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Star One

It is a silly place…

Star OneSue: This better be good.

Yes, after weeks of teasing we are finally on our way to Star One. It says so in the title.

Sue: Thank **** for that. Oh, I wanted Terry to come back for the season finale. I’m not sure about this Boucher guy.

Me: It’s pronounced Boucher.

Sue: Whatever.

The episode begins with a disaster in space. And that’s just the special effects.

Sue: I feel like I’m listening to the shipping forecast.

A passenger cruiser and a transport ship collide, killing thousands of innocent civilians.

Sue: Oh dear, that was terrible. Have they run out of money?

When Servalan is briefed about the accident, she’s given more bad news to deal with.

Durkim: Climate control has gone disastrously wrong on all the frontier worlds.

Sue: Every planet in the galaxy has been turned into a shit hole. Not that we’ll ever be able to tell the difference. They always go to shit holes. And how will they survive without their tropical fruit? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Star OneDurkim believes that Star One may have gone tits up. But if that’s true, Servalan can’t send in any engineers to fix it.

Servalan: No one knows where Star One is! No one at all!

Me: Told you.

Sue: I knew this would happen. That’s one hell of a design flaw. Anyway, lots of people know where Star One is: Blake, Travis, that jaundiced jester. Everybody knows!

And then Sue has a brainwave.

Sue: I know what’s going to happen. Blake will fix Star One and he’ll save the Federation, because it’s either that or soaking wet planets, space ships dropping out of the sky, and no pineapples. Blake will do the right thing for the wrong people. It’ll be really ironic, just you wait and see.

Blake is still searching for Star One.

Jenna: These coordinates are not precise enough.

Sue: Really? They sounded pretty precise to me last week. Don’t tell me that this is going to be another episode where they have to look for the bloody place. I bet this episode ends just as they find it. Typical!

Avon is in a foul mood.

Star OneAvon: When Star One is gone it is finished, Blake. And I want it finished. I want it over and done with. I want to be free.

Cally: But you are free now, Avon.

Avon: I want to be free of him.

Sue: Bloody hell. This is a bit tense. And brilliant.

Blake wants to blow Star One up.

Sue: But won’t blowing up Star One make things worse? What about the pineapples? He hasn’t thought this through.

Oh yes he has.

Cally: Many, many people will die without Star One.

Blake: I know.

Sue: Think of the pineapples!

But Blake won’t listen.

Blake: We have to win. It’s the only way I can be sure that I was right.

Sue: What a twat. It’s always about him, isn’t it. He’s worse than Servalan!

Star OneWe cut to deep space, where a camera pans slowly right, revealing…

Sue: Star One! At last!

Me: That isn’t Star One.

Sue: Oh, it’s Servalan’s house. They had me going there for a second.

Servalan has a lot on her plate. There’s a coup to organise for a start.

Servalan: Space Command no longer recognises the authority of the President or the Council.

Sue: She’s gone rogue. Well, even more rogue than usual. She’s gone roguer.

Servalan orders Durkim to find Star One.

Durkim: There isn’t enough data. I can’t even guess where Star One is.

Me: He’s got about as much hope of finding Star One as I have of getting hold of GoDaddy’s technical support.

Servalan believes that somebody is up to no good on Star One.

Sue: It’s obviously Travis. Hasn’t she worked that out yet? They mustn’t be speaking to each other this week.

Servalan: I will not be President of a ruined empire.

Sue: You can’t tell me that Maggie Thatcher didn’t watch Blake’s 7. Of course she bloody did!

Star OneMeanwhile, on Star One – yes, Star bloody One! – something has gone terribly wrong.

Sue: David Tennant’s ugly brother has been a very naughty boy. And where’s Travis? He must be behind this.

Sue likes the look of Star One.

Sue: The sets are great. They actually spent some money on the place. It reminds me of the Big Brother house.

The Liberator approaches a planet orbiting a dying star.

Sue: The Liberator never looks the same to me. One minute it looks like it’s made from plastic, then wood, and now it looks like it’s made from solid metal. I like the metal one.

Blake: Maximum scan, Cally. Look for anything unusual or out of place, sudden temperature variation, anything. They’re bound to have left some clue as to where they put that installation.

Sue: You could always ask Orac. Just a thought.

Avon notices that the area has been seeded with mines designed to keep any visitors from the nearby Andromeda galaxy at bay.

Blake: That must be the biggest antimatter minefield ever put together.

Sue: How would a minefield in space work? Couldn’t you just go around it? Or over it? Or under it? Seems a bit odd to me.

Star OneMeanwhile, a Star One technician named Lurena realises that she is the lone survivor in a battle against alien body snatchers.

Sue: How did the baddies know where Star One was? I bet it’s Travis. He’s doing a Master and he’s working with the aliens. I bet they betray him. And if there really is a minefield around Star One, how did this lot get in?

Jenna is worried that Blake might be rushing into things.

Avon: Blake is an idealist, Jenna. He cannot afford to think.

Sue: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a programme undermine its lead character as much as this one does. It’s incredible, really.

Blake, Avon and Cally teleport to the planet below.

Sue: Oh look, it’s a shit hole. Now there’s a surprise.

Blake and Jenna enter Star One where they are met by the alien invaders. Avon finds himself outside as a space craft approaches his location. Sue can’t stop biting her nails.

Sue: It’s really good, this. Sorry. I don’t know what else to say.

Jenna: Orac, operate the teleport as instructed.

Sue: Orac is just a glorified doorman these days. What a waste.

The aliens have mistaken Blake for Travis, even though he doesn’t look anything like him.

An Elderly David Walliams: And the eye patch, what happened to that?

Star OneSue: Don’t worry about that. Travis has this habit of not looking like Travis. You get used to it. Sort of.

