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Terminal

End of the line…

First things first: Sue already knows that there are 52 episodes of Blake’s 7. I did consider telling her that there were only three series before we started this blog, so I could text her during ‘Terminal’ with the good news (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain later), but I thought better of it – not only would it have been cruel, I probably would have ended up with a serious injury. However, I did tell her that this episode could have been the last one, but wasn’t. Obviously.

Oh, and she can sing the theme tune perfectly now, which is nice.

Sue: Terry Nation! Long time no see.

Me: This is the last time you’ll ever have to sit through a Terry Nation story, Sue. I promise. It’s the end of an era.

Sue: I’m not sure how I feel about that. Just as I was beginning to like him.

TerminalAvon is holding his hands over his face…

Sue: Are they playing Hide and Seek? Are they really that bored?

Meanwhile, Dayna and Cally are playing Space Monopoly in the teleport room. So yes, they really are that bored.

Cally: My game in nine thousand seven hundred and twenty-one moves.

Sue: How long have they been playing for? Six months?

Tarrant wants to know why Avon altered the Liberator‘s course without telling anybody.

Sue: Avon has turned into Blake. This is exactly the sort of thing that Blake would do. He should know better.

Avon has received a secret message.

Sue: It has to be Servalan. She’s poking Avon.

Me: When did you last use Facebook, Sue? The 18th Century?

Avon is so tired, he can’t even be bothered to come up with a decent quip to hurl at Tarrant.

Sue: I bet Terry’s the one who’s tired. He must have been up against a deadline.

TerminalTarrant butts heads with Avon like he’s never butted heads with Avon before.

Avon: Nothing and nobody is going to stop it, you least of all. Now get out of my way, and stay out of my way.

Sue: Ooh, this just went up a notch. I’m not sure whose side I’m on any more. Avon is acting like a right twat. He’s acting like Blake.

Thanks to Avon, the Liberator ends up flying through some liquid particles. According to Zen, the damage to the ship is superficial, but then we cut to what looks like acid eating through the hull.

Sue: Either Vila has just been sick or Zen is faulty and they’re all ****ed.

The Liberator arrives at its final destination: Terminal.

Sue: It looks like a giant egg. I hope there isn’t a giant space chicken in this episode. I wouldn’t put it past them.

Avon is determined to teleport to Terminal alone.

Sue: Is he expecting to take part in a jousting competition? Because those gloves are ridiculous if he isn’t.

Avon: I have recorded a full explanation of everything I am doing. Zen will not issue it until you are in flight. It’s very detailed. The only thing missing is the end.

Sue: Blake did this once, I’m sure of it. And Avon called Blake an idiot when he did it to him, so what’s he playing at?

TerminalAvon: Understand this: anyone who does follow me, I’ll kill them.

Sue: Eh? Has Avon been taken over by aliens? Why is he doing this? Has Terry forgotten who he’s writing for? This is a really Blakey thing to do.

Avon isn’t that impressed with Terminal.

Avon: If this is an example of a man-made planet, they should go back to the drawing board and start again.

Sue: I bet it’s gorgeous on a sunny day. It reminds me of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s the weather that’s crap, not the location. Why would you create an artificial planet with bad weather, anyway? It doesn’t make sense…

A rhythmic heartbeat follows Avon’s every move.

Sue: It’s the Sound of Drums. Avon has been summoned to this planet by the Time Lords.

Me: Are you sure you don’t write fan fiction in your spare time, Sue?

Avon retrieves a spherical device from a spherical device dispenser.

Sue: It’s an egg timer. There are lots of egg references in this episode, Neil. Should I be worried? The heartbeat belongs to a giant chicken, doesn’t it?

The spherical device speaks to Avon. And no, it isn’t a Toclafane, Sue.

Sphere: You will follow the indicated route. You are warned that the slightest deviation from this course could result in considerable danger.

Sue: I bet Blake’s 7 fans drive around the countryside with this voice programmed into their Sat Navs. I know I would.

TerminalAvon isn’t alone on Terminal…

Sue: Oh no! It’s Jimmy ****ing Savile. There was a time when that would have been funny, but not any more. Now I just feel sick.

An alien enzyme is attacking the Liberator.

Sue: Why hasn’t Zen noticed this yet? The place is falling to bits.

Me: It reminds me of that hotel we stayed in when we went to Amsterdam.

Sue: I’ve told you before, Neil, there was nothing wrong with that hotel. You were tripping your bollocks off.

Avon is steered towards a man-made structure at the top of a hill.

Sue: Either this planet is powered by solar panels or this is a prop from a game show. Which box contains the special cash prize? Choose now!

A hatchway opens and Avon finds himself in an underground complex.

Sue: The direction is really good. It’s very atmospheric. The heartbeat is beginning to freak me out a bit. I just hope it doesn’t turn into clucking.

TerminalTwo Savile clones are torn to pieces by apes. It’s strangely cathartic, actually.

Sue: And it was going so well… And why do these apes like to eat clothing so much? What’s that all about? Have they got a fabric fetish?

Avon discovers a teleport bracelet.

Sue: Is that an old one…? Wait a minute… Nah, surely not…

Me: Go on, Sue…

Sue: Is he looking for Blake?

Sue’s suspicions are confirmed when Avon stumbles across Blake’s medical records.

Sue: Well, I didn’t see that coming. I’m shocked. However, I bet you anything that Blake isn’t here. Not really. This is a trap. And I bet I know who’s behind it as well, for ****’s sake.

Avon is subdued with a tranquilliser dart.

Sue: Avon must really love Blake if he’s come all this way for him. He wouldn’t go to this trouble for Jenna.

Back on the Liberator, things are going from bad to worse.

Sue: It’s a bit sad, this. It’s as if Zen is dying, the poor thing.

If only Avon hadn’t taken Orac’s key with him.

Sue: This is what happens when there’s no trust. This is very sad.

TerminalTarrant and Cally, who have followed Avon to Terminal against his wishes, are attacked by gorillas in the mist.

Sue: I could do without this scene, thank you very much. Why do they always have to ruin everything with a shit fight or a shit monster? It’s even worse when you get both at the same time.

Cally enters the hatchway, leaving Tarrant to his fate.

Sue: Tarrant is going to die. They won’t need a spare any more if they’ve found Blake.

Tarrant makes it to the hatchway before it closes on him.

Tarrant: From here on, it’s downhill all the way.

Sue: It had better not be!

Avon has been rendered unconscious and wrapped in cling film (“Just the way I like him.”). In the blink of an eye, he wakes up in a completely different room.

Sue: That was a strange edit. They should have inserted a cutaway between those two scenes. Unless the cutaway involved those bloody apes, in which case I understand why they went with the jump cut.

Avon searches for Blake.

Sue: I’m telling you now: Blake won’t be in this episode. It’ll be Servalan instead. It’s obvious.

Avon finds a bearded man lying on a table.

Sue: They’ve hired a double and stuck a beard on him. That isn’t Blake.

TerminalBlake: Well, you certainly took your time finding me.

Sue: Oh my God! It’s him! It’s really him! I don’t believe it… Wow… So is Blake in the next series? I’m not sure how I feel about that…

Blake tells Avon that a rescue attempt is out of the question.

Sue: Why didn’t he ask Avon to come for him in three months time, when he could get off the table? Do they come back for him at the end of the next series? Is that it?

Avon is knocked unconscious and wrapped in cling film again. Or is he/was he?

Sue: OK, this is very confusing… Unless Avon dreamt that and Blake wasn’t really there. Am I close?

Avon meets the brains behind the operation.

Sue: NOOOOOOOO!

Avon isn’t surprised to find Servalan on Terminal. In fact, he seems to relish it.

Sue: There’s definitely chemistry between them, and you could easily imagine them as a couple, but it is slightly ludicrous, don’t you think?

Back on the Liberator, Vila and Dayna can’t move for vomit.

TerminalSue: It’ll take more than Jif to clean up this mess. It looks like an explosion in a pizza factory.

Zen admits defeat.

Zen: I have failed you. I am sorry.

Sue: This is ridiculously sad. Why am I so sad, Neil? It’s just a stupid machine, but this is easily the saddest moment in Blake’s 7 so far.

Me: What about Gan?

Sue: Who?

Servalan offers to exchange Blake for the Liberator, but Avon’s having none of it and he instructs Vila to make a run for it instead.

Avon: Take the Liberator out of here, maximum speed. Go and keep going!

Sue: But he can’t! Oh no, this is going to end badly. I can feel it.

Tarrant and Cally are captured by Servalan’s Savile clones, which forces Avon’s hand.

Sue: She’s going to inherit a disintegrating space ship. This is brilliant – Servalan is going to die!

TerminalAccording to Servalan, Blake is dead.

Servalan: He died from his wounds on the planet Jevron more than a year ago.

Sue: ****.

Avon has been tricked.

Sue: What a cow. Avon looks like he’s lost the plot. Oh, I could throttle her myself.

But Servalan has one more bombshell left to drop: the apes on the planet’s surface aren’t what humanity evolved from – they are what humanity are destined to become.

Sue: As long as we don’t end up looking like Jimmy Savile, I’m OK with that.

Me: I’m just surprised that Terminal didn’t look like a giant Statue of ****ing Liberty. Seriously, Terry ****ing Nation! There, I said it so you don’t have to.

Servalan bids Avon farewell.

Servalan: We won’t meet again. Goodbye.

Sue: Give him a kiss!

Vila hands the ship over, but before he leaves, he persuades Servalan’s lackey to let him take Orac with him.

Vila: It’s just a pile of junk, really, but it means a lot to me. I built it. It’s a sculpture.

Sue: Clever Vila. I’ve always liked Vila.

Vila teleports to Terminal.

TerminalSue: Hang on a minute… How did that woman know how to work the teleport? She’s strolled onto the ship and suddenly she’s a ****ing expert on how to use a teleport? Oh well, what the hell. Who cares?

Servalan has the one thing she’s always wanted: the Liberator.

Sue: Why hasn’t she commented on the mess they left behind? Does she think that Vila staged a dirty protest when he knew she was coming?

Servalan: MAXIMUM POWER!

