Rumours of Death

We Don’t Need No Federation…

Rumours of DeathAvon is languishing in a prison cell.

Sue: Is this a flashback?

A Federation lackey pays Avon a visit.

Sue: Oh look, Gary is in this episode. And that door could do with some WD-40.

Avon: Your name wouldn’t be Shrinker, by any chance, would it?

Shrinker: You’ve heard of me?

Avon: I knew if I held out, you would show up eventually.

Sue: I get it now. Avon wanted to be arrested so he could find his ex-girlfriend’s killer. That’s clever. And Avon really suits his stubble, even if he does look like a hungover mechanic.

Shrinker removes something from his pocket.

Shrinker: Do you know what this is?

Sue: It looks like a pen. Does he want Avon’s autograph?

Rumours of DeathWhen Tarrant and Dayna teleported into the cell to rescue Avon, Sue actually cheered.

Shrinker: (incredulous) You’re Blake’s people…

Sue: Avon won’t like that! This is what happens when you don’t change the name of the programme. Even the bad guys don’t know who they’re fighting any more.

Avon was tortured for five days but he never gave them his real name.

Sue: And no one working there picked up on the fact that he looks like one of the universe’s most wanted criminals? That doesn’t seem very likely – Avon’s famous!

Dayna aims her gun at Shrinker’s head.

Avon: No! Don’t kill him. I waited for him!

Sue: What a brilliant way to start the episode. Absolutely brilliant.

Avon takes Shrinker back to the Liberator.

Shrinker: What are you going to do with me?

Dayna: He’s going to kill you.

Sue: The irony is that Anna probably isn’t even dead. That will be the twist, I bet.

The crew give Shrinker a taste of his own medicine.

Rumours of DeathSue: Tarrant enjoyed that a bit too much. He loves a bit of bullying before lunch. I bet he was a prefect at school.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth…

Sue: Nice house. I don’t know what it’s doing in a Sci-Fi show, but it’s very nice.

A woman named Sula doesn’t agree.

Sula: A grotesque anachronism, like its owner. We could have built two cities for what it cost to reconstruct that absurdity.

Sue: That’s one way of getting around the ridiculous location, I suppose.

Sula turns out to be a rebel who has married her way to the top so she can strike at the Federation from within.

Sue: So is she the female version of Blake? She’s doing a much better job of overthrowing the Federation than Blake ever did. Blake only ever wanted to marry his cousin, and how would that have helped?

The house and its grounds are continually monitored by Section Leader Forres and Major Grenlee.

Rumours of DeathSue: They look like they should be playing jazz in those uniforms. And this one’s eyebrows need a good plucking.

Sue doesn’t recognise the actor playing Forres.

Me: It’s David Haig.

Sue: You say that like it supposed to mean something.

Me: He’s been in loads of things. It’s David bloody Haig!

While it’s true that David Haig has been in loads of things – and written loads of things – he’ll always be Steve Fleming to me:

Sue: I like the way that David whatever-his-name-is would rather be at home with his feet up than dealing with this shit. It’s a very smart and cynical script.

Back on the Liberator, Avon is preparing to teleport somewhere with Shrinker.

Sue: They haven’t even tied him up. I bet he does a runner as soon as they land.

Vila: Concentrate. He’s more dangerous than he looks.

Sue: Yeah, you tell him, Vila.

Am I living in a parallel universe all of a sudden?

Rumours of DeathAvon and Shrinker teleport to a cave with no exit. When Avon flicks a switch, a wall is illuminated with a portrait of a woman.

Sue: Who’s that supposed to be? Did Avon paint that himself? Has Avon gone mad?

Avon has a flashback. A flashback to Anna Grant.

Sue: I knew it! She isn’t really dead! At least they didn’t drag that out too much. Ooh, this is really interesting now.

This flashback takes place from Avon’s point of view. In bed.

Sue: Just think. Avon is completely naked in this scene.

Sue sighs.

And then I sigh, only louder.

Sue: I’m not being funny or anything, but Avon could do a lot better than her.

Back on Earth, the President is preparing for a very special dinner party.

Sue: Oh no! I knew they were in Servalan’s house, but I thought she was flying around in her giant space crocodile, so I didn’t think she’d actually be in this episode. She turns up in Blake’s 7 far too much. They should use her more sparingly. Having said that, at least she looks like she belongs here. It’s basically The West Wing meets Downton Abbey now. With space ships.

Everything is going well until we reach the episode’s inevitable “shit fight scene” where Sula’s men make short work of the Federation’s security forces. The final salvo more than makes up for it, though.

Sue: She just shot a Federation trooper in the arse!

Rumours of DeathBack in his cave, Avon extracts the truth from Shrinker.

Shrinker: Bartholomew was running you!

Sue: What a brilliant scene. Although it is a bit of a coincidence that Avon finds out about this on the very same day that it’s all kicking off with Anna and Servalan back on Earth. But what the hell. It’s great.

This episode reminds Sue of something else.

Sue: It’s just like 24. You’ve got Avon doing a Jack Bauer to extract the information he needs from the bad bugger; you’ve got terrorists running around trying to kill the President; you’ve got someone who’s not really dead turning up out of the blue; and you’ve got these two morons monitoring the whole thing in CTU. If CTU was equipped with an antique fireplace, that is.

I don’t know what she’s talking about.

Avon leaves Shrinker with a stark choice: suicide or starvation. (And we’re betting that Shrinker loves his food.)

Avon: It’s a better deal than you gave any of your victims.

Sue: Good for you, Avon.

Me: Bit cruel, though, don’t you think?

Sue: He should suffer for his crimes.

Me: Remind me never to torture any of your ex-boyfriends to death.

Rumours of DeathSula’s right-hand man pretends to be a Federation trooper when Major Grenlee contacts him on the radio he confiscated earlier.

Grenlee (voice over): At the double, Squad Leader. Out.

Sula: Perfect. Get to your positions! And good luck.

Sue: She said that before the other guy could switch his radio off. The bloke on the other end should be saying, “Hang on… Who are you with? Who said that? Is that a terrorist?”

Sula’s army advance on the stately home.

Sue: Blake never even tried to pull something like this off. She should join the crew – they might actually get something done for a change, although Cally won’t be very happy if Avon’s ex moves in with them.

Forres and Grenlee cheer as the rebels approach, unaware of the chaos to come.

Sue: Typical CTU. This always happens. It’s quite funny, though.

A battle rages for control of Servalan’s house.

Rumours of DeathSue: How do they know who’s who? Most of them will be killed by friendly fire. They all look the same to me!

Grenlee and Forres are shot, which takes Sue completely by surprise.

Sue: Oh no! They killed The Likely Lads! That’s a bit grim. I really liked them.

The rebels make a beeline for Servalan’s office.

Me: This scene reminds me of that bit in Babylon 5 where the resistance turn up to arrest the insane President.

Sue: Really? It reminds me of The Shining.

To be fair, they are breaking down Servalan’s door with an axe. And when Servalan is finally captured, she’s given a smack.

Sue: Not showing it makes it seem even worse.

Avon wants to interrogate Servalan, even if it means blowing the top of her head off.

Sue: Wouldn’t it be great if he actually did it, instead of just talking about it.

Orac persuades Avon to postpone his suicide mission until dusk.

Dayna: Why not full dark?

Sue: It’s easier to film at dusk.

Sula discusses her next move with her right-hand man, Hob.

Hob: We didn’t fight to put you behind that desk, Sula.

Sue: So is her name Anna or Sula? Maybe she isn’t Anna after all. She could be Anna’s twin sister. This is Blake’s 7 we’re talking about.

Rumours of DeathSula has been keeping herself busy.

Sula: It was my planning that got us here. Without me, you and your men would still be skulking around the wastelands.

Sue: We should have watched Sula’s 7 instead. She’s organised a rebellion. All Avon’s done is collect a few rocks. She’s brilliant.

Avon has another flashback to a postcoital Anna Grant.

Sue: Is he looking at her through her fallopian tube?

And then Avon imagines Anna imprisoned in a prison cell.

Sue: I bet Anna turns out to be Bartholomew. And I bet Avon has to kill her at the end. Please tell me that doesn’t happen, Neil. That would be awful.

I shrug my shoulders.

Sue: Whatever happens, this will be a game-changer for Avon. He’s agonised over this for years. He must be at breaking point. He’ll never be the same again.

When Tarrant helps the gang take out some guards, he takes a bow.

Rumours of DeathSue: **** off, Tarrant. He still thinks he’s in a matinée performance of The Pirates of Penzance.

Avon and Tarrant storm the surveillance room, guns drawn, ready for anything.

Sue: It’s just like The Professionals, but without any of the sexual tension between the leads.

Grenlee is on his last legs.

Tarrant: Yes, Major, you’re dying, but that’s what you’re paid for.

Sue: Tarrant, you utter ****. Great line, though.

Servalan has been chained to a wall in the cellar. Avon offers to let her go if she agrees to cooperate with them, but Tarrant thinks the mighty have fallen too far.

Tarrant: I’m talking about the President of the Terran Federation, Ruler of the High Council, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, High Admiral of the Galactic Fleets, Lord General of the Six Armies, and Defender of the Earth.

Sue: You forgot ‘Winner of last year’s intergalactic Come Dine With Me‘.

Rumours of DeathAnd then it’s time for one of Blake’s 7’s most famous – and enigmatic – moments.

Avon: Have you murdered your way to the wall of an underground room?

Servalan: It’s an old wall, Avon, it waits. I hope you don’t die before you reach it.

Sue: What a fabulous line.

I’ll ask Sue about this exchange later. I don’t want to interrupt the episode with a debate about metaphorical brickwork. Now is not the time.

Avon jerks Servalan to her feet.

Sue: I think she enjoyed that.

You can cut the sexual tension between Avon and Servalan with a laser probe.

Sue: **** off, Tarrant. You’re just a gooseberry with a perm.

Sula chooses this moment to check on her prisoner.

Sue: Oh no. It’s all going to kick-off now.

Rumours of DeathAvon: Hello, Anna.

Sula recognises Avon’s voice.

Sue: She didn’t even have to look. Obviously.

Avon can barely look at her.

Sula: I suppose there’s someone else, is that it? Is there someone else, Avon?

Avon: No, no, there’s no one else.

Sue: Unless you count Cally, of course. Are they including friends with benefits?

Avon wants to know who hid her when the Federation came a-knocking.

Sula: My husband. I didn’t love him, he knew that. There was only you.

Me: So Avon was a home wrecker after all.

Sue: Shut up, Neil. This is really good.

Rumours of DeathAnd then everything goes tits up and Avon shoots his beloved – and treacherous – ex-girlfriend in cold blood.

Sue: Damn it! I hate it when I’m right.

Avon cradles the dying Anna/Sula/Bart in his arms.

Sue: (singing) We have all the time in the world…

Avon frees Servalan from her bonds.

Sue: He should have shot her in the head. Avon’s just killed the one true love of his life. Murdering Servalan would have taken the edge off.

Vila makes a drunken error and teleports everyone back to the ship before Avon is ready to leave.

Sue: Vila, you dick!

Normal service has been resumed!

Servalan gains the upper-hand, but just as she’s about to send Avon back to the Liberator with a hole in his head, she’s distracted and Avon escapes unharmed.

Sue: It’s almost as if she wanted him to get away. I’m telling you, Neil, it was the way he pulled her up that wall.