Speaking of Travis, guess who’s skulking around outside? Go on, guess!

Sue: Come on, Avon, shoot him in the face! What are you waiting for? You wanted to do it last week and nothing’s changed. Stop chatting to him and kill him! Oh, it makes me so mad.

Avon: Talk or scream, Travis, the choice is yours.

Sue: He usually does both at the same time. It’s really annoying.

Lurena mistakes Avon for an alien and Travis escapes during the confusion. But not before he whacks Avon over the head with his Obi-Wan Kenobi cloak.

Sue: This is what happens when you don’t shoot Travis in the face.

Avon: Damn!

Sue: The next time you see him, SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE!

Star OneAvon shoots an alien impostor in the chest instead.

Me: It’s the GP from Jam.

Sue: I don’t even know what that means. Although he does look like he’s made from jam. Look at all that blood!

The alien transforms into a mushy puddle of snot.

Avon: They’d be difficult to love.

Sue: Oh, I don’t know. If one of them took over Avon’s body, I think I’d manage.

Me: I am sitting right here, you know.

The alien invasion fleet enters the Liberator‘s detector range.

Me: Rumour has it that Terry Nation wanted the Daleks to be the aliens.

Sue: Really? That would have been brilliant. Terry was years ahead of his time to come up with a crossover idea like that. Terry could have been the 1970s Joss Whedon.

Travis shoots Blake with his finger. Blake goes down hard.

Me: Blake’s dead.

Sue: Don’t be silly. (pause) Is he? Is he really?

Me Yes. Avon takes over now.

Sue: Don’t be ridiculous. I wish!

Me: I’m not joking!

Sue: I don’t believe you. You can’t kill Blake; his name is in the title of the programme.

Star OneBlake is still lying motionless on the floor.

Me: See! He’s definitely dead. Sad, isn’t it?

Sue: Well if he is dead – and I don’t think he is – I can’t say that I’m disappointed. What a shit, pointless death. He couldn’t even die properly. (pause) And he isn’t dead.

The alien fleet moves closer.

Sue: Just think how much better this would be with the Daleks in it.

Me: You’re right. Some things could be better with the Daleks.

Sue: There’s no consistency in the design of these alien ships. It looks like a model maker dumped a drawer of spare parts onto the floor. They’ve definitely run out of money.

Back on the Liberator, Jenna decides to warn Servalan about the impending alien invasion.

Sue: Is Jenna reading her lines off a cue card? I think she is, you know. And she’s doing it really badly, too. Oh dear.

Travis betrays humanity.

Sue: The mad ****.

Star OneTravis is shot in the back!

Me: Oh look, Blake isn’t really dead.

Sue: I knew it! You can’t kill Blake. Vila, yes. Blake, definitely not.

Me: WHAT?

Blake: Is Travis dead?

Avon shoots Travis again and the leathered loon falls head first into the health and safety nightmare that takes up half the room.

Avon: He is now.

Sue: He’ll be back.

Me: He won’t.

Sue: Yeah, like I’m going to believe you.

A little later, when we watch the Ballard Of Travis II extra on the DVD, and when that scene is played out in slow-motion, Travis bleeds sand. Actual sand. This just convinces Sue that this Travis isn’t the real Travis. Bless her.

She is right about one thing, though.

Blake: We must warn the Federation!

Sue: I knew it. I can see where this is going: in the next series, Blake and Servalan will team up to kill all the aliens. It’s obvious.

Star OneThere’s just one problem: Blake has already primed Star One to explode.

Cally: It’s too late!

Cally and Avon race around Star One, gathering up the bombs. Sue is rapidly running out of nails to bite.

Blake: There’s another explosive charge. They don’t know about it. I’ve got to get it out! I put it in section four on one of the panels.

Lurena rushes off to find the bomb, but when she arrives in section four, she can’t find it.

Sue: He could have been more specific! There are panels everywhere! Argh!

Lurena eventually finds the bomb, just as the aliens find her.

Sue: If only these bombs came with an off-switch. What a shame.

KABOOM!

Sue: They’ll never taste another pineapple again. What a massive cock-up.

When our heroes return to the Liberator, Avon decides to hold back the alien invasion fleet until the Federation’s reinforcements can arrive, hours from now.

Star OneJenna: Why, Avon?

Avon: Why not?

Sue: Brilliant. I knew that Avon would save the day. Avon is so cool.

Avon: Zen, put up the force wall.

Sue: This is what I’ve been waiting for. A big fight in space. Yes!

Blake discharges himself from the medical unit to see if he can help. He can’t. But before he goes back to bed, he has a message for Avon:

Blake: Avon, for what it is worth, I have always trusted you, from the very beginning.

Sue: Aww, that was really sweet. But Blake is completely useless. Is he really that ill that he can’t sit there and press the odd button to help get them out of this mess? What a twat.

Vila turns down the lighting on the flight deck, which creates a nice and cozy ‘we’re all about to die’ ambience before the battle commences.

Sue: These aliens don’t look that threatening to me. They look like a right shambles. The Liberator can take this lot easily. I mean, who are they?

Tension is etched into the faces of the crew. Except for Cally. Cally looks bemused. Oh, and Blake. Blake is probably lying in bed somewhere, reading a magazine and eating grapes.

Star OneAvon: Fire!

Cue credits.

Sue: No! Wait… But… What? You can’t end it there!

Sue is stunned.

Sue: I’m not having that. Put the next episode on.

Me: No.

The Score:

Sue: That was very good. Things seemed to happen for a change, the direction was pretty good, the sets looked great, and the actors didn’t annoy me. Oh, and Avon kicked arse. Big time. But there were a few things that irritated me. Like, when did Travis find the time to organise this big alien invasion? And how did he find them? And why? That seemed a bit far-fetched and out-of-the-blue. One minute Blake’s fighting the Federation and now this lot turn up. And the alien ships weren’t threatening enough. Now, if they’d been the Daleks, that would have been a completely different story. Now stick the next one on.