Sue: That’s hilarious. She’s completely ****ed!

When the Liberator begins to break apart, Servalan makes a run for the teleport.

Sue: Oh no. She’s going to get away! STOP HER!

The Liberator explodes.

Sue: Oh well, I’m sure they’ll get a new one. It’s Zen I feel sorry for. And Avon’s rock collection, of course; he’ll have to start all over again. And I bet that bitch got away, too.

Tarrant has the last word:

TerminalTarrant: Let’s see if we can’t find a way off this planet. There’s a lot to do.

One by one, the crew exit stage right. Avon is the last to leave.

Sue: I don’t know why he’s smiling. That was all his fault!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was ****ing brilliant.

10/10

Sue: OK, so the monkeys and the Jimmy Savile impersonators should knock a couple of marks off, but sod it, that was excellent.

And breathe…

Sue: Was that really going to be the last episode? You can sort of tell, I suppose, what with Blake coming back and them blowing up the ship and everything. So what changed their minds?

Me: Well, believe it or not, the Head of BBC Television, Bill Cotton, was watching this episode at home when it was broadcast, and he was so impressed by what he saw, he telephoned the BBC and told them to make an announcement that the series would return the following year. Everyone who was involved with the programme thought it was all over – and then the continuity announcer told them otherwise. Mad, eh?

Sue: Fabulous. That would never happen today, which is a bit sad. actually. And who can blame him? It was a fantastic episode and they had to make more. They could have ended it there, I suppose, but you’d always wonder what happened to them.

Ask Sue!

If you’d like to ask Sue a question about Series 3 (or her hopes for Series 4) now’s your chance. The best question will receive a signed copy of our book. Please send them to us via our Contact Form. Deadline for your questions: Tuesday 1st July. Cheers.

Coming Soon…

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Death-Watch

It’s never easy…

Death-WatchThe action begins on a space liner…

Sue: I like the set – it’s massive. Oh, he looks familiar… Eh? What’s happened to Tarrant’s perm?

I pause the DVD while Sue tries to come up with a good reason for Tarrant’s catastrophic hair failure. They include: Tarrant in a flashback, Tarrant in a flash forward and Tarrant working under cover (but still using his real surname).

Sue: It could be his brother. But they wouldn’t do that because they pulled that trick with Cally not so long ago. They wouldn’t be that stupid.

I press Play.

Sue: Has Avon got a twin? I could live with that…

There’s a lot for Sue to process during this episode’s cold opening: Tarrant has a double, there’s an assassination attempt, an act of war, Stuart Fell falls over, and we’re treated to some barely comprehensible chat about a Summons to Justification.

Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, Neil, but it’s very good. I even like Tarrant’s hair – it really suits him.

Sadly, she can’t say the same about Avon’s latest trip to the Liberator‘s wardrobe.

Death-WatchSue: You can tell that this was made in the 1980s – look at the size of Avon’s shoulder pads! Oh no, I don’t like this look at all. It looks like he’s trying to hide a tiny pair of wings.

Vila manages to convince the crew that if they don’t take a relaxing break soon, everything will go tits up.

Sue: I thought Cally was in charge of Health and Wellbeing on the ship?

Tarrant requests some information from Zen, but not before he checks with Avon first.

Sue: He’s finally showing Avon the respect he deserves. There’s hope for Tarrant yet.

The long and short of it is that Vila wants to visit a war zone.

Sue: Who flies to a war zone for a ****ing holiday? That’s why Thomas Cook don’t offer package tours to Syria, you numpties.

Cally and Dayna are just as confused as Sue (which reassures her slightly), and then the penny finally drops.

Tarrant: Two men fight for the honor of independent planetary systems of maybe twenty million people each.

Sue: Right, I get it now. It’s The Hunger Games.

Death-WatchFunnily enough, Channel 4 are broadcasting The Hunger Games as we watch this episode. Serendipity and all that.

Sue: This is basically their version of the World Cup, isn’t it? And where did all the booze and nibbles come from? Did they stop off at the shops on the way there? They should show the Liberator with a planet’s flag tied to the back of it.

After a very amusing exchange, in which Avon basically tells Orac to shut the **** up, the computer agrees to stream a viscast to the Liberator‘s view screen.

Presenter: “Space, the final frontier” as it was once called…

Sue: First they rip off the logo and now this…

The viscast previews a selection of artificial arenas where two contestants will fight each other to the death.

Sue: That looks like a links golf course… Hey, this really is a lot like The Hunger Games, you know. Or I should say, The Hunger Games is a lot like this. Even the hatches they have to walk through look exactly the same. And this bit with the media reporting the event is very similar, too. Did Chris Boucher take legal action?

Sue loves it when the presenter gets into pissing contest with the show’s director via the studio’s talkback system.

Sue: This is what I have to put up with at work. I really like this episode. It’s funny and it’s smart, especially when you consider when it was made.

Death-WatchDeeta Tarrant, First Champion of the United Planets of Teal, shares a ride with his friend, Max.

Sue: If this is Tarrant’s clone, or brother, or whatever the hell he is, and he has to fight in this arena thingy, then his friend must be Woody Harrelson.

Me: It’s Jo Grant’s husband, actually. Although the last time you saw him he had long hair and was Welsh.

Sue: This is why I’ll never be a fan. I wouldn’t have got that in a million years.

Deeta Tarrant’s opponent has mysteriously turned up out of the blue to represent the Vandor Confederacy.

Sue: I bet it’s Travis. He hasn’t been in an episode for ages.

Me: That’s because he’s dead.

Sue: Yeah, of course he is, Neil.

The contest is overseen by two partisan arbiters and one neutral arbiter.

Sue: OH NO! **** off! I don’t believe it! So Servalan’s an X-Factor judge on her days off now, is she? I bet she’s the Sharon.

The presenter’s commentary is beginning to get on Avon’s nerves.

Avon: All this breathless solemnity is beginning to irritate me.

Me: It could be worse, Avon. You could be listening to Clive Tyldesley.

Death-WatchWhen the viscast features footage of the contestants, the Liberator‘s crew are knocked for six.

Vila: I know him, don’t I?

Me: Welcome to my life, Susan.

Tarrant recognises his brother immediately.

Sue: Well, that clears that up. I’ll tell you what, though: the actor who plays Tarrant is much better than I thought he was. His performance is subtly different; I think the other Tarrant is supposed to be older and wiser – he’s not as cocky. It’s a massive coincidence, but what the hell…

Deeta Tarrant’s opposite number isn’t Travis, after all.

Sue: He looks like an accountant. Is he really the best fighter the other planet’s got to offer? They must be shitting themselves.

Deeta is fitted with an implant that lets Max see and feel Deeta’s thoughts and actions.

Sue: Even The Hunger Games didn’t go this far. Actually, this reminds me of a short film produced by my students this year.

Me: Are your students closet Blake’s 7 fans?

Sue: I doubt it. There are some similarities, though. It’s about a reality show where you can see what the contestant sees, and it all goes horribly wrong. It’s very good:

Me: Chris Boucher should take legal action.

Del Tarrant meets Max.

Sue: Tarrant should swap places with his brother. That way they could kill the crap Tarrant and then they could replace him with a slightly better Tarrant. That’s what I would do.

Avon decides to visits a “sick friend”.

Sue: Ha! Brilliant. I should have guessed that he meant Servalan.

It’s a flirt-fest.

Sue: They should get a room.

Me: They’ve already got a room, Sue. OK, it looks like a freezer section in the back of a supermarket, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Avon has correctly surmised that Servalan plans to disrupt the contest with an unexpected rule violation. However, the President assures Avon that she doesn’t pose a threat to him.

Servalan: I don’t think of you as an enemy, Avon. I think of you as a future friend.

Sue: He keeps ignoring her friend requests on Facebook. He’s playing hard to get.

Not hard enough it seems, because Avon and Servalan are suddenly snogging each other’s faces off. Sue laughs and gasps at the same time.

Sue: Cally will be furious!

Death-WatchStill cradling Servalan in his arms, Avon contacts his girlfriend Cally back on the ship.

Avon: I’m ready to come up now.

Sue: Yes, I bet you are!

Sue completely fails to notice the most exciting part of this scene: Avon is walking backwards when he teleports!

Sue: I worry about you sometimes, Neil.

Deeta Tarrant is all ready for combat in a shiny, silver space suit. Max asks Deeta how he feels.

Sue: Like Gary Glitter about to open for The Sweet.

Sue has a bad feeling about this.

Sue: Tarrant is going to die. The good Tarrant, I mean. They’re going to kill the wrong Tarrant. I like this Tarrant. This isn’t fair, Neil.

The contest is about to begin…

Sue: What happens if they shoot each other straight away? All this hype and build-up for what? Ten seconds of action?

Me: At least the England football team managed to drag it out for three hours.

The arbiters each place a disc on their foreheads: green for Teal (or should that be teal for Teal?) and blue for Vandor.

Sue: So what does Servalan do? Does she place a different coloured disc over each eye? Does she get to see it in 3D?

Death-WatchAfter an extremely tense build-up (Sue’s already biting her nails), the contestants finally step into the arena. Where will they find themselves? An exotic beach? An alien planet? A jungle, perhaps? What do you think?

Sue: It could be worse, I suppose. It could be a quarry. And it does look like a level from Call of Duty, so there is that.

If the location is disappointing, the direction more than makes up for it.

Sue: The camera work is great. The direction has been pretty good so far but it just went up a notch.

Me: You hated Gerald Blake’s direction last time.

Sue: I don’t care. This is excellent. Ooh, POV shots as well… very nice.

If only Vinni posed more of a threat.

Sue: He doesn’t strike me as a Vinni. He’s more like a Malcolm or a Keith. Tarrant should be able to take him, no bother.

To prove this point, Tarrant successfully sneaks up on Vinni, only he can’t bring himself to shoot his opponent in the back.

Sue: Idiot.

Tarrant pays the ultimate price when Vinni draws his gun with preternatural speed.

Sue: What the…? How the hell did that happen?

You can hear a pin drop as Deeta tumbles to his death in slow motion. After what seems like an eternity, Sue utters a single word:

Sue: Wow.

