what Peter Capaldi will look like when he stops making Doctor Who.

Sue has it all figured out:

Sue: The old guy will try to kill Vila because he’s jealous. Or he’ll give Vila away to Servalan to get his own back. Yes, that’s probably it.

Pinder and Egrorian have been playing chess, which means Pinder must know the difference between a King and a Queen.

Sue: I said it was a clue. I just wish the clue wasn’t pointing to you-know-who.

Egrorian tortures Pinder when he catches him cheating.

Sue: He’s horrible. This isn’t funny any more, Neil.

Avon agrees to exchange Orac for the Tachyon Funnel. When they take the shuttle back to Scorpio to pick up the supercomputer, Vila spends the entire journey imagining what he’ll do when he finally rules the galaxy.

Vila: I’ll have an imperial palace with solid diamond floors, and a bodyguard of a thousand handpicked virgins in red fur uniforms. Vila’s Royal Mounties.

Sue: Vila, you sick bastard.

Me: Forget Vila-world – that sounds like Benny Hill-world to me.

OrbitBut Avon is suspicious, especially as he’s got Servalan on the brain.

Sue: His left eye just twitched. He’s turning into Michael Murray.

Guess what? Yes, Egrorian and Servalan are working together. And because Egrorian has the serious horn for the President/Supreme Commander/Commissioner/Whatever the hell she is this week, he’s literally throwing himself at her.

Sue: (as Servalan) It’s not you, it’s me. Honest.

Egrorian sinks to his knees and declares his undying loyalty to Servalan.

Sue: He’s well over-the-top but this is very entertaining. They should have made more comedy episodes like this one. The look on Servalan’s face is priceless.

And then Egrorian advances on Servalan a little too eagerly…

Sue: Ooh, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I bet they daren’t risk another take, though. This is probably the eighteen take as it is. I don’t know how they’re keeping a straight face through this scene.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Egrorian has a proposition for Servalan:

Egrorian: A connubial partnership, Servalan. Why not?

Sue: Does that mean what I think it means? It does? Bloody hell! His funnel had better work, that’s all I’m saying.

OrbitSafely back on Scorpio, Vila is bragging to Soolin and Dayna.

Vila: Unlike some people around here, I don’t boast about my abilities. I keep them hidden.

Dayna: Oh, you certainly do.

Sue: The banter is brilliant today. Everybody is getting their fair share of funny lines. Good old Robert Holmes. Does he write any more episodes, Neil?

Me: No. In fact, this is the probably last Robert Holmes story you’ll ever see, Sue.

Sue: Oh. That’s really sad.

Me: We could always watch The Caves of Androzani after this.

Sue: OK.

Me: I was joking.

Sue: So was I.

Tarrant has visited Wikipedia and discovered that Pinder is only twenty-eight years old.

Sue: He must have got his head stuck in that funnel. It’s the only explanation I can think of. Maybe he’s still got the body of a twenty-eight year-old under that coat. Wouldn’t that be sad.

Egrorian prepares for Avon’s return.

OrbitSue: Never trust a man with big hands. That’s all I’m saying.

As Avon travels to Malodar with Vila and Orac in tow (Sue loves the special effects, by the way), he admits that Servalan is never far from his thoughts.

Sue: Especially late at night, when he’s all alone and Orac has gone to bed.

Even Tarrant is convinced that Servalan is behind it all.

Sue: If only they communicated with each other, they’d all be on the same page for a change.

Avon hands Orac over to Egrorian.

Sue: That’s never Orac. Never in a million years. He’s too light. You can’t carry Orac with one hand, can you? Soolin could barely shift him a few weeks ago.

Avon’s suspicions are exacerbated when Egrorian accidentally mentions Servalan by name.

Egrorian: I was told she had assumed a new identity. One never knows what to believe these days!

Sue: She changed her name, I’ll giver her that, but her identity is exactly the same as it’s always been. She’s hardly made any effort at all, really.

Me: I think Robert Holmes is taking the piss.

OrbitEgrorian runs a test on Orac and the computer correctly identities the subject of his degree, as well as its grade: Beta-Plus. When Pinder laughs, Egrorian pinches his ear.

Sue: These two are a brilliant double-act. You can tell that they had a good time making this. It really comes across on screen.

Egrorian goes ballistic when Orac tells everyone that Egrorian’s degree was rescinded for gross misconduct.

Sue: He’s so hysterical, he makes Avon look normal. In fact, I think Paul Darrow has given up trying to compete with him.

Tarrant almost jumps for joy when Avon’s shuttle leaves Malodar.

Tarrant: Well I’ll be damned!

Me: (as Steven Toast) Launch the NU-CLE-AR WEAPONS!

Avon tells Vila that he made a fake Orac in his spare time, and that’s what Egrorian’s got his hands on.

Sue: Do you think Avon was sniffing the glue when he put that model together. It would explain a lot.

And then the real Orac (who’s safely stowed away on the shuttle) informs Avon and Vila that they won’t reach escape velocity.

OrbitSue: I knew it was too good to be true. It always is in this programme.

Egrorian has it all worked out: the shuttle will crash in a swamp 200 miles away. Orac and the Tachyon Funnel will survive the impact, but Avon and Vila won’t.

Sue: Part of me wants him to succeed. Does that make me a bad person?

Avon switches to manual and pushes the shuttle to its limits.

Sue: That was a nice touch, pushing Orac across the table like that to give the impression they are flying at an angle. It’s funny, too.

Vila is convinced that they are both going to die.

Sue: This is very exciting all of a sudden. I wasn’t expecting this at all.

Things don’t look good, and Scorpio‘s crew can’t intervene.

Sue: Just point the Tachyon whatsit at them and threaten to kill them with it if they don’t sort this out. Simple. That’s if the bloody thing does what it says it does, and I’m not convinced that it does.

Servalan and Egrorian discuss a future without Pinder, but Pinder overhears their plans.

OrbitSue: That’s settled, then. Pinder will save Avon’s life to spite them both.

Avon and Vila jettison the Tachyon Funnel in an attempt to reduce the shuttle’s weight.

Sue: What a complete waste of time. This happens every week – they always end up empty-handed. I don’t know why they bother any more. And the bad guy is completely screwed now, too.

But it isn’t enough – the shuttle is still seventy kilos overweight.

Sue: I bet that’s what Vila weighs…

Orac: Vila weighs seventy-three kilos, Avon.

Sue: No, wait. I was only joking.

Avon’s heart and mind are locked in combat as he considers Orac’s words. Unfortunately for Vila, Avon’s mind wins and he picks up a gun.

Avon: Vila?

Sue: Shit…

Avon goes in search of his ‘friend’.

OrbitSue: Shit…

Vila is nowhere to be seen, probably because he knows Avon better than anyone.

Sue: Shit. Shit. Shit! Is this really happening, Neil?

Avon: Vila? Vila, are you here? I need your help.

Sue: He couldn’t be more suspicious if he tried. If he didn’t want Vila to know what he had planned for him, he should be yelling at him with contempt, you know, like he usually does. Avon is never this friendly to Vila.

Avon advances on his prey.

Sue: Is Vila crying? Shit, he is. This is horrible. Make it stop, Neil. I don’t like it.

Avon finds a fragment of a neutron star embedded in a cube of high tensile plastic. After lots of huffing and puffing, he single-handedly jettisons it out of the airlock.

Sue: Unbelievable. Avon was really going to kill Vila – there’s no two ways about it. They can’t just pretend that didn’t happen.

When Vila crawls out of his hiding place, he’s an emotional wreck.

OrbitSue: I’m not Vila’s biggest fan, as you know, Neil, but he didn’t deserve that. I’m shocked. And Orac can **** off as well. How much did he weigh, eh?

Thanks to Avon, the shuttle successfully reaches its escape velocity.

Sue: The floor manager has forgotten to poke Orac across the table with a broom. He should have slid onto the floor by now.

Egrorian’s plan is in tatters, so Servalan leaves the scientist with nothing but a masturbatory fantasy and an old man for company.

Sue: Pinder will have to kill him now. It’s the humane thing to do.

Pinder bathes the laboratory in Hoffal’s radiation and Egrorian ages to death in a matter of seconds.

Sue: Gandalf! I tell you what, Neil, he doesn’t improve with age.

Me: As a wise man once said on Twitter, that’s another reclusive genius dead.

Sue: Serves him bloody right.

Back on Scorpio, Avon tells the crew that he disposed of the neutron star fragment without any assistance from Vila.

OrbitVila: It’s a trip I won’t forget, Avon.

Sue: There’s no coming back from that. Their relationship must be over now. Vila will never be able to trust Avon again. And after everything they’ve been through… I’m shocked. And a bit upset.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: Wow… Well, it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t fault it. Can I give it 11/10?

Me: No, it will bugger up the graphs.

10/10

Next Time:

Yes, that really is Marcus Bentley! Well done, Glen, and thanks to you both!

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233 comments

  • August 19, 2014 8:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Hog Dogly

    “He’s turning into Michael Murray” – ooh, fantastic GBH reference!

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    August 19, 2014 8:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Simon Harries

    Superb! One of my all time favourite episodes 🙂 Lovely review and I’m delighted Sue gave it such a high mark.

  • August 19, 2014 8:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Hog Dogly

    A well-deserved 10/10. Blake’s 7 doesn’t get any better – this is as funny as it ever is and as dark. The moment when Avon realises what he has to do gives me genuine chills every time.

    This episode made a huge impression on me when I was 6. “Red is dead, green is clean” stayed with me forever, as did the moment where Avon sets out to kill Vila. Though I did get much of the Pinder/Egrorian relationship, and their subsequent demise, mixed up with the very similar frightened scientist/aging to dust fate in City of Death.

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    August 19, 2014 8:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    If Avon’s to see one more day,
    It depends on what Vila might weigh.
    Looks like the invasion
    In this Cold Equation
    Is Bob, who threw *nothing* away.

    • August 20, 2014 8:37 amPosted 2 years ago
      Alex Wilcock

      To be fair to Bob, it’s not only yet another example of him nicking stuff but yet another example of him improving it no end. The Cold Equations relies on really shoddy business practices (never mind health and safety – they lose their expensive cargo *and* ship if the slightest thing goes wrong, which is why you need a margin) and a just-as-forced ‘innocent’ for us to feel sorry for. Bob’s rewrite makes it plausible by sabotage, not absurdly tight design, and ramps up the tension far, far more by having two ‘friends’ that we care about and without both of them being saintly (and one pliant)!

      Good rhyme, though 🙂

      Sue’s sudden burst of frantic swearing is one of the tenser reads in the whole blog, too.

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        August 20, 2014 10:02 amPosted 2 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        The Cold Equations itself is an ‘alleged’ copy of another story. But the setup is irrelevant; to even call it a ‘science fiction’ one, cruddy engineering or not, is to miss the point since it’s all about the human dilemma, and Robert Holmes gets this perfectly.

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        August 20, 2014 10:13 amPosted 2 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Even the author knew how forced the scenario in TCE was, because he kept coming up with ways to save the girl, and his editor kept coming back with ‘stop doing that FFS’. 🙂

        • August 20, 2014 10:49 amPosted 2 years ago
          Alex Wilcock

          Thanks – I didn’t know that! Just goes to show: Bob was best. Even when he does save the other one, he’s still more of a b*****d.

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    August 19, 2014 8:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andrew Marsden

    Neil, have you and Sue watched the Robert Holmes penned and Douglas Camfield directed “The Nightmare Man”? That combination would please her no end.

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      August 20, 2014 12:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      ‘The Nightmare Man’ has a terrible consensus reputation nowadays, but I remember enjoying it a lot. Since I last saw it around ’91 or ’92, (at the same time as ‘Artemis 81′. Oh, what a fun, levitous evening that was.), I could be Nathanturnering, but I’d like others’ opinion of how it stands up.

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        August 21, 2014 11:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Simon Ferns

        Scared the bejeezus out of me back in the day. The three men trapped at the research station was pretty tense. On seeing it again on DVD release that scene is still scary. Some of the acting is a bit duff though.

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    August 19, 2014 8:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    A deserved 10/10 from Sue for the best B7 episode ever. In my humble opinion, this is Bob Holmes’ finest TV script littered with so many quotable lines including this gem:

    EGRORIAN: Surprisingly, you don’t look like the ruthless desperados of legend. But you have, of course, killed a great many people.

    AVON: Only in the pursuit of liberty.

    To see Avon track down Villa with deadly intent was truly shocking TV back in December 1981 – we hadn’t seen anything like it before. It’s wonderful that this eppy still delivers a punch 34 years on.

    • August 19, 2014 9:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Hog Dogly

      34 years? I hope not, that would make me 41. I missed two birthdays’ worth of presents!

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      August 19, 2014 9:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Smile

      It’s currently 32 years, 8 months and 12 days of age, let’s not get too far ahead…

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        August 19, 2014 9:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Rob

        I’m not a mathematical protégée 🙂

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      August 19, 2014 10:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      And not often since…

      Had the story been made in series 1 or 2, it would not have worked. The characters were too new and Blake was the proverbial albatross to such levels of desperado drama… And, yes, I like Blake… But series 3 was so meandering, it could not have worked. Only in series 4, after all this time to properly set up characters and situations, could it really have worked.

      Holmes nailed it.