Me: No!

8/10

Next Time:

Sue will reflect on Series 2 on Wednesday April 30th. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her, please send it here. The best question will win a signed copy of our book. The deadline for questions is Monday April 28th.

Series 3 will commence on Friday May 2nd, so there’s plenty of time for you to catch up with the series if you’ve fallen behind.

And please remember that spoilers in the comments will not be tolerated. Thanks.

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85 comments

  • Visit site
    April 23, 2014 7:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    This certainly has the feeling of a season finale in the modern sense. In fact that cliff-hanger had more than a hint of The Next Generation’s ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ to it.

    Nice irony to have the Liberator – and Blake’s gang – as the last line between the Federation and the aliens. And yes, Daleks in Blakes 7 would have been immense: can you imagine the one-liners Avon would have with them..?

    A satisfying end to what has been a very varied season.

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      April 24, 2014 7:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Mycroft Badger

      Or, more correctly time-wise, The Next Generation’s “The Best of Both Worlds” has more than a hint of Blake’s 7’s “Star One” about it 😉

  • Visit site
    April 23, 2014 8:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
    San

    “When did that ever stop us?… FIRE!” Makes slogging through the first two series worthwhile.

    • Visit site
      April 24, 2014 2:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Jane

      No it doesn’t. It’s not nearly enough payoff.

  • Visit site
    April 23, 2014 8:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
    jsd

    Yeah, the whole mine field in space thing doesn’t really make any sense, does it? Still, a great episode. B7 is generally at its best when it’s dealing with the story arc and this doesn’t disappoint at all.

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      April 24, 2014 9:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Minefield in space doesn’t make sense? People probably said the same about sea-mines when they were first developed.

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        April 29, 2014 12:14 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Bill

        Mines in the sea make one hell of a lot more sense than a minefield in space.

        • Visit site
          April 29, 2014 12:28 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Nick

          Of course, they could be “smart mines” that detect the presence of space vessels at so many light years and then they move into position to block whatever direction those vessels are approaching…

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            April 29, 2014 8:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            This is an era of massive force fields – and ships can travel at incredible speeds and not get holed until their force walls run out of energy. Perhaps the mines are anti-matter “generators” (in fact doesn’t Avon say something like that?) projection a web of anti-particle beams far into space towards Andromeda. It doesn’t take much to annihilate matter enough to disable a ship, and they’ve been projecting further and further out for centuries. Switching off to make a “hole” will at first only make a small gap as the beams disseminate at light speed. This ties in with what we see, the fleet coming through a small area.

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    April 23, 2014 8:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    What do you know – I agree with Sue’s score give or take a point!

    “What a twat. It’s always about him, isn’t it. He’s worse than Servalan!”

    Exactly right, and one of the reasons why I like this episode so much. Blake’s idealism has become corrupted and he has lost sight of what hios fight was originally about. He’s become a fanatic. In fact he’s the kind of person who’d “liberate” a country from a dictator by bombing the crap out of the civilian population.

    It’s not perfect but I think Boucher and Derek Martinus build the tension really well. I like the feeling that’s built up that they are travelling out into the (almost) unknown.

    There are big plot holes but it works well enough if you can overlook them, or as in my case not actually even notice them for about 20 years. It’s a bit irritating that we have no idea how Travis got in contact the Andromedans or what role he even plays in their plans, but there you go, I’ll overlook it. His bretrayal of the human race would make some kind of sense following Trial and Gambit, less so following the episode where he’s matey with Servlan, but it was the 70s, they hadn’t quite got the hang of story arcs back then!

    I like the Servalan coup – was Boucher thinking of Thatcher’s imminent victory, or just the threatened military coups that people were paranoid about in the 70s? Is the breakdown of Star One meant to be the Federation’s winter of discontent?

    “No! Wait… But… What? You can’t end it there!”

    That was my reaction when I first watched it as well.

  • Visit site
    April 23, 2014 10:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Minefield aside, Chris Boucher displays a better grasp of the infinite area of space, and the obvious ‘why can’t they just go round it?’ questions, better in one episode than Terry did in the whole of season one.

    Go rewatch Destiny Of The Daleks by Terry Nation, put out just a few months later, and THEN ask how good the crossover would have been. Or better yet, Shakedown: Return Of The Sontarans.

    • Visit site
      April 23, 2014 11:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      And no doubt Nation would have then got carried away and wanted Davros to start appearing in B7 as well. Better without the Daleks I reckon, not least because the Andromedans at least have a bit of mystery about them.

      • Visit site
        April 24, 2014 9:04 amPosted 3 years ago
        Nick

        I’ve mixed feelings about how the Daleks would’ve worked in B7… the props were loking decidely tacky by then, as you can see in Destiny of the Daleks. Maybe if there had been some new props built it would’ve worked.

        Maybe in an alternate universe it did! 🙂

        Just a question though for anyone who might know, echoing Sue’s surprise that Chris Boucher wrote the final epsiode of S2 rather than Terry Nation… How closely did they both co-operate on the series arc? Or had Nation given up on B7 by the end of S2 and effectively gifted it to Boucher to set things up for S3?

        Certainly S3 had a whole different vibe (and budget). 🙂

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          April 24, 2014 10:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
          wyngatecarpenter

          Based on an authorative source – ie my hazy recollection of something I may or may not have read, probably flicking through a magazine in the newsagent, but I can’t really remember – Boucher and Nation were collaborating. Nation was meant to write Star One but he couldn’t be ars-… sorry, was busy pitching Daleks to Hollywood or something. Or maybe he’d injured himself bending down to pick up a fag packet (the one he’d written Destiny Of the Daleks episode 1 on).