Death-WatchDeeta Tarrant is dying and Del feels every agonising second. Sue’s bottom lip is quivering a little bit; slightly more than Del Tarrant’s, actually.

Sue: **** me.

Me: Are you surprised?

Sue: I’m surprised the director could afford a crane. Look at this shot – it’s amazing!

Avon is determined to know how Servalan violated the rules. Orac suggests that Vinni must be an android.

Sue: Ah-ha! So that explains why he looked so normal – he was supposed to look like that. That’s clever. It was the only thing still bugging me. Excellent.

Avon has something special planned for Del Tarrant.

Sue: Give him a break, Avon. His brother just died. You only thought your girlfriend was dead and you were upset for years. Avon can be incredibly insensitive sometimes.

Tarrant agrees to challenge Vinni to a duel; it’s the only way they can stave off an intergalactic war.

Sue: They won’t kill two Tarrants, will they? I don’t think I could handle that.

Me: I thought you wanted Tarrant to die?

Death-WatchSue: Shut up, Neil.

Me: Do you need another tissue?

Sue: I’m warning you, Neil…

Dayna interrupts Vinni’s post-match medical and gives Servalan a fright.

Sue: Shoot her in the face! Damn it. At least there’s a good reason for sparing Servalan’s life this week, but the crew need to be more ruthless. They need to start shooting people in the back.

Thanks to Avon and Orac cheating the system, Tarrant gains the advantage over Vinni in the arena, which takes the form of an observation gallery of a deep space liner.

Sue: It’s a level from Unreal Tournament.

Trust me, Sue was unbeatable at Unreal Tournament in the early 2000s.

Sue: HEADSHOT! Come on, what are you waiting for?

Once again, Tarrant refuses to shoot Vinni in the back.

Sue: IDIOT!

Death-WatchIt’s a close run thing but Vinni is eventually vapourised.

Sue: Bloody hell, that was tense. I haven’t got any nails left, you bastard.

Avon convinces Max to re-stage the contest again without any interference from Servalan. And then Tarrant does a runner before he finds himself back in the arena.

Cue credits.

Sue: Brilliant.

The Score:

Sue: It took a while for me to get to grips on what was going on, but once I did… Well, I just can’t fault it. Even Servalan didn’t do my head in. A fabulous script, years ahead of its time; great performances; brilliant direction… I don’t know what else to say… And I’ve completely changed my mind about Tarrant.

10/10

Ask Sue!

If you’d like to ask Sue a question about Series 3 (or her hopes for Series 4) now’s your chance. The best question will receive a signed copy of our book. Please send them via our Contact Form. Deadline for your questions: Monday 30th June. Cheers.

PLUS: If you happen to be in London on Wednesday 16th July you might be interested in a FREE event where you can meet some real authors – and me – talking about Doctor Who books at Blackwell’s, Charing Cross Road. Tickets are limited so you’ll have to get your skates on.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s video trailer includes MASSIVE SPOILERS for the next episode:

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Moloch

Doran is a moron…

MolochSue: Ben Steed. Why does that name ring a bell?

Me: He wrote The Harvest of Kairos. You know, the story you refused to give any marks to the other week. You must remember it.

Sue: I’m still trying to forget it.

I neck a glass of single malt whisky (a Father’s Day present from Nicol).

Sue: The Liberator looks like it’s just been through a space ship version of a car wash.

Vila: We’ve been following Servalan for twenty-seven days…

Sue: Eh? What?

Yes, our intrepid heroes are currently chasing Servalan’s giant space crocodile.

Sue: That’s a turn-up for the books. I thought they were supposed to run away from her? That’s how this show is supposed to work. What’s changed?

Avon thinks his arch-nemesis is heading for the planet Calcos.

MolochTarrant: What would Servalan want with a penal colony?

Sue: I could think of a few things…

Me: Penal colony, Sue. Penal.

Sue: Oh. Sorry.

Servalan’s ship approaches the so-called Outer Darkness, but Avon is determined to follow her. When Vila protests, the crew turn on him.

Sue: Vila is the only person who’s making any sense. It’s the annoying way he does it that rubs people up the wrong way.

Servalan’s ship suddenly disappears from view.

Sue: Did they run out of special effects, or did the vision mixer fall asleep in the middle of a wipe?

The Liberator ends up bouncing off an invisible planet, which results in Vila performing a spectacular cartwheel.

Sue: (laughing) Excellent. I’ll give him 9.5 for that, the daft sod.

MolochOn the planet Sardos, two women have noticed the Liberator‘s near miss.

Sue: I’m guessing that Poola is a futuristic version of Paula, and Chesil is their version of Shazza. I’m also guessing that this is one for the dads.

I knock back another whisky, resisting the urge to wolf whistle at Chesil as she walks away from us in her skin-tight trouser suit.

Sue: Steady on, Neil.

Sardos is surrounded by an energy field that makes it impossible to both see or penetrate the planet. Not that it stopped Servalan from landing there.

Dayna: We should have killed her when we had the chance.

Sue: Which chance is she talking about? There’s been so many.

The Federation control Sardos, and they aren’t very happy with Poola’s decision not to report a strange object bouncing off the stratosphere. A mysterious voice seals her fate.

Moloch: Give her to your men.

Sue: Dear me. I don’t like the sound of that.

MolochServalan has arrived on the planet at the request of Section Leader Grose.

Sue: Is she Tony Blair to his John Prescott?

Me: Yes, he does look a bit like John Prescott.

Sue: And she’s committed loads of war crimes.

When Poola is handed over to Grose’s men, she is referred to as a “present”. I pour another double and brace myself.

Sue: And I thought The Harvest of Whatsit was sexist bollocks. I almost don’t know what to say. ****ing hell, Neil.

Chesil (aka Katy Perry) is violently assaulted when she tries to intervene.

Sue: Can I have a whisky?

Tarrant decides to hitch a ride on a transport ship that’s heading for Sardos, but he has to take Vila with him because he’s the only member of the crew who knows how to open a door.

Sue: I’d rather ask Dayna to blow the door open than take Vila with me. Vila will get Tarrant killed… On second thoughts, he should definitely take Vila with him.

Vila and Tarrant teleport to the transport ship, where a party is already in full-swing.

Sue: Are pirates singing behind that door? If they know any songs from The Pirates of Penzance, Tarrant won’t be able to resist.

MolochVila and Tarrant have teleported on opposite sides of a bulkhead door and it’s up to Vila to find a way through it.

Sue: So Vila’s found the ship’s glory hole. Now what?

Vila is interrupted by one of the ship’s passengers and Tarrant is forced to open the door himself.

Sue: We’d better make ourselves comfortable, we could be here a while.

Tarrant’s progress with a laser cutter is agonisingly slow, but the director is happy to stick with it anyway. And then John Prescott slaps a woman’s arse.

Sue: Am I allowed to give minus scores?

Me: It didn’t stop you when we watched Doctor Who.

Sue: How low can I go?

Servalan discusses the whereabouts of her battle fleet over cheese and coffee.

Sue: At least she arrived there dressed for dinner.

Me: She’s always dressed for dinner.

MolochServalan gives Grose a good dressing down.

Servalan: Section Leader, after your court martial, I shall give you an hour to get your personal effects together.

Sue: That was one hell of an annual appraisal. Nice canapés, though.

Grose isn’t perturbed by this reprimand and he wants Servalan to see something.

Grose: This is no ordinary planet.

Sue: It’s a rapist’s paradise.

On the planet’s surface, a group of men are singing while they march.

Prisoners: (singing) It’s great to be free! It’s great to free!

Sue: (singing) If you’re a man on this planet, it’s great to be free!

Vila has befriended a convict named Doran.

Doran: When they dragged me into that prison cell, they said, “Look at the sun! Look at the sun! Because as long as you live, you’ll never see the sun again.” And I haven’t. In fifteen years, I’ve never seen the sun.

MolochSue: He’s talking about Page 3, you know.

Doran: Or a woman.

Sue: I ****ing knew it. This is horrible, Neil. I never thought I’d see Terry Scott like this. June won’t like it.

Me: That isn’t Terry Scott, but never mind.

Vila loves his new mate and he doesn’t like it when Tarrant tries to break them up.

Sue: This episode just went back into positive score territory because Tarrant fell over. If they kill him off, I’ll give this episode 11 out of 10.

Tarrant pulls a gun on his so-called colleague…

Sue: He just stepped over the line. I’m sorry, but you can’t do that. What a ****.

Avon wants to teleport Vila and Tarrant back to the Liberator before things get out of hand.

Sue: Paul Darrow is trying to make this sound really exciting, even though it clearly isn’t.

When Tarrant attempts to contact the Liberator, a man armed with an impressive-looking weapon appears behind him.

Sue: Is that a rocket launcher? For God’s sake, FIRE!

MolochTarrant is shot. I punch the air.

Me: 11 out of 10! There you go! You can’t go back on your word, Sue. 11 out of 10! Unbelievable!

Sue: EH? WHAT?

Me: You just got your wish. Tarrant’s dead.

I demolish another whisky.

Avon: Tarrant is not as important as the Liberator.

Sue: Yes, but even so, that was still a bit of a shock. I sort of knew they were going to kill him – they were setting it up nicely for him to die – but the way they actually did it was –

Me: Tarrant isn’t dead, Sue.

Sue: I know that, stupid. I’m getting my own back. You must think that I was born yesterday, you dick.

The man who shot Tarrant retrieves a card from a machine, which he then flaps around in the air.

Sue: Has he taken a Polaroid selfie next to the corpse to prove to his Facebook friends that he killed the mighty Tarrant?

Grose is still threatening to show Servalan something interesting.

Grose: You want to see something extraordinary? Very well then, Madame President – something extraordinary.

Sue: It’s his pornography collection. It really is extraordinary.

MolochDoran opens up to his new friend, Vila.

Doran: My problem was always women.

Vila: You like them?

Doran: No.

Sue: Right. So one of the so-called good guys is a rapist. Wow. Unless the Federation have made him think he’s a rapist when he isn’t actually a rapist. You know what the Federation are like.