Rumours of Avon’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Rumours of DeathAvon: Well, slightly exaggerated, anyway.

Cue credits.

Sue: Aww. Part of him died. This will probably send him over the edge. He can’t be the same man after this; I bet he loses it completely. Oh look, the episode was directed by a woman. What a surprise.

The Score:


I didn’t even have to beg.

Sue: I can’t fault it. It was very exciting, the direction was great and the script was excellent. OK, I could see the twists coming a mile off, but it didn’t matter. It just made the inevitable tragedy seem even more inevitable and tragic. And what a fantastic performance from Paul Darrow. I can’t wait to see what he does with Avon next.


Me: So, anyway, that bit with the wall…

Sue: What about it? Besides the lovely brickwork, I mean. Made with London bricks, I think, but don’t quote me on that.

We watch the scene again.

Sue: I think it means you shouldn’t torture yourself to death before you die. Everybody is chained to their own wall in the end, so enjoy yourself before you get there, or you’ll be dead inside before you die. Something like that. Basically: chill the **** out.

Me: I asked our readers on Twitter to share their wall theories with us and –

Sue: Does it really matter, Neil? I’ve already given the episode 10 out of 10. We can stop now.

Me: But Gareth Roberts says the wall represents utter defeat and –

Sue: If you don’t turn this DVD off right now, you’ll be the one chained to a ****ing wall.

Next Time:




  • June 3, 2014 4:00 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Philip Ayres

    A top top episode!

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    June 3, 2014 4:01 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Told you. Never mind suffering and multi-layered, Avon is a ruthless c..t!

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      June 3, 2014 4:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

      He was supposed to wait until she shot him and die nobly? Ruthlessness is so much more attractive than nobility in any case!

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        June 3, 2014 4:35 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Oh, f**k nobility, I’d have been ruthless and shot her first as well!

        Mind you, it might have played differently if Ricky Gervais had written this epsiode… 😉

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          June 3, 2014 5:19 pmPosted 4 years ago

          Smugged her to death? Or perhaps done her to death.

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          June 3, 2014 5:52 pmPosted 4 years ago

          lol. But what are you on about? This is trying to add layers to Avon…they were just better as implied layers.
          Well, OK, Avon 1 and Avon 2. Will have to regard Avon 1 as dead.

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            June 3, 2014 7:33 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Does Avon always wear black from now onwards? 😉

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    June 3, 2014 4:10 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I watched B7 several times, long ago, but for some reason this episode didn’t really stick in my mind the way other pivotal ones did. When I hit it recently for this rewatch I was just blown away. So good. Chris Boucher really was bringing his A Game in season 3. It’s a shame the quality is so uneven for the rest of the episodes, but man, this one is just dynamite. Go Sue! 10/10 finally.

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    June 3, 2014 4:12 pmPosted 4 years ago

    [Ahem] Chris Boucher wrote it…

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      June 3, 2014 6:08 pmPosted 4 years ago

      I wonder what she will think of another series 3 episode coming up, which – like “Rumours” – I too give 10/10 to…

      And now, I’m off to buy “Star Cops”… I always liked Boucher’s style… 🙂

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    June 3, 2014 4:18 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Duncan S

    As Sue points out the plotting is far too lazy to award the episode a 10.

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    June 3, 2014 4:34 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    More like The Pirates Of Men’s Pants if you want my opinion.

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      June 3, 2014 4:44 pmPosted 4 years ago

      ROFLOL! 😉

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      June 3, 2014 6:09 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Hey, I resemble that remark! 🙂

      And, yes, I loved Tarrant’s outfit in “Rumours” as well… today’s sartorial style lacks style… but I’ve always loved Robin Hood and Renaissance era stuff…

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    June 3, 2014 4:42 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Sue: Nice house. I don’t know what it’s doing in a Sci-Fi show, but it’s very nice.

    A woman named Sula doesn’t agree.

    Sula: A grotesque anachronism, like its owner. We could have built two cities for what it cost to reconstruct that absurdity.

    Sue: That’s one way of getting around the ridiculous location, I suppose.

    What’s to say thata period house like this one – albeit a reconstructed one, wouldn’t been seen as a des. rez in the far future? Does it all have to metal and plastic and – er – “spacey-wacey?

    It brings to mind the Jon Pertwee Dr Who ‘Frontier In Space’ where the Draconian embassy on Earth is in a ‘historical quarter’ of London, which was the (then) newly constructed South Bank, which I believe HRH Prince Charels referred to as a ‘carbunkle’…

    Who knows, maybe a surviving 1930s 3 bedroom Semi-D will be like the equivalent of a thatched cottage with original roof beams in the New Calendar of the federation?

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    June 3, 2014 4:51 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Dave Sanders: or the Pirates of Zen’s Pants.

    “To seek revenge can lead to hell,
    but everyone does it,
    And seldom as well as Sweeney…as Sweeney Todd
    The demon barber of Fleet Street.”

    Speaking of people who went to a lot of trouble over a woman they ended up killing themselves.

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    June 3, 2014 4:51 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “The irony is that Anna probably isn’t even dead”

    I’ve got a mate who spots things like that early on. Trouble is, I never do, so it makes Saturday night movie viewing “interesting”.

    “Damn it! I hate it when I’m right”

    You’ve got a wife in a million there Neil. 😉

    I watched this again recently and I’d forgotten how good it was. Yes, there’s the reliance on coincidence (seems to happen a lot in Chris Boucher’s scripts) but I’m not surprised to see a 10/10 at last.

    And the series still has episodes even better than this still to come (Avon fans may disagree).

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    June 3, 2014 5:31 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Why can’t they all be like this! Shrinker was excellent, and I really like that Anna’s not a bimbo. She’s interesting–that fits Avon’s persona far better than a supermodel.

    Re: the wall, I don’t get what’s the big enigma. The wall is the end of the line, in those circumstances extra humiliating for a high flyer like Servalan. No “look on my works and despair, ye Mighty…” for her–if she’d died on that wall, she’d have died knowing how low she fell, knowing she was defeated.

    She is wishing to Avon that he too see his ambition and life so capped and humiliated. Devastating defeat before death.

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      June 3, 2014 7:14 pmPosted 4 years ago

      actually I didnt quite get Tarrants recapitulation of Servalan’s titles and saying convince her this didnt happen. What? Clearly that cant be done. Avon needs a bargaining point to get her to speak, so what did Tarrant say that for? Seems like showing off.

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        June 3, 2014 11:55 pmPosted 4 years ago

        >actually I didnt quite get Tarrants recapitulation of Servalan’s titles and saying convince her this didnt happen. What? Clearly that cant be done.

        Yes, funnily enough that’s Tarrant’s point…

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          June 4, 2014 6:59 amPosted 4 years ago

          I know…but why say so? Why bring that out? Avon needs Servalan to tell him what she knows. By rubbing in how humiliated she is, how is that likely to help? I found that whole conversation incomprehensible.

          Wouldnt it have been better if Tarrant had gone outside and left the two of them together? There’s no doubt is there, that Servalan totally has the hots for Avon…and although last time she was a woman scorned, maybe he can make it up to her. Since we know she likes it rough, slamming her against the dungeon wall might have done the trick.

          But not with Tarrant dogging the scene….

          I like it better now, can tune out the melodrama a bit. Still puzzled by the exploding fields.

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            June 5, 2014 7:30 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Servalan’s defeated in her mind – Tarrant’s enjoying rubbing it in. Even if she regains her position, she knows that she was beaten by subterfuge in the heart of her palace, not by force of rebel arms on some battlefield. It’s mainly a set-up for her to say the same to Avon after Anna tries to kill him – with nearly the same words “can you convince yourself that didn’t happen?”.

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            June 8, 2014 5:22 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Tarrant is telling Avon that threatening Servalan won’t get him anywhere. She’s reached rock bottom and will welcome death cos she’s been betrayed in her seat of power. It’s only when she gets the chance to show Avon that he’s been betrayed even more completely that she perks up because she realises that he will dispose of Sula for her once he knows the truth. She then tries to kill him because he’s witnessed her humiliation.

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        June 4, 2014 2:06 amPosted 4 years ago

        I thought Tarrant’s interventions in the cellar were all silly and unnecessary. Blabbing for blabbing’s sake.

        And is there no way to stop him look like he’s smirking all the time?!

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          June 6, 2014 5:05 pmPosted 4 years ago

          Yes, of course the set up for the line, but from a practical viewpoint, if I were Avon, I would want to clobber Tarrant for butting in like that.

          “You’re offering to let her’s not quite the same thing….” how about take Avon aside and whisper that to him as useful advice? He’s got the most condescending voice.

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    June 3, 2014 5:38 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Am I all alone in the universe? I hated it. I hate love stories anyway and this complete change in Avon from a reserved and icy man who spoke in a flat monotone which was totally compelling tho I dont know why, and who could emote with a tiny raised eyebrow, to an apparent psychotic who glares at nothing and speaks with a primary emphasis on every syllable…the only way I can deal with this is to imagine when the Liberator was hit in the Big War and Avon was ejected unconscious, he got such a rap on the head or oxygen starvation he came out a different man. Avon 1 and Avon 2.

    Its melodrama all the way …I hated it less the second time round because the first time I had to keep going in the kitchen to escape all the ridiculous emotion. So the Shrinker and Avon scene had its moments, I guess, but so stagy…if it was on the stage, OK…

    some questions: How did Avon find a cave with no exit? Has he been tooling around the galaxy with cave estate agents looking for the right bijou dripping wall execution chamber?
    What was that on the wall? A poster? A hologram? Where did they get it? Did Avon have it on his bedroom wall? Did he have the tennis player scratching her arse next to it?
    Why go to all that trouble? Melodrama. Why not just torture the guy right there in the teleport bay, far more effective, and kick him out the airlock. Still could have used the ‘way out’ line. Callly could have implored them to stop. They could have all pulled out a fingernail. Or Avon could have bagged all the fingernails himself.
    What about Anna’a brother? and what about Tynus? Anna cant have been much of an agent if she didnt screw Avon’s crew’s names out of him. Wasn’t she pretending to be one of his team, or was she just waiting in bed for Avon to come back with the cash? What kind of top agent simply screws the team leader and doesnt even get the basic info? Avon said he trusted her…she surely asked him who his pals were? If-you-really-loved-me-you-would-tell-me….
    How did Avon get himself arrested for the first scene? What did he do, turn up at the right prison…and what? You cant choose which slammer you end up in. Never ever any narrative links. And how has he survived 5 days of torture? He’s a hacker, a geek, not a Shaolin Master!
    Actually, where has Avon learned all his fighting skills? He’s a crack shot, a karate expert, and now is impervious to pain, or can stand it anyway. So he learned all that while conquering computers and working on teleport technology and plotting frauds…unlikely, isnt it.
    Plus I just cant get behind the idea that anyone would go through that for Anna. I thought she was unconvincing in every way. And just not sexy enough. Now if that had been Dayna…And when she was addressing the rebels through the closed door, sounded like she was in a stadium. No guards posted, anywhere…in the ‘absurdity’ which is actually a nice weathered Georgian house. Not exactly Ceausescu’s palace. Still, ok , not many wedding cake houses in England.
    Anna, she just seems so Women’s Institute, somehow. There’s something middle-class, Aga-owning about her.
    No-one else? Only, lets see, Cally, and there was Dayna and her curiosity and the woman chained to the wall there…a more honest answer might be I havent actually shagged anyone, but you know, on the Liberator: Awkward!!
    Also, Dayna, fabulous figure, perfect to look upon, great pantsuit thing…but maybe bright red isnt the best colour to go skulking across a field for a dusk raid. Nor bright blue, Cally. Camouflage before vanity, girls. Also, why did the field explode? Was the approach to the Presidential ‘palace’….mined??
    If this had been Tarrant’s story, I could have got behind it, but the idea of Avon behaving like this, a mad revenge plot for a girl long dead, after all that sniping at Blake, when Blake was trying to achieve something…well, I suppose I always heard this is where Avon goes insane.
    As for the wall…..
    I did like the bit where Servalan caresses Avon with the gun. Now that was hot for sure. I cant blame her for wanting to kill him tho. She offered him shares in the universe: he pretended to think about it, kissed her passionately, and she must have been thinking…well, we all know what…then he pitches her on the floor! Like a bucket of cold water, I’m sure. If that were me, I’d hunt that guy from Earth to Horizon, seriously.