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    April 23, 2014 10:18 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “How would a minefield in space work? Couldn’t you just go around it? Or over it? Or under it?”

    When you’ve traveled the 2 million+ light years from Andromeda, going around a minefield wouldn’t pose much of a challenge I agree.

    “In fact he’s the kind of person who’d ‘liberate’ a country from a dictator by bombing the crap out of the civilian population”

    Naah, Blake isn’t George W. Bush.

    Chris Boucher has often said that he wanted to replace the “Robin Hood in Space” of Season 1 with a morally ambivalent “Che Guevara in Space”. Which is fair enough, but like many things in season 2, it’s a bit patchy in it’s application.

    The whole “eggs in one basket” Star One setup is a somewhat artificial way of offering Blake the choice between achieving his goals, but at the expense of millions of lives.

    CHRIS BOUCHER: “This was shown clearly I think, when Blake was finally placed in a situation where he was forced to consider the outcome of his actions.”

    But those outcomes are never even hinted at in “Pressure Point”. There Control is just to “monitor information, political, civil, military”. Now it controls everything, including the weather?

    And if the rest of the crew are willing to be accessories in the destruction of Star One (Avon is very keen) what does that make them?

    (An alternative way of looking at things would be that if Blake had never gone looking for Star One in the first place, the alien invasion would have been unopposed and humanity would have been wiped out.)

    “or what role he even plays in their plans”

    I think it’s just pressing those big chunky buttons. Reminds me of being a kid and wanting to press the stop bell on the bus. The Andromedans in their human form have the necessary digits to do even that, so exactly what difference Travis made is a bit of a mystery.

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      April 23, 2014 11:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      “Naah, Blake isn’t George W. Bush.”

      No, true, he’s more the revolutionary guerilla on the verge of stepping over the line into terrorist.

      “And if the rest of the crew are willing to be accessories in the destruction of Star One (Avon is very keen) what does that make them?”

      Seems to be a case of plot convenience. Avon has a clear selfish motive, he only seems to object to Blake’s hypocrisy.

      “I think it’s just pressing those big chunky buttons. Reminds me of being a kid and wanting to press the stop bell on the bus.”

      Yes, Travis is like my toddler when I’m attempting to use cashpoints in this respect.

      • Visit site
        May 16, 2014 6:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        See, I see Blake as like that and I think it would have been a better show if they had gone and studied the Bolsheviks, the Viet Cong and Mao’s guerrillas and considered accordingly. I’d like to have seen Blake have some kind of plan, maybe a big situation map so you could see exactly what they had done and where they’d been. Blake spoke of doing loads of killing: when? who?
        And how about this: Blake destroys Star One, no alien invasion, and becomes President. He may have to first fight a scrappy civil war against all the people who prefer a quiet life under the totalitarians they know. After all, the Federation provided jobs…Vila spoke of the R and R centres for workers to kick back…lots of people aren’t going to love Blake for all the upheaval. General bloodshed and mayhem, put down with exemplary savagery by the revitalised Blake and various new fanatical allies from other resistance movements. …

        Having, like most Bolsheviks, (since they come, like Lenin, and Blake, from privileged backgrounds), no idea of real people’s lives, only of fanatical ideology amounting to a religion, Blake would then start implementing unworkable plans which will inevitably implode, he will believe it is sabotage and become paranoid..inevitably, he’ll start on the purges..

        Avon will get more and more worried. he’ll pass that off as in his own interest, that Blake is leaving nowhere in the galaxy to breathe, but really, he’s genuinely concerned about limitless massacres. So he begins a dangerous movement to oppose Blake, counting on their long association to protect him…the classic Bukharin/Zinoviev error…did you know Stalin did impressions of Zinoviev being hauled off for execution, weeping and begging and chanting the “Hear O Israel”…Stalin found it hilarious.
        So there would be a terrible tense scene of Avon’s arrest, face-to-face accusation, handcuffs, chains, Avon is dragged to a dungeon …

        erm…

        oh yes. Avon will escape, possibly by using his really very dazzling good looks on one of the guards…( a thousand slashfics will be born) and then he will team up with Servalan who would now be the noble opposition. And even Travis, if he can be rescued from the washing machine or whatever it was, because Travis is too fit to lose. I love that slim figure and that wicked face.

        So Servalan, Travis and Avon, forming a triumvirate of pretty, begin the fight against the Stalinist figure of Blake, because, as Macbeth lets us know, when you start in killing people, you just have to kill loads more because now everyone really does hate you.

        there.
        Anyway, I think what is really clear is Blake had no plan to govern and no idea where to start. Got to feed the people and guard the gate, keep American Idol running, Blake.

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    April 23, 2014 10:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Ann Worrall

    Oh yes! Typical of the series. Hey we’re going to blow up Star One and plunge the known world into chaos in the name of freedom. Oh hang on. Aliens have the same idea. Bad aliens. KILL!! Love this episode though I’ve always regretted that Villa never met and commented on the Aliens. But what’s all this trust stuff?? Wasn’t that the same Blake who took Jenna to Horizen because he worried that Avon might pressurise the crew to run and abandon Blake if he had a good pilot?? One of the reasons I really dislike the character. Well acted episode with Avon kicking arse. More please.

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    April 23, 2014 10:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Siobhan Gallichan

    Now get her to listen to Warship. S’good…

  • April 23, 2014 11:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Roff P. Joffley

    The opening collision is one of my very earliest childhood memories (I was born November 1974, it was broadcast April 1979), but we went to the fair instead of watching the rest of the episode.

    I’m glad Sue liked this one, it’s a corker!