Me: Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s a rapist, Sue.

Grose demonstrates a very special machine to Servalan.

Sue: It’s a 3D printer. So what?

The machine can replicate anything. Even Earl Grey Tea.

Sue: Just think, if they had a bigger box, they could stick the Liberator in it and make hundreds of copies.

Servalan has walked into a trap. Grose only wanted her ship so he could transform it into a fleet of giant space crocodiles.

Sue: Oh, I was so close. Do you know something, Neil? This is getting interesting…

When Servalan demands to know how Grose plans to operate his new fleet, he places a mouse in the replicator.

Sue: They’re going to pilot their ships with mice?

But the mice don’t work.

MolochSue: That’s a shame. I would have paid good money to watch mice shooting at the Liberator. That would have been brilliant.

Grose introduces Servalan to Colonel Astrid.

Sue: What the hell is that? It looks like a troll doll in a nappy. Urgh, make it go away!

It looks like Servalan’s time is finally up.

Moloch: Give her to your men.

Sue: I think I’m going to be sick.

I don’t think it’s the whisky.

Servalan: You will suffer for this, Grose.

Sue: Has there ever been a more aptly named character in a TV show? I’m actually on Servalan’s side this week. Sort of. I want Avon to swoop in and save her.

Doran has a “present” for Vila.

MolochDoran: I promised you a woman.

Servalan has been chained up in a tent.

Doran: Go on!

Sue: Terry Scott is channelling Blakey from On the Buses now. What the hell am I watching, Neil?

Servalan persuades Vila to join her. No, not like that.

Dayna and Avon teleport to Sardos and it doesn’t take them very long to find the replicator.

Sue: Wouldn’t it be funny if Avon opened the box and he found Tarrant’s decapitated head in there.

Avon finds an apple instead, which he eats enthusiastically. Meanwhile, Servalan and Vila are still searching for a way off the planet.

Sue: If this planet generates its own light, you’d think they’d turn it up a bit. I can’t see a thing.

They stumble upon a rapist building a fire. Vila tries to surprise him but he makes a right pig’s ear of it. Sue can’t help but laugh when Servalan rolls her eyes and intervenes.

MolochSue: Why use a heavy rock when there’s a gun right there? She’ll break a nail.

Servalan ends up shooting the guard anyway.

Me: Who was that, Sue?

Sue: That was Stuart Fell, Neil. Not his best fall, I must say. He should have done a cartwheel. He could have shown Vila how it’s done.

Avon and Dayna find the man in tank.

Sue: That would have ****ed me up if I’d seen that as a kid. It’s horrific – and shit at the same time. Didn’t it traumatise you, Neil?

I sink another whisky and shake my head.

The people of Sardos decided to predict what their race would look like in two million years time. It dawns on Avon that this machine could bring their prediction to life.

Sue: Why would anybody want to do that? What would be the point? Idiots.

Grose’s men take Avon and Dayna prisoner.

Sue: This is what happens when you don’t watch the ****ing door. How long have they been doing this sort of thing? Rule Number One: watch the ****ing door!

Servalan blasts several rapists to death with her sidearm, before grabbing two pilots and escaping in a space ship. It’s just a shame that this happens off-screen and it’s left to Tarrant to summarise the events.

Sue: I knew he wasn’t dead. I just don’t understand why.

The sadistic Grose decides to torture Avon, beginning with his injured wrist.

MolochSue: Paul Darrow’s startled sigh just then suggests to me that the bad guy wasn’t grabbing his wrist.

Doran bumps into Katy Perry.

Sue: Oh no. Please, God, no.

Me: They offered this part to Arthur Mullard, you know.

Sue: Please don’t. I feel queasy enough as it is.

Doran misses Vila terribly.

Sue: You know, this would be sweet if he wasn’t a serial rapist. But he is a serial rapist, so I’m finding it hard to give a ****.

But there’s a method to Ben Steed’s madness: the convicted rapist and murderer decides to trust the Katy Perry look-a-like with the tight-fitting trouser suit and revealing cleavage. You know, instead of just raping and killing her. Can you see what he did there?

Sue: Need more whisky.

Tarrant, Vila, Doran and Katy Perry join forces to storm the computer room. A tense stand-off ensues.

Sue: It’s turned into Reservoir Dogs. But with demented rapists instead of bank robbers.

Doran starts shooting the place up.

Sue: Yay for the convicted rapist!

Doran is killed a few seconds later, along with Katy Perry.

Sue: I can’t believe they didn’t get their own spin-off.

MolochMoloch finally reveals himself.

Sue: Oh my God. It’s a hairy Dalek!

Moloch is basically a Muppet with delusions of grandeur.

Sue: I told you it was a bloody stupid idea.

And then she roars with laughter and points at the screen.

Sue: Look at the bracelet dangling from its wrist! How ridiculous is that? He should have put it round his waist!

So what does Moloch want? I’ll give you three guesses…

Moloch: The Liberator. A perfect vehicle through which to express myself. Servalan was merely the bait to bring you here.

Sue: Did you catch any of that?

Me: I think he said, “Swerverling was merely the babe to bring you here.”

Tarrant tells Moloch that Cally will never teleport him to their ship.

Moloch: She will… She will… She will… She will…

MolochSue: He’ll take her over. The episode has almost finished and Cally hasn’t been taken over yet. There’s still time.

Moloch impersonates Tarrant’s voice and she promptly teleports him up.

Sue: To be fair to Cally, Tarrant’s voice is unique; no one sounds like Tarrant.

Me: I reckon Matt Berry could get pretty close, but he was only a small child when they made this and his voice wouldn’t have broken yet.

Avon has a brainwave.

Sue: They should copy hundreds of bracelets before they leave. It’ll give Lesley Judd a nice break.

Me: Lesley was killed in the war.

Sue: Oh yeah. The war.

Moloch dies as soon as he leaves his life-support system, which just goes to show that in two million years time, humanity will be as thick as two short planks.

Sue: It looks like one of Buffy’s old toys, the one she used to chew the life out of. You know, the one that looked like a chicken. Well, there it is, Neil. There it ****ing is.

Zen detects three alien spacecraft in a hostile formation, so the crew rush to the flight deck, leaving Moloch on the floor, all tattered and torn.

MolochSue: Don’t zoom into it! We don’t want to see it again. It’s rubbish!

Servalan’s ships are bearing down on the Liberator.

Dayna: Do we fight?

Avon: Certainly not. We run.

Cue credits.

Sue: Finally, things are back to normal again. This is what they should have been doing in the first place. Just think, Neil, if they’d been running away at the start, none of that would have happened.

The Score:

Sue: That was really bad but it wasn’t that bad. I liked the idea behind it, but it was ruined by a thoroughly pointless appearance from Servalan, that ridiculous cuddly toy and the horrendous sexism. Did we really have to root for a rapist? Ben Steed has some serious problems. But Paul Darrow was really good in it, so I’ll have to give it some marks for that.

3/10

I’ll repeat what I said last week: Sue’s high scores are really beginning to worry me…

Next Time:

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Ultraworld

A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Bowel…

UltraworldAvon is barking orders at the crew.

Sue: Finally! Avon is finally acting like he’s in charge. It should be like this every week. They should call him sir. Especially Tarrant.

The Liberator has detected a mysterious object floating in space. Again.

Avon: All right, let’s see what this mysterious lump of nothing looks like.

Sue: Cut to Vila.

We cut to Ultraworld instead.

Sue: Oh look, it’s the Sontarans.

It is, in fact, an artificial planet.

Sue: Blake’s 7 has definitely turned into Star Trek. They just drift through space bumping into things.

The crew decide to keep their distance.

UltraworldSue: They don’t usually care about the danger; they usually rush in like a bull in a china shop. This isn’t like them at all. Maybe they’re learning from their mistakes. And we should keep our eyes on Cally. She’s bound to be taken over any minute now.

And then they all go to bed.

Sue: What? Don’t they do shifts? Shouldn’t they pull into a space lay-by if they fancy a quick snooze?

Cally is left alone on the flight deck. Either Zen has decided to throw an impromptu disco or Cally is hallucinating.

Sue: Surprise, surprise: Cally is being taken over again. That is quick, even for her; it’s got be a new record.

Cally balls up her fists and places them in front of her eyes, but when she lowers them again…

Sue: Oh, I expected her to have glowing eyes or at least some weird coloured contact lenses put in. That was a bit lazy.

Dayna seems to be perpetually annoyed with Vila. No wonder Sue likes her so much.

UltraworldSue: Vila must have tried it on with Dayna at some point. It’s written all over her face. And Vila is really annoying in this story. Come on, Neil, admit it: you wouldn’t want Vila on your team. Actually, you’d be the Vila on your team. Forget I said anything.

Cally has been taken to Ultraworld against her will, but Avon isn’t in a hurry to mount a rescue operation, even though Cally is his girlfriend. She is, you know. Sue says so.

Sue: Avon doesn’t suit brown very much. Nice jumbo corduroy, though. And Tarrant doesn’t look that great, either; his costume seems to be based on a mankini.

Tarrant is itching to visit Ultraworld.

Avon: You really believe in taking risks, don’t you?

Tarrant: Calculated ones.

Avon: Calculated on what? Your fingers?

Sue (laughing) I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter who’s writing the script, Avon always gets the best lines. Either Paul Darrow writes them himself or everybody just gets Avon. No one gets Vila, though. We’ve glimpsed his hidden depths but nobody can be bothered to explore them. It’s a shame, really.

Ultraworldvon, Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Ultraworld, which Avon believes is a giant computer. It isn’t long before our heroes stumble across three humanoid men.

Sue: It’s the Blue Man Group.

Me: Which one is Tobias Funke?

They are the Ultras.

Me: If Nicol was here, she’d tell us that the Ultra nearest to us looks like Richard O’Brien from The Crystal Maze, so I’ll have to do it for her.

Sue: I like their clothes. It’s a very imaginative design. The make-up is a bit dodgy, though. It’s a good job this isn’t in HD.

There then follows an amazing scene where Vila tries – and fails – to school Orac in the art of comedy. And Sue loves every single moment of it.