    And I love Tarrant’s little bow!

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      June 3, 2014 5:57 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Do you feel that you might be – well… “over thinking” this a bit perhaps, Fiona? I don’t think even the writers or production team of even the woncderful Mr Darrow would have considered it this much in tersm of character motivation.

      The big question of course is… what would David Brent have dione in Avon’s place?

      Of course, Finch would have shagged Anna, then shot her in the back…

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        June 3, 2014 6:16 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Naah she’d have grabbed his gun and shot herself.

        Oh no, you berk, I gladly let you go.

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        June 3, 2014 7:01 pmPosted 4 years ago

        No! I cant sleep. And you got to admit: lots of unanswered questions. The cave is preying on my mind….All of those are practical questions!
        Go on, how do you set teleport co-ordinates for a cave with no exit? How do you find it in the first place?

        See it just doesnt go with rational Avon. If Avon had got back with Shrinker, and Vila and Tarrant had said “Avon, got a surprise for you. While you were gone, we found a cave with no exit…don’t ask how….and we set up a whole dramatic scene for you” and Avon had done one of those awesome eye-rolls like he always did at Blake’s most innocuous suggestion and said, “just drag him onto the flight deck, I can work him over for the several days there”…now, I can get behind that.
        Plus, he wasnt meant to be interrogating the guy was he. Just get him to remember Anna, weep and beg, I guess, and then knock him off. So the cave setting was really unnecessary and pointless. Also, wouldnt Avon have wanted to torture him to death? Best to do it at home, right, so you can stop for your tea and all.

        What the heck. this is just really the Asperger’s horror of emotion…I always thought Avon was ‘on the spectrum’ as we say. I cant really bear it.

        Yes, Finch would have done exactly that, and Neil would have held his coat!
        Isnt he horrible, Finch.

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          June 3, 2014 8:18 pmPosted 4 years ago

          They probably detected the cave with a densitometer – gravitational readings fine enough to detect empty space (anyway it had air, so there was some way to the surface, just too tiny for humans).

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          June 3, 2014 8:21 pmPosted 4 years ago

          I think you missed a bit of Avon’s motivation in the plot. Avon was indeed interrogating Shrinker – he wanted to know who and where Bartolomew was. Because Bartolomew was the one who was meant to have killed Anna. Not Shrinker. That’s why Avon didn’t want Shrinker killed by Dayna, before Avon could find out about Bartolomew!

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            June 4, 2014 2:37 amPosted 4 years ago

            Yes but he didnt know that when he captured Shrinker and had the cave set up. He found that out because Shrinker desperately blurted it out. He brought Shrinker there to execute him. Dramatically. Or maybe to leave him there with the gun all along…that would make sense, so Avon can kill him without getting his hands dirty. Although if that was Avon’s original plan: lost all respect for him.

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            June 4, 2014 11:14 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Surely though Avon had to make *sure* that Shrinker was the one who killed Anna. He had a trail of information but needed to know he’d reached the end before he fell into petty knee-jerk violence – wasn’t that why the rebels “kicking the bodies” during the Earth revolution originally failed? And my respect for Avon would have lessoned if he’d just tortured Shrinker for vengeance on the Liberator, too. I can’t see one score-settling as prefereable to another. It’s all revenge. Avon wanted to be sure he took vengeance against the right “brains behind the operation”.

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            June 5, 2014 5:23 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Still no real need for a cave. The only possible reason I could see for that was to do as Avon actually did: leave the guy with a gun in a place with no way out. And I find that a cop-out.
            Also, in some ways, Shrinker has a point. People dont start off as sadistic torturers. In many ways, they are victims too. People dont apply for the job, because if they do, they dont get it. Sadists are not good torturers. They are so fixated on getting off on the pain, they miss the nuances that lead to confessions.
            So torturers are ordinary people who go through a step-by-step process of deadening their emotions and at the same time becoming a mass of hidden guilt and suffering that then gets displaced onto the victims.
            And like shrinker says, someone has to do the nasty jobs. If this is what your authorities have deemed necessary to hold society together, then someone has to do it…as I expect various CIA guys are arguing over waterboarding.

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            June 5, 2014 7:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

            The book ‘Liberation’ posits that Avon’s entire reason for tracking down the killers of Anna is to make sure she really is dead, and has not betrayed him (maybe a subconscious suspicion, but it’d help explain why he behaves as he does towards women especially ones who try to gain his trust or to use their feminine wiles on him/act towards him in a sexual way) even before Anna is unmasked). Avon probably takes some grim satisfaction in being proved “right” about human nature and that no-one can be entirely trusted. Though I wonder if his “every man has his price” philosophy extends to fanatics like Blake…

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        June 4, 2014 7:06 amPosted 4 years ago

        You know its just some of these things are sloppy. I care nothing for wobbly sets and stuff…they didnt have the brass, not their fault. But dusk raids in bright clothes…impossible caves…exploding fields where nobody is standing..details count, even if you dont notice them they add to the whole.

        I would love to have had Shrinker tortured horribly on the Liberator, with Avon at his most mocking and understated. It would have made the ship have a menacing dimension. Could have finally answered the question what is the Hostess tea-trolley for!

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      June 3, 2014 6:14 pmPosted 4 years ago

      You are ALONE ( well apart from Dave) . Actually Villa says he found and set up the cave scenario , presumably with Orac’s help and Avon seemed to have a useful hand sized projector to show her picture. It’s all going to be there in the future.

      I do agree with Sue the flashback framing suggests that Anna is disturbingly bendy.

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        June 3, 2014 7:19 pmPosted 4 years ago

        After watching this episode I retconned that the piece of paper Avon is looking at in SpaceFall must be Anna’s picture, and he’s carried it around ever since then.

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          June 4, 2014 2:34 amPosted 4 years ago

          I wonder if Anna’s husband knew she was an agent, and about her and Avon. If he only knew she was an agent, what cover for a love affair!
          “Just popping out to do agent stuff, dear. You know what a bore it is spending all this time with this impossibly gorgeous man…I hate it really. Well, dont wait up…”

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            June 4, 2014 1:59 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Not that TPTB ever bothered their pretty little heads with things like consistency, but I wonder whether the Federation arranged a deliberate honey trap for Avon (in which case he must have been pretty important) or he just happened to get involved with a woman who was Central Security’s top agent (in which case his luck was even worse than it was otherwise).

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        June 3, 2014 7:27 pmPosted 4 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        I was just referring to Tarrant. *shrug*

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          June 3, 2014 8:50 pmPosted 4 years ago

          Oh Dave

          It’s been a hard days night
          And I’ve been working like a dog
          Perhaps that will explain
          Why I’ve the understanding of a log!
          But when I read your tweet
          Everything was so sweet
          That I feel alright!

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        June 4, 2014 2:05 amPosted 4 years ago

        Yes but how? Its impossible if you think about it. did Orac take geologic soundings? Plus, its dangerous. What if the teleport fails? And I can understand if you wanted to set up something weird to terrorize someone for information, but all he wanted was to knock the guy off.

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      June 3, 2014 9:23 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Weirdly, although I really like this episode, I can’t argue with a lot of what Fiona says. Nail on the head about Anna’s aga-owning Women’s Institute tendency’s as well.

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      June 3, 2014 11:00 pmPosted 4 years ago

      I think you’d enjoy it more if you didn’t take it so seriously. Blakes 7 is very inconsistent as it goes on. It doesn’t really matter too much how Avon got captured or painted the picture on the cave wall or how he found the cave for that matter. It was never designed as high concept drama to be analysed in detail 30 years later. It’s just a bit of fun.

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        June 4, 2014 2:01 amPosted 4 years ago

        Yeah but I find taking things seriously…is fun.

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        June 4, 2014 7:11 amPosted 4 years ago

        also, I bet that’s what Shakespeare would say if he saw all the books and conferences and teeth-bared blood-clawed arguments people have over Hamlet.

        “Just a bit of fun, guys. Its just a guy whose a bit of a dick and cant make his mind up. Never meant it to be analysed 500 years later”.

        That is the fun, the analysis. And its a tribute to B7 that it can produce so many arguments 30 years later.

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    June 3, 2014 5:40 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Pirates of men’s pants ? O yum
    Another view of Avon’s bum
    Or was it that you meant to suggest
    The episode was not the best?
    I can’t believe you’d be so blind
    When Dave , you really seem refined
    Discerning even erudite!
    You cannot mean that Rumour’s SH ***TE.

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      June 3, 2014 7:03 pmPosted 4 years ago

      should be a Collected Works of Annie soon! I liked that lots more than the episode!

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    June 3, 2014 6:13 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Yeah, the bit that bugged me was the dialogue trying to explain why the episode had no budget. It’s not a bad line, the cost of reconstruction, and it suits B7’s style, but no amount of dialogue could have saved it. Granted, as I recall, the scene shifts between film and video almost seem seamless given the style of the doors, etc, but if two whole cities could be built for the price of restoring one little mansion… that’s a lot of money!

    I can’t nitpick anything else, except – arguably – Sula being Anna/Bartholomew being a little obvious from the get-go, and yet it works anyway.

    Series 3 really did put out some gems… pity about the clunkers…

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    June 3, 2014 6:19 pmPosted 4 years ago

    It’s curious, but for all the fan-love he seems to draw, I don’t see Avon as a ladies’ man at all. He doesn’t seem to think about sex, ever. And that probably contributes to the appealing mystique of the character and the small, ambiguous moments. It would ruin him if he leered and made “seducer” moves.

    Also, being marked by a seriously deep past romance goes well with the persona of a reserved, almost isolated individual. It makes sense that he’d fall for someone only rarely, and when he fell, he’d fall hard.

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      June 3, 2014 7:29 pmPosted 4 years ago

      See thats what I thought. Cold and remote. I find the whole sudden change to Sexy Avon cynical, like they were saying, what will get more female fans. In a few short episodes, he went from being a guy who literally wouldnt even give Jenna a comforting arm round the shoulders in Redemption, when they were waiting to be executed, poor Jenna gave such a sigh, and who would step away from anyone who tried to put a hand on him, to Dayna, Servalan and now this…

      I found the whole Anna in bed thing just embarrassing.
      Sue: “Just think, Avon is naked in this scene”. No! I dont want to think it. Seems wrong. I remember Sue saying she thought Avon was asexual, too.