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    April 23, 2014 11:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Geoff

    You missed out my allying favourite line after Avon says “talk or scream” and Travis says something about allowing Avon to live to which Avon replies : Talk or I’ll let you die, you’ll want that after I’ve shot off an arm or a leg or two…

    It’s the casual “arm and a leg or two” that gets me! Callous but very very funny at the same time !

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      May 16, 2014 6:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      Yeah. And I also like:
      Travis: “I thought you were the one with brains”.
      Avon: “Brains, but no heart”.

      How is it a guy can be all icy like that and still be utterly desirable and in a woman it just doesn’t work. I haven’t seen Farscape, but I sort of get an impression that a character called Jool is a female Avon and she is described as grating.

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    April 24, 2014 1:01 amPosted 3 years ago
    Nico

    “How would a minefield in space work? Couldn’t you just go around it? Or over it? Or under it? Seems a bit odd to me.”

    Exactly!

    My explanation for the Andromedan fleet is that they were a race of extreme individualists (given the shape-shifting).

  • April 24, 2014 8:57 amPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    Star One is indeed a pretty brilliant season finale. Actually in my opinion all the finales of Blake’s 7 are pretty brilliant. New Who could take a note or two frankly.

    One thing I love about this one is that, even though we’ve seen other aliens up to now, they’ve mostly been either so advanced they’re practically gods or so primitive they’re practically animals, and they haven’t really figured into the Earth politics we’ve focused on at all. A race of aliens that are at a stage of development comparable to humans, who have a fleet and are both willing and able to go to war with Earth, is a concept that is just taken for granted in most space opera but feels like it comes out of the blue in Blake’s 7. To me that makes it all the more exciting; the situation would be normal in any other SF show, but here it feels properly apocalyptic.

    In my opinion the show just gets better from here. Even the bad episodes (and there are a few howlers, as we all know) are at least not boring, and the good ones are off the chain. I’m sad the experiment is already half over, but I think the best is yet to come.

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    April 24, 2014 8:58 amPosted 3 years ago
    Nick

    I remember the impact this series ending had on me back in the day. Okay, we weren’t going to see a Star Wars-type battle royale in space, but Avon, now in charge with his great last line… that ended the series briliantly for me. It’s still all the more effective for it today.

    Given the lengths Blake is prepared to go to to hit back at the Federation by destroying Star One and throwing all the Federation Worlds in chaos, killing millions shows that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, which is exactly what Nation and Boucher had in mind. The fact that Avon assumes command is the natural conclusion to the series and the perfect lead in to the dynamics of Series 3 (no spoilers!)

    I also loved the fact that Travis, who had by now become something of a comedy recurring vllain finally gets killed (with a great ‘Sprit of ’66 one-liner from Avon). Again, you get the feeling that whatever else happens, this episode is a real game changer.

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      April 24, 2014 2:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Angela R.

      I’m afraid that “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” is a statement that is a particular bugbear of mine. Freedom is a goal and terror is a tactic, so you are not comparing like with like and they certainly aren’t opposites with no overlap. Those using terror as a tactic are a subset of those that have freedom as a goal, and likewise within the group that uses terror as a tactic there is a subset who have freedom as a goal. This may seem overly pedantic, but in my experience that phrase significantly muddies the waters in arguments.

      Terrorism can include the tactic of killing civilians, but killing civilians as a side effect of other tactics does not count as terrorism. Ergo destroying Star One isn’t terrorism any more than destroying rail networks and power stations in order to gain your military aims (and knowingly threatening the lives of civilians thereby) is necessarily terrorism in real historic wars. It is an extremely ruthless act, but that is another issue. Indeed, despite what Boucher says, what really strikes me is the obvious inspiration of WW2, not just in this episode but many others.

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        April 24, 2014 4:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Nick

        Good argument well put Angela. I can’t answer for Nation and Boucher for their statement so I dfon’t know what Blake is, freedom fighter or terroist?

        All we know – as Sue often points out – is that he’s a convicted paedophile (although he was framed).

        The other thing we know is that (BORDERS ON A SPOILER!)

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          April 24, 2014 5:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Nick

          OOps! Sorry Neil! My bad! 😉

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          May 16, 2014 6:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          Blake is neither. He’s a Bolshevik. He’s a creature of privilege and as Vila says, has, like Lenin and all the main Bolshevik players, led a sheltered Alpha life, not like Vila in the Delta service grades. Avon too, but Avon’s forays into criminality have at least brought him into contact with the real world.
          Blake, it’s clear, is the kind of ideologue who turns his thought into a religion. He even has the right ‘nice uncle’ kind of look that Stalin and Mao had. Willing, apparently without remorse at all to kill millions and destabilize a working system that however totalitarian, is running the Federated Worlds well enough to feed and keep most people going, without any really thought-through replacement, Blake is no Charlemagne. He said in the episode “Duel” that one reason he didnt kill Travis was he was fearful he’d like it too much, but now, it seems, there has been a killing rampage…this lacked all explanation and I thought the complete lack of information as to what the group had actually done was a big hole.
          It’s bound to end in tears. Blake wants ‘free men to speak and think”‘ ( the casual sexism of the 70s) but that is exactly the kind of vague goal that ends up in unworkable four-year plans and purges.
          Speak and think what? How about: “I hate this Blake and I preferred the Federation?” will that be ok?
          He’d have made a good Stalin!

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        April 24, 2014 9:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Who is “terrorist” Blake supposed to be terrorising? The general populace see him as a hero akin to Robin Hood whose escapades “made the guilty tremble”. Heck, Elliott Ness probably made gangsters tremble but was he a terrorist?

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          April 24, 2014 9:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          PS I’m no Blake apologist but Gan and later Cally were quick to call him out and be his conscience. Has Cally become a terrorist too? She still questions, openly, whether the ends justify the means. Blake himself expresses uncertainty, and that the only way to be sure is to “suck it and see” how things turn out.