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      August 21, 2014 5:42 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      “Madame Roland stepped lightly up to the scaffold, and, bowing before the statue of Liberty, as though to do homage to a power for whom she was about to die, exclaimed, ‘O, Liberty! Liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name!’ She then resigned herself to the hands of the executioner.” – History of Madame Roland, John Stevens Cabot Abbott, Harper & Brothers, 1850

      Good old Bob Holmes!

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        August 21, 2014 11:04 amPosted 2 years ago
        Katie c

        They obviously learn about American literature in Federation Space School (“The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”) but not the French revolution – which is to be expected I suppose..

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          August 21, 2014 5:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Plus didnt Blake quote something about America but didnt know what it was?

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            August 23, 2014 5:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Like the bit in ‘Babylon 5’ about the destruction of Coventry….cue everybody in the room shouting “You’ve never been to Coventry”.

          • August 23, 2014 6:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Neil Perryman (Author)

            What’s worse is that he pronounces it as Coven-tree.

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    August 19, 2014 9:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    That ‘Warlord’ trailer is fantastic 🙂

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    August 19, 2014 9:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Who needs Robert Holmes when you have your own double act?

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      August 19, 2014 10:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      Sue and Neil definitely do make a great double act!

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    August 19, 2014 9:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nick Kirby

    Also delighted, as this has always been my favourite B7 episode. I haven’t seen it since its original transmission. However, am I missing something here? Why use a shuttle as opposed to the teleport?

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      August 20, 2014 1:44 amPosted 2 years ago
      frankymole

      Simly Egrorian’s paranoia, it seems. He also demands Scorpio stand off out of teleport range so no quick attacks can be staged on his dome. From the transcript:

      EGRORIAN [V.O.] I am dispatching my autoshuttle. It will dock with your ship in six minutes. You will board the shuttle alone. It will bring you to my biodome. You will carry no armaments.

      AVON But we don’t need the shuttle. This ship is equipped with a teleport system.

      EGRORIAN [V.O.] I’m well aware of your ship’s capability, but I insist that you use the shuttle.

      AVON And if I don’t agree?

      EGRORIAN [V.O.] You will agree, Avon. I have explained the alternative, I cannot let you go.

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        August 20, 2014 9:42 amPosted 2 years ago
        Nick Kirby

        Cheers – that clears it all up! 🙂

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        August 22, 2014 11:01 amPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        How did he know about Scorpio’s capabilities? Teleport isnt standard: only Liberator and Scorpio so far. Should have been a giant red flag right there, surely, who told him, who would know, do I hear the sound of high heels andthe swish of a cape?

        I mean, unless Avon had already told him…it’s just something sounds off about that line if so. “I know, you told me” would be more natural.

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          August 22, 2014 11:41 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          My private explanation is that teleport technology is probably known to the Federation, but probably expensive and unreliable to maintain and operate when you rely on air superiority and massed infantry (we never learn that the Federation has anything like ). Like how USAF doctrine led to them abandoning cannon and dogfighting skills because supersonic capability and guided missiles did all that for you.

          Teleport capability would only be useful if you practiced rapid insertion, terror, diversion and sabotage tactics, and we only ever see Travis advocating for that (and being poo-pooed by Federation brass)

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          August 22, 2014 12:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Smile

          I always presumed that Servalan had told him, as she’s already witnessed members of crew teleporting in front of her in Assassin, Sand and Gold at least, and she is also present there.

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            August 23, 2014 1:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Right, that’s what i presumed too…and outside the Scorpio crew, wouldnt Servalan be the only one who knew, so Avon’s “Servalan!” stuff is a bit like well, duh, Avon.

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      August 22, 2014 11:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      If Egrorian lets Avon teleport in he can’t implement his plan to use the Tachyon funnel as bait for Orac . He plans to get Avon to exchange it for Orac and then to sabotage the shuttle on its way back to Scorpio so that it crashes into a swamp on Malador. He can then recover the funnel he while ensuring Avon is killed. This is a plan he has developed at Servalan’s behest.

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        August 23, 2014 12:49 amPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Discovering he’s exchanged it for the fake Orac does not phase him because he knows he can retrieve both from the swamp when the shuttle crashes but Avon and Villa will be jellifhahahahaed.

        I think this is right cos he can’t just have a cube of plastic with a minute bit of a neutron star embedded in it hanging about the place as a paperweight – can he? It must be ‘one I prepared earlier as a trap’. And he’s got Servalan there to give her Orac and get her to make him her partner as Pinder is no longer good company but a geriatric with irritating habits.

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          August 23, 2014 3:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
          frankymole

          The plastic in which the neutron star speck is embedded must be very strong plastic.

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          August 23, 2014 4:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          Hmm. ‘Neutron Star Material’ and ‘Tachyon Funnel’ have intentionally similar connotations of relativistically quantum mechanical processes, and I think one could conceive of a process in which neutron star material is a by-product of the industrial production of tachyons, the same way that depleted uranium is a by-product of nuclear material production.

          How does a tachyon funnel work? The name ‘funnel’ suggests that it sifts space for naturally-occurring tachyons and funnels them into destructive beam. Or maybe it uses an off-the-shelf gravity generator (of the kind that SF uses all the time) to concentrate harvested neutron-star material into black hole-like matter which would generate tachyons as part of its collapse to singularity. In this case, the ‘funnel’ would mean a device like the funnel on an old-fashioned public-address speaker, or gramophone set which would diffuse the tachyons in a directional manner; or it could be a shaped electromagnetic field to achieve the same means.

          In either case, it makes ‘sense’ in the context of applying physics to science fiction (always a dangerous game, but never mind) for Egrorian to have a few hundred kilogrammes of neutron star material around. 70kg wouldn’t have to be any bigger than a helium atom. The only reason for the paperweight is presumably to allow Egrorian to locate it easily when he wanted to repair his shuttle.

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          August 23, 2014 5:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Frankymole

          I love the way Avon and Egrorian assume their “telephone voices” to clearly en-un-ci-ate during their exchange about the “not necessary” teleport, “we have a shuttle” etc.

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            August 23, 2014 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            LOL

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          August 23, 2014 7:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Didnt Avon say that Egrorian sneaked it on to the ship when they were loading the tachyon funnel, or rather Pinder did. Still that makes me wonder why it was just lying on the floor and not actually under the funnel or something, also seems kind of risky, given that if its so heavy it might sink the funnel to the bottom of the marsh. How are they going to get the funnel and Orac out of the marsh?
          Always these niggling little questions. But I have begun to see this as a bit endearing, given that in Rumours, it drove me so mad I didnt enjoy it til I learned to ignore it all.

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            August 23, 2014 7:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Reprogrammed the landing bay, according to Avon’s guess. Still seems careless leaving it where Avon could strike it. If this were Avon we were discussing, we would say Avon had left it there on purpose so as to fuck up his own plans and not actually harm anyone. since it’s Egrorian, we dont need to assume such complexity, do we?

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      August 23, 2014 12:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Also, if he doesnt get them on the shuttle, he cant kill them while simultaneously getting back the tachyon funnel. Still, just saying, I insist or you die, is a pretty unsophisticated argument.

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        August 23, 2014 1:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Unsophisticated but effective. I’d listen.

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    August 19, 2014 9:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I agree with Sue for a change, it should get 11/10. The best B7 episode despite it possibly also being the cheapest. I remember it being ruined by Darrow hamming it up, and bits of it almost are, but watching it again he gives a much more restrained performance for most of the episode than the rest of Season 4 , and seems to be just enjoying Holmes’ dialogue.
    John Savident is brilliant, probably my favourite B7 guest appearance.
    Good job there’s only twoi episodes left so we don’t have to think to hard about the impact on Avon and Vila’s relationship.

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      August 19, 2014 9:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Smile

      There’s a quotation from Paul Darrow in the Blake’s 7 Programme Guide:

      “The best writer for us [him and Michael Keating] was Robert Holmes, and he got that relationship perfectly. Whenever we heard a Bob Holmes script was coming up, we didn’t even bother to read it, we knew it would be good.”

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      August 23, 2014 12:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      The thing is, though, wyngate, that ‘hamming it up’ as you call it, is necessary to make Avon at least partly unlikeable.
      Actually I cant really find a word to describe ‘likable’ Avon, except for ‘cool’. It’s all I can come up with. And standing next to Vila, before Egrorian, quiet and watchful, with none of that dramatic hand-gesture and hammered elocution, he was the perfect echo of Avon standing next to Vila, before Tynus, in Killer. And then Avon was at his very very coolest: that little raised eyebrow: “Is there something wrong with your memory, Tynus?” Every facial expression was more than restrained, it was perfectly tiny and subtle and eloquent. And he was so physically still, like a snake. He was just as sleek and dangerous and perfect as a snake.

      That’s not ‘likable’, not ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ …but it is desirable in many different ways. Who wouldnt want to BE Avon, to be as cool as that? But this Avon was still a Good Avon, holding the torch, protecting Blake and so on.

      And now Avon has become nearly psychopathic. Certainly deranged, unpredictable, unreliable…openly sending his people into danger. “Why do you think I sent Tarrant?” Jesus. I wouldnt follow a leader who so openly disdains my safety, whether he means it or not or whatever…be exhausting trying to figure out what his next move would be. He might just program Scorpio to crash into the nearest planet.

      (I sometimes picture Tarrant in the character of Kyle going: “Jesus H tapdancing Christ, Avon, what the fuck? and Avon answering “Respect my authoritah!” Would give a lot to hear Paul Darrow do that…)

      Anyway, if Avon were still cool-and-restrained-snake-like Avon, behaving like he is now, this would render such appalling behaviour cool as well. And that would not be tolerable. We might find ourselves making excuses for him or just celebrating how naughty it all is.

      By ‘hamming it up” Avon becomes so distant as he wasnt, ironically, before. All these overdone emotions dont make us feel he’s more genuine: they remove him. You cant ‘feel” him anymore. My friend Tobias, first thing he said on laying eyes on Avon, before he even spoke, was “That man is seriously wounded”. You felt him, and you felt how human he was. And now his humanity is so deeply hidden behind all the studs and leather and evil laughs and bellowed commands and ridiculous dramatic swoops around corners…

      …when he does that, it puts me in mind of John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House on the Night of the Horse, running absurdly tip-toe and jumping completely around into unnecessary combat stances…you know the bit.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzAqMVlotvg If this doesnt put you in mind of Avon…

  • August 19, 2014 9:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “It will bring you to my biodome”

    Nooooo! Get out Avon, he’s got Pauly Shore down there. We don’t need evil right now, evil is not good!

    “Why do you think I’m sending Tarrant?”

    Avon once again blatantly displaying in front of Soolin his willingness to set others in the group up. I’m sure she could get really quite annoyed if she thought the same trick had been played on her.

    “Avon tells Vila that he made a fake Orac in his spare time, and that’s what Egrorian’s got his hands on.”

    Which could explain the two ORACs discrepancy a few weeks ago. Although surely Villa would have noticed all the sticky back plastic and glue while Avon was building it. Just how big is Xenon base anyway?

    “Servalan leaves the scientist with nothing but a masturbatory fantasy and an old man for company”

    Last of the Summer Wine — in SPAAAAAACE!

    Got to love this story (no, really, it’s the law). In this one, Robert Holmes and “Blake’s 7” really, finally click. Not that the other stories were that bad (even “Traitor” has grown on me) but this is the one where it all works to perfection.

    Full marks to the guest cast as well.

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    August 19, 2014 10:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karyl

    This one really upset me when I first watched it.

    That CREEPY fat guy, and the senile grandpa managed to build something like a Tachyon Funnel? Who did all the heavy lifting, and why was an eighteen year old prodigy all alone with that pervy cretin anyway?

    You’d think that his parents would have put up more of a fuss about it. But I guess that good parenting in the Federation is something that was tossed to the wayside.

    One thing I learned is that you NEVER trust someone who’s seriously cracked in the head to make a deal of this magnitude! We all saw Avon go crackers in the last episode, and since I doubt that there’s a plethora of therapists that the gang can get into contact with, he’s STILL crackers!

    The minute he started in with the sweet talk toward Vila, I knew that he meant him harm! A sourpuss like Avon doesn’t do sweet, especially not the way he was written in fourth series!

    Poor Vila; turned on by his last friend from the Liberator, and nearly chucked out into the beyond in order to assuage a nutjob’s whims.

    Said nutjob needed a good punch in the mouth, for even contemplating this. But then, he was thinking with his paranoia, and not his brain.

    The poor kids, and YES they are too kids!

    They were supposedly born some eight or nine hundred years after we all died? Yeah, physically, they are around our collective ages. Chronologically, they are freaking kids!

    All except Tarrant. He’s a half trained poodle that occasionally pees on the rug and needs a good swat with a rolled up newspaper, or a shot of ice water from a squirt bottle.

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      August 20, 2014 12:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      In the UK the age of majority is 18. If it’s the same in the Federation, whatever Pinder’s parents had to say about it would be irrelevant.

      • Visit site
        August 22, 2014 11:07 amPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Yeah, after 18, ‘good parenting’ means ‘staying out of the damn way, thank you”.

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    August 19, 2014 10:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
    DPC

    By and large always loved Sue’s comments, but so many in “Orbit” take the cake factory.

    A scene was removed from the episode showing Vila crying outright. What remains is the aftermath of that, which alone packs a punch. Would seeing Vila cry add to what is a very disturbing scene no show today would do? Or detract? Either way, it’s rock solid as it is.