      Still, I do like the end! That was the best ever Servalan, I reckon.

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        June 3, 2014 9:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

        “I find the whole sudden change to Sexy Avon cynical, like they were saying, what will get more female fans. In a few short episodes, he went from being a guy who literally wouldnt even give Jenna a comforting arm round the shoulders ”

        Agreed. There’s that scene in The Web between him and Cally and he looks like he’s interpreted her interest as sexual and he’s about to run a mile.
        I don’t have a problem with howe Avon is written in this episode though. Perhaps Avon’s cynicism about other people’s emotions is because he’s so wrapped up in his own emotional trauma. He likes to think he’s more rational than others, but in reality he isn’t.

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          June 4, 2014 2:00 amPosted 4 years ago

          I wouldnt have a problem with it if it hadnt been so sudden. A character needs to develop, but its night and day.

          Yes, the Web thing. And also, when Cally is showing Avon about the telepathic plant she brought back for a pet, she lays her hand on his arm and he instantly steps back from her.

          (whatever happened to the plant in the big war?)

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          June 4, 2014 2:17 amPosted 4 years ago
          Katie C

          In Countdown Avon says he would have given his life for Anna, so I don’t think his behaviour in Rumours is inconsistent.

          “It makes sense that he’d fall for someone only rarely, and when he fell he’d fall hard.”

          Totally agree, just because he didn’t get touchy-feely with Jenna it doesn’t mean he’s incapable of emotion. Still waters run deep.
          And as for” Avon 1 and Avon 2″, well now, wait until series 4..

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    June 3, 2014 6:39 pmPosted 4 years ago

    A news story states that 2 twelve year olds have tried to kill another girl to please an entity called ‘Slender Man” who, it seems, is a strange, blank-faced pale mysterious man who teleports around the world….

    Its a true story.

    Avon: what have you been up to?

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    June 3, 2014 6:44 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Quote: “Slenderman is most often portrayed as a malevolent entity abducting and traumatizing people after stalking them for a long while”

    As Shrinker can attest!

    Seriously this is real! Incredible, isnt it?

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      June 3, 2014 7:31 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Yes, it’s incredible that Marble Hornets could have lasted this long with just as many shocks, internet theories and fangirl squee (Tim, meet Avon) with a budget even lower than that of Blake’s 7.

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        June 4, 2014 1:37 amPosted 4 years ago

        wow you know all about it. I looked it up and was amazed to see how big this is. All from one guy’s posts. Said they made the movie for $10,000.

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          June 4, 2014 2:31 amPosted 4 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          Marble Hornets has been going on for five years now. When Doctor Who season 6 kicked off by doing so much of the same shtick, I was calling that ‘Herbal Moffats’.

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            June 4, 2014 8:04 amPosted 4 years ago

            Is it right, then, that Dr Who did a kind of Slenderman themselves?

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            June 4, 2014 5:25 pmPosted 4 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Yes, it was the Silence. As in, the deafening silence from the BBC’s legal department.

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    June 3, 2014 7:01 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    Finally, a top mark! I’d give this a 9 personally, as it takes about half an hour for the plot to get going (like Boucher’s season two episodes) but it’s still an incredibly impressive piece of work. Unlike Sue, I didn’t guess the twist with Anna being Bartholomew, even though I’ve already seen the episode – I just remembered she ended up dead.

    It’s a shame the confrontation between Avon and Anna was over with so quickly, it would have been amazing if they’d made her a recurring villain, though they would have had to kill Servalan off first. I guess if they remake the show Anna and Servalan will turn out to be the same character, perhaps after some cosmetic surgery, and Avon will find out in the season finale. (They can kill off Blake a few episodes in, for shock value.)

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      June 3, 2014 8:24 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Interestingly, reviews back in the day acclaimed this story for starting in the middle of the plot and action from the get-go (“in media res”) without loads of setup and preamble.

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    June 3, 2014 7:39 pmPosted 4 years ago

    A well deserved 10/10 from Sue.

    A good few years back, some BBC exec caught a repeat showing of this very episode on UK Gold, attended some TV conference sometime later, raved about the episode and asked ‘Why don’t we make anything like this anymore?’ I can’t remember her name but I do wish that her BBC bosses had listened to her.

    Anyway, pivotal eppy that leaves its mark on Avon in future stories written by Nation, Holmes and Boucher.

    The next one is also pure joy in my humble opinion 🙂

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    June 3, 2014 9:18 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Hang on a minute – watch the opening scene again. Just how quickly does Shrinker torture the prisoner in the cell next door to Avon? He spends literally seconds torturing him. What kind of sadistic torturer does that? Maybe he’s just dropped in to give him a quick wedgie before moving on to Avon, and he’s going to be back later.

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      June 4, 2014 2:21 amPosted 4 years ago

      It could be he’s done the guy over so often there’s not much left of him. Or, far more likely…this was a fave of soviet torturers….they put a guy, or even a recording in the next cell and have it scream in panic and pain by way of introduction.

      Ask me anything about Soviet Torturers. I know it all. That’s not good, is it?

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    June 3, 2014 9:29 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Katie C

    That’s great, 10/10 and not a joke about sex dungeons in sight!

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    June 3, 2014 9:48 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Agree with everyone (most of you anyway) that this one of the best episodes. Definitely the best opening to an episode and Shrinker is one of the best guest characters – he could have been portrayed more in the line of Travis, but instead he’s very ordinairy, and becomes a pathetic figure once he’s removed from his role.
    It was strange watching it again though as I would previously have put it in my top 3 without any hesitation, but I was slightly less impressed this time round. The odd bit has always seemed crap – the crew taunting Shrinker in a way that suggests they must have spent the whole time Avon was away rehearsing this; Tarrant’s bow of course. And I always find the Avon/Servalan confrontation a tad too melodramatic. This time round I found Anna Grant seemed a bit too nice and middle class to be convincing as either the only woman Avon was in love with, leader of the revolution (to be fair the script does address the class division), or the Federation’s top agent (maybe that’s the point, you wouldn’t suspect her).
    I also feel that good as the end scenes are, they show Darrow’s limitations as an actor – I await your brickbats.
    I still rate it very highly – 9/10 at least. I just like it slightly less than I used to. Perhaps I enjoyed it more when I was single, bitter and twisted in my 20s.

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      June 4, 2014 12:01 amPosted 4 years ago

      Bricks? Bricks? Expect concretebats my friend. Great hunks of granitebats. Bats in the belfry to even hint this was not Darrow’s finest hour . Well pretty much his finest.

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      June 4, 2014 1:40 amPosted 4 years ago

      Dont think it was limitations: he can only work with the script he’s got. And if they change Avon almost overnight into practically in the middle of a psychotic break, he can only go with it.
      Maybe he just isnt good at melodrama. Because he’s great at the more subtle stuff. How I love that little raised eyebrow in Killer: Is there something wrong with your memory, Tynus?”
      I just hate melodrama, love stories and mad holes in the plot. So I was never going to like it. But I did think Shrinker was very good indeed.

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        June 5, 2014 9:30 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Alas I don’t think the subtle Darrow performance is going last beyond the end of Season 3

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    June 3, 2014 10:53 pmPosted 4 years ago

    My favourite episode. Especially liked some of the stuff said during the scenes in the cave. Shrinker telling Avon that the authorities thought him political (rather than criminal) and Avon saying he was about to ‘destroy confidence in the banking system’ (rather than become rich) which suggests, perhaps, that Avon wasn’t so different to Blake to start with.

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      June 4, 2014 2:18 amPosted 4 years ago

      dont think so: he said “Anna and I were going to become so rich no-one could touch us”.
      also, if he destroyed confidence in the Federation bank, wouldnt the currency crash and make his winnings worthless?

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        June 4, 2014 8:24 amPosted 4 years ago

        I’m assuming he had some way of converting the money to some other form prior to the domino affect of his fraud bringing down the system. We do see him having contacts off world and we do see other currencies being used.

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    June 3, 2014 10:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I really enjoyed the scene when they return with Shrinker to the Liberator.
    Very stagey dialog, but all the main human characters get something to say, and for what seems to me to be the first time with some pace.
    Still shy of naturalistic overlapping dialog, but better than Servalan standing there with arms outstretched waiting for the next line.
    This is one of the few episodes that I can remember from the first (and only) time I saw it when it was transmitted – and I only really remember that Anna was a double agent.

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    June 4, 2014 1:08 amPosted 4 years ago

    The only thing that seemed implausible at my original viewing was the fortuitous cave & picture, the rest of it so far so fine so normal (though I think I blanked out the flashbacks).

    One of the few episodes not to feature Zen beyond the first two.

    Tarrants bow rings a bell & normal service has been resumed for Sue\Vila (I’m waiting for Terminal where Vila gets to shine & shows his feelings on a certain event).


    “…the Draconian embassy on Earth is in a ‘historical quarter’ of London, which was the (then) newly constructed South Bank…”

    Funny enough attending a computer trade show in 87’s at the Barbican, I found myself on the near deserted rooftop walkway to find a snack bar on the Friday & on the Saturday to find it totally deserted (& closed).

    I wandered for about 25 minutes without seeing a soul & I thinking how it would make a great location shoot. Walking along & looking down into what appeared to be apartments with green space & fountains & I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Dalek or ten glide out from nowhere.

    On the Sunday I found a pub (& food) via a shorter walk in the area.

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    June 4, 2014 2:15 amPosted 4 years ago

    Can’t anyone at all enlighten me and piece the story together?
    I have so far:

    Avon was in a very big fraud. With Tynus and Del Grant and maybe others.
    He was thought to be political
    Anna then was set to ‘run’ him and did this by shagging him and finding out…what?
    It then came on top somehow. But Anna, unprofessionally, let Avon escape.
    When, then? According to Avon, he was still with her when he went for exit visas, and the man shot him, why, again, no reason.
    So when did she ‘let him go’?
    Because, he didnt escape . He was captured and what, were his friends too? If everyone was ‘marked for collection” (great line) then Tynus too, right?
    But Avon was able to “keep his mouth shut”. Yeah, right.
    And Tynus was able to just go free? How did Tynus withstand interrogation?
    And then Anna, having utterly failed by falling in love with her target, was just allowed to go home and start plotting a coup?
    So much for the top agent. Any agent, feeling they are getting too into their target would have to back off.
    So in fact, Avon really doesnt need to be too upset because actually, she really did fall for him and tried to let him get away.

    And Geoff can say I’m too serious, but there it is. Stories need a pattern. Such as the pattern Servalan is pissed off with Avon. We know why that is….

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      June 4, 2014 8:33 amPosted 4 years ago

      With regard to Anna going back home to her husband… isn’t there a line that no-one knew who Bartolomew was? If that were the case Anna could go back to being Anna with no problems.
      I’m convinced that Anna/Bartolomew wasn’t ‘running’ Avon under orders but off her own back and for her own purposes.

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        June 5, 2014 5:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Well someone must know who Bartolomew is, because she didnt just employ herself.
        In “Infernal Affairs” which is The Departed original (and miles better its so ace) there is only Inspector Wong who knows Yan’s identity as a cop undercover in the Triads. So it may be only one person, Servalan herself, it seems, she knows, but its someone.
        And so Servalan looked at this complete failure by Anna: You fell in love with Kerr Avon and let him get away…ok, never mind, go and resume your life with your husband.
        No way. Servalan doesn’t excuse failure, especially this kind.