Orac: Do you have another riddle for me to analyse?

Vila: You’d only spoil it.

Sue: That was very funny. They bounce off each other really well. I’m not sure what that scene has to do with anything but it was fun to watch.

Avon uses his teleport bracelet to contact Vila.

UltraworldSue: Avon is making a shadow puppet of a dove on that wall. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for what he’s doing with his hands.

When Tarrant investigates the Ultras’ control room, he ends up placing a round peg in a round hole. Clever Tarrant.

Sue: What possessed Tarrant to do that? That could have set off the planet’s auto-destruct system for all he knew. It could have done anything!

A man appears on a monitor – Sue reckons he’s a bored accountant – and Tarrant questions him. When the Ultras return, Tarrant hides.

Sue: I hope they don’t check their browser history.

Tarrant confronts the Ultras when he discovers that they have siphoned off Cally’s personality for their own needs, but Tarrant cannot resist the power of the core. Whatever that is. Luckily for him, Dayna sends in one of her explosive drones to blow everybody up.

Sue: Fabulous.

Me: I’d like to know how she hid that bomb in her trouser suit. Actually, it doesn’t bear thinking about…

Avon is keeping watch over Cally when he is attacked by one of Ultraworld’s menial workers.

Sue: Taken down by a bald, middle-aged accountant. Bloody hell, Avon, what are you playing at?

Tarrant has finally worked out the plot.

UltraworldTarrant: Ever seen a lizard suck a bird’s egg dry? Well, that’s what they were doing to Cally’s brain. Draining her memory and personality and transferring them to the memory store.

Sue: If they try that with Tarrant, they won’t get any personality out of him, no matter how hard they squeeze.

The Ultras want to put the Liberator in their museum.

Sue: Everybody wants that bloody ship. It’s more trouble than it’s worth, anyway; they’d spend the rest of their lives dealing with Servalan if they ever got their hands on it. I don’t think she’s in this story, by the way. Good, isn’t it?

Vila is panicking on the Liberator but Orac offers little comfort.

Vila: Oh, shut up you arrogant pile of junk.

Sue: The “Wahaaaaaaa” noise Orac makes when they turn him off always make me laugh. He sounds like a bee falling off a tall building.

Me: Eh?

Tarrant uses a map to determine their location on Ultraworld.

Tarrant: That’s where we are. Here.

UltraworldSue: There’s a Starbucks down on the left. Come on!

When Dayna inadvertently disturbs a menial, he looks straight through her before going about his business.

Sue: They remind me of the Borg, except for the fact that they look like chartered surveyors. If I’m honest with you, the Borg were a bit scarier.

The Ultras want to suck Avon dry.

Avon: First of all you have to make me sleep. I tend to suffer from insomnia.

Ultra 2: You will sleep.

Sue: Make him watch Doctor Who from the beginning. That’ll do it.

Me: They could always make him watch this.

Sue: Don’t you like this story, Neil? I’m rather enjoying it.

Avon: I will not sleep!

Me: I know how he feels. If I wasn’t keeping notes, I’d be out like a light.

UltraworldSue: Maybe I should take over the blog since you seem to be the one struggling with Blake’s 7. Come on, Neil. It’s all right, this.

Dayna and Tarrant find themselves in a room with a conveyor belt.

Sue: Meanwhile, in Ultraworld’s cake factory…

Dayna: They’re feeding something.

Tarrant: But what?

Sue: Cakes.

Not only is Ultraworld alive, this is the place where they feed the dead accountants to it. Tarrant hears a strange, throbbing sound…

Sue: Whatever it is, I think it’s got indigestion.

Tarrant and Dayna search for the planet’s core.

Sue: Are they in the bowels of the planet? And by bowels, I really do mean bowels.

And there it is: a huge ever growing pulsating brain that rules from the centre of the Ultraworld.

UltraworldSue: Are you sure it isn’t a giant colostomy bag?

The Ultras monitor Tarrant and Dayna’s every move. Ultra 1 demands a large pointy stick so he can point out their position on a map.

Sue: You’re sitting right in front of the screen. Use your bloody finger!

It turns out that the large pointy thing can set off explosions in Ultraworld’s tunnels. And it’s great for PowerPoint presentations, too.

Sue: This episode reminds me of Doctor Who.

Me: The giant pulsating brain?

Sue: No, the endless corridors. There’s lots of running up and down for no apparent reason this week. I quite like it, though. It’s just like old times.

Vila is still worried about Avon.

Sue: Why didn’t Vila contact Tarrant when Avon lost contact with him? What has he been waiting for? I’m sorry, Neil, but Vila is completely hopeless. I feel sorry for the actor who plays him.

Tarrant instructs Vila to stand by the teleport.

Sue: Why don’t they just get Orac to do that? He’s more reliable than Vila – and Orac is shit!

Dayna and Tarrant are captured by the Ultras, which leads to a scene that almost makes this adventure worthwhile…

UltraworldSue: The dirty bastards!

Yes, the Ultras want to watch Tarrant and Dayna, you know… do it.

Sue: I know the aliens are blue, but this is taking it to extremes. Is this really happening, Neil?

Ultra 1: We have collected a great deal of information about Earth and its dominant species, with one important omission. We intend to rectify that deficiency.

Me: They’ve collected a great deal of information about Earth but they’ve never downloaded a single porn film. I find that very hard to believe.

Sue: I notice that Tarrant isn’t arguing about this plan of theirs very much. I bet he can’t believe his luck.

Me: I just hope they win a crystal at the end of this challenge.

Ultra 1: Has the bonding ceremony begun?

Sue: Tarrant is always asked that when he’s in bed with a woman.

A camera records their every move.

Sue: The dirty perverts. This is going straight on Ultraworld’s Intranet.

Sue doesn’t understand why the Ultras couldn’t extract the information they needed from Cally.

ultraworld19Sue: Unless Cally is a virgin, of course. And we all know that’s bollocks. And if they are really that desperate to watch people having sex, why didn’t they get their army of bald accountants to put on an orgy for them? It doesn’t make sense.

Tarrant: How’s that, darling? More comfortable?

Dayna: Oh yes. Much better. Thank you, darling.

Sue: But if you ever put it there again, I’ll kill you.

Dayna removes a small object from her mouth.

Sue: She’s picking Tarrant’s pubic hair out of her teeth.

It turns out that Dayna really has been hiding explosive devices in her cavities after all…

Me: I don’t think that was the sort of bang they were expecting.

Sue: At least the earth moved for Tarrant.

As the Liberator is dragged towards Ultraworld, Vila is desperately reciting limericks.

Vila: There was a young man from… from…

Orac: From where? Think.

UltraworldSue: Nantucket!

Cally is about to be fed to the core when Dayna and Tarrant intervene.

Sue: This is officially the worst fight I’ve seen in Blake’s 7. He’s in his fifties! Come on, Tarrant, you can take him!

The pulsating brain/bowel is showing signs of strain.

Sue: When that thing finally goes off, it’s going to spray shit everywhere. It probably ate an accountant who was past his sell-by date.

Tarrant retrieves Avon’s and Cally’s personalities, which have been stored in a couple of jars.

Sue: They should return them to the wrong bodies. That would be fun. They could leave them like that for an episode. It would be interesting. It would be especially interesting to see if they still fancied each other.

Sue is disappointed when the script raises this tantalising possibility and then fails to do anything with it.

Sue: What a waste. They had a new and exciting episode right there and they threw it away.

The core begins to collapse.

UltraworldSue: I’ve heard of acid reflux but this is ridiculous.

The Ultras don’t understand what is causing the core to fail, but they suspect that it must be emanating from the Liberator.

Sue: It’s Vila. Vila is going to save the day because the giant bowel hasn’t got a sense of humour. Genius.

Tarrant kills two Ultras in cold blood.

Sue: How weird was that? Tarrant looked really sad after he killed them, like it was the first time he’d ever killed anyone. Maybe Tarrant isn’t as hard as likes to think he is.

Me: I didn’t hear Dayna complaining.

The Liberator attempts to break free of its display cabinet.

Sue: It’s going to snap in two! You have to take the pins out first!

The ship miraculously breaks free.

Tarrant: Brace yourselves!

Sue: At least they are trying to match the wobbling set with the wobbling model. It’s just a dinky toy, isn’t it? It’s pretty good, though. For its time.

UltraworldThe core explodes and the last remaining Ultra falls to pieces.

Sue: You know, that really wasn’t that bad.

The episode concludes with Vila taking credit for their escape. Avon gives him a backhanded compliment and everybody laughs. Especially Sue.

Sue: That was a lovely scene at the end. You know, I really enjoyed that.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: It was a bit daft, but it was exciting and quite funny, too. I liked the location they used, and the sets were all right. And Servalan wasn’t in it, which is always nice. Yeah, that was fun. Why are you looking at me like that?

8/10

Sue’s scores are officially beginning to worry me.

Next Time:

We’ll be updating on Wednesday and Friday next week. Until then, I’ll leave you with this:

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Sarcophagus

Putting the Fun in Funeral…

SarcophagusMe: This episode was written by a woman.

Sue: Good. It’s a shame that they couldn’t be arsed to centre her credit, though. Look at the state of it.

Me: Tanith Lee was a prolific feminist science fiction author in the 1970s and 80s.

Sue: What are her books like?

Me: I don’t know. I’ve only ever pretended to be a feminist.

Sue: You twat, Neil.

We’re less than a minute into the episode when Nicol decides to join us.

Nicol: What the hell are you watching?

The opening is quite hard to explain, but Sue has a go anyway:

SarcophagusSue: It’s basically Eyes Wide Shut meets The Wicker Man, Nicol. Oh, and this woman can extinguish burning torches with her hand. Apart from that, I haven’t a bloody clue.

We witness a strange ceremony that features a magic act, a musician and a martial arts expert.

Sue: It’s Britain’s Got Talent… It’s Britain’s Got Talent on a space ship.

Nicol: I’m pressing my buzzer. This is ridiculous.

Me: Prime-time BBC1, Nicol. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it and I was there.

Sue: It reminds me of The Prisoner. That was ****ing mental as well.

Me: Great Tangerine Dream soundtrack, though.