    I suspected this one would get 10/10 (as with a couple others, which may or may not yet have been shown).

    “Orbit” is Holmes’ best work on B7, by far. Even with the fake Orac, it’s easily forgivable. Only “Orbit” has everything in its favor. Holmes usually got Avon and Vila perfectly, but not always with plots or other characters. I never got into “Traitor” (feels like a spinoff with boring lead characters) or “Gambit” (too outlandish for Holmes’ style, to say nothing of Orac’s ability to shrink…) “Killer” is a classic and “Orbit”, despite not being as intellectual in breadth, outpaces it for its taking real guts and bravado with a refreshing death trap that sums up some of the better aspects B7’s fourth year brings to the table, and in a strong run of consecutive stories, with more to come!

    Subtle references from Holmes’ characters involving non-heterosexuality also seem in-line with realism in the story. I will never know why he was being so progressive, but Egrorian is surely one of the first bisexual baddies in any TV show? Or does he use sexuality for the sake of manipulating others? Either way, it’s brilliant stuff.

    • August 20, 2014 6:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Hog Dogly

      My theory is that he was only interested in Servalan for the power, and seemed much more genuinely fond of Vila (and the young Pinder).

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        August 23, 2014 1:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        I think he’s a randy old goat missing sex now Pinder is too old to a) fancy and b) do it. He’d prefer sex with Villa but has to kill him. Connubially linked to Servalan he’d have both power and sex ( in your dreams Egrorian – shed poison you at the wedding breakfast and make it look like a stroke).

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      August 22, 2014 12:19 amPosted 2 years ago
      Jess Patton

      I really wish I could see that scene. Even if they were right to remove it I can imagine it packs a wallop. I remember seeing an interview with Michael Keating about this episode, and he mentioned he got quite genuinely freaked out at one point. He also mentioned that the shivering was not acting, as the scene was filmed in a freezing cold room and they’d been going for over an hour.

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      August 23, 2014 3:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
      frankymole

      Showing bisexuality as a trait of an odious maniacal villain may not be seen by many as all that progressive though.

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        August 23, 2014 5:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        True. I suspect in the right circumstances though, most of us would prove to be bi don’t you?

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    August 19, 2014 10:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    Good character episode, though the constant inclusion of Sleervalan is now so expected that it would be a shock if she didn’t turn up.

    Holmes always did have a penchant for the grotesque, and John Savident doesn’t disappoint in a turn that is equal parts Shakespeare and Panto. Though the final ‘ageing’ effect, with Savident turned into a humanoid Doogle did cause unintentional laughs.

    And to think that John ‘I Say’ Savident was in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange a decade before this. And a year later would be wasted in a cameo turn in Who’s The Visitation which, given his two Blakw credits, seemed cruelly brief.

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      August 19, 2014 11:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      Oh gosh! Was he the creepy social worker?

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        August 20, 2014 7:47 amPosted 2 years ago
        Sean Alexander

        I can’t remember exactly, but he turns up near the end.

        • August 20, 2014 6:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Hog Dogly

          He is, I believe, one of the conspirators. The creepy social worker was Aubrey Morris.

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            August 22, 2014 4:40 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            so it isnt him…wow sure looks like him and the voice is so similar.

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        August 21, 2014 5:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Ah, the social worker…I think you’re right…”the one man in this sore and sick community who wants to save you from yourself!” and then grabs poor Alex’s nuts..
        Mr Deltoid!
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN-c7Xo9kkw…yeah its him!

        Actually, I dont get something in this clip, being a girl and all. When Mr Deltoid does that, Alex laughs and swats his hand away and then stands up…but as soon as he does, he’s overcome with pain, why, guys? Go on, tell….how it not hurt and then hurt when you stand up?

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          August 21, 2014 7:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          It’s when they drop and hit the bottom of the bag.

        • August 21, 2014 7:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Andy Luke

          Post shock delayed reaction it looks like.

          Ouch!

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            August 22, 2014 4:39 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Thanks…I wondered. My horizons are broadened. Hit the bottom of the bag, Jesus. I have to go to the supermarket now… going to have this on my mind. I am so glad my happy bits are all neatly tucked inside.

  • August 19, 2014 10:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    My favourite episode.

    • August 20, 2014 3:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Michael Clark

      Mine too. I remember not breathing through the scene where Villa was hiding, bit silly really as he wasn’t under water, but it was intense.

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    August 19, 2014 11:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
    JarrickA

    Perfection. One of the best of B7. Such a shame Holmes died in the 80s. What an incredible talent. The performances were A+.

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    August 19, 2014 11:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Richard Baker

    Sue: Did Avon just clip Vila round the ear?

    It’s an apparently affectionate pat on the cheek. Worryingly, Servalan does the same to Egrorian less than twenty minutes later. Neither relationship ends well.

    My favourite line is: ‘Avon and (pause and wistful look) Vila won’t survive of course. They’ll be jellifihahahahahahahaahied.’

  • August 19, 2014 11:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    encyclops

    This, like “The Caves of Androzani” is far too grim and disturbing to be my “favorite” episode, and for the same reasons I balk at awarding it the “best” of anything. But for the same reasons again it’s absolutely brilliant, and that it went as far as it did is a jewel in B7’s crown. It may very well be the best, even if it’s not the exemplar (it doesn’t pack half the punch unless you’ve known Avon and Vila this long and this well) and definitely not the coziest.

    Just think: if there’d been an episode of Firefly where Mal stalked Wash in order to murder him and throw him off a shuttlecraft, I might actually have been interested in that show.

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      August 20, 2014 5:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
      executrix

      I adore Firefly, and must point out that Mal very nearly did throw Jayne out the airlock, although in this case Vila didn’t do anything to inspire his Near Death Experience other than existing and being in the way.

      • August 20, 2014 9:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
        encyclops

        Well, exactly. The analogy is imperfect because Mal is 2 scoops of Blake and 1 scoop of Avon, and Jayne is a scoop of something else entirely served in a bowl that says “Avon, Seasons 1 & 2.”

        In other words, the nominal hero is supposed to threaten to airlock the guy in the ruthless self-centered wild card role. It’s only shocking if he actually does it.

        The nominal hero is not supposed to threaten the supposedly adorable wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly comic relief. That’s shocking whether he does it or not. Really, just imagine Mal stalking Wash through the ship.

        I’m probably the only person on the planet who thinks Firefly is routinely overrated, but I can see why people like it and I like it when it doesn’t get too focused on the characters I dislike (i.e. most of them).

        • Visit site
          August 21, 2014 9:09 amPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          You are not alone!

  • August 19, 2014 11:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    NICK GRIFFITHS

    I’m surprised Sue didn’t pick up on “That’s not Orac it’s just a box of flashing lights.” I giggle like a hormonal teenage girll around her crush when I first heard that line.

    A great episode proving that Robert Holmes is the past master of dramatic double acts. Though considering Egrorian’s interest in Pinder and Vila his attempts to get into Servalan’s pants seem odd. He really is a randy old bugger isn’t he! The dramatic climax is the one of, if not the most tense sequences in the show. No doubt about it Avon has finally crossed over into being a psychopath.

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 4:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Mat Dolphin

      Yep! “That’s not Orac it’s just a box of flashing lights” is the funniest line in the series – all the funnier because Servalan is so angry.

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    August 19, 2014 11:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    And there it is. My vote for the best B7 episode ever. It’s Holmes at his queasiest: smart as paint and with the absolute brass balls to do everything it threatens to do.

    In terms of “nobody is safe, nothing is sacrosanct”, just that real feeling of genuine unease that there are no rules that won’t be broken, I think “The Hills have Eyes” is a really good comparison. ‘Orbit’ feels like the last gasp of genuinely nasty, cruel sinful-seventies exploitation, BBC TV style. Up there with “The Seeds of Doom” on that score.

    Interesting that Sue had it down as a comedy episode, up until Egrorian starts breaking Pinder’s arm, and then I was suddenly reminded of a review I read once of the original ‘NOTLD’; something like “the acting is bad and the production is stagey, so snigger while you can because pretty soon the laughs will dry up in your throat”.

    Also: extra points from me for being something you could do in Theatre Club with one set and a cast of six. Even that part of it feels like a massive fuck-you: yeah, sure, mock the budget. We can go this intense with no budget at all, nothing but stock sets, costumes, props and models. Now how far do you want us to go? (although I am on AnnieW’s side in that it wuld be intollerable if the whole series was like this.(

    With all of that said, was I the only person who thought his name was actually Pinter until this rewatch?

    • Visit site
      August 22, 2014 11:13 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      NOTLD?

      • Visit site
        August 22, 2014 11:28 amPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Night Of The Living Dead. My go-to example of how bad acting, nonexistant budget and poverty-row production values can actually work in favour of putting something viscerally effective in front of you.

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          August 23, 2014 12:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Do you mean the black-and-white NOTLD? That scared the life out of me and I really mean it. I dont like gory horror like Saw or Hostel, but usually do like scary films. Not this one. It had some quality that was so nightmarish I couldnt bear it . I switched it off.
          What I can compare it to is this, wonder if you remember…when the Yorkshire Ripper was on the loose and a man called John Humble decided for some bizarre reasons (to help the police and motivate them to look harder, he said) in his drunken brain, did a tape pretending to be the killer, and the police fell for it.

          They played it on News at Ten: I was watching in my bedroom on the little b7w portable. You know how News at Ten goes Big Ben chimes, and then “Bong…headline…bong…headline….” so it goes: Bong!” and then Trevor Mcdonald, so you know its serious…”Is this the voice of the Yorkshire Ripper?” And for a moment or two there was just the hissing of the tape, and then: ‘I’m Jack. I see you are having no luck catching me. I have the greatest respect for you, George, but Lord, you are no nearer catching me now than five years ago when I started. I think it’s eleven up to now, isnt it?” From memory that is, because I wont forget it.

          There are absolutely no words to describe what that flat Sunderland voice did to me. I cant just call it terrifying, it was a lot more than that. It was like the darkest possible places…the guy was out there, anywhere, all over the North, and here was his cold deadly voice….I leapt up and switched it of and flew beneath the covers.

          anyway, something about that movie hit the same spot. It was just awful in that same flat way. The lighting is all flat and so is all the rest. I hate that film. Give me Dawn Of The Dead, with all its mega shocks!

  • Visit site
    August 19, 2014 11:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    Oh, and, repeating myself: LOLcat caption to a still of John Savident abusing a geriatric: Dis is teh mos Robert Holmes thing EVAH.

  • Visit site
    August 19, 2014 11:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Christine

    This episode upset me so much when I first saw it, and even now (despite rediscovering so many episodes after reading Sue’s comments) I avoid watching it. Very chilling moment from Avon and seeing Vila in tears was heartbreaking.

  • Visit site
    August 20, 2014 12:40 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Thank God, thank God, thank God, Sue liked the episode!! I think it is such a good one and it would have been difficult if she hadn’t. I wouldn’t have organised a protest watch but I would have felt sad.
    It is such a brave and honest thing to do, to have the pragmatic ‘hero’ who has always argued against sentiment called out on this very point and to let the audience discover that, o yes he meant it! To give him no excuses and to face us with the uncomfortable question -if your own life was dependent on your killing a friend what would you do? Having Avon struggle with the question for a moment punches home the message:Wake up and smell the reality people, survival may well mean taking a life in order to preserve your own. Gut wrenching and what a lovely commentary to accompany it.

  • Visit site
    August 20, 2014 1:37 amPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    “I still haven’t seen a planet with more than five people living on it.”

    God I’m going to miss this blog.

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 2:47 amPosted 2 years ago
      Katie c

      “God I’m going to miss this blog”

      Yes it will be a very sad day when it all comes to an end…

      I love Orbit too, it’s funny Sue was saying Pinder and Egrorian look like an old married couple, that’s just what Avon and Vila look like together on that shuttle, before ..”and unobtainable!’ totally comfortable in each other’s company. Can’t get too cosy on Blakes 7.

      Why didn’t Orac pick up on the fact there was a speck of a neutron star on the ship? Lucky Pinder didn’t hide it very well!

      Poor Vila!

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 9:01 amPosted 2 years ago
      Marky Mark

      I’m going to miss it, too.

      Neil – can’t we persuade you to take on another show ? I’m sure we could all come up with some very good ideas – mine would be The Tripods. One of my favourite books, scrappily adapted for the TV with plenty of appalling acting for Sue to get her teeth into….

      • Visit site
        August 20, 2014 12:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Oh dear. I’m not particularly proud to be saying this….
        Season 1 of ‘The Tripods’ is 30 minutes of good stuff, and 12 hours of unutterably tedious trekking though not-very-interesting locations in the company of not-very-interesting characters. My friend had a decent VCR in those days, and we had a delightful time with ‘The Tripods’, the Audio Dub control, some Easy Listening Classics records, a Woolworths fan organ and a Czech phrase-book, which we premeditatedly planned as payback for ‘The Secret of Steel City’ and ‘Oscar, Kina and the Laser’, and whateverthehell that thing was with the spy / magician and his flying rowing boat.

        These days, I’d watch almost any amount of narrated Kid’s Eurodrama than season one of ‘The Tripods’ again. Season two was 100 times dottier and hence more fun, although all I can really remember is the permanently stoned aliens, the servant girls in the coffee shop and the fact that the pressure-suits had //short pants with unbloused hems//.