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          June 5, 2014 7:22 pmPosted 4 years ago

          There’s no indication that Security worked for Space Command (Servalan’s department) before the Intergalactic War, or indeed after it though Servalan gave herself a few new titles as President; it’s possible that Serval didn’t know Anna’s/Sula’s identity until Anna joined the rebels (which she may have been assigned to as a Security agent, to infiltrate them). Certainly, as Liberation points out, Anna’s brother Del Grant defecting would normally be a career-damaging event, unless it actually made her even more effective as a rebel-infiltrator because Del’s sister might be trusted by people who knew / knew about Del.

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            June 6, 2014 6:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Servalan asked why Avon wanted to know about Bartolomew. And then she said “Anna?” in an oh-I-get-it voice. “Release me, I’ll tell you all you want to know”..and she was so smirking. Like, I’m going to get you back, Kerr Avon, for pitching ME on the floor, you complete bastard.

            But what was she going to tell him? that Anna is Sula?
            That she isnt dead? She has no way of knowing that Avon has been betrayed by Anna. Or does she? Just telling him: Anna isnt dead, she hasnt been killed by Bartolomew wouldnt hurt Avon, it would make him happy, unless she knew Anna had pretended to be dead. So she’d have to be aware Anna is an agent at least.

            Confusing! But the way she says: “But you do, dont you Avon” strongly suggests she knew.

            Generally speaking, in totalitarian regimes Security and the military are not connected. The military usually have long traditions of honour and despise the torturers and spies of the secret police, who for their part, keep a close eye on the generals because having command over the army means they can mount a coup. Hitler had plenty of trouble with the generals; Stalin purged the whole Red Army.
            But Servalan seems to control everything. Those titles certainly indicate that.

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            June 6, 2014 7:29 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Yes, she came to control everything – long after Anna Grant’s time with Avon and Del Grant’s rebellion. Who knows what records of her predecessors she accessed – if Anna’s mission wasn’t so secret it wasn’t even written down (no spoilers but mentions of security classifications in a 4th series story may be relevant here).

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      June 4, 2014 12:16 pmPosted 4 years ago

      The ‘ I let you go my love’ is enigmatic. It suggests she did not hand over everything she found out about Avon to her bosses OR that she used her position to get him exile to Cygnus Alpha rather than the death penalty

      She ‘ran’ Avon cos his early attempts to rob the banking system were detected. He was allowed to ‘run’ -continue – with his plans because it was suspected his plan was political and Anna was supposed to find out the names of the ‘terrorists’ he was associated with.

      The exit visa man shot Avon because he demanded more money from Avon for the visas and when Avon attempted to take them by force for the original fee , the visa man was quicker and shot first – although Avon did kill him.

      On the way back to Anna he passed out and was helped by strangers. When he regained consciousness 2 days later , he went to find Ana but she had disappeared and the authorities told her family she had been tortured and killed.

      Presumably Anna kept Tynus’ name from the authorities and Avon didn’t mention him when interrogated so he was ‘marked, but not collected.

      I’ve had years to work this out!


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      June 5, 2014 11:10 amPosted 4 years ago
      solar penguin

      I always thought the crime with Tynus was a previous one. Avon would’ve served a few years in an Earth prison for that, then got let off for what he thought was good behaviour> However, actually the Federation was only setting him loose so Bartolomew could work him and find his “political” contacts.

      In reality Tynus was the political one, not Avon, but the Federation didn’t know that. Meanwhile Tynus had left Earth, and over time his hot-headed political ideals gradually cooled down as he gained respectability through his job.

      That’s what I’ve always believed, anyway. But I suppose it might just be possible that Tynus was involved in the same crime as Anna. But it’s not very likely, though.

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        June 5, 2014 4:08 pmPosted 4 years ago

        It seems very unlikely. Avon said “We were in a fraud together. When I got arrested, I kept my mouth shut. If I hadn’t …old friend…you would be sweating out the rest of your life on a convict planet”.
        Ok, so: Avon got arrested. Avon was, when we met him, about to be sweating out the rest of his life on a convict planet. It is reasonable to assume, given the same punishment was going to apply, that it was the same fraud. Avon said he ‘took the rap’. It has to have been the same one. Cant have been something you got a few years for. Avon didnt get a few years.

        So the whole Anna story is messy. She said “I let you go”. But she didnt, or someone didnt.
        According to Countdown the exit visa guy shot Avon because he wanted more money and told Avon he could get even more by collecting the Federation reward…Avon killed him but the guy shot first, Avon collapsed in the street and was saved by good samaritans. He was unconscious for 30 hours and he said “It was only after WE got word she was dead that we left”. Who is ‘we’: him and Tynus?
        So at this point, Anna had either been picked up as one of Avon’s gang, maybe even coming to look for him as Avon believed, and then revealed herself as an agent, or had simply gone back to HQ and reported Avon vanished?
        But it didnt work did it, because he got nabbed anyway. So maybe Anna is just lying with all that I let you go stuff.
        And I wonder who the ‘best man in the Federated worlds ” that Vila mentioned in Spacefall is. The one who caught Avon?
        But one puzzle. It was Vila who introduced Avon in the first place: “He nearly succeeded in stealing 5 million credits…” but when Avon is explaining to Vila the reason why Tynus will have to give them the TP crystal he says “We were in a fraud together”…’a’ fraud not ‘the’ fraud, or ‘that’ fraud. This is probably just down to not having the writers form a team! Or could indicate a separate fraud…
        I would love to do a continuity job like this.

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          June 5, 2014 5:50 pmPosted 4 years ago

          It’s possible that, therefore, Anna is the #1 computer “man” in the Federation.

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            June 5, 2014 6:16 pmPosted 4 years ago

            ah…could it be. I like Annies explanation. Very simple and elegant. Of course, the ‘man’ could be the ‘he’ of Bartolomew.
            ‘the man who caught him’ Vila said.
            How does Vila know all about this? Blake doesn’t. So it really seems the Federation dont do much with communications and propaganda. They got Blake and made sure he was publicly forced/brainwashed to renounce. But they got Avon…and he was meant to be political..and even if they realized they were wrong…not much use to send people to convict planets without letting other would-be hackers and freedom fighters know what’s in store if you dont get in line.
            Logically, the public should have seen Avon tried and convicted. (Suppressant drugs arent working on him are they?) Yet its only Vila who knows the story.
            Well, Vila would be likely to know because he’s a crim himself and crims talk about other crims. Still, a mega fraud with bloodshed and life sentences: you’d think it would be talked about and on the news.
            I have always found Vila and Avon’s relationship odd. The familiar way Vila speaks to Avon right from the start.

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            June 5, 2014 8:42 pmPosted 4 years ago

            I think Avon admires competence, so since Vila is a very good safecracker (the show keeps saying “thief” but he seldom steals anything) Avon would probably have more respect for him than for an Alpha-grade bureaucrat who did nothing but shuffle papers.

            The converse is that, although Avon doesn’t actually think that Blake should be rebelling against the Federation, he’ll be damned if he’ll just stand there and watch Blake doing what Avon considers a sub-standard job of rebelling.

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          June 7, 2014 11:19 amPosted 4 years ago

          And I wonder who the ‘best man in the Federated worlds ” that Vila mentioned in Spacefall is. The one who caught Avon?

          It’s a joke. Vila doesn’t have a list of rankings for computer experts; he just knows Avon is supposed to have been pretty good and to have set up some big fraud. But “He’s the number two man in all the Federated worlds” is the set-up for someone to ask “Who’s number one?”, and Nova falls for it, as he realises when Vila delivers the punchline – you can see that moment in his face.

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            June 8, 2014 6:06 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Not necessarily, not at all. Presumably someone had to notice what was going on and outsmart him. Let him think he was getting through all the security systems and really setting up things so it would look that way.

            It could be a joke, its true. But if so, it argues even more for a previous familiarity between Vila and Avon. It sounds just like: “Counting yourself, that’s two people who think you’re wonderful” when Meegat was worshipping him. And he followed up the number two man thing with “You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of”, again it sounds so familiar. Nobody else is talking to him like that…and Avon’s “You’re a fool” also sounds like he’s talked to Vila before. I dont mean Vila’s a fool. Just that it isnt really the kind of thing you say to a total stranger, surely not even Avon is as ill-mannered as that.
            Except maybe he is.

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      June 6, 2014 1:48 amPosted 4 years ago

      No! I’m not saying you’re too serious! I don’t know you so I’d never make a definite statement to pigeonhole you like that. I just thought you let a series of quite insightful questions spoil your enjoyment if something which was never designed to withstand insightful examination (or probably even a repeat viewing).

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        June 8, 2014 3:29 pmPosted 4 years ago

        no, lol, what spoiled my enjoyment was the melodrama…I was only Anna Grant with you, Avon my love, etc.
        As for the rest I just love finding holes in the brickwork.

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      June 7, 2014 2:03 amPosted 4 years ago

      When Anna says that she let Avon go, she means that she gave him the chance to escape by faking her own death. She couldn’t run away with him; she may have played with the idea, but the Federation would have hunted her down, because she was too dangerous to let loose (particularly if Avon was “political”, as they suspected), and ultimately they would have killed Avon along with her. She didn’t think Avon would leave without her unless he believed she was dead (or alternatively found out who she was, in which case he’d have killed her), and on his own he probably wasn’t important enough for them to pursue across the galaxy. So she gave him a chance to move on by putting out the false information that she had been killed. Unfortunately it took him too long to get that news (probably because of his unconscious spell) and he was caught anyway. As a result, her superiors failed to realise she had tried to sabotage the case. But in my mind, it’s her rage and frustration over this case that push her towards becoming a double agent, and working with the people she’s supposed to be spying on.

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        June 7, 2014 10:18 amPosted 4 years ago

        And the cruel irony is that, to ensure the rebellion succeeds and she isn’t exposed to the rebels (leading to more body-kicking and a second failure of post-Intergalactic War rebellion on Earth), she genuinely tries to kill Avon in this episode – it’s her last resort.

        Avon would totally understand that, and he does instantly with the “no, you never let me go” – his sentiment showing? Sula/Anna was in many ways Avon’s female equivalent, the ultimate pragmatist but with a strong moral core if you want to see it.

        Perhaps hope always holding out against expectation – both wanted to aim for the best but always expected the worst in life. I don’t know if a television character can ever manage the admixture of cynicism and optimism, but Avon does (and so does Anna, it seems), notably by staying with Blake and complaining about the degree of stupidity it requires to do so.

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          June 7, 2014 11:11 amPosted 4 years ago

          Sula/Anna was in many ways Avon’s female equivalent

          That’s how I see it, too – as she says, “we were well matched”.

          I think one of the key exchanges in this episode is the one in the flashback where she asks “Do you trust me?” and he says “Oh, yes. I’m afraid I do.” (Afraid, because he’s just told her that trust is dangerous when you have to rely on it.) At that moment, I hear Blake saying “Avon, for what it is worth, I have always trusted you, from the very beginning.”

          For Avon, a declaration of trust is bigger than any conventional declaration of love (like Fiona, I’ve never seen him as Mr Sex). And I think Avon is to Anna as Blake is to Avon; she’s bowled over by his declaration of trust, because she suddenly sees herself in his eyes, and it’s so much better than her own self-estimate. That’s why she falls for him, against her own interests and judgment. And that’s why Avon stays with Blake.