Nicol decides that she’s had enough and leaves.

Sue: Did BBC2’s viewing figures go through the roof when this went out?

When the ceremony is complete, and the participants are preparing to leave, a mysterious figure in black gatecrashes the party.

Sue: The auditions are over, mate. You’ll have to try out for The X Factor next door. Sorry.

SarcophagusThis man is banished and then a vessel is launched into space.

Sue: Right, I’m guessing that was a wake and they’ve shot a dead body into space, but the only reason I know that is because of the episode’s title. Because if I’m honest, Neil, I didn’t really follow that. I’m sure it will make sense eventually, though.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: Cally’s bedroom looks like a prison cell. No wonder she’s so miserable. Just think, if she found a red bulb, she could have the full traffic light.

Avon pays Cally a visit.

Sue: Avon is looking very smart this week. It looks like he’s had a bath and ironed his clothes. Yes, he’s definitely making a special effort for Cally.

Avon comforts the telepath, who is still mourning for Auron. Cue the inevitable shipping.

Sue: This isn’t the first time that Avon’s been in Cally’s bedroom, if you know what I mean. I hope they end up together at the end. Now that Anna is out of the way, it should be plain sailing.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator‘s flight deck, Vila hopes to beat Avon in a quick game of Space Triangles.

SarcophagusSue: I don’t like Vila’s tracksuit. He looks like a chav this week. It’s the sort of thing Jimmy Saville wore at the height of his crimes.

Thanks to an audacious move by Avon, Vila loses the game.

Vila: It was your fault. You put me off.

Dayna: With pleasure. On the first planet we come to.

Sue: I really like Dayna. Even when she’s nasty, she’s nice.

The crew detect a ship drifting aimlessly through space. A bit like them, then.

Zen: Primary analysis suggests the design is eccentric and may be decorative rather than functional.

Avon: What about manpower?

Sue: Manpower? I thought you said this was written by a feminist, Neil?

Tarrant can’t wait to explore the mysterious space craft.

Avon: In other words, you’re bored.

Sue: They literally have nothing to do. Why don’t they pretend to search for Blake or Jenna, or something like that. Why are they still together? What is the point of them any more? They need a mission. Isn’t there a Star Two they could look for?

Avon: Something else to chase?

Sue: It’s better than sitting around doing nothing, chick.

SarcophagusAvon, Vila and Cally teleport to the derelict ship, which is covered in dust, cobwebs and party streamers.

Cally: This isn’t a ship, it’s a tomb. They, whoever they are or were, sealed their dead up inside and set it adrift in space.

Sue: It must have cost them a fortune. The performers they hired for the funeral can’t have been cheap, either.

Me: You should see the invoice for James Doohan’s funeral.

The Liberator detects an energy build-up inside the tomb.

Avon: We may have tripped a few wires.

Sue: You’ve activated the security tinsel! Quick! Get out of there!

Cally teleports back to the Liberator, but Vila and Avon are mysteriously left behind. Zen estimates that the alien ship will explode in 30 seconds, so Cally volunteers to go back for them. Tarrant argues the toss with her for at least 20 seconds.

Sue: ARGH! Stop yakking and move! Anyone would think that Tarrant wanted Avon to die. Oh, he makes me so angry.

Cally rescues her friends in the nick of time. She also steals a ring from the desiccated corpse on the ship, which really surprised Sue, and then, when she falls asleep later, Cally has a vision.

SarcophagusSue: Is it Cally’s twin sister again? No, wait, she can’t be Zelda because Zelda’s dead. Perhaps Cally was a triplet? Or maybe her sister is a ghost… I don’t know. It’s very confusing.

Avon and Tarrant lock horns on the flight deck.

Avon: Shut up, Tarrant.

Tarrant: Did you say something to me?

Avon: I said, shut up. I apologize for not realising you are deaf.

Sue: This is brilliant. I’ve been waiting for this to happen for absolutely ages. Take him down, Avon.

Tarrant stands his ground.

Tarrant: When you found me on the Liberator, it was quite a blow. And every time you look at me, it hits you harder, doesn’t it? I’m faster than you and I’m sharper. As far as it goes, I’ve made a success of my life.

Sue: Don’t make me laugh! Who the **** does he think he is?

Avon: You talk too much.

Sue: He talks, full stop.

Me: I think Avon’s patience has run out.

Sue: I don’t know why he had any patience with him in the first place. Just teleport Tarrant into space when he’s asleep. Who would miss him?

SarcophagusThere now follows a short musical interlude…

Sue: Bloody hell. It really is The Wicker Man in space.

Me: It’s late-80s Tangerine Dream meets Joan Baez.

Sue: I’ve never seen or anything quite like it.

Me Prime-time BBC1, Sue. Prime-time BBC1.

Sue: Do you know what? I think I like it. It’s different.

The crew recovered a strange object from the tomb – Sue thinks it could be a speaker dock for an alien iPod – and Tarrant asks Orac to analyse it.

Orac: I have already informed you that this structure is of an unfamiliar type. My deductions are necessarily limited by the facts available and the rationality of possible theories.

Sue: I remember when Orac could predict the future.

Me: They should consult Avon’s rock.

A drinks tray starts flying around the room.

Sue: Either the gravity is failing or they need an exorcist.

Orac is damaged, the artefact crumbles to dust and Zen has a nervous breakdown. In short: it’s all go on the Liberator.

Zen: (pitch and tone varying wildly) Inboard … inboard sensors indicate there is an intruder aboard.

SarcophagusSue: This is proper scary. I don’t like hearing Zen like this. It’s freaking me out. This definitely isn’t for kids.

It looks like Cally has been taken over by an alien. Same shit, different day.

Sue: I’d be suspicious if Cally wasn’t taken over by an alien, it happens that often.

A vision calls out to her.

Alien: Cally, you’ve been so long alone. Cut off from your people. You’ve been homesick for your own world, your own kind, haven’t you?

Sue: I detect a lesbian subtext.

Me: Yeah, but you detect a lesbian subtext in every story, Sue.

Vila performs a magic act for an invisible audience.

Me: I think I’ve got it now. The crew are possessed by the ghosts of the contestants on Britain’s Got Talent. Yes, that’s definitely it.

Dayna’s lyre starts playing itself.

Vila: Eh?

Sue: That was a B-flat, actually.

Vila and Dayna are inexplicably dressed as a court jester and a… erm…

SarcophagusSue: ****ing hell, Neil. I’m just going to go with this and hope for the best. Thank God Nicol isn’t here to see this.

A hand appears on Vila’s shoulder.

Sue: That better not be Servalan’s hand!

Luckily for Sue, it’s Cally in a ginger wig.

Sue: She suits it. It’s a big improvement on her curly perm. She’s gone a bit heavy on the fake tan, but you can’t have everything.

Tarrant tries to work out the plot.

Tarrant: It’s used her as a blueprint to make itself a brand new physical shape, only the whole thing sounds crazy!

Sue: You can’t really argue with that. This is the strangest episode of Blake’s 7 I’ve seen, which is saying something.

Tarrant races to the flight deck in a red onesie and matching cape.

Sue: Just when you thought Tarrant couldn’t be any more ridiculous. Oh my God.

SarcophagusWhen Tarrant confronts the alien on the flight deck, she shows him a life where he’ll have to dress as a pillock and look after her doves for the rest of his life.

Sue: Face it, Tarrant, you’re never going to get a better offer than that.

And then the alien raises her hand and Tarrant writhes in agony on the floor.

Sue: Nah, sorry. I don’t feel any sympathy for him. Hurt him some more, pet. Keep going until he’s dead.

Dayna comes to the rescue.

Sue: The direction is excellent this week. Just look at that silhouette of Dayna as she walks onto the flight deck. That’s wonderful.

Me: This episode was directed by a woman.

Sue: That explains that, then. You know, this almost makes up for that sexist crap I had to endure the other week. Well, almost.

The alien wants to know where Avon is hiding.

SarcophagusAlien: Remember my mental link with Cally. Naturally I know who is here and who isn’t, particularly if it’s Avon.

Sue: She said ‘particularly’. That settles it: Avon and Cally are lovers. Told you so.

Avon saunters onto the flight deck.

Sue: Avon will figure it out. He’s Avon.

The alien tempts Avon.

Alien: You know that I wouldn’t wish to make a slave of you, don’t you? Not you.

Sue: Well, not that kind of slave, anyway.

Avon cajoles the alien into killing him, and it’s at this point that Cally intervenes and breaks the alien’s mental link.

Sue: Cally’s love for Avon will save them both. Aww, this is so sweet.

The flight deck is rocked by explosions.

Sue: This looks fabulous but the ship is completely ****ed. That could be their next mission: repairing the ship.

SarcophagusAvon advances on the alien.

Avon: You look so beautiful when you’re angry.

They kiss. Sue gasps.

Avon pinches the alien’s ring. Sue gasps some more.

Sue: Naughty.

The alien is begging Avon for it.

Sue: My precious!

The alien wants to live.

Alien: Don’t send me back into the dark, Avon!

Sue: Oh just give it to her and teleport her somewhere nice. It’s sad, this. And Avon is so handsome in this scene, it’s ridiculous.

Just as she says this, we cut to Avon dressed as the man in black who was late for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions. It’s symbolic, innit?

SarcophagusSue: Oh dear. I spoke too soon. The look on Paul Darrow’s face says it all.

Me: It’s a look that says, “Get my agent on the phone!”

Sue: Please don’t tell me that this convinces Paul Darrow to leave the series.

The alien slowly transforms into a corpse before fading away to nothing.

Sue: That was nicely done. And it was very, very sad. At least Cally and Avon can make their relationship public now. No more sneaking around. Go on, Avon, find Cally and give her a big cuddle. She could do with one right about now.

Zen: All systems have been restored to maximum capacity. The Liberator is now fully operational.

Sue: That’s a relief. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I was worried about Zen when he broke down earlier.

Me: What about Orac?

Sue: **** Orac.

SarcophagusAvon and Cally exchange a meaningful look.

Sue: Saucy.

Avon: Zen, let’s get out of here.