        Shame we never got a TV adaptation of Book 3. They could have used ‘Pool of Fire’ by Nocturnus as the end-credits score. My head is exploding just trying to imagine the CSO atrocities that would have been involved.

      • Visit site
        August 20, 2014 1:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        I’m going to miss the blog too but I think just getting Neil and Sue to watch crappy TV together won’t cut the mustard. It’s because Neil has a genuine love of Dr Who and an ( at times patchy) affection for Blakes 7 that makes their commentary so enjoyable. It’s the clash between forgiving memory and unforgiving spontaneous reaction that makes it so hilarious, together with the fact that they often disagree. Creatively it may well be time to move on – watching and commenting like this must be a hell of a strain and there must be easier ways of earning a crust. But whatever your next brilliant adventure Neil, please keep us posted so we can join in.

        • August 20, 2014 3:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Michael Clark

          Well, it’s got to be Sapphire and Steel next. Sue may kill Neil at the suggestion, but think of the entertainment:)>

          • Visit site
            August 20, 2014 8:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            I dunno. S&S is up there in my favourite five TV shows ever, but I don’t see it supporting a charming experiment like WiS or WaB.

            To begin with, S&S has no humour at all, intentional or otherwise, unless you count one joke: it looks like it was made for thirty pence. Oh and I suppose “is she supposed to be a prostitute?”

            Second, it’s a programme you are either predisposed to like or else you’re not, and if you’re not, you’ll just be bored stupid.

            Thirdly, if you do like it, you want to be in the space where you can let the intensity wring the guts out of you, and not trying to be witty and interesting. You won’t get two peeps out of me when I’m watching it.

            So I don’t have a good suggestion as to what might be attempted next, even assuming that our hosts were willing to do another one….

        • August 21, 2014 7:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Andy Luke

          I kind of agree Annie. If the same variables can be applied to something else, I’ll sure be up for the ride.

          I’m gonna miss this community. Where will I see you all again after the finale?

          Is a Wife & Blake book definitely out of the question, Neil? Never say never? I can see something supplemented by permitted reproduced comments: some of the quality academic debates and funnier stories and poems.

          • Visit site
            August 23, 2014 12:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            please read my post below, guys, if you really do want to carry on…

  • Visit site
    August 20, 2014 5:43 amPosted 2 years ago
    Jason

    Wow, just finished this, what an episode. Even without the extremely tense Avon/Vila scene, this episode held my attention in a way that a lot of the more recent episodes haven’t.

    I’ve loved a lot of episodes from the last two series, but lately the formula is constantly “Crew wants MacGuffin, plan goes bad, Servalan shows up, guest character dies, crew doesn’t get MacGuffin.” Even though this episode still fell into that, Holmes really made it something special.

    I really loved the first 3 or so episodes of Blake’s 7 because everything was so grim; people were constantly dying, even people who you thought were going to be important. This episode recaptured that same uncertainty and dark atmosphere that (to me) has been missing since Blake was aboard the prisoner ship.

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 2:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      “This episode recaptured that same uncertainty and dark atmosphere that…”

      I’m still working through this with myself, but since everything made now has to have a Dark Atmosphere in a World of Betrayal and Uncertainty, where No-one Can Be Trusted (and a craggy jaw and a short beard to prove it), I’m totally done with Dark Atmospheres. But, I know what you mean, I just need to find a better explanation / expression for it. Anniew said that it “if it wasn’t camp it would be unbearable”, which is fine, but I’m not secure in my own use of the word ‘camp’.

      I like ‘uncertain’. I used the word ‘queasy’ before, because it describes the frisson I get in my stomach when I have the rug pulled out from under me like this. In any case, I need an expression to differentiate ‘Orbit’ and so on from latest go-around of Alan Sodding Moore or Frank Sodding Miller or who sodding ever we get nowadays.

  • Visit site
    August 20, 2014 8:46 amPosted 2 years ago
    Marky Mark

    Well I’d been looking forward to this episode for a while, other people having mentioned in earlier in this season, and it didn’t disappoint.

    I really liked the quirky relationship between Pinder and Egrorian, brilliantly played by John Savident. I know Roy Kinnear gots lots of praise last week, but I thought John Savident was much better.

    Servalan’s trip was very comic – how did Jacqueline keep a straight face ? Very professional.

    But the highlight for me was that absolutely chilling scene when Avon is hunting down Vila – it actually gives me shivers down the spine just writing this. How evil is Avon ?? Poor, lovely Vila…and what a great last line from Avon.

    And then the bit when Pinder kills them both was also very nasty, with superb effects like the skeleton falling onto the control panel.

    Wow, wow, wow. Oh, how I wish all of Blakes 7 had been this good. 10/10 easily.

    Only now will I probably sorry that it’s coming to an end lol !! 🙂

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 11:59 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      Marian: I’m not about to tell you that you ‘should’ like something if you straight-out don’t, but here’s why it works for me: I don’t think Egrorian is OTT, he’s a Hogarthian grotesque of a monstrous ego, in the tradition of Steptoe Snr. Think back to the beginning of the season: Dorian has a monster in the cellar that gets old and bears all the marks of his venality and corruption while he reamins youthful and fresh. Egrorian wears his Sick of Sin proudly and seriously believes that it makes him seem virile and attractive.

      I certainly don’t like the Vila-hunting sequence, it makes me feel properly nauseous, in a way that ‘edgy’ scenes in film and TV rarely do.

      Why not use the tachyon funnel to escape from the planet’s gravity well? The clue in in the weapon’s name. We can guess that it uses tachyons to somehow roll back time, or otherwise bend the law of general relativity, which would certainly involve a much bigger gravity well as the planet imploded. We might speculate about the fact that Avon hasn’t tested the tachyon funnel, hasn’t been trained to operate it, and doesn’t even know whether or not Egrorian has palmed HIM off with a fake.

      Just to repeat myself: I’m not trying to tell you why YOU should like it, but I think I owe you an explanation about why it works for me.

    • Visit site
      August 20, 2014 10:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      It’s the wrong footing that does it. One minute you’re enjoying a comfortable familiar conversation between friends and blink and one is hunting the other with a gun. And you can understand why even if you don’t approve. Emotions are exaggerated beyond the point of parody so they become a kind of distilled, intense essence of that emotion – uncomfortable to witness, sometimes hilarious but always memorable. Comedy segues seamlessly into horror, appreciation, even admiration morphs into disgust. When it all works it leaves you wrung out, uneasy, queasy-something you want to forget but can’t. Cuddly absurd Decimas play savagely with a severed head. Heroes are convicted of pedophilia. A woman in evening dress and stilettos is tied to a structure where minutes ago a young girl dangled having been tortured to death. In my very limited experience this is uniquely Blakes 7. A programme that is both objectively absurd and disturbingly relevant and moving.

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        August 20, 2014 11:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Anniew: I think what you’ve done is put your finger on what the Theatre of the Absurd actually is, and given me something I need to think about bit more. Back at’cha later.

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          August 21, 2014 12:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Look forward to it.

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        August 21, 2014 1:47 amPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        Annie that is a very good summation of the “bleak versus camp” dichotomy in Blake… there has been a discussion going on about the American reboot proposal on the Dr Who forum (Gallifrey Base), wouold it be permissible to quote your analysis there, as it does brilliantly sum up Blakes 7’s unique balance?

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          August 21, 2014 9:12 amPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Yes of course!

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    August 20, 2014 10:16 amPosted 2 years ago
    Marian de Haan

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like this episode? Egrorian being so OTT ruins it for me. I can’t take him seriously.

    And why don’t they blast Egrorians planet to smithereens with that funnel? With that planet gone, the gravity is gone and the shuttle can escape. (Well, they’d probably be hit by rocks, but that’s a risk they have to take).

    I HATE that scene where Avon goes in search of Vila.

    • August 21, 2014 12:02 amPosted 2 years ago
      Hog Dogly

      They’re inside the atmosphere, they’d be destroyed with the planet. Also, it’s likely they don’t have time to work out how to programme it.

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    August 20, 2014 10:29 amPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    Harsh words Marion about a classic B7 eppy but why do you ‘hate’ about that scene when Avon goes in search of Villa? What real choice did Avon have in that near-death situation? Tough on Villa of course and wonderfully tense viewing but Avon had the gun….

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      August 21, 2014 6:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      I saw Paul Darrow being interviewed about this very thing and he said it was totally reasonable of Avon: “You would do it: I would do it” and he laughed…and the interviewer looked slightly taken aback…I am sure he was thinking what I was thinking, namely, I am almost positive you’re not meant to say that out loud, Paul. I am sure you’re meant to say I’d give it Large Titus Oates, even if you wouldn’t.

      He was so Avon-istically terrifyingly matter-of-fact about it…and I have always heard he’s supposed to be this charming and considerate man…I have often wondered, and I would love to ask him about this, just how much playing a character like that changes you, how much you can shake it off.

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        August 22, 2014 9:21 amPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        “just how much playing a character like that changes you, how much you can shake it off.”

        I’d say that most students of Stanislavsky would claim that it’s absolutely necessary to a good performance…

        But really, stuff like that happens to real spies and undercover cops all the time. I know perfectly well that I’d crack in days, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear of it happening to actors too.

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        August 23, 2014 12:57 amPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Charming and considerate but don’t share a taxi with him just in case.

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          August 23, 2014 1:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Ha, lol, Annie…would he jump out and leave you with the fare?

          Seriously, though. remember Boys From The Blackstuff? Yosser Hughes? Gizza job? Bernard Hill (and let’s take a moment to appreciate THAT guy as an actor) played Yosser and it was said at the time he went so far inside the character he had a breakdown. As Yosser broke down…do you remember the episode dedicated to him, Yosser’s Story, where he loses everything piece by piece, wife, home children…and finally, even his name: he was always declaring “I’m Yosser Hughes”, like, meaning, I matter, and in the end he cant say it any more. He’s sitting in the rain and he goes “Im….I’m…I’m wet”. Its awful. Just awful.
          I can see how Bernard Hill could have found you cant just put Yosser in the box when you go home. Could Paul Darrow just put Avon away? I want to ask him.

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    August 20, 2014 12:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    I’ve just thought. Holmes had a real preoccupation with ‘bad time-travel technology’ and/or ‘quacky anti-aging technology’ (is this the same thing?) as a metaphor for spiritual and moral corruption, didn’t he? Between this, the Zigma Beam and the Kartz-Rheimer field, the Flame of Karn and Spectrox….

    I’m risking putting my foot in the b.s. pop-psychology poop-pile here so I’ll stop, but I suddenly noticed, and now I can’t un-notice it.

  • August 20, 2014 1:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Beth

    Whew. If this episode had gotten anything under a 10, I’d have flailed and wept.

  • Visit site
    August 20, 2014 3:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karyl

    If you still want to blog about stuff, try the latest Marvel movies, starting with ‘Iron Man I, II, and III’, go through ‘Thor’, ‘The Avengers’, ‘Thor the Dark World’, straight to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’

    It should be a load of fun trying to compare the characters to B7.

    Especially Loki. If Tom Hiddleston did NOT base some of his characteristics on Avon I will eat liver!

    And I DESPISE liver!

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      August 23, 2014 2:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Even accompanied by a nice chianti and fava beans?

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    August 20, 2014 4:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    It’s the B7 episode I’ve rewatched the most, and by that measure it’s probably my favourite – even if in some ways the next two have a stronger effect on me. Much of it seems comic – at times hilarious – and high camp, but then there’s that devastating coda in the shuttle which is deadly serious. Both Darrow and Keating were quite brilliant in that scene, each showing subtle touches. The way Darrow’s eyes suddenly switched from a faraway look, as though Avon was processing something his brain couldn’t fully accept, to a hawk-like concentration. And poor broken Villa: there was no way he could ever have helped Avon move that block, even if it meant life or death. A bitter irony, so well observed.

    In comparison, how do you judge the comic parts? I laugh like a drain at Pinder and Egrorian (less so Pinder because he’s also a victim), especially the latter’s ‘courtship’ of Servalan and his covert pleas of loyalty through the scanner. Is there a danger we can’t take them seriously enough? I don’t think so, because of Holmes’s shrewd psychological insight and clever plotting. For one thing, they behave like psychotic children, ‘girly’ laughter and all – perfectly plausible if we add 10 years of isolation (and radiation induced aging) to their basic personalities. Also the combination of grandiosity, vanity, sycophancy and bullying cruelty we see in Egrorian builds up a nuanced caricature. RLF, Hogarthian is a great description. And even if we try to separate the two parts of the story we can’t do it: Holmes has bound them tightly through his double acts. Avon and Egrorian, both see their partners as ultimately expendable (I love that quel dommage – so condescending, so typical – and I reckon that’s where Rusty got it from for the 5 Doctors Reboot).

    If I had to choose one episode to advertise B7 to a friend who’d never seen it before, it would be this. Especially if they had a love of language and a black sense of humour. Even if they hadn’t, I’d still take a punt. Makes sitting through The Web and The Harvest of Kairos all seem worth it. Now on with the buskins.

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    August 20, 2014 4:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    PS. I couldn’t give a toss what mark Sue gave this, but am I pleased? Hell yes.