          And I agree that Avon understands her position. She let him go – from herself – because her love was a liability; but he says she never let him go, because her sacrifice (whether the one he’d thought she made, or the one she really did make) froze his love at that moment, and it’s still so powerful he’s put himself through the ordeal with Shrinker and co in an attempt to resolve it.

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            June 7, 2014 1:20 pmPosted 4 years ago

            And I think Avon is to Anna as Blake is to Avon; she’s bowled over by his declaration of trust, because she suddenly sees herself in his eyes, and it’s so much better than her own self-estimate.

            See why the Sopron is so important, no matter how silly the episode it comes from?

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            June 7, 2014 2:14 pmPosted 4 years ago

            But if Anna didn’t ‘die ‘ surely her brother and even Avon if he ever got free of Cygnus alpha would have looked for her and this would have blown her cover as Bartholomew) The Anna/sula story is badly plotted but since she’s Sula chesku in rumours she must have married him AFTER the Avon debacle. I think this must have been arranged by the Federation to provide a new identity for her ( which would explain why she kills him without compunction). She stops being Anna – becomes Sula with a change of haircut and eventually turns rebel cos she can’t stand being around him and the top echelon of Fed Society. ( I would have turned if I had to give dinner parties for that lot all the time or been married to Chesku) Her brother is a mercenary so I bet the Anna cover is that she too sells her services to the rebels. Maybe Avon WAS political but later mind wiped or more likely he just moved in dodgy circles cos he was a swindler and met her when trying to arrange his escape route with the money he hoped to embezzle. I never thought their affair was long lived. More like an amazing fling that left him breathless with the unexpected passion of it- memories but not much info about each other. Remember those passionate flings? Only one turned into something solid and lasting for me. The rest all blew up messily but if they hadn’t I might have spent years in prison or/and space (or in the probation service and the teaching in my case – I was never racy enough or fit enough for crime and space) regretting what might have been. Ahh passionate flings!

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            June 7, 2014 3:03 pmPosted 4 years ago

            This may be true but I think Avon stays with Blake, because he thought Anna was dead and he blamed himself even if it wasnt his fault really. He was shot by the visa guy because he wasnt fast enough to shoot first.
            He couldnt save Anna but he can save Blake lots of times. And why would he do that? because Avon is nihilistic and despairing and cynical, that there is no good in the world…yet here is Blake, whose experiences are far worse…after all, Avon is a crook, a thief, and Blake tried to fight oppression…yet even after all he has been through, brainwashing,, massacre, Blake remains idealistic, still has a ‘bleeding heart’ as Avon scornfully calls it.
            So the crook, the thief, who fucked up and got his girlfriend killed and himself sent to jail finds that this innocent, Blake, whom nothing can make despair, has got a hook in him. If Blake dies then there really is no good left . And if he can save this innocent, maybe it will make up for the death of Anna.

            So what must Avon’s shock now be to find the world is even worse than he thought.

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          June 7, 2014 1:05 pmPosted 4 years ago

          The Federation thought that Avon was political, whereas Blake’s best efforts can’t get him to be.

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    June 4, 2014 2:46 amPosted 4 years ago

    Appearing “nice and middle-class” sounds like a stellar recommendation for a spy. Markus Wolf, who ran real spies for the Stasi, in one of his books explains how they used ordinary-looking (and altogether ordinary) agents, male and female, as romantic bait, on purpose, in order to make the set ups believable, people relatable and open to confidence. He has fun poking fun at the 007 image too. What sort of a moron would some filing clerk have to be to imagine a Grace Kelly-lookalike has descended on earth and into his office expressly to give HIM jollies?

    Not that I think Anna looks ordinary, quite the contrary. (Fwiw, I think she’s more attractive than either Jenna or Cally. Something catlike about her–and I like her voice.) I’m also failing to see a particularly “sexy” Avon. The bedroom scene couldn’t have been shot more discreetly, it almost looks as if they weren’t even recorded together.

    I think this story fills in his background and fits his character to perfection (well, as far as anything can be perfect in such a cooperative production…) He appeared as a cynical, nihilistic character from the start. In his first episode the emotional burden for this seemed to lie with his family (brother, IIRC?); they deepened that foreshadowing a tragic love affair (Countdown?), and wrapped his case up delivering yet another blow of truly stupendous proportions. Avon is lost.

    I haven’t seen Darrow in anything else, but I get the feeling this is one of those roles one can’t imagine anyone else in. Art, chance or combination of the two, he made it.

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      June 4, 2014 6:46 amPosted 4 years ago

      Ok, good criticisms.
      But: a spy needs to be innocuous, for sure. But then where are the qualities that turn her into a coup leader? Something about the way she talked to herself about the People’s Council suggested they weren’t long for this world either.

      Here is another Servalan. But she doesn’t have presence, that thing that means you cant take your eyes off her. There was something almost cosy about her. When her henchman did a good job of fucking up the surveillance cameras, she gave him a smile I noted at the time, was like a kindergarten teacher or grandma praising a child.

      Leaders (and I am assuming she is aiming for total power) need to be somewhat scary. That’s partly what draws people, the dark.

      And then the idea that a man like Avon, “never knowingly impressed” would actually lose his instincts and reason over her….I just couldn’t see it. Not saying she needed to be a Bond girl exactly, but to have something that jumps right at you.

      I think to have ‘got’ Avon like that, she’d have to have been the girl who could unwind him. I actually knew a guy like this once, wound so tight and so reserved and untouchable: then he met a girl who could push the right buttons and he was a goner. He was a different person after that.

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        June 4, 2014 2:33 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Maybe they should have cast Vivien Heilbron instead of Lorna. Vivien certainly has more ‘presence’ as an actor.

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      June 7, 2014 2:17 pmPosted 4 years ago

      He gives an astonishing performance in Drakes Venture and I saw him once on stage in a Priestly play and he was good in it.

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        June 7, 2014 3:07 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I think producers are stupid to assume an actor is typecast. When I saw a clip of Drake’s Venture, I thought, ok, there’s Avon and Inspector Morse, but it wore off after like 3 seconds and they were Drake and Thomas.
        How stupid do they think the public are, that we cant forget one character and move to the next, especially if the actor is good?

  • June 4, 2014 4:09 amPosted 4 years ago

    This is indeed pretty great, one of the best Federation/resistance-centric episodes they ever did, which is to say one of the best B7 episodes period. While I do enjoy some of the more out-there SF stories (the next one included), they do seem superfluous and generic a lot of the time and I prefer it when the show sticks to its main premise. Relieved to see a 10/10, and richly deserved.

    I love the house. I love it for the same reason I loved the castle or whatever it was in Season 1 — I like seeing the ruins of Earth being repurposed (or reproduced) by the Federation. It speaks to the rot and decadence, and reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale.

    Haig will always be Pangol to me. Those eyebrows properly belong below a golden beehive hairdo.

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    June 4, 2014 6:48 amPosted 4 years ago

    I would like to know, can anyone tell me, was there some reason that the writers tackled separate episodes like this instead of working as a team?

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      June 4, 2014 6:52 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Baiscally Fiona, I think the writers and productin team had very little cohesion because the show was under-funded and they were under constant pressure to just “get the stories out there”. Nowadays, there’d be more money sure, but there would also be the expectation of continuity, with storylines and characters.

      The BBC hieracrchy in thsoe days was very patrician, stuffy ‘old school’ (despite being lefties) who thought Sci-Fi was very ‘fringe’ and nonsense. Nowadays, they may all still be commies at heart, but they know what sells well!

      Dr Who, for example, was never going to come back in 2005 in the under-funded, unconnected fanboy format that it had become in the 1980s. Now it’s got funding, it’s got continuity of writers and character (rather than just continuity for the few die-hard uber fans’ sake) and it shows in production values. Also it has ‘family appeal’.

      Hopefully B7 will return and if its handled properly, it will be far more cohesive. It will probably be multia racial and they’ll be all different accents, not a middle class english drawl to be heard and at least two of the characters will be gay, but that’s the “Tick Box TV” of today for you…

      But really, as was said earlier on by another poster (Robert I think?), B7 from 1978-1981 was never meant to be analysed endlessly and minutely on transmission, let alone over 30 years after it was broadcast.


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        June 4, 2014 11:08 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Nick is absolutely spot on. Looking back, it’s amazing what the writers and producers did manage to achieve given how quickly (and cheaply) they filmed these episodes. The fact that over half of the 52 episodes produced still stand up to repeated viewings speaks volumes really.

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          June 5, 2014 4:31 pmPosted 4 years ago

          Oh I am not denying any of this, I think its awesome.
          So you mean, they couldnt work together because then you’d have to pay them all each time? So better to split them, give a few stories each and save $?
          What is with the BBC and its snobbery. Giant hit on their hands: unhappy because it isnt a historical drama or nature show or something.
          How is it now? Do they still keep up the tone, tho, or given way to reality shows?

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            June 5, 2014 10:03 pmPosted 4 years ago

            It is awful that the people on the 6th floor didn’t rate Blake’s 7 whilst it was on (this snobbery also effected Dr Who at the time). I think BBC Controller Bill Cotton was one of the few passionate supporters of the show. The suits were even a bit off with Chris Boucher in the BBC canteen when they found out he was script editing B7. Bonkers looking back isn’t it? B7 was getting ten million viewers towards the end of the final season – even the Season 4 repeats in 1983 were getting 6-7 million viewers.

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            June 6, 2014 12:28 amPosted 4 years ago

            Things are a lot better in many ways at the Beeb now Fiona.
            For a start, most of the old guard are long since retired or dead,
            trends in TV have changed beyond recongition and – crucial point –
            a lot of the writers, producers and directors on top shows like Dr
            Who now were fans back in the day, so they know how it works and
            they CARE about it. They also get that crucial support from
            “upstairs”. In that sense, there is hope fior B7 being revived and,
            given the success of Dr Who, there is every chance it would be
            successful. However – and I have to emphasise here that I am NOT
            homophobic or racist in any way – it should NOT be subjected to the
            “Demographic Tick Box” mantra that affects all BBC shows these days
            (including Dr Who). You have to show racial and cultural diversity,
            sexual diversity etc. etc. – they are basically shit scared of
            “offending” anyone. ‘Survivors’ was a very good series crated by
            Terry Nation in the 70s and most of his epsiodes were actually very
            good. But it was critcised in later years for the fact that only
            nice, white, middle class people seemed to have survived the great
            Death in the UK. When it was remade a few years back, half of the
            main cast had to be “ethnic” and/or gay and nothing really nasty
            was shown… Box ticking again. The series actually lost its true
            bleakness and punch, because it was too diversified, too sanitised,
            too bland. It wasn’t a hit with the public and was cancelled
            abruptly after 2 series. If B7 is remade, it has to be done with
            edge, with focus, with high production values and with love. It
            shouldn’t be subjected to a PC box ticking exercise.

          • June 6, 2014 7:19 amPosted 4 years ago

            Nick, I’m not sure I understand how racial / cultural / sexual diversity is at odds with “edge, with focus, with high production values and with love.” You can make bad television with any mix of characters you like, and you can make good television with any mix of characters you like.