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          April 25, 2014 7:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Jo

          “The general populace see him as a hero akin to Robin Hood”

          I imagine that would have changed pretty quickly if they HAD destroyed Star One (and been known to be responsible for it.)

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        April 25, 2014 7:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Jo

        I agree with you about the correct use of the word “terrorist”, but at the same time, my impression is that terms like “freedom fighters”, “revolutionaries”, “resistance movement” etc. all have a slightly sympathetic ring to them (possibly stemming from our tendency to identify with the underdog?) which is why I still sometimes use the word “terrorist” in a wider sense (as in “small group that uses an excessive degree of indiscriminate violence for political ends”) in situations where I want to make my moral standpoint clear. Are there any other, better, alternative terms, suitable to describe the more “unethical” end of the freedom-fighting spectrum?

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          May 17, 2014 1:21 amPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Blake didn’t use indiscriminate violence. He definitely used discriminate violence though.

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          May 17, 2014 4:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Angela R.

          I think the reason “terrorist” is used so much as a pejorative is because there isn’t really much of an alternative. However, I have noticed that those who are either neutral or hostile to such groups, but want to avoid emotive language, often use the words “rebel” or “insurgent” (the 2nd term very popular with the military, secret service and academics.) These terms have the advantage that they do not imply the type of activity the groups are involved in.

          I seldom use the term “terrorist” myself, whether in its correct or popular sense. I’d rather state my specific peeves with a particular group, rather than dump the group into a broad vague category. Personally, I think the use of pejorative language risks comes over as emotional venting rather than proper moral criticism.

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            May 18, 2014 11:58 amPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            It is possible to use “terrorist” in a factual, objective way. When the IRA blew up shopping centres in the 1990s and killed babies, it wasn’t a strategic move; it was to cause terror. I certainly wouldn’t shy away from describing a spade as a spade. Blake isn’t a terrorist, though Avon might consider such tactics if it was the only way to survive/win, Blake never would. Avon would not have given up the computer on the London willingly, Avon did, despite it meaning the end of the rebellion and their lives, as far as he knew. That’s where they differ.

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    April 24, 2014 9:07 amPosted 3 years ago
    Nick

    Sue: “There’s no consistency in the design of these alien ships. It looks like a model maker dumped a drawer of spare parts onto the floor. They’ve definitely run out of money.”

    I’m so glad it isn’t just me who thinks this!

    Here’s a question for you though… How would it be if B7 got the Dr Who DVD treatment and had new GCI added? Then we couldhave aunified alien space fleet, or a better space collision… Maybe even a better head in a tank… Would the whole series work better?

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      April 24, 2014 6:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Ann worrall

      Oh no no no. The fact that they get attacked by colanders and saucepans manned by aliens which look like jello is what I love about the show. It’s opera- the stories, the performances the emotions evoked in the viewer. The contrasts. I saw my first opera in Paris. It was Tosca and the leads were both short, oldish and rather fat but I never doubted they were in love because the music told me they were. Blakes 7 has got the same sort of vibe for me. It never occurs to me that the saucepans aren’t dangerous. The performances tell me the characters are in trouble and I care about them. Just a romantic I guess but it’s just so BRITISH to rely on plot dialogue characterisation humour rather than special effects.

      • April 24, 2014 9:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Mat Dolphin

        Very British indeed. The trusty Sinclair Spectrum computer was another case in point from around the same time. The graphics were quirky and the sound just went ‘beep’ but programmers got to grips with it and added a very British sense of humour and originality. Hmmm… Shame there was never an official Blake’s 7 game…

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        May 16, 2014 7:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Yes yes yes!! I so agree! I never even notice anything to laugh at really. The storylines, hit-and-miss or not, always redeemed by Avon anyway, the drama, the intensity the actors bring to the roles, especially Avon, the Vila-and-Avon stuff, just everything…brilliant. And consider just how little money they had! This is why there aren’t any people on the planets, extras cost money! And you couldn’t ask fans to volunteer, could you, because of all those union rules or whatever.
        With that pitiful budget, pitiful beyond..50 quid an episode! they did wonderfully. I swear I dont even notice or care that the ‘alien fleet’ seems to be the contents of the under-sink cupboard flung at the backdrop.
        Absolutely. The characters are in trouble, we care about them, so the colanders are deadly. I love how you put it. that’s exactly right. And it is so British not to need all the effects. Makes the actors do a stand-out job, no explosions to hide behind.

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          May 18, 2014 8:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          How nice that I’m not alone!

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            May 19, 2014 7:30 amPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Dear anniew….if you dont mind, you mentioned that you googled Drake’s Venture and easily found a private seller. I cannot find any such thing and wonder if it’s because I am in HK…am I not accessing same sites or something? would you mind very much to give me the link if you still have it? I really madly want to see it.

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      April 24, 2014 9:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      There’s a touch of Star Wars, though – one of the “hair-dryer” spaceships has two R2-D2 heads (sprayed gold) stuck on it.

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      April 26, 2014 3:35 amPosted 3 years ago
      Shan

      The menu screen for the DVDs showed a bit of the battle for Star One redone with CGI. Nothing more fancy than you’d see in a fairly basic by today’s standard computer game but it gives a bit of an idea of what it would be like.

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    April 24, 2014 9:48 amPosted 3 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    > This is what I’ve been waiting for. A big fight in space. Yes!

    But would you really want to get more close-ups of the assortment of kitchen appliances that makes up the alien fleet? *Really*?

    I’m glad Sue enjoyed Star One overall. It would be a shame if she’d hated it after almost a whole series of build-up!

    > Series 3 will commence on Friday May 2nd

    Oh, smashing, that’s my birthday! (And also Paul Darrow’s birthday.)

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      April 26, 2014 7:38 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Miller

      You’re him, aren’t you?