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    August 20, 2014 9:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Simon Fletcher

    I stumbled upon The Wife in Space a while ago and have followed The Wife and Blake from the start. I’m sorry it will soon be over. I’ve only recently bought the B7 box-sets and have been following along. I’m really pleased Sue enjoyed Orbit – a terrific story. If you do decide to tackle another series, how about Star Maidens? If that doesn’t appeal, there’s always Space: 1999 to consider.

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      August 20, 2014 10:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Christine

      Space 1999 would be brilliant! I’ve just ordered the DVDs after being swept away in a rush of nostalgia and far-too-faded memories by a photo from the series.

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        August 20, 2014 11:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Oooh…
        ‘1999’ I could pass on, but ‘UFO’? You betcha.
        Something else that comes dressed up in space-age bachelor pad orange and fawn, with a conspicuous excess of wet-look vinyl and wooden acting, until it suddenly starts dropping downer endings and ‘No-they-didn’t-just-do-that….did they?’ moments. I haven’t seen much of that since Central TV started its late night services.

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          August 21, 2014 12:09 amPosted 2 years ago
          Rob

          Another vote for ‘UFO’ 🙂 Possibly the best UK sci-fi series (after ‘Blake’s 7).

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            August 21, 2014 12:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            I did some googling on ‘UFO’ – how did I not know about this? I’m sold.

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            August 22, 2014 12:16 amPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            To be fair to yourself Christine, ‘UFO’ is under-documented. It never got a full cross-ITV run and never received the full redemption it deserved.

            I think it’s a great little series, probably the best thing Anderson ever did. The pop-art interiors and costumes are gorgeous, and Derek Meddings probably doesn’t need more praise for being able to work miracles on shoestrings, but he’s going to get some more right here.

            It’s also surprisingly influential on things you might not expect, and on people you might be surprised about 😉

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            August 22, 2014 10:40 amPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            “It’s also surprisingly influential on things you might not expect, and on people you might be surprised about”

            Now that is a good endorsement. “I shall stay because I don’t like an unsolved mystery.” And I shall definitely acquire and watch UFO 🙂

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            August 22, 2014 10:57 amPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            If you were to check, as a research exercise, you may find certain media-sharing resources which can help. But you should also have satisfied yourself concerning that availability of commercial media.

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            August 22, 2014 2:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
            executrix

            I’m in the U.S. and have Netflix. Which has…Disks 2-5 of UFO available, and Disk 1 unavailable. I was also going to check out The Sandbaggers, of which Disk 2 is available and Disk 1 is not.

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            August 22, 2014 2:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            The Sandbaggers is another entry in my top-5 favourite TV series ever. Crushing intensity, bowel-loosening tension and barely no raised voices or ‘action’ at all.

            But you MUST. NOT. watch season 2 before seeing season 1 first. Once again, you may wish to undertake alternate research.

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            August 22, 2014 4:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
            executrix

            I always start at the beginning and watch in order! That’s why I’m frustrated, and puzzled. I could understand releasing only the beginning of a series on DVD and then seeing if there’s enough interest to release the rest, but…why start in the middle?

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            August 23, 2014 8:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            yes I think me too. I wikipedia’d it: looks very good and I checked first episode, whole bunch is on youtube I think. Production values look much better than Blake’s 7, really shows you just how cheap B7 was. Still I only watched the opening scenes. Very short frocks.

            Its got a brightly coloured almost Teletubbies look, though, like so much 60s and early 70s stuff. I find it gets on my nerves. Its relentless. Yet another reason to love B7, that and the absence of dolly-bird attire.

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            August 27, 2014 3:49 amPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            Youtube to the rescue! It took only ten seconds of UFO episode 1 for me to fall in love. And think of Thunderbirds. And Space 1999.

            😀

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      August 20, 2014 11:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      And I’ve never even seen ‘Star Maidens’.

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        August 21, 2014 7:43 amPosted 2 years ago
        Simon Fletcher

        UFO would also be good. I won’t try and describe Star Maidens – it has to be seen to be believed – except to say it is very Seventies and features Gareth Thomas before he became Blake.

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          August 21, 2014 6:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Never even heard of it..but I still think Charlie’s Angels has more hilarity potential. Doesnt have to be sci-fi, does it?

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            August 21, 2014 7:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Of course it doesn’t have to be sci-fi. I loves me some Jacklyn, Cheryl and Kate (Tanya I can live without.), and it might be fun to play the game of “so what unapologetic, irredeemable piece of trash was playing on Times Square this week, just so Aaron could make a TV-friendly version of it?”

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    August 21, 2014 10:06 amPosted 2 years ago
    Gareth

    Believe it or not, the “sliding Orac” scene is actually listed in a B7 blooper list that’s been online for about 25 years. Because they actually tipped the set and not the camera, obviously. Gawd.

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      August 21, 2014 10:34 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      So. Diligent design/set construction + Mechanical effects of gravity cause prop to behave as it would if the simulated situation were actually real…..and this is a blooper?

      Me no understand.

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        August 21, 2014 11:48 amPosted 2 years ago
        Gareth

        Whoever wrote the blooper list assumed that the set itself was tipped up (which of course it wasn’t), hence Orac’s slide was entirely unintentional.

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          August 21, 2014 1:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Smile

          Isn’t there a scene where the shuttle dips and Orac slides and then another one later where it also does but this time Orac doesn’t move? Think that’s been mentioned as a small production mistake previously.

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    August 21, 2014 10:14 amPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    I have such a weakness for what I’m going to call ‘transmissions from another planet’, not to mention ’70’s Euro-daftness, that ‘Star Maidens’ might just prove irresistible to me. As soon as I’ve got “Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion” out of the way….

    • Visit site
      August 22, 2014 4:20 amPosted 2 years ago
      Christine

      ‘As soon as I’ve got “Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion” out of the way….’

      And today brings another Totally New Treat! Thank you RLF and thank you Neil and Sue for creating this little corner of the Internet.

      My dusty brain is coughing as it sweeps through forgotten cupboards and comes up with the name ‘Sternensommer’ from around 30 years ago. My main memory is of the scary alien guy with the sweetest smile (he only smiled twice in the very short series). Did anyone else come across this?

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        August 23, 2014 6:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Never heard of it before, but it looks…..beautiful. Harp-playing harpy surrounded by candles! Disappearing through mirrors! Running around a chemical plant! And old PDP-7 with whirly tape spools! I want!

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          August 27, 2014 3:50 amPosted 2 years ago
          Christine

          I think that ‘beautiful’ is an apt description.

  • August 21, 2014 10:19 amPosted 2 years ago
    Neil Perryman (Author)

    It’s official – our next blog will be Adventures with the Wife on Jupiter Moon. Our Kickstarter target is 50 pence.

    • Visit site
      August 21, 2014 11:18 amPosted 2 years ago
      GreyAreaUK

      Interesting choice.

      • August 21, 2014 11:26 amPosted 2 years ago
        Neil Perryman (Author)

        I’m joking! Although I guess you already know that. No, this is the last blog we’ll be doing. Thanks for all your suggestions for another follow-up but I think we’ve pushed this as far as it can go.

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          August 21, 2014 12:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          As you can see from my tweet I wasn’t sure if you were serious. Hope sprung etc. But do find a way of letting us know what your next venture will be so we can support it ( unless of course it’s building a house – though I’d donate a brick or two if you need it!) this blog has been so much fun!!!!

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          August 21, 2014 12:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          It could be done – find a series with a cult following that neither of you know intimately, where a major part of the experience is figuring out the puzzle it presents to you, and chronicling from scratch the attempt to make sense of what’s going on and who is doing what to whom as it escalates. Lost is out, since I believe you know it well already, and it should be something more easily absorbed in smaller chunks and dwelt upon in your spare time. For those joining in at home to whom this is also unknown territory and can join in the game (for it *is* a game), the episodes can be linked to the blog.

          I refer of course, to Marble Hornets.

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            August 21, 2014 9:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            “I refer of course, to Marble Hornets.”
            In deference to Christine, how had *I* not heard of *this*? I think I’m in love!

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            August 22, 2014 3:53 amPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            Oh goodness. RLF I am obviously just a delicate little petal. I googled Marble Hornets (I am thankful EVERY DAY for the Internet) and now I’m scared. You’d think if I could watch Avon hunting down Vila with gun in hand I could cope with Alex and Tim and “Everything is fine”….

        • August 21, 2014 2:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Hog Dogly

          Classic Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 are the only two shows that I can think of which carry the right amount of tonal/thematic variety (consistent shows like Sapphire & Steele would quickly get boring), or are still watched and loved by a broad range of people, or have sufficient range of toe-curlingly awful and breathtakingly good episodes.

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            August 21, 2014 4:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            There’s also the fact that the entire premise of the blog relies on the experience of ‘new’ things to an unfamiliar audience. The time to stop is before the idea settles into a routine formula, because then you’re just willfully missing the point, and Neil can see that better than anyone here can.

          • August 21, 2014 4:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Neil Perryman (Author)

            It would be really easy for us to Kickstart the new series of Doctor Who, and I’d probably make enough money to keep me off the streets for another year, but we won’t do it because IT WOULD BE CRAP.

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            August 21, 2014 4:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            And Ian Levine would complain about the reduced number of episodes.

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            August 21, 2014 6:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Rob

            ‘Classic Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 are the only two shows that I can think of which carry the right amount of tonal/thematic variety (consistent shows like Sapphire & Steele would quickly get boring)’

            Totally agree with the above. As much as I love UFO and Sapphire, a similar Perryman blog wouldn’t work quite work. i think Sue & Neil should consider becoming vloggers? They could tackle something like Nu-Who.

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            August 21, 2014 7:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            I was on the point of suggesting ‘Danger Man’, which I’ve found myself (OMG! Dare I say it…?) rating higher than ‘The Prisoner’ recently. It’s simultaneously breezy and enthusiastic, but it cuts even deeper than ‘Callan’ when it really goes for it. But you’re right, it doesn’t come anywhere close to having a “Stardrive” or a “Timelash” or anything you can unashamedly savage.

            And besides, Fiona had a better idea.

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            August 21, 2014 7:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Elucidation: I’m making suggestions now about something which the Acolytes Of Neil And Sue (AONAS) might attempt, as a child’s imitation or slave’s flattery, so to speak. In case you need to hear me say it: our hosts have gone perilously close to madness and terror in the name of our entertainment and edification, and I’m more than happy to have what we have from them.

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            August 21, 2014 11:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Geoff

            Quite right Neil, bow out with a dramatic and final- no coming back from this style exit while it’s still good and leave the fans wanting more…a bit like….

            Or you could just come back and do Howard’s Way, I’d love to hear Sue laying into those smarmy 80s tory snobs like Charles Frere and Ken Masters. Shares a similar level of production and stretching the bounds of credibility with B7 in my view as well as surviving a fair while without it’s lead character too. No Holmes episodes, too ill and Frail by then unfortunately and not his type of show anyway.

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            August 22, 2014 8:59 amPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            I will see your ‘Howards Way’ and raise you a ‘Triangle’.

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          August 22, 2014 7:31 amPosted 2 years ago
          Nick

          I’ve loved both blogs Neil – and the book of course – but I think you’re right. Besides, you both need time off for good behaviour.

          But two requests… PLEASE keep a Facebook page going for occasional news and comments and do a final, one-off combined blog, Q & A etc. combining Who and B7.

          And guys…we have all loved the blogs over the past years, so what’s to stop us setting up our own FB page and then nominate/volunteer someone go do a blog on UFO or Nu Who etc.

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            August 22, 2014 4:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Nick: since you ask, here’s an idea.
            Anyone who wants to keep in touch, go to
            https://www.guerrillamail.com
            and get a disposable email address (no charge and no sign-in.). Post the email address here. Then other people can post their ‘real’ email addresses and we can keep in touch with each other.

            Maybe we should indicate whether we want to keep in touch with each other on a new weblog after WaB breaks up in a week’s time.

            I’ll get the ball rolling:
            q1u79+t0qhdq3gqkik@sharklasers.com

            So, send me a mail here. Don’t trust me not to be collecting email addresses for marketing purposes? No problems. Get a Guerillamail address of your own, and send THAT. When you’re happy, share your gmail or ‘real’ email address.

            Guerillamail only keeps messages for 1 hour, so be prepared to send the mail repeatedly, once every 2 hours or so, until you get a confirmation reply from the person you want to contact. When you’re done with the address, or if you want out of the arrangement, walk away and let it rot.

            This way, no-one has to put their real email address on the public internet. It’s a bit complicated, but it gives everyone the chance to walk away from anybody else if they want. Who knows. maybe the transmitter beacon failed.

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            August 23, 2014 1:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            so I wrote a post below Nick , that i am going to do a blog anyway and anyone who wants to join me, great, maybe you and I can get in a vicious fight over the Office again…but that is a great idea. Why not? Nominate say, RLF and Annie…they could watch and comment with skype or something! and then it could be knocked into shape as a conversation…I think that’s a good idea.

          • Visit site
            August 24, 2014 12:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Nick

            Great idea Fiona! I’ll be there, being a coolish 52 year old… 😉

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            August 30, 2014 12:05 amPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            RLF, only one hour?

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            August 30, 2014 12:30 amPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Yes, which is a bit impractical, so I made the temporary ‘real’ address down below. I’ll be keeping it open for another week in case anybody wants to jump on board.

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      August 21, 2014 4:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Is that New Pence or old ten shillings?