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        June 5, 2014 6:22 pmPosted 4 years ago

        and like I replied, nor was Shakespeare or Marlowe or Austen, but that is the mark of a classic text, that it enthralls because it speaks to something eternally…true, I suppose and also because it allows for this endless detective work.
        After all what else could be said? “Great episode”, “yeah, great episode”.
        You know this is why my other fave blog is the Manson one: now there is endless detective work with the added advantage of being about real people. There’s a story that will never end and characters to be analysed from a million angles…and a motive that will never be found, unless Charlie decides to tell us one day.

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        June 6, 2014 7:46 amPosted 4 years ago

        I dont quite get why on this blog I cant replay directly to a reply…so in case this not clear, its to your thing about how BBC is now…very interesting….wouldnt it be good if B7 fans were now top bbc ppl?

        and I know just exactly what you mean abt tick boxes and so on…while the whole diversity thing is great, I wish they would just genuinely do colourblind and gender-blind and sexuality-blind casting/characterization and see what happens.

        I mean, I do appreciate its so crucially important to have gay characters, and normalize…best way to undermine prejudice, I’m sure, now we get lots of capable females, all good, but when it does mean an ensemble cast is so predictable, I dont like it.

        Perhaps they should write all the characters and then throw the names in a randomizer and see what comes many would be gay, black etc.

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    June 4, 2014 7:23 amPosted 4 years ago

    Erm, there was something else. what was all that about “all is smooth and sweatless?”
    I have never been so startled by a line, ever.
    And there was also “I’m not sure I want it..promotion, that is”.

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    June 4, 2014 12:18 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I do need to re watch again, as why would Anna/Bart still want to kill Avon, now that she too is a rebel… was she hired by another agency to depose Servalan? Or is she part of a Federation faction… it’s only a question of motivation and allegience, or the simple fact Avon could now identify her as Bart… either way, Anna is complex and I love her more for that!

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      June 4, 2014 2:27 pmPosted 4 years ago

      I think she tried to kill him because she thought he would kill her first if she didn’t.

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        June 4, 2014 4:00 pmPosted 4 years ago

        Also the rebels may not know she was Bartholomew and once a Federation Lackey. Killing Avon would prevent disclosure. She doesn’t go for the gun until he’s worked it out.

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          June 5, 2014 5:13 pmPosted 4 years ago

          That’s what I thought. But how was she intending to knock off Avon, Cally and Tarrant? Essentially, she was brown bread immediately they came in.

          (I love that phrase brown bread. I saw it on Minder once and loved it ever since).

          So it was just a mad reflex?, and I guess if Avon hadnt hit her first, she’d have tried to roll and get the others.
          If she’d succeeded, then what about Servalan? Thing is, Servalan knew she was Bartolomew all along, so how was that going to work out, given Anna wanted her alive? Wouldnt she tell the others that this is a terrible feared deadly agent?

          And there are definitely hidden motivations with Anna. When she was with that ginger guy who was her 2-i-c, she was acting very feminine “havent we had enough killing?” But when he went out, she all but did a villainous laugh and got a wicked look in her eyes: “an appropriate place [the banqueting hall] to whet the appetite of the People’s Council”.
          So she’s up to some trick which is maybe all the People’s Council deposed and Servalan reinstated with Anna pulling the strings. None of her stated reasons for keeping Servalan alive made sense. Servalan would just refuse to resign and whatever and why have her resign when you’ve violently and successfully toppled her in her very own yard??

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            June 5, 2014 6:34 pmPosted 4 years ago

            “that ginger guy”

            David Gillies, who played the character, named Hob, did play a character who was called Ginger in a Bill Maynard sitcom The Gaffer, only a year or two later. Although I think that his usual role was just to appear in the opening credit sequence and give Maynard a feed line to reply to.

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            June 6, 2014 1:56 amPosted 4 years ago

            Minder also pioneered my personal use of the word “dwell” eg: we’ll just dwell in here for an hour or so and have a large VAT” they also use the word “drum” a lot which has fallen from use altogether now sacs word for your house. Only a few older burglars still use the phrase “drumming” in real life to describe the practice of dwelling burglary (not to be confused with dwelling in the context above). Funnily I saw Gan in Minder the other day playing, well playing Gan basically.

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    June 4, 2014 7:04 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Talking of – er – the talking in B7 – specifically, the characters’ British voices.

    Okay, at a very basic production level, it’s a British show, made by the BBC, and the actors were all quite ‘plummy’ voiced at the time. But in the context of the ongoing story, why do they all sound British, rather than speaking with American acceents, or, for all that, speaking Russian, Chinese etc?

    My take on it was that, as explained, the Federation is set in the ‘New Calandar’ some 2 of 3 centuries after a devastating nuclear war that wiped out large parts of humanity. The survivors have rebuilt civilisation and reached for the stars, founding the Terran Federation.

    Now, IF there was a nuclear war, it would figure that the USA, Russia (and several East Europan states even nowadays) and China would be the most likely targets, as would the Middle East, Pakistan and India. Britain would get hit too, but maybe not as badly as the major US, Russian and Chinese cities. Maybe even Australia and New Zealand escaped relatively unscathed, with would lead to a more ‘British Empire’ or Commonwealth based civilsation emerging.

    Who knows, maybe the remainder of Europe and Africa were also subsumed by a an English-speaking Empire/Commonwealth or Federation, with ‘British RP’ being the favoured language, particularly of the Alpha classes (because there would definitly be a new class/caste system).

    Hence in the B7 future reality, most Federation citizens, even coloniosts on other planets, speak ‘Brit’.

    JUst a thought…

    (ETA: To correct my ‘Newspeak’ errors!)

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      June 5, 2014 6:33 pmPosted 4 years ago

      Or the fact that English was already the lingua franca and in a rebuilding world it was essential to communicate in the same tongue, so other languages just vanished.
      And maybe race disappeared too, so Dayna’s colour simply goes unnoticed: its all the same thing.

      But I remember back in the early 80s, they used to say the UK would get mega hit, because of all the US weapons here. Like in Threads. Oh I love Threads! Its on youtube. I watched again and got just the same terrified feeling I did back then.

      Btw what does ETA mean?

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        June 5, 2014 10:13 pmPosted 4 years ago

        ETA – Edited to add.

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          June 6, 2014 12:05 amPosted 4 years ago

          BMTI = Beat me To It! 😉

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          June 6, 2014 7:48 amPosted 4 years ago

          i thought it was Estimated Time of Arrival so well confused.

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        June 6, 2014 12:13 amPosted 4 years ago

        “Threads” is a brilliant and truly frightening film. I
        re-watched it recently with my 14 year-old son and although some
        bits of it are dated now (I live very near Sheffield, the UK city
        which is the focus of the drama), it still stands up and it still
        shocks. I think it should be mandatory viewing in social history
        lessons in schools the world over. As for the ‘nuclear’, scenario
        in the B7 history, yes, of course the UK would be hit hard too, but
        nowhere near as hard as the USA, Russia, China etc. You’re probably
        right about the lingua franca point Fiona, plus there would be
        civil and governmental shelters where there would be survivors and
        language would evolve from the survivors, as would a class/caste
        system. In any event, after a few centuries of new consolidation,
        rebuilduing on Earth, the spread of the Terran Federation in the
        Galaxy, maybe the ‘Brit Speak’ language is the standard Terran
        language. Besides, we don’t actually know they ARE speaking english
        as we know it – there may be a whole new Terran language and B7 is
        just “translated” for us as viewers?

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          June 6, 2014 3:08 pmPosted 4 years ago

          Slightly OT: I saw Threads again recently for the first time since it was broadcast and was amazed at the bleakness and terrific acting all these years on. One can’t possibly imagine the BBC showing anything of this nature on its main channel in this day and age. Even modern BBC news treats it’s viewers like idiots.

          As for the BBC remaking B7, I wouldn’t want them to touch it – not having sat through Moff era Dr Who. It’s also unlikely to ever happen as the rights to the show are way out of the Beeb’s reach.

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            June 7, 2014 10:21 amPosted 4 years ago

            Awesome, Threads isnt it? especially the bit when the bomb goes off. At the time that actually seemed so possible. Once, they tested the siren near my home. My friends and I, we just froze, staring at each other. And then sort of helplessly waited four minutes and relaxed. It was an awful shock.

            And I loved how Threads was interspersed with the Protect and Survive stuff too. What a load of bollocks: Make a shelter from doors and mattresses, paint the windows white…seriously.

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            June 7, 2014 10:34 amPosted 4 years ago

            On the back of my re-watch of Threads, I had a trawl through the IMDB message boards on the film and was directed to a Young Person’s book pubnlished in 1985 called “Children of the Dust”, which details the effect sof a nuclear war in the West of England, how people survicev and how society rebuilds itself in the two generations after the war.

            Not a long book, but brilliantly written, uncompromising in its depictions of the devastation wrought by nuclear war and radioactive fallout, yet it still ends up offering hope for the future. It’s available via Amazon – I’d recommend it to anyone.

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            June 7, 2014 11:02 amPosted 4 years ago

            Absolutely 🙂 It is so bleak and harrowing as soon as the bomb drops.
            I was really surprised at how good ‘Threads’ was all these years on. Usually, these BBC dramas from the 80’s are quite clunky and forgettable but the script and acting in this drama were both first class. I do remember everyone talking about it the next day in school and the controversy it caused for the BBC.
            Imagine the reaction it was cause now if the BBC were to show something similar when we have a whole generation brought up on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘EastEnders’ etc?

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            June 7, 2014 3:23 pmPosted 4 years ago

            Yes, yes, me was all anyone could talk about. And that amazed me as well on the rewatch, that it wasnt clunky at all. I loved the way they intertwined the personal story with the political. The scary ticker-tape thing…I dont know what its called, like typewrites across the screen and makes that scary machine noise, makes everything seem inevitable. And the voice-over was so deadpan and unemotional: “This is when Western response will be slowest. This is when they may be asleep”.
            All those earnest civil servants in the bunker…there was a commenter on the youtube, said he was going to join the Army after watching Threads because they got food after the War.

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            June 7, 2014 10:36 amPosted 4 years ago

            That’s actually quite encouraging Rob. Maybe Netflix could get hold of the rights?

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        June 6, 2014 12:14 amPosted 4 years ago

        There was something called the “Stock Equalisation Act”
        which meant new colonies had to include representatives of all
        races. Although this was obsolete by Avon’s time it does mean that
        the populaces of the older established worlds would not look twice
        at Dayna as they have a full ethnic mix.

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    June 4, 2014 7:11 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Hand on heart, I still find the narrative thrust of the search for Star One more compelling. And I think you have to get to Orbit, Warlord, and Blake, before the series reaches that level – and arguably beyond it – again. But I admit that, along with ‘City’, this episode stands out from the rest of Season 3. And it does a good job of explaining why Avon’s decision making seems increasingly shaky, and paranoid in later episodes. It’s the genesis of a gradual decline. Shame about Terminal though – I don’t think he ever seems quite crazy enough to make those decisions ring true.

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      June 4, 2014 11:25 pmPosted 4 years ago

      I always thought those decisions were about having had enough and wanting desperately to get out so the incentives were attractive and worth a gamble. Or that the odds of survival looked better if he took those chances.

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    June 5, 2014 1:47 amPosted 4 years ago

    It was my birthday the day this review went up. A ten out of ten made a lovely birthday present for me 🙂 I hope Sue finds lots to enjoy in future episodes – maybe she might even change her mind about Tarrant, who knows…

    • June 5, 2014 4:50 pmPosted 4 years ago
      Alex Wilcock

      Yay! Happy late birthday!