Sue: They don’t know where they’re going, but they’re gonna shag like rabbits all the way there.

Cue credits.

The Score:

9/10

Sue: I didn’t think I was going to like that one, but once it got going, it was really good. It was a bit too weird for me – I could have done without that silly dressing-up nonsense – but Paul Darrow was amazing, and it very atmospheric and different. Yeah, I enjoyed that one a lot. And I’ll tell you something else: the woman who plays Cally is a really good actress. Yeah, just let the women take over Blake’s 7 from now on. You can’t go wrong.

Next Time:

Back
Next

Children of Auron

Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel…

Children of AuronSue: Oh no. Not her again.

This episode is hemorrhaging marks before it’s even begun.

Sue: So what’s her crackpot scheme this week?

There is some good news, though.

Sue: She really suits the colour black. I was tired of seeing her dressed in white all the time. And her sparkly dog collar is very kinky. I bet you fancied Servalan, Neil.

Me: I was only ten at the time. Although I did have a poster of Debbie Harry on my bedroom wall. And Joanna Lumley, too. Maybe Servalan wasn’t my type.

Sue: It still looks like she’s late for a cocktail party, but it’s an improvement on her being late for a wedding.

Servalan has two right-hand men this week. The first is a young stud named Ginka.

Sue: Space Ninjas! Is that her latest plan? I she going to attack the Liberator with Space Ninjas? She’s had crazier ideas.

Her second right-hand man is a middle-aged chap named Deral.

Sue: ****ing hell, Neil! That’s your dad!

Children of AuronOh. My. God. She’s right.

Sue: OK, he isn’t smoking a tab and complaining about his IBS, but it’s definitely your dad. It’s uncanny.

Me: Stop it! Blake’s 7 is weird enough as it is.

Servalan wants to attack an Auron space ship with her – gasp! – ionic beams.

Servalan: I want that pilot alive. Alive and vulnerable.

Sue: And in sparkly handcuffs, if you’ve got them.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: I wish Cally would do something about her shaggy perm. I hate shaggy perms. The number of shaggy perms I had to deal with when I was a hairdresser in the eighties. Unbelievable. Everybody wanted a shaggy perm.

Me: Did you have a shaggy perm?

Sue: Of course I ****ing did.

Sue is so obsessed with Cally’s hair, she misses a vital plot point and I have to rewind the DVD. Yes, the crew are heading back to Earth so Avon can exact revenge on a Federation thug known as Shrinker.

Avon: One of his victims was a young woman called Anna Grant. She was important to me.

Me: Do you remember Anna Grant?

Sue: No.

Children of AuronMe: Yes you do. The one where Avon had to defuse a bomb with Duggan from Doctor Who. Remember?

Sue: Oh yes. He left her to die. He hasn’t mentioned her in ages.

Me: Yes, well now he’s out for revenge.

Sue: Why not. They’ve got sod all else to do.

The Auron space ship is attacked by ionic beams.

Sue: Hey! Flash Gordon wants his space suit back.

Me: Do you recognise the pilot?

Sue: Yes, it’s Flash Gordon.

Me: I’ll ask you again when he takes his helmet off.

Sue: Is it a young Stephen Fry?

Me: (exasperated) He’s the son of a Doctor.

Sue: Is he one of the Troughtons?

Me: Yes, very good! But which one?

Sue: I don’t know. There were loads of them, weren’t there? Christmas must have been a nightmare for Patrick.

Me: Yes, Sue, BUT YOU’VE ONLY MET ONE OF THEM!

Sue: Oh! Yes! It’s.. it’s… Michael Troughton!

Children of AuronTo learn more about Sue’s epic encounter with Michael Troughton, please buy our book Adventures with the Wife in Space: Living with Doctor Who. While stocks last. I mean, come on, it’s less than four quid on the Kindle. You can’t buy a packet of tabs for that, and our book won’t give you cancer.

Sue: He’s such a lovely man. And I love his silver life jacket. I’m not sure how that would work in space, but there you go.

Back on the Liberator, Cally is telling Tarrant about her guerrilla past.

Tarrant: Where you exiled?

Cally: Yes. Why do you imagine I’ve never gone back? Affection for him?

Cut to Avon.

Sue: They’re having a lover’s tiff. Cally is jealous.

Me: (sighing) Of Dayna, I suppose.

Sue: No, stupid. She’s jealous of Anna. Avon is prepared to risk everything to avenge his ex-girlfriend. That won’t turn Cally on. Don’t you know anything about women, Neil?

Me: I’ll bear that in mind the next time I avenge an ex-girlfriend.

Back on the Auron ship, all hell is being reflected back at us with Mirrorlon.

Sue: Did they lace Michael’s drink with LSD? Because this is a bit weird.

Michael Troughton has definitely seen better days.

Children of AuronSue: So Servalan has unleashed the bubonic plague. What a bitch. That’s low, even for her.

Me and Sue: URGH!

Sue: Oh my God, Michael Troughton is leaking custard. Thanks for that image. CUT!

Cally is freaking out on the Liberator‘s flight deck.

Cally: They’re all dying. Dayna, they’re all dying!

Sue: There’s custard everywhere!

The planet Auron is in the grip of a deadly epidemic.

Module Six: First case was an hour ago. It started with the children.

Sue: And I thought Happy Valley was bleak. Jesus…

A woman named Zelda is instructed to prepare Auron’s genetic stock for evacuation.

Sue: That woman looks like Cally.

Me: It’s her twin sister, silly.

Children of AuronSue: Of course it is. I should have known that because Cally never stops talking about her. It’s Zelda this, Zelda that, all the time. She never shuts up about her.

Cally convinces the crew to divert to Auron.

Zen: Confirm course change to zero three one zero. Destination: the planet Auron. State speed.

Tarrant: Standard by Six.

Sue: No rush. Take your time.

Servalan is interested in Auron’s ability to clone DNA.

Deral: It does seem a little… excessive. To afflict the whole planet merely to indulge –

Servalan: Indulge nothing! This, Deral, this is merely a bonus. My primary objective for Auron’s affliction, as you call it, is to seize the Liberator.

Sue: OK, let me get this straight: Servalan is going to wipe out an entire planet just so she can get her hands on a space ship that isn’t that good in the first place? It keeps getting damaged and it’s taken over every five minutes. And she’s going to clone herself while she’s doing it? Did she come up with this idea in the shower?

Meanwhile, Tarrant is giving Avon a lesson in compassion.

Children of AuronTarrant: As long as Cally is part of this crew, she has full call on your loyalty and support, no matter what the risks.

Sue: Is he having a laugh? What about Vila? You hypocritical knob! Unbelievable.

Orac explains how Auron could have succumbed to an epidemic.

Orac: Auron has had a policy of neutrality and isolation, the planet has now been kept completely free of all disease for more than three decades.

Avon: Without disease there would be no natural resistance to infection.

Sue: After thirty years? That seems a bit quick, but I can’t be arsed to go to Wikipedia and check.

Ginka cures Auron’s replication expert, Franton.

Ginka: There’s a mirror to your left.

Sue: It’s just like 10 Years Younger. Or Not What to Wear. Or that Gok Wan one where everyone was naked. And why does Servalan have an art gallery on her space ship?

Me: What?

Children of AuronSue: There, on the walls. She’s decorated her space ship with abstract paintings.

Ginka says he can only cure six people at a time.

Sue: That’s all right. There’s probably only six people on that planet anyway. In fact, the Liberator could probably beam them all up.

Me: “Beam them up!” For ****’s sake, Sue!

Deral is fed up with Ginka’s bad attitude.

Deral: I’m tired of your insubordination. I’m tired of your not very subtle attempt to undermine my authority.

Sue: Is this what your dad was like when he was the shop steward in his factory? I bet he was.

Me: Stop it.

Servalan wants to replicate herself.

Sue: Broody and vain. This is a recipe for disaster.

Avon contacts the Liberator to see if Orac has come up with a cure yet, but Vila can’t hear him because he’s got his helmet on. Sue laughed at this, whereas a week ago she would have tutted. So that’s good.

Ginka’s men storm Auron’s control room and Tarrant, Avon and Cally are taken prisoner.

Sue: Space Ninjas! He may be an irritating dick with an attitude problem, but at least he gets the job done.

Servalan’s DNA is injected into a synthesised placenta.

Children of AuronSue: Are you sure they’re not just making Yorkshire puddings in there?

Deral looks at the basting tray and contemplates a future filled with mini-Servalans.

Sue: It is a scary thought. I don’t mean to be funny but Servalan doesn’t really strike me as Mum of the Year material.

Deral teleports to the Liberator to negotiate its surrender, but Dayna ambushes him.

Vila: You tried to trick us, Servalan. Naughty. One hostage to us.

Servalan: And three to me.

Sue: It’s pretty good, this. Just as long as they shoot Tarrant first.

Avon and Cally manage to escape after a skirmish with some Federation guards.

Sue: Here we go. Here’s this episode’s rubbish fight scene, right on cue.

Servalan is so distraught by this unexpected turn of events, she flings an empty cup at an impotent guard.

Sue: He should have stood there and taken that cup in the face. He acted like she’d just thrown a hand grenade at him.

Children of AuronOur heroes head for the replication plant – the only place Servalan won’t obliterate from orbit.

Me: I have a very vivid memory of this episode. Especially this scene where they’re running across the dam with all the explosions going off.

Sue: Really? What’s so special about it? Did it make you scared of dams? Did it put you off dams for life?

Me: What’s so special about it is I’m in my late-twenties, I’m living in Christopher Street, and I’m watching this episode on UK Gold, in bed. It’s 1994 or 1995, I think, and it’s a Sunday afternoon; I think Glen Allen did the continuity. Anyway, you walked in on me while I was watching it.

Sue: I knew it. You did fancy Servalan.

Me: My hands were definitely above the covers. And I remember asking you to watch it with me.

Sue: What did I say?

Me: You said I had to hold a ladder steady for you. Just think, we could have got this out of the way twenty years ago if you’d been more open-minded.

Our heroes make it to the replication planet, where they are shown Servalan’s surrogate womb.