      • Visit site
        August 21, 2014 4:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Oh dear God, Jupiter Moon sounds EXACTLY like what would happen to Moonbase 3 if they remade it today.

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          August 21, 2014 4:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          According to Wikipedia, Jupiter Moon was created by the editor of The Archers. I imagine it’s another show that didn’t spend any money on sets.

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            August 21, 2014 7:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            ‘The Archers’ is the longest running and most consistently popular drama series in any medium, anywhere in the world, ever, and continues to be a beloved cultural artefact.

            Jupiter Moon….erm….isn’t.

  • Visit site
    August 21, 2014 10:31 amPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    Whoh!! A series which I’ve never seen, was not even aware of during its own lifetime and know nothing about! What an opportunity!

    Neil, I can send you fifty pence in postal orders, Weetabix tokens or Green Shield Stamps. It’s up to you.

    • Visit site
      August 21, 2014 11:42 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      [INSERT HERE: EMOJI FOR DIDNT-GET-THE-JOKE]
      Can’t say I blame you, Neil and Sue. It must be hard work.
      So I suppose the question is: anyone out there want to take up the mantle? It might be a chance for us all to give our hosts a bit of payback for the lovely times they’ve given us over the last several years…

  • Visit site
    August 21, 2014 12:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    As ‘Blake’ will sadly be the last Parryman blog venture – is there any chance of doing something special for the finale like a live Skype feed or a video of Sue’s final thoughts on the series etc?

    • Visit site
      August 21, 2014 5:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      And who is this Parryman who has taken over ze blog?

      • Visit site
        August 21, 2014 7:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        I dunno, but with these rocher, you are really spoiling us.

        • Visit site
          August 21, 2014 8:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
          executrix

          Hey, Mr. Parryman, parry me banana!

          • Visit site
            August 21, 2014 10:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            Brilliant

  • Visit site
    August 21, 2014 2:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    New game: Shag, drink at pub, toss out of moving vehicle. Avon, Villa, Egrorian. Avon, Carnell, Villa. Doesn’t seem so bad now. Life’s a cruel bitch. Why didn’t Avon take Tarrant?

    On reflection, ( I’m going to seem very silly now) I realise this is the second time that Avon has been willing to sacrifice Villa for his own ends – both Holmes episodes- so I don’t know why I was so shocked.

    • Visit site
      August 23, 2014 7:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Maybe getting his own back for Killer,when Vila stood there like a total spare part, even though holding a gun and Avon had to battle Tynus single-handed. “Thanks” Avon said, briefly and bitterly. I bet he was storing that one up.

  • Visit site
    August 21, 2014 5:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Neil Do you mean the new series IS crap or the blog would be crap? Is this a spoiler for the new series which I am eagerly awaiting? Please note I have changed my user name to Annie the Paranoid Granny.

    • August 21, 2014 5:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      The blog would be crap. I’m still waiting for someone to say, “It’s never stopped you before!”

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        August 21, 2014 7:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        I can’t help imagining that as a Vila / Avon exchange.

  • Visit site
    August 21, 2014 5:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nick

    An episode I remember very well. I think this was the episode where any fannish ideas about Avon actually liking and caring about the crew went out of the window. Would he have thrown Vila off the shuttle if he hadn’t found the dwarf star alloy? Of course we’d like to think not… But as my work colleague said at the time: “Avon’s just a total ****!”

    • Visit site
      August 21, 2014 8:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      How many if YOUR work colleagues would you be prepared to die for? I don’t think you can call him a **** unless you can honestly answer that question. I hope if if was me or the kids/me or the husband/me or my best friend I’d choose to save them or romantically ‘go together’ but I can’t be sure until it happens – perhaps they’d sacrifice me. And Avon and co haven’t chosen each other or promised to love honour and and obey like me and mine. Villa doesn’t volunteer to sacrifice himself for Avon either. It’s not a heroic reaction but it is human and I don’t think Avon has ever claimed to be a hero. What’s shocking is the situation – I hope I’m never tested in that way.

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        August 22, 2014 7:18 amPosted 2 years ago
        Nick

        How many of my work colleagues would I be prepared to die for? ALL of them of course! 🙂

        I take your point though. I hope I’m never tested in such a way. Mind you, it would be a great staff training exercise to be trapped in a shuttle with one of the Accounts Team, in a decaying orbit and the need to shed 70 kilos…

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          August 22, 2014 7:19 amPosted 2 years ago
          Nick

          And believe me, the Accounts Team are ****s, so it would be me if him/her! 😉

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        August 22, 2014 7:46 amPosted 2 years ago
        Smile

        I think the thing is, and this isn’t particularly about Avon, that if one were to do that, one would survive, but at what price? Many, probably, would find it difficult to the point of intolerable to live with themselves afterwards for having effectively committed murder just to guarantee their own survival. In which case, why would it be worth surviving it? If you couldn’t have any real quality of life or peace of mind, what actual benefit would merely living on give you? Some might also have the view that if their loved one or whoever couldn’t survive, they wouldn’t want to live without them anyway, even if they weren’t responsible for their death. Or there’s the possibility of self-sacrifice.

        It goes back to the sort of ruthless nature inherent in survivalism, as discussed the other day, or even utilitarianism. If one’s own survival is paramount, and anyone else can be considered worth sacrificing for it, then one is effectively retreating to a form of sociopathy or the ‘law of the jungle’ as it’s colloquially known.

        Nineteen Eighty-Four offers another parallel, not for the first time with this programme, or even this particular season. The sequence where they destroy Winston’s love for Julia via torture, and his eventual screaming for them to do it to her instead, is on similar lines to the concept here, albeit Avon and Vila aren’t lovers, but the principle of how much one is prepared for someone else be forced against their will to suffer, even someone they’re close to and have some kind of fondness for, for their sake.

        Blake’s 7 takes place in a context where this kind of behaviour is often, if not considered a necessity, at least encouraged. Avon’s only doing in this episode what a large number of the people in the series are already doing, only on a less obvious and more symbolic level. It often seems to be the kind of world where, if A thinks that they can benefit from B being betrayed, suffering, or killed, then too bad for B, they can be sacrificed to it without compunction. Empathy and compassion can sometimes be in short supply. It’s short termism and self-interest which often predominate.

        As far as this episode goes, it’s notable that it’s Orac who deliberately puts the idea in Avon’s head, hence also giving Vila a reason not to trust that computer again either. Does he even speak to Orac again after this? Would the idea have occurred to Avon without Orac prompting him, at least where there was time to do it? As it is, the action as it unfolds simply demonstrates that he was ultimately over hasty, in that there were still other options available after all, and his attempt to lure Vila also costs him in the short term, because when he really does need Vila’s help – to shift the collapsed neutron material, or whatever it is – Vila, of course, has no reason to trust him and stays hidden, and so the task of pushing it all out falls entirely on Avon himself. He still succeeds at it eventually, but his earlier rash actions – and also, to be fair, Orac giving the kind of leading information he did while Vila could still overhear them – has led to it being made more difficult for him, with a greater risk of failure, without anyone else to help bear the weight of getting rid of it. So, in the longer term, he’s lost Vila’s trust, but even in the shorter term, it rebounds on him to that extent.

        It’s been said before that in some ways Vila shouldn’t really be surprised at Avon being prepared to abandon him if the situation seems to require it, as, at the start of the episode, he’s already aware that Avon’s happy to let Tarrant go there and take all the risks, and therefore considers him to be dispensable to at least some degree. So if he’s not too worried about the prospect of potentially losing Tarrant, why not Vila as well? Perhaps Vila thinks that Avon values his door-opening skills enough to want to keep him on. Reminiscent of City At The Edge Of The World where Tarrant even threatens to throw him off the Liberator, and Avon later tells Tarrant that Vila is more valuable to him than a pilot, as his skills are less easily replaceable.

        It would have been interesting to know what would have happened if Avon hadn’t bothered taking Vila with him on his second visit, having decided the two men there were no serious physical threat to him. What exactly would have ensued after his hitting the desk and saying “What weighs seventy kilos?” What would Orac have said then, if anything? What strategy would he have attempted?

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          August 22, 2014 9:27 amPosted 2 years ago
          Smile

          Actually, of course, the most likely thing to have happened would have been that without the excess weight of another passenger, he would have been able to achieve escape velocity anyway, after unloading everything else, even if he hadn’t found the object causing it.

          What I’m getting at really there though is, what would he have done if he’d been in a similar sort of situation where there wasn’t someone he could throw overboard?

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            August 22, 2014 10:09 amPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            Laughed?

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            August 23, 2014 7:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Surely Egrorian would have factored that in. After all, he didnt want Avon to bring a pal in the first place. And then Avon insisted, meaning you cant be sure if he’ll come back alone or with Vila. If Avon throws Orac, plus all those studs of his, it’d probably do. But I bet Orac would not be answering “Orac weighs 45 kilos, Avon” or what ever it is.

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          August 22, 2014 10:24 amPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Well he still hasn’t found Blake or killed Servalan. Both give Avon a purpose which in the context of a rebellion might be compelling and more important than Villa’s life.

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            August 24, 2014 9:45 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Got to say I thought Smile’s piece is great.

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            August 24, 2014 12:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Nick

            I didn’t say I didn’t like it,just that it seemed rather long for a blog.

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          August 22, 2014 10:24 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          If there was actually such a person as Avon, his rationality would work like this:

          Arg. 1. Although my Person is no more valuable to The Crew, The Universe or The Revolution, my Agency (i.e, what I’m capable of doing) is more valuable than his (just as his is more valuable than Tarrant’s), and therefore my agency should be preserved. This is a function of ‘something I can do’ rather than ‘something I am’, and cannot be considered selfishness.

          Arg. 2. I had the foresight to bring a concealed weapon, and to take more exercise in case hand-to-hand fighting were necessary (maybe this also reduced my body mass to below 70kg, therefore self-sacrifice is not even a mathematical option.), therefore my skills/ability to survive are ipso facto my right to survive, QED. In fact, if Vila had any preservation instincts at all, he’d have taken some aikido and stuffed a straight razor in his boot. I bet Dayna has. That’s why I didn’t bring her.

          Arg. 3. I abrogated my ego by requesting advice from a source of data more capable than me (Orac). The solution therefore is wholly rational and my nominal ‘wish’ or ‘opinion’ is moot.

          Arg. 4. At the first possible opportunity, I abandoned my plan to kill Vila and sought an alternative solution, which carried a higher risk of failure. I did this because preserving both Vila’s agency and my own was a higher net gain than preserving one, other or neither.

          Arg. 5. Sacrificing myself in an act not even guaranteed to resolve the situation (is Vila a skilled pilot? Is Avon too light?) is the basest and most manipulative piece of egotism imaginable. The sort of thing Jesus, or (spit) Blake might do. Acting ruthlessly now will put fear into my enemies and make sure that even my putative friends know that there’s no line I won’t cross.

          Now the weird rational actor in this little experiment is Orac. Insomuch as Orac has a will, he is not happy being amongst the Scorpio crew and would probably like Egrorian better. Orac would also know that he could survive the crash and that the humans would not. So why doesn’t Orac lie, tell Avon that Orbit is obtainable, let the fuel run out, and allow The Jellification to take place? We know perfectly well that Orac is capable of lying, so computers-don’t-lie isn’t a good reason. What’s his excuse??

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            August 22, 2014 10:47 amPosted 2 years ago
            Christine

            “he’d have taken some aikido”

            IMHO aikido is the thinking person’s martial art: it’s about the angles, the momentum, the leverage, getting past the opponent’s guard, not about the direct attack.

            I think it would be perfect for Vila.

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            August 22, 2014 10:56 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            That is an awesome analysis…but it does leave Avon operating absolutely at machine level. And he isnt operating so. He’s struggling, at least somewhat: you can see he’s running through all possible options not to do it.
            And then, the voice that he uses: Avon isnt an idiot, surely he knew that wasnt going to bring Vila out, as Sue said. He doesnt want him to come out…look at the change of voice when he realizes the neutron star thing…that wretched wheedling is dropped in an instant…so therefore, he knew it wasnt going to work..I almost incline to think that was Avon’s Dr Jekyll warning Vila to stay hidden…and really, why didnt he find him? Vila had pretty much done the equivalent of pull the covers over his head, not to mention the glaring clue of the plastic thing he dropped.

            So the Rational Avon might work as you described, but Rational Avon doesnt have the last word…

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            August 22, 2014 11:30 amPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            I agree insofar as Avon’s rationalisation goes, because we already know he’s prepared to be ruthless if he think sit’ll amount to a net gain. We need only consider the scene in Space Fall where Raiker is commencing to shoot down the rest of the prisoners to force Blake, Avon and Jenna out of the computer room. Blake eventually gives in to this and agrees to surrender, it’s Avon who is obviously prepared to call Raiker’s bluff and let him go ahead. He may also have reasoned that if Raiker does finish up killing all of them, he’ll eventually run out of lives to pressure them with in this way.

            That’s why I said that the comments in the first paragraph or two that I wrote weren’t particularly about Avon, but in consideration of the line of discussion about how would you react if it was one of your family or workmates etc.