      It’s my favourite episode, so I was thrilled too. Not my birthday, though…

      …But I can give two ludicrously appropriate personal moments for February 25th, the date on which it was first broadcast. A dozen years later, it’s the date on which I was elected a students’ union President after removing the previous one in what was technically a bloodless if still at times surprisingly violent revolution (a recall power considerably less toothless than the coalition’s, even if that’s a baby step in the right direction). And it was the birthday of the ex of mine who made me miserable and who everyone said was awful to me. Love and betrayal and bitterness? I should have run when I saw his birthday. Would’ve saved time.

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      June 6, 2014 12:14 amPosted 4 years ago

      Belated B7 Birthday Franky! 🙂

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      June 6, 2014 1:18 amPosted 4 years ago

      Happy belated birthday!

      I hope Sue finds much to enjoy as well…

      Tarrant grew on me, so there’s hope. 🙂

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        June 6, 2014 2:53 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I never liked Tarrant much but seeing Stephen Pacey in the making of Blakes7 vids I really liked him and even fancied him a bit – or more accurately saw how others could. He wasn’t really given enough to do in the series and Paul Darrow’s ‘ unsubtle’ or barnstorming ( my view) blew him out of the water.

        Re smiley faces I use iPad or iPhone to post

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          June 6, 2014 8:00 pmPosted 4 years ago

          I detest Tarrant, but everything I’ve ever heard about Steven Pacey is that he is an extremely nice person. In fact, I’ve heard that the number of Tarrant fans grew exponentially after SP started to go to cons and fans raised their estimation of Tarrant because they liked SP.

          I’m pretty sure that Jacqueline Pearce has never committed any atrocities though.

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            June 7, 2014 10:30 amPosted 4 years ago

            “I’m pretty sure that Jacqueline Pearce has never committed any atrocities though.”

            Except, perhaps, atrocities against acting… 😉

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            June 7, 2014 1:26 pmPosted 4 years ago

            “Genocide or ham?” as the equivalent of “cake or death?” perhaps.

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            June 7, 2014 3:17 pmPosted 4 years ago

            she did a good job in that one! She was the best thing in it! while everyone else was brow-clutching, she was really convincing. And the stuff at the end with Avon was spell-binding. Caressing him with the gun like that…wow…”I still really really fancy you, Avon, but you threw me on the floor and I’m going to kill you now”.

  • June 5, 2014 8:01 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Alex Wilcock

    I feel a bit like Sue says on bits she really likes (though not this time, thankfully) – this one was such a relief to read that I can’t think what of hers to quote. I’m just glad she was so on the ball with it.

    Rumours of Death has been my favourite Blake’s 7 since it was first broadcast; same with The Deadly Assassin, my favourite Doctor Who. Absolutely spellbinding. Even when I was a small boy, obviously I was drawn to political thrillers and films noir (probably the purest examples of each in both series). Complete with the focus on Avon having the last word about the direction of his life at the end, this seems in a lot of ways like a bleak noir reverse of Vila in City… Or much more cynical and impressive take on Pressure Point, where the lead finally finds The Way Back to Earth, and gets what he wants, but not how he expects it. As well as the clearest statement of the series’ change in direction this year – the rebellion is almost another adversary to the Liberator, certainly no longer ‘their side’, and it’s all about the characters and their twisted relationships instead.

    I like that the successful revolution is true to life in being a bunch of evil, torturing, murderous ****s indistinguishable from the previous Administration, too. I have a feeling the climax was once droned over in an Open University programme about sci-fi / revolutionary drama which I happened across in the middle of the night in the mid-’80s once…

    And as Sue at last seems to be warming a bit to Servalan now that the Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds has switched to black on her psychic miscarriage, I have to say I think she’s amazing in this – and her outfit is stunning, appropriately enough, when for once she absolutely has to wear a cocktail frock. She wields it amazingly when her back’s to the wall, too.

    I don’t reckon much to Avon’s geography teacher leather patches on his Space Cardigan, though, and all the rest of the team have evidently been costumed for panto just to show up how out of place they are in this story. Tarrant may be dressed and act for panto, too, but he’s never worn his former life as a Federation Captain more blatantly: look at how he brutally orders about the dying Bob Ferris, then reels off all the President’s titles because he’s had them drummed into him at officers’ training school. It’s just a shame he’s not turned back properly to the dark side, because he’s more sinister here than as the dim bully of earlier in the season.

    I still say “Some days are better than others” on a really crappy day.

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    June 6, 2014 6:02 amPosted 4 years ago

    How do I insert smiley faces etc into posts?

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      June 6, 2014 4:56 pmPosted 4 years ago

      according to wordpress thing, it says type text using colons and brackets to make the smile and then it converts to a smiley when you post here’s the thing. I try lets see: 🙂

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        June 6, 2014 4:57 pmPosted 4 years ago

        I did it! I followed instructions for a computer thing and it worked! I practically feel I am Avon….

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        June 6, 2014 8:55 pmPosted 4 years ago


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    June 6, 2014 4:46 pmPosted 4 years ago

    I think Nick’s point is very valid. If dramas are written to include a mix of characters just for the sake of political correctness you get bad drama. For example a modern drama set in my neck of the woods ( leafy Surrey village which has mostly white Brits living there) would have to reflect that if it was to seem realistic just as a drama set in Brixton would show more black families than white or in Birmingham a high ratio of Asian to white Brit families. If a writer wanted to depict a white family living in Brixton or a black family living in a leafy Surrey village he/she should not fudge the issues that both families would face if his drama is to be hard hitting, even if racial tension is not the focus of the drama. To create a modern drama which ignores the facts that blacks would be discriminated against or gays looked on unfavourably if they lived in certain parts of modern Britain especially if everyone was trying to survive an Armageddon-type disaster is to create unconvincing drama. Fortunately for dramas set in the future a sensible non racist world can be created and characters from varied ethnic backgrounds be shown just getting on with living together.

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    June 7, 2014 4:29 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Fiona I enjoyed your explanation of why Avon seems to need Blake while professing to despise him and why he always gets between him and danger. Very convincing.

    I am obviously the Gan of the blogging post having failed with first attempt to insert a smiley. Here goes 🙂

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      June 8, 2014 1:34 amPosted 4 years ago

      Thanks! I do enjoy watching him and Blake and watching Avon trying to fight off a compulsion that’s doing him no good.

      Its just a tour de force, Paul Darrow’s Avon it really is. Avon 1, anyway! Have to see how I go with Avon 2 now.

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    June 7, 2014 4:30 pmPosted 4 years ago

    Smiley. Yay! 🙂

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      June 8, 2014 1:26 amPosted 4 years ago

      You did it! You Avon, you…

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    June 8, 2014 11:34 amPosted 4 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Is this the episode where Paul Darrow’s ‘oh shit, you kiss me’ anecdote comes from?

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      June 8, 2014 3:25 pmPosted 4 years ago

      what anecdote? Tell me, tell me please….sounds good…

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        June 8, 2014 3:49 pmPosted 4 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Oh, it’s the one where the guest star laments upon reading her script that anyone who Avon kisses in the programme dies, so she won’t be back later for a return fee.

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    June 8, 2014 2:34 pmPosted 4 years ago

    OT: Refreshing also how well the female characters were written and played (Moffat take note). I honestly think that ‘Threads’ should be on the national curriculum. Whilst the nuclear issue is largely ignored by TV news, the proliferation of these weapons brings the ‘Threads’ scenario even closer.

    Now where on Earth is that Sarcophagus update?? 🙂

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    June 8, 2014 4:50 pmPosted 4 years ago
    Robin Brown

    “Does it really matter, Neil? I’ve already given the episode 10 out of 10. We can stop now.”

    Haha. This is the best riposte I’ve ever seen to fan overanalysis. It’s such a good line though, it deserves some navel-gazing. Thought I bet Chris Boucher would just shrug and say he thought it sounded cool.

    Very happy to see a ten. And richly deserved; it doesn’t relly get any better than this. It’s also a little bit of a last hurrah for a certain style of Blake’s 7, I think. And if this had been the last series it’s certainly the beginning of the end.

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      June 8, 2014 6:19 pmPosted 4 years ago

      How can anything be over-analysed? doesnt matter what Chris Boucher said about it.

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        June 8, 2014 11:19 pmPosted 4 years ago
        Robin Brown


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          June 9, 2014 7:48 amPosted 4 years ago

          Doesnt matter what the author says it means. Text takes on its own life interpreted through the reader, through context and through what is said and what is missing.
          So it’s useless for the author to say that a blue curtain is only a blue curtain. Or something is just a cool line. It isn’t. Context produced and context interprets it.

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            June 9, 2014 10:45 amPosted 4 years ago

            As an author myself, I’ve never subscribed to that psuedo “interprepatation” stuff.

            The author is the creator, the originator of the work – so their meaning is the true meaning. Sure, readers (or viewers) can put whatever spin on it they like, but at the end of the day, what the writer intends is what the true meaning is.

            An example: Some psudeo-intellectual critic was reviewing Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings and said that the whole work, and in particular the Scouring of the Shire was an allegory on the rise of Nazism in 1930s and 40s Europe and WW2.

            J R R Tolkein himself responed tartly and said: “Actually no, it isn’t. It’s about a war in Middle Earth involving elves, dwarfs, hobbits, men, orcs and wizards.”

            ETA Again; Mi spill chukka busted!

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            June 9, 2014 11:16 amPosted 4 years ago

            All that demonstrates is what the author was consciously thinking at the time they wrote it, or at least what they claim to have been thinking. Doesn’t actually put any limits on what it’s possible to compare it to or say about it, even if it would be something that had never occurred to the author.

            Apart from that of course, all these arguments rely on our knowing exactly what the author’s views were in the first place, and in a lot of cases, we don’t. I’m not sure even all of the B7 authors, just to keep it to the series we’re talking about, were ever interviewed about their scripts, so in some cases, for most of us, there’s only really the episodes they wrote that we’ve got for reference.

            Additionally, authors’ own memories can be imperfect, or they can make claims years apart which don’t always support each other. An author might say one thing about their script in an interview, then, twenty years later, say something else about it that doesn’t sit easily. So which recollection is correct?

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            June 9, 2014 11:24 amPosted 4 years ago

            Just to expand on Fiona’s point, I’d say that there is no such thing as over-analysis. There is good or bad analysis, depending on whether you can convincingly demonstrate the basis of your reading. I don’t think it is possible to over-analyse something though – if you find an analysis unbelievable, that suggests it’s a bad one rather than overdone.

            An author might not intend to write something which is sexist or racist, say, but nevertheless could still produce something which can be argued to be so.

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    June 9, 2014 12:31 amPosted 4 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    I’m so happy that Sue enjoyed RoD! And enjoyed it 10/10, too! I love it not just for Avon getting some solid follow-up for the back story that started in ‘Countdown’, but also for the fabulous Federation minions (Shrinker, Forress and Grenlee, Bartolomew). Plus some bonus rebel bickering. Virtually no politics in the Federation ever happens without someone trying to stab someone else in the back, either metaphorically or literally.

    We’re slowly working our way through my list of ‘S3 episodes I really hope that Sue likes as much as I do’. Fingers crossed!

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