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        April 26, 2014 4:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Soon it’ll be “didn’t you used to be Paul Darrow?” 😉

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        April 28, 2014 6:14 pmPosted 3 years ago
        The Grouchybeast

        No, ‘fraid not. And Paul Darrow is notoriously bad with computers (probably for the best, all things fanfic considered), so I think the chances of him ever showing up here would be somewhere between ‘zero’ and ‘really zero’.

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      April 26, 2014 8:26 amPosted 3 years ago
      Shan

      … and mine!

      (famous people also on this day include David Beckham, Catherine the Great and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson)

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        April 28, 2014 6:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
        The Grouchybeast

        Also Jimmy White, David Suchet and Engelbert Humperdinck! My favourite co-birthday person, though, is Charles Darwin’s wife, Emma.

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    April 24, 2014 2:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Deadlock

    “Star One” was the only episode of B7 that I’d never seen before until last night – I was away on a school trip when it was shown. I didn’t get anything like a comprehensive review from my Dad (simply “they just said ‘Fire’ and it ended”) so I was quite looking forward to this. I’d always thought that they’d be shooting at Star One itself and the show would follow up from there. Made the first episode of Series 3 just a bit confusing.

    I hadn’t seen any of Series 2 since they’d first been broadcast until you started this experiment, and one thing that surprised me was how much of a git Blake is – my 11 year old eyes had seen him as a hero rather than the monomaniacal bully he actually is.

    The episode itself was not without flaws, all of which have been pointed out already except one: if Lurena was the only human left on Star One, why didn’t Stott just shoot her when she started moaning at him in the first place? On the whole, though, it was very good – I especially liked the way Servalan effortlessly effected a coup without leaving her office.

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      April 30, 2014 12:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Harriet

      one thing that surprised me was how much of a git Blake is – my 11 year old eyes had seen him as a hero rather than the monomaniacal bully he actually is

      Oddly enough, my experience was the opposite. As a teenager in the 1970s, I was all over Avon and found Blake intensely annoying and manipulative. When I came back to it in the 1990s, having got into local politics in a small way, I understood and admired Blake as a flawed hero, but soon found Avon had turned into a shallow, self-dramatising adolescent.

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    April 24, 2014 4:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Robin Brown

    Usually when Boucher writes – or when Martinus (or Camfield) direct – there’s a big step up. How B7 could be so appalling one week and so good the next is a constant puzzler.

    As for the Daleks, like the cunning hack he was (meant in the best possible way) I’m sure Terry was simply eyeing up another stream of royalty payments. I always thought the better idea was for Blake and the Doctor to pass each other in a corridor, casually greet one another and head off in the opposite direction. Sure Gareth Thomas mentions that he and Tom discussed this somewhere.

    • April 24, 2014 4:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      Wasn’t this something to do with the BBC VT Christmas Tape? I seem to remember that it was an idea for a jape, but the way Tom tells it, it would have happened in the show for real.

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        April 25, 2014 12:51 amPosted 3 years ago
        Robin Brown

        Quite possibly. The memory cheats, after all.

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          April 26, 2014 7:34 amPosted 3 years ago
          John Miller

          Gareth has also stated it as a serious idea that the BBC shot down.

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            April 28, 2014 7:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Smile

            Now there’s something that Big Finish could do…

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            April 28, 2014 11:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            Gareth Thomas crops up on the airship in Paul McGann’s first audio adventure, Storm Warning… Maybe it’s Blake undercover after Aftermath…

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      April 24, 2014 6:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      ‘Usually when Boucher writes – or when Martinus (or Camfield) direct – there’s a big step up. How B7 could be so appalling one week and so good the next is a constant puzzler.’

      To be fair, Dr Who was pretty much like this from 1979 onwards. We didn’t really get a decent run of stories until the end of McCoy’s era. A lot of the varied quality of B7 and Who can be blamed on the way the BBC was run back in those days. Great directors, designers and even scripts weren’t always available. Like Dr Who, there only seemed to be a small core of decent writers who could raise things to the next level in B7. We even see this today in current Dr Who.

      Glad Sue loved this one though 🙂 I do think all of the B7 finales are really quite special.

      • April 24, 2014 8:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
        encyclops

        I’d say season 18 of Doctor Who was a decent run of stories. The only real low point is “Meglos” and even that’s more of a local minimum. I’d agree that the other seasons prove your point though.

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          April 24, 2014 10:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Season 18 of Who probably succeeds in being quality not just in visual terms but in content because of the Barry Letts influence – he wouldn’t let “good enough” apply. Sadly the same can’t be said of his B7 contributions!

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          April 24, 2014 10:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Rob

          Have to totally agree with you on Season 18 – it stands the test of time along with the latter McCoy stories 🙂 I do honesty think that the best of Blake’s 7 beats the best of what Dr Who had to offer between 1978-1981.

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            April 26, 2014 7:33 amPosted 3 years ago
            John Miller

            Is this a wind-up? Season 18 and the latter McCoy stories?

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        April 25, 2014 1:00 amPosted 3 years ago
        Robin Brown

        Hmm. I don’t really agree that DW plumbs the same depths or is (generally) that extreme in its highs and lows. I think at the same time as B7 S2 you’ve got the Key To Time, which has some weaker episodes but none of the drek that B7 has. Then S18 I think is largely excellent and Davison’s run (despite one or two howlers) pretty decent. Who is also much more consistent in tone and character behaviour.

        It’s probably only Androzani to Twin Dilemma where the show goes from brilliance to risible nonsense (or vice versa) in the same way. And even though much of later McCoy is a glorious return to form, there’s still Battlefield and Silver Nemesis.

        I really rate Boucher and Maloney, as far as I can judge the stories they either wrote or directed, but Blake’s 7 is so all over the place it makes you wonder what went so consistently wrong. It seems to succeed, when it does, despite itself.