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            August 22, 2014 12:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Oh, I’ve got plenty of evidence that my historical workmates would hang me (or each other) out to dry in seconds flat. That’s a completely different kind of survivalism: weak, sick and old members of the tribe weaken the tribe, and that’s what hyenas are for. The tribe may fight amongst itself (say, for dominance or mating privileges), but must only ever display absolute solidarity to the outside. If a member of the tribe is cast out, it serves both to strengthen that solidarity inside, and strengthen the appearance of solidarity from the outside. I’ve experienced and witnessed something pretty close to the Klingon discommendation ritual, and what’s always interesting to me is how tribal loyalty always trumps personal loyalty.

            Now Fiona….I know your thesis is that Avon tries like mad to be a cold-blooded rattlesnake, but can’t quite do it. It occurred to me that he’s spent so much time and energy to becoming the apex predator and eliminating sophisticated feelings like passion, love and loyalty that he’s neglected to guard against much ‘cruder’ or ‘less sophisticated’ emotions like sentiment, fondness or just plain-old “oh, bless”.

            You’re dead right about the voice he uses when he’s hunting Vila. And I put it down to ideamotor: a completely sub-conscious application of a real ability which one may have attempted to suppress or override. Which almost puts us in D.H.Lawrence territory here: is it our despised base instincts and animal passions that will actually save us when sophistication and refinement fail?

            I don’t have a real-world opinion on that. I’m just saying.

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            August 22, 2014 1:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            I’ve read about some cases with tribes or communities in remote areas where environmental conditions have led them toward either extreme – self-interest or callousness or whatever we would call it being the dominant instinct, or others with a high level of compassion, empathy, or a capacity to sympathise.

            Self interest can be enlightened – with no instincts for self-preservation at all, a species probably wouldn’t have very good long term prospects if left to their own devices. On the other hand, one that had no other kind of instinct to counter that would be totally venal. And of course, an ability to care for and co-operate with others can also be a means of surviving adversity, eg a group of humans are at the mercy of a set of wild and dangerous animals which can pick them off easily on an individual basis, but working together they can overcome them, that sort of thing.

            Self-interest and, for want of a better term, altruism, are all ultimately means of survival in the end, I think, just via different, and not always equally direct, routes.

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            August 22, 2014 2:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Probably the fear of God put into him after his antics in Dawn Of The Gods, no doubt involving a second explosive device.

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            August 22, 2014 4:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            Another angle we could perhaps think of this from is how it compares to Blake’s decision in Star One. Blake can claim on the one hand that he is acting out of altruism on this occasion, ie that the priority is to destroy the Federation, and that although many will die, it’s worth it for the greater good, a better society in future without the repression, cruelty etc.

            At the same time though, he’s also open to an accusation of doing this mainly in the hopes of vindicating his own reputation or opinions, and ending others’ lives to gratify his own desire to have his arguments proved right. That he is therefore prioritising that over the lives of what may be millions.

            So his motives can be described as being a combination of concern for others – the prospect of a Federation-free future – and selfish ones – knowingly sacrificing other people’s lives so as to get what he wants, to allow him to claim that his methods and actions were justified.

            Avon may, in this episode, have various rationales for attempting what he does. Is he concerned merely with staying alive for the sake of it, or does he believe that there are important reasons for him to go on living, achievements that he needs to accomplish, and that the rest of the crew might not be up to doing?

            If he wants to meet Blake again, is that for reasons relating solely to his own desires, or is there also a more altruistic motive? Is he drawn to him on a personal level, out of curiosity? Or is it a case of believing that he’s still alive and wanting that to be confirmed? Does he think that Blake still has an important utility, such as being able to play a part in attacking or destroying the Federation? The first two of those are largely self-gratification, the third is a goal potentially more orientated around others. Perhaps it is a combination of all of these. If we assume that Avon wants the Federation destroyed, or at least weakened or halted and no longer in a position to threaten him – and it does seem reasonable to assume that is what he desires concerning it – then Blake, if it may prove possible to find him, could be thought of as a possible means to that end. A destroyed or weakened Federation could also mean saving many others from its clutches too, which is where the similarity with Blake’s Star One decision comes in. Avon has a goal that will also benefit many others if achieved, and so therefore allowing someone else to die, if that’s the price of his living, and potentially bringing it about, is similar in one sense to Blake’s rationale for destroying Star One.

            Similar with the aim of killing Servalan. Does he want this for revenge? That’s gratification. Hatred of her? The same. Concern for avenging her victims, such as Dayna’s father, Hal? That would be more out of concern for others’ feelings. A desire to prevent her killing anyone else in future, and so sparing any further potential victims? Also relatively altruistic. For the sake of their own safety as, with her out of the way, they’ll have lost a dangerous enemy? A mix of self-preservation and possible concern for the rest of the crew. Again, perhaps it is all of those to some extent.

            He may well also have other goals, not discussed yet, and again, these could also be subject to whether they’re for his benefit only, or other people’s, or both.

            So it’s possible in theory to compare Blake’s and Avon’s reasons for acting as they do on these occasions, or at least making the attempt. Blake’s could be that it’s important for him to do this because destroying Star One could take the Federation with it, and the human cost would be worth it because many others would benefit. Avon’s could be that he still has the potential to make, or facilitate, a positive difference in terms of undermining or even destroying the Federation, and he isn’t the only one who would benefit from that but also many others too.

            I’m not sure whether any of the current crew would have seriously considered sacrificing themselves personally to save one of the others if they’d been in that situation. Tarrant maybe… he can be impulsive on occasion, and his argument to Avon in Dawn of the Gods that they should all die together when they’re in immediate danger suggests he might not be entirely averse to attempting a heroic kind of gesture like that if he thought it might save one of the other’s lives… although not necessarily every one of the others, perhaps. Vila, after all, is obviously not willing to go quietly, so I wouldn’t blame Avon for being similarly reluctant to do the same thing, even if we had enough information to confirm it would have the same effect… it would be very out of character for either of them to think in those terms.

            Although that said, there is also the occasion in Terminal where Avon, probably thinking it’s the only way he can ensure the Liberator doesn’t fall into Servalan’s hands, tells Vila to take the ship away as fast as possible. It may well be that by then he’s resigned himself to a possible death in her custody, unless he’s keeping open the possibility of attempting an escape if he gets the chance, and has already decided – at least in those particular circumstances – they soon change, of course – that his association with the others and the ship is over. In which case, he may be caring partly for the integrity of the Liberator, the safety of its remaining crew, and also for being able to at least thwart any further plans of Servalan to get hold of it. So there clearly circumstances in which he is prepared to adopt contingency strategies in the event of himself being taken, perhaps permanently, out of the equation.

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            August 23, 2014 10:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Nick

            Smile…did you mean to write a full blown feature article for the Comments section of this blog?

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          August 22, 2014 1:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Frankymole

          “It often seems to be the kind of world where, if A thinks that they can benefit from B being betrayed, suffering, or killed, then too bad for B, they can be sacrificed to it without compunction. Empathy and compassion can sometimes be in short supply. It’s short termism and self-interest which often predominate.” Exactly – that’s why it didn’t need a fifth series exploring Servalan’s Thatcherism. It had already been there and done that, ahead of its time.

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            August 22, 2014 2:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            “that’s why it didn’t need a fifth series exploring Servalan’s Thatcherism”

            I don’t think anyone’s been advocating for a series making yet another Thatcher straw-man to whack with bamboo poles. That’s Ben Elton and The Crappiness Patrol and Billy Bragg and V For RevengeFantasiesOfTheImpotent, and it’s ahistorical and incorrect, not to mention BAWWWW-RIN. And, you know, like, the actual presence of a real Thatcher and a real Regan in the world kind-of undercut the need for allegory or polemic on the subject.

            I’m personally satisfied that the narrative stopped precisely where it did, and that’s why I’ve studiously avoided any continuation media.

            I mentioned before that if there **had** to be a 5th series, I’d have like to have seen how the characters escaped the ’70’s into the ’80’s: adapting and changing, or sticking to their guns and being left behind. Or sticking to their guns and surviving. The series has got to the point where it has a lot of moral and narrative flexibility and has moved beyond “beat the baddies” and “fight for Freeeee-doooooom!!” and has even got over its mopey teen-angst phase, and I think there was plenty of room for moving on without resorting to childish tub-thumping. But it didn’t, so there.

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    August 21, 2014 11:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Harriet

    Sue thinks Gold should have been the 50th episode, but what the hell does she know.

    Actually, I think Sue’s right. I’ve thought for years that Gold makes more sense as a sequel to Orbit. Watch Vila in Gold – he’s uncharacteristically detached at the beginning, when he shakes his head at a grinning Avon. And then there’s the interesting scene where it’s a grim-faced Vila who leads the interrogation of Keiller when they think Avon and Soolin are dead. I interpret it as Vila thinking that, angry as he was with Avon, he didn’t want it to end that way, and now he thinks there’s no chance of a reconciliation. And right at the end, he makes Avon sweat with the teleport, as if he wants to give him some sense of what Vila himself suffered in Orbit; after that, perhaps, he’s ready to forgive him.

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      August 22, 2014 10:20 amPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Was Gold filmed after Orbit? Avon seems thinner in Gold. That might have affected Michael Keating’s performance.( not the fact that Avon was thinner – at least I don’t think so- but that he’d been nearly chucked out of an airlock by him in orbit)

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        August 22, 2014 11:40 amPosted 2 years ago
        Smile

        Gold was recorded on location on 9 – 12 July 1981 and in the studio on 25 – 26 September 1981. Orbit was recorded in the studio on 9 – 11 October 1981.

        The studio sessions for the episodes in Season 4 were recorded in this order.

        Rescue
        Power
        Stardrive
        Traitor
        Headhunter
        Animals
        Assassin
        Sand
        Games
        Gold
        Orbit
        Warlord
        The Final Episode

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    August 21, 2014 11:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Harriet

    One thing I like about this episode is that it takes us right back to Spacefall, where Vila suggests that the London crew might dump them all out of an airlock, and Blake suggests that Avon might help them fake the log. As Vila says, “That’s immoral. The cold-hearted, murdering – let’s kill him now before he can do it.” Does he remember that now?

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      August 22, 2014 4:45 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Oh wow, Harriet, absolutely…how the two connect. Spacefall is still my favourite episode.
      Thats just so perfect…we know Avon would never have really been able to do that then, still carrying his Anna torch, but after finding out there really is no loyalty or truth in the world…could he have done it, really?

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    August 21, 2014 11:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jess Patton

    Whew, glad Sue liked it. I struggle to pick a favorite episode of any TV show so generally my answer depends what day of the week it is, but Orbit would be a pretty strong contender if someone forced me to choose. I’d always been under the impression that every member of the crew would be willing to throw the rest under a bus but I never expected them to actually show that scenario on screen. It shocked the heck out of me.

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      August 22, 2014 7:22 amPosted 2 years ago
      Nick

      It affected me quite a lot at the time, too! Definitely one of the best episodes and one that really ‘gets under the skin’, of characters and viewers!

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    August 22, 2014 5:04 amPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    Would he have done it?
    Let’s imagine he found poor tearful cowering Vila…that upset me, upset me a lot, actually…and dragged him out…

    ….and got him to the airlock…we know Avon is physically strong, and Vila looks debilitated by fear……opened the airlock…and? Would he? Could he really do that?

    What I don’t think would happen is Avon suddenly flings Vila back and jumps in himself and orders Vila to jettison him.

    I think a strong possibility is Avon hesitates as he is swinging Vila into the airlock, poor Vila’s feet scrabbling and fingers clutching the edge…Avon would hesitate: just like he did when the exit visa man pulled a gun on him. In Countdown, he told Del Grant that the man had been able to fire first. He hesitated, like he hesitated in Horizon, he can’t make the straightforward decision to be a bad guy.

    There’s still enough Good Avon left to make this a plausible scenario. Avon didnt abandon the old slave Neebrox, even though, from the ruthless point of view, the guy was certain to be nothing but a burden. And it was a serious hassle to save him as well. Admittedly Neebrox had to plead with Avon: “You promised!” and I know I was thinking that Avon had become so heartless he never had any intention of saving the poor old guy, so it was disorienting when he did. You just never know with Avon.

    I think he would hesitate, for a fraction of a second, maybe enough for Vila to fight back and maybe they’d go down fighting with each other.

    So many possibilities. There is, absolutely, nobody like Avon, outside of Shakespeare.

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      August 22, 2014 7:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Richard Lyth

      Surely he would have shot Vila before dragging him to the airlock? Though I guess even Avon might hesitate to kill an unarmed crying man in cold blood…

      Of course, if they’d only thought to bring a few teleport bracelets on the shuttle with them in case of emergencies, the whole dilemma would never have occurred. But that would have made for a massive anti-climax, plus they’d have lost Orac, so maybe not.

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        August 23, 2014 1:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Do you know, I had somehow not thought of the gun, but thing is, if he shot Vila, wouldnt Vila have been dead weight? And time is short. Logically it might be faster to hurl him down the corridor. Vila seems quite undone by fear…and I really cant picture him putting up a fight. Incredulity, disbelief…sweating, trembling….I picture him helpless in Avon’s grasp and Avon trying to shut his ears to Vila’s pitiful tearful pleas…he’d get the airlock open and then shoot him, I think.

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        August 30, 2014 2:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        They can teleport holding Orac. But I thought that the minute I saw them sitting in the shuttle…exactly that. You are going to want your bracelets, guys! I know it!
        Still, didnt Tarrant say to Dayna she couldnt go and teleport to them, its too risky at that speed, because how can you set the co-ordinates? So bracelets no good then.

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      August 22, 2014 11:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Jess Patton

      Thank you for that little mental extension to the scene. If I didn’t remember how disturbed I was the first time I watched this, I’m reliving it now. You’re absolutely right though, I’m genuinely not sure if Avon would have actually done it. The scary thing was that the intent was 100% there, but I do agree he would have hesitated. Who knows though, maybe he would have still done it after the initial hesitation?

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        August 23, 2014 1:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        But I wonder, Jess, if the hesitation, mirroring what happened with the exit visa guy, might have made it a fraction too late? He has to find Vila, drag him out, haul and shove or even battle him to the airlock, and get it open while fighting his own inner screams of protest, and either push Vial in, maybe bashing his fingers off the edges with the gun, or shoot him right in the head…Vila might even drop to his knees….one second too long and the escape velocity may not be reached in time.

        “Mental extension” lol! Its certainly playing through my mentality like scroll unrolling, I tell you. All kinds of variations. Wonder what the writers came up with.

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          August 23, 2014 3:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
          frankymole

          Avon had the gun. He would have shot Vila on sight, and put his corpse in the airlock.

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            August 23, 2014 8:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Not so easy. Got to get him. Got to drag him from that cupboard, hold him still to shoot him, also strong chance again of a hesitation which would certainly be likely to show on his face and maybe impel Vila to fight…at the least he is going to struggle. And having shot him, a corpse is heavy and hard to manage.
            Believe me I know, I used to work in a funeral parlour. Its not like you can wrap the arms around your neck. Avon would stagger under the weight. If he shot Vila in the cupboard it would be even worse. And, not to put too fine a point on t, there would be blood and shit all over too, not to mention brain matter.
            Imagine Avon turning up back in Scorpio, drenched with all of that. Drenched with Vila. Reeking, with wild glaring eyes. Who’s going to be first to ask “What have you done with Vila, Avon?”

            What would they have done, do you think?

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            August 23, 2014 10:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Nick

            Ummm… Given past firm, drank some Creme de menth and laughed. Closing Credits.

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          August 23, 2014 7:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Jess Patton

          I think you’re right about that.

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            August 24, 2014 9:46 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            lo…here, Avon…looks like you could use a drink, mate..no? What are you laughing at?

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          August 23, 2014 8:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          and if you are wondering who “Vial” is…he’s Nova’s brother.

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    August 22, 2014 9:17 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    I think what makes the air lock scene so creepy is the voice Avon uses as he tries to persuade Villa to emerge. It’s as if he’s actually telling Villa to stay away because he ain’t gonna fool him with his ‘I’m lying’ voice. Wyngate will say ‘bad acting’ but it’s an inspired way of suggesting a conflict between brain and heart. Not liking what you perceive you must do.

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      August 22, 2014 10:56 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      That’s exactly what I was just saying to RLF

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      August 23, 2014 6:41 amPosted 2 years ago
      Katie c

      He was probably saying “sentiment breeds weakness, let it get hold of you and you are dead,” to himself. I think he would have hesitated, but he would have done it. And Vila would definitely have tried to fight or maybe talk his way out of it, his instinct for self preservation is as strong as Avon’s.

      I’m not sure how much “good Avon” is left, but Paul Darrow said that he always made sure Avon was scrupulously honest, that’s why he saved Neebrox, he promised to help Neebrox if he got his bracelet back. He released Servalan from her chains in Rumours of Death and led the fight against the aliens in Star One for the same reason, he gave his word. That’s the way I see it anyway!

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        August 23, 2014 10:21 amPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        It’s difficult to work out why Avon is so keen to go on living given everyone he cares about has betrayed him, died on him or disappeared. Possibly revenge but I think he’s locked into a game with death and it’s the adrenaline rush he gets when he defeats death that keeps him going. He’s sticking up two fingers at Fate. He’s like a base jumper, enjoying the planning, the pitting of wit and skill against the elemental forces opposing his progress and the brief headlong rush of jumping in and surviving against the odds, with the added bonus that ‘sooner or later everybody dies’. He’s added in rules like scrupulous honesty to make the game harder to win. It’s the way he avoids the ordinary pain of disappointed hopes and can justify his lack of sentimental attachments because it’s only in that brief moment when he jumps and survives that he truly feels anything. This also explains his attraction to Servalan -kissing her is him challenging Fate to kill him, part of the duel. I think he expects to die in every situation and part if him would welcome it but there is a kind of ecstasy in each moment he stares death in the eyes and survives. Bad, mad and dangerous to know. (And because he only has minutes to live -no hesitation; a swift merciful bullet to the head and out the air lock. Where’s Villa? Who? ). Well it’s a theory!

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          August 23, 2014 12:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          And yes, sometimes he wishes he could pull out of the game – hence the creepy voice- but in the end he’s gotta play it. Addicted to death. ‘ Dying is an Art…I do it so it feels like hell……. I do it so it feels real’. Sylvia Plath.

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        August 23, 2014 8:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        “Scrupulously honest” Avon in Cygnus Alpha, saying to Blake, “Come on Blake, do you really think we’d leave you down there?” And next saying, come on Jenna, lets scarper with all this loot before he gets back….still I guess you could say his initial comment was sarcastic. “No, we wouldnt” says Jenna. “No, I dont believe YOU would” Blake replies so pointedly. Great stuff. Only the third episode and already established that the leader is taking a serious risk leaving the ship in the hands of his comrade Avon.

        You know, I really think Avon would have done that. I think he’d have done it to avoid a bond that was already forming. Just the right amount of dislike for Blake and not yet enough attachment.
        Its brilliant to look at those really early episodes. What a complete and shocking difference in Avon. He looks so young, although he isnt, really. His skin is translucent, he’s kind of unearthly looking. And so beautiful, its hard to look at.

        Let’s start all over again.

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    August 22, 2014 4:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    Right. Another idea. In the best Valerie Singleton tradition, here’s one I made earlier:

    rlf [A T – M.A.R.K] lofilabo [D-O-T] com
    (obviously, switch out the @ and . where appropriate!!)

    I’ll leave this address active for one week from now. If you want to go on my mailing list, please send me a short message so I know you’re a real person. Then I’ll make sure that everyone gets to know when and where we’re going to regroup after Neil and Sue take retirement.

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      August 31, 2014 12:53 amPosted 2 years ago
      Christine

      OK, I’ve tried both 🙂

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    August 22, 2014 5:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
    San

    The fifth season ought to have been Soolin & Avon: Avengers in Space! *all the sighs for what-might-have-been*

    Great story, this. Got me finally paying attention when I saw it at random after the first couple barely registered.

    Holmes gave the best colour and eccentrics.

    Thanks to whoever mentioned “The Nightmare Man”! Found it on YT last night and thoroughly enjoyed.

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    August 23, 2014 11:55 amPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    HEY GUYS! WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THIS?…THANKS, sorry to shout.

    ok, so lots of people have been lamenting the end of the blog…
    So, right, for years, and I mean years, I have intended to start a blog. I even had a great name: SPYHOPPING, which, if you’ve never heard of it, is this thing whales and other marine mammals can do: they can raise themselves out of the water and take a look around, see what they can see before dropping back under…or, if they are Grey Reef or Great White Sharks, taking a big savaging bite….I really like this name.

    But I never did it, due to being rubbish. So now, finally, I have, and I have registered this name with wordpress, it is spyhoppingblog.wordpress.com.

    I wanted to make a blog just to practice my own writing and write about things I thought funny and interesting, and not lose track of these things when I want them again….but now, more ambitiously, I am hoping that everyone here will come and join me.

    Maybe this is a bad idea, like a holiday romance, and it’ll be really stiff and awkward…but then again, maybe it’ll be the start (or continuation) of something wonderful, and we will all be soulmates forever.

    Anyway, no matter what, I have enjoyed this blog more than anything for a long time. Love Sue and Neil, and what really made it for me are these comments. I cant believe the level of discourse, honestly. It’s so intelligent and educated, some of it’s even erudite, I am struggling to keep up.
    And it is so fantastically civilised, yet opinionated. I havent found another community like this online. I have found people hurling insults, and showing off and inserting completely irrelevant rubbish just to annoy: and also, I have found people so ready to be butt-hurt about everything that nobody can give any opinions without being flagged (I swear, like telling teacher).

    But look at this: everyone got their own ideas, everyone willing to state them, everyone treating everyone else with respect and consideration. (Of course, I dont know if Neil hasnt had to sweep the trolls under the bridge or not).

    So, several times, the conversation began to meander off-topic, and get heated, before Neil brought it back to the subject at hand: good, but, this shows there is an appetite for discussion, so I hope we can have some! I dont expect we’ll have finished with Blake’s 7 when the blog closes, anyway….and I dont really want to join the Horizon forum, I dont like forums anyway. I dont like that boxy way they look. It reminds me of prisoners in cells shouting through the walls. It hasnt any cosiness.

    This blog has been like sitting in a really good pub: the kind with music on a jukebox, not howling from the walls, with wooden tables and soft warm rosy lamps and no tolerance for deafening noise. With an awesome mine host and landlady. I want my blog to be something like this. I want to operate it so anyone can write a post and then anyone can comment, relying on civility to keep the tone (beyond obvious crazies).

    You know I think a lot of this tone has been because we are mainly upwards of 40, around middle 40s or more. We are all young enough to appreciate technology and all old enough to remember a completely different world, and we are all experienced and tolerant and not raving around with the intolerance of youth. We are so cool! I’m serious! and I dont find any community of this age online: its all ‘fabulous and forty” which is so bone-chilling….Really, I feel effortlessly cool being in my forties when I read this blog.

    Well, anyway, its about time I finally made a blog, God knows I had the idea long ago. Mind you, if it wasnt for my wonderful technical adviser RLF, I probably wouldnt have done it at all. Now I have someone to lean on. So I will do it anyway, even if nobody ever reads it, because it will be good for me…but I hope you will all come, and be like regulars in a great online pub. There are just so many great minds here, plus, we also fall so naturally into smaller groups, the way you do in your regular pub.

    I wonder if could do a quiz night……

    Well, anyway, there’s my pitch. But dont go and look yet, please. I am going to take tomorrow to learn how to do it, and to set it up so people can write a post if they like, plus, let me state, I am a dunce and never done anything like this before. I will probably end up flying RLF out to help me.

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      August 23, 2014 12:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Sounds great Fiona. Like the idea if being a cool 40 year old. If only. Still every family needs a Gran. Will visit when you’re up and running. Good luck.xxxx

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        August 23, 2014 1:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Nice one Annie…that’s brilliant.

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    August 23, 2014 7:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    I wonder what Orac weighs. Anyone like to guess? People huff and puff while dragging it/him around. Look at Soolin, was it, toting it to the power station in the headless android one. Headhunter.
    Right it was Soolin. So allowing for her being pretty strong…and Dayna is about my size and I weigh 50 kilos…could Soolin tote Dayna to a power station?

    Could Orac weigh as much as Dayna? And, now here’s a nice question for all you techie types, what if Orac miniaturized? what if Avon was going to pitch Orac off and Orac cried ha-ha and shrank down…would he still weigh the same anyway?

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    August 23, 2014 8:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    I wish I could manage to love Orbit as much as many people, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. Pinder and Egrorian are great, and Michael Keating is absolutely bloody brilliant, but the MacGuffin is so obviously and literally just a plot device that it annoys me. (Would anyone, never mind Avon, really take an explosion on a screen as proof that the funnel works?) And the explanation for why it isn’t possible to teleport Avon and Vila off the shuttle is equally weaksauce. I hate it when I can see the writer saying ‘Not sure how to fix this problem…eh, whatever.’ I suppose I can’t complain too about the way that the tachyon funnel apparently exists only as some kind of magically unique prototype and there are no plans, and Egrorian must have forgotten how he built it, because that’s the same lazy bullshit explanation that everyone uses for why they don’t have to care about the future effects of the doomsday machine they wrote into a story.

    Also, if Robert Holmes apparently hates writing for ensemble shows so damn much, why does he keep trying to write Blakes 7? I know it’s hardly unique to him, it’s just another thing about the episode that bugs me.

    So, yeah, anyway. Great dialogue, fun characters, Michael Keating’s bloody brilliant, best last five minutes ever.

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      August 23, 2014 10:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      There are shed loads of stories out there devoted to the holes in the episode such as how come Tarrant is the one doing the research on Egrorian not Avon who is usually so cautious and how come they failed to spot the plastic cube in the middle of the shuttle when they boarded and how did Avon shift it and…… And there ARE holes. But it works psychologically because it was inevitable that one day Avon would space one or more of his colleagues to save himself. The only reason he doesn’t seem as despicable as Egrorian is that he’s better looking. (And perhaps more self aware) I find it a painful watch (more so because of the flipping from comedy to tragedy) but beautifully crafted. The tachyon funnel is Egrorian’s life’s work so whether he has the plans is kind of immaterial cos he’s old and no longer has Pinder to help him recreate it. Servalan no longer has access to the resources or the time to rebuild it either -she wants a quick fix -so I don’t think it’s a ‘whatever’ plot device. I also like that it’s at this point Avon is seeking a weapon to attack whereas arguably up until now it’s been stuff he could use to just keep ahead of the Feds or help him commit crimes ( even the Robot) as that seems psychologically sound too.

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