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          April 25, 2014 4:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Rob

          What excuse than does Moff have in terms of varied script quality? Out of each season he’s produced, you can only really pick out 1 or two ‘classics’ from each 13 episode run. If you compare B7’s hit rate to modern Who, B7 easily edges it plus it’s still entertaining to watch during the naff eppys.

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            April 26, 2014 5:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Robin Brown

            I didn’t mention modern Who.

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    April 24, 2014 6:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Ann worrall

    Re special effects etc. I think it must be my age (ancient crone )butI never believe the special effects in modern shows. I think ” oh that’s clever”or. ” I can see the join”. They don’t help me suspend my disbelief. Just the opposite in fact. It’s characters I identify with and who drag me into the story. Just thought I’d mention it as your posts got me thinking. Also want to tell you how much I love the tags you give each episode. World without pineapples haaahaaaha! Agree with Siobhan about Warship. Armageddon storm pretty great too.

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    April 24, 2014 6:55 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Duncan

    “We must build a massive mine field to keep the Andromedians out and oh at the same time let us hide the computer system managing most of the galaxy’s world management systems next to it and leave it with a scratch crew and forget where we have put it”.

    Sounds like a typical UK Government IT contract.

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      April 25, 2014 8:26 amPosted 3 years ago
      Ann worrall

      LOL

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      April 25, 2014 7:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      More like Group 4 than Star One.

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    April 24, 2014 6:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    This is definitely one of the strongest episodes so far, moving things on in leaps and bounds. It might have been better if there’d been a bit more set-up of Travis’s deal with the aliens earlier in the season, maybe have him mention some mysterious allies once or twice before the big reveal in this one, but I guess that level of continuity would have been too much to hope for.

    The cliffhanger ending was as much a shock to me as it was to Sue, I was expecting a lot more action than that before the end. Now I’m furiously trying to remember how it was resolved, and coming up a blank. Hurry up Amazon with season 3!

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    April 24, 2014 8:44 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marky Mark

    Wow ! Just wow – I love this series ending – bloodbaths, Travis’ demise, superb tension, Servalan at her wonderful best, that superb Avon angry speech to Blake, dead bodies in the cupboard (very chilling, too) AND a cliffhanger ending. Felt like a much more adult programme all of a sudden.

    What’s not to love (apart from all things that Sue didn’t love…) ? My favourite episode so far remains the very first episode, but I rate this a very close second.

    Roll on series 3….

  • April 24, 2014 9:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    Star Trek used the same cliffhanger (fire!) at the end of series three of The Next Generation. Was very exciting at the time!

    Star One is brilliant and I think the guest stars also give it a real sense of tension. I just love the next couple of episodes though!

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      April 24, 2014 10:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      ‘ I just love the next couple of episodes though!’

      I absolutely adore those two episodes 🙂 When Sue was demanding for more, I wanted Neil to have a proper maximum power B7 marathon.

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    April 25, 2014 12:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Robin Brown

    What’s also great about Travis getting shot is that, second time around, the stuntman (presumably) throws himself into the vortex with such baffling force (shurely backwards after getting shot?) that Darrow visibly recoils in fright.

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    April 25, 2014 7:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Jo

    “Star One” may be my favourite episode of all! I’m relieved Sue liked it too.

    What if the aliens, rather than trudging millions of light-years in a straight line from the Andromeda galaxy (though I don’t think it’s ever confirmed that they are actually from there?) were actually arriving via that old sci-fi favourite, a “wormhole”? Perhaps then the idea of a minefield in space to surround the “entrance point” would make a little more sense?

    Personally I think the strange, mismatched alien fleet is a nice touch, suggesting that the aliens are, well, *alien*, and go about things somewhat differently than we would expect from a human civilisation.

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      April 28, 2014 6:19 pmPosted 3 years ago
      The Grouchybeast

      The wormhole idea is brilliant! Explains so much so simply.

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    April 26, 2014 2:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Pete

    I’ve never been able to see why the Federation thought it would be a good idea to have its central control complex right next to the border with a galaxy viewed as enough of a threat to justify sticking a walloping great (possibly nonsensical) minefield next to it.

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      April 27, 2014 2:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Perhaps Star One was put there first – and since no-one knew where Star One was, the interception of the Andromedan Scout Ship that led to the minefield came later. That might explain how the Andromedans got to Star One in the first place; one of several scout ships, after investigating our galaxy, tried to get back via Star One’s location and found Star One had been set up in the meantime and so infiltrated it.

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    April 26, 2014 11:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Licence

    I remember being told as a kid that my uncle was going to be appearing on stage with “someone from Blake’s 7” which was quite exciting until I found out that it was in fact Paul Toothill from this episode!

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    April 28, 2014 4:54 amPosted 3 years ago
    Madame Hardy

    I love Sue begging for more and The Husband denying it.

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    April 30, 2014 8:24 amPosted 3 years ago
    Tony Taylor

    So Blake’s 7 just turned in to Deep Space 9! Years ahead of its time.

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    July 3, 2014 1:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Aidan Artymiuk

    If Sue is interested in what happened between this episode and the next might I recommend that you get Blake’s 7 Warship from big finish productions which is an awesome audio drama that takes place in between the episodes and deals with the war

  • July 7, 2014 9:57 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Alex Wilcock

    Seeing yet another online mash-up fight between starships from different franchises – of remarkable technical quality – the only thing that still puzzles me about Star One is: where are all the fan edits?

    I want to see the Liberator closing on the galactic border with all guns ready to engage the huge fleet of TV21 / Bad Wolf Dalek saucers revolving menacingly on the far side.

    Sort it out, internets!

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    August 12, 2014 6:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    David

    Blake is the classic cult leader.

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