Sue: Servalan’s biological clock is ticking. And now that Travis is gone, this is the next best thing, I suppose. And she’s never going to shag your dad. No offence.

Cally and Zela are finally reunited.

Sue: I hope Zelda doesn’t have a curly perm.

Dayna teleports to Auron so she can save the day.

Sue: I love Dayna. She’s my second-favourite character in Blake’s 7. She’s game for anything. They could use her a lot more.

Children of AuronGinka tells Servalan that Deral swapped her placentas with his. Yes, really. Servalan orders her giant crocodile to fire on the replication plant.

Sue: Hang on a minute. When did he find out about that? Who told him that? That doesn’t make any… Wait a minute… I think he’s making it up!

Thanks to Dayna’s initiative, Franton, Tarrant, Cally and Avon are teleported to safety. However, Zelda stays behind to save Servalan’s babies. Sue bites her nails.

BOOM!

Sue: Bloody hell.

Cally feels her sister die.

Sue: How bleak is this?

And then Servalan feels her children die.

Sue: ****ing hell.

Children of AuronServalan is fighting back the tears.

Sue: Is this really happening, Neil?

Servalan kills Ginka with the flick of a switch.

Sue: She’s a Bond villain. But instead of feeding her henchmen to the crocodiles, she flies around in one.

Deral is teleported into Servalan’s extremely disappointed clutches.

Sue: Servalan just killed your dad, Neil. How do you feel about that?

Me: I think I might put a poster of her on our bedroom wall.

Sue: You’ll have to take Debbie Harry down first, love.

The Liberator heads for pastures new.

Zen: Course zero three two zero for the planet Kaarn.

Avon: Kaarn?

Me: KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Sorry.

Dayna wants to know if Cally will leave the series or not. No one would blame her if she did.

Children of AuronAvon: Cally will stay with us. We are closer to her than they are. Besides, a nursery of five thousand, would you want to go with them?

Dayna, Tarrant and Vila: HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA HA! HA!

Sue: Is that really appropriate after what’s just happened? If Cally was a real telepath, she’d have heard that.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That wasn’t bad at all. I’m sorry if I didn’t say very much in the middle, I was enjoying it too much.

8/10

Sue: That was Servalan’s best story so far. We saw a different side to her.

Me: Yeah, we saw the hitherto hidden baby-murdering side to her. Lovely.

Sue: I still felt sorry for her. I know, I know! It’s mad, isn’t it. I can’t explain it.

Me: Still no 10 out of 10, then?

Sue: No. It was a bit too bleak for me. And Michael Troughton wasn’t in it enough.

Next Time:

Back
Next

City at the Edge of the World

Are we there yet?

City at the Edge of the WorldTarrant is bullying Vila.

Tarrant: I can toss you off this ship.

Vila and Sue: What?

Tarrant: You’re no use to me.

Sue: Why is Michael Ball in charge? Did we miss a meeting or something?

Tarrant puts the fear of God into Vila.

Tarrant: I can dump you any time. The others wouldn’t stop me. And you couldn’t, could you?

Sue: What the hell is going on? Has Tarrant been taken over by aliens?

Vila: All my life, for as long as I can remember, there’s been people like you.

Tarrant: And I thought I was unique.

Vila: You’re not even unusual, Tarrant.

Sue: Poor Vila.

I pause the DVD. Did I just imagine that or did Sue just say, “Poor Vila”?

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: I don’t like the way that Tarrant struts around the ship like he owns the place. He shouldn’t talk to Vila like that. That’s Avon’s job.

Me: So it’s OK if Vila is bullied, just so long as Avon is the one doing the bullying?

Sue: It’s funny when Avon does it; he’s earned it. It’s horrible when Tarrant does it.

Vila has been exchanged for some crystals.

Sue: So the locals want to borrow him?

Me: Yes, Tarrant did a deal with them for Vila’s services.

Sue: So they’re time-sharing Vila.

Sue came up with that joke two hours after she watched the episode, but what the hell.

Tarrant: We’ve no reason to think they’ll harm him.

Avon: And less reason to care.

Sue: See! It’s funny when Avon does it.

Vila is escorted to a city by two men who haven’t paid their Equity dues.

Sue: The Steve Hillage Band will do anything to round up an audience.

When Cally teleports to the planet to pick-up the crystals, she narrowly avoids a booby trap.

Sue: Tarrant has set them up. He wants to take over the ship and he’s trying to be sneaky about it. I’ve gone right off Tarrant.

Tarrant’s put Sue in such a foul mood, even Avon can’t escape her wrath.

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: He desperately needs a haircut. It looks like he’s wearing a wig.

The locals told Tarrant about a place with an unpronounceable name.

Tarrant: Apparently it means The City at the Edge of the World.

Me: Not to be confused with The City at the Edge of Forever.

Sue: Or The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Me: How do you know about that?

Sue: Are you serious? I’ve lived with you for twenty-one years, Neil.

Vila finds himself in an underground bunker.

Sue: This is a very nice corridor. That effect was done with mirrors, you know.

Me: If they ever re-release these episodes on DVD, you should do the production notes, Sue.

Vila curses Tarrant for getting him into this mess.

Vila: I’ll get you for this, Tarrant. I’ll tear your arm off and beat you to death with the wet end.

Sue: (laughing) Come on, Vila!

Me: Finally! It’s only taken you 31 episodes!

City at the Edge of the WorldVila meets a beautiful mercenary named Kerril.

Kerril: Pick up your box and let’s go, little man.

Vila: You should try taking a bath sometime, you smell terrible.

Sue: Vila has all the best lines this week. It’s pretty good, this.

Good? Good? GOOD!?

Sue: IT’S COLIN!

It bloody is, you know.

Sue: It’s Colin Baker from Doctor Who!

That’s right. Not “Whatshisface from that thing we use to watch”, or “He’s famous”, or “Thingamy from whatyoumacallit”. It’s Colin Baker from Doctor sodding Who!

Bayban: You must be Vila. It’s an honour, sir.

Vila: The honour’s mine.

Bayban: That’s what I meant.

Sue: The script is brilliant this week. Absolutely brilliant.

I didn’t make any notes for the next five minutes. We just laughed and forgot about what we were supposed to be doing. We simply enjoyed the episode. Sorry about that.

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: Colin is so much better as the bad guy. You can’t take your eyes off him. He shouldn’t have been cast Doctor Who; he should have been the Master.

Bayban: I had a mother. Wonderful woman. Truly evil person. She had a saying. “Babe,” she used to say. She called me Babe. “Babe,” she used to say, “treat every hour as though it’s your last.”

Sue: Now shut up and eat your bran flakes.

Back on the Liberator, Avon is mildly annoyed with Tarrant.

Sue: At least I could empathise with Blake. At least Blake had a heart. Tarrant is just a posh twat with a perm.

Cally and Avon teleport to the planet to search for Vila.

Sue: These two are definitely shagging.

Me: I thought you’d stopped shipping. Especially after that talk we had.

Sue: Oh, come on, Neil! It’s right there on the screen. Just look at them. I wonder if Dayna knows…

Vila tells Kerril about how he plans to open the planet’s vault.

City at the Edge of the WorldVila: The energy threshold of this force field is zero-zero-two. Anything more that zero-zero-two gets chucked back at you, right? This will push a probe into the field very slowly. Maximum energy zero-zero-one. When the probe reaches the door, the field will collapse.

Sue: Vila is saying words that aren’t just punchlines this week. I never thought I’d see the day. He is a real person, after all.

Me: Are you having second thoughts about Vila?

Sue: Only because the script writer has.

Kerril may stink to high heaven, but Sue loves her outfit.

Sue: She’s got this Suzi Quatro look going on. I keep expecting her to start singing ‘Devil Gate Drive’.

Cally and Avon investigate the locals.

Sue: You can’t beat a bit of mediaeval sci-fi, can you. For ****’s sake.

And then Stuart Fell falls over and everything’s all right again.

Sue: The bad guys remind me of the Sontarans. They’re just as thick.

The planet’s elder, Norl, watches as Vila breaks into the planet’s vault.

Vila: What were you looking so pleased about? Bayban isn’t going to share whatever’s in there.

City at the Edge of the WorldNorl: That’s true. Bayban will not share it.

Sue: He has a lovely voice.

Me: Don’t you recognise him?

Sue: Not really.

Me: I’ll give you a clue. (in my best Valentine Dyall voice) Turlough!

Sue: He doesn’t look anything like Nyssa.

Me: Turlough, you must kill the Doctor! Or I will peck your eyes out with my hat.

In the end, I have to pause the DVD and show her a picture.

Sue: Oh yeah. Blimey, I never would have guessed. He looks nothing like him. There’s nowt on him!

Me: I can’t believe you’ve lived with me for twenty-one years and you didn’t recognise the voice of Deep Thought. I’m very disappointed.

Sue: And yet I can still remember that time I caught you watching Deep Throat. Funny, that.

Kerril has changed into something a little more comfortable and a little less stinky.

Sue: Ha! The comedy sound effect was hilarious. Either Vila’s probe is on the blink or he’s extremely pleased to see her.

Me: Carol Hawkins was probably used to that. She’d been in a couple of Carry On… films. And Bless This House: The Movie.

Sue: She’s very funny. And you’d have to have a sense of humour to flirt with Vila.

City at the Edge of the WorldVila can’t take his eyes off Kerril. It should be creepy but it isn’t. Actually, maybe it is a bit.

Sue: Vila’s eyes are out on stalks. And I thought she looked sexier in tight leather, but what do I know.

The force field protecting the vault finally collapses.

Kerril: You did it!

Vila: Of course! For a little man I’m a wonderful mover, wouldn’t you say?

Sue: Just like Ernie Wise.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, Avon and Cally have rounded up some of Bayban’s mercenaries.

Avon: We’ve lost a friend of ours. We think you can tell us where to find him.

Cally: That’s what we think.

Avon: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Sue: Oh, Avon, I ****ing love you.

City at the Edge of the WorldBayban’s right-hand man, Sherm, reminds Sue of someone else.

Sue: It’s Billy Mitchell gone wrong. I wish he had a helmet. The Sontarans were never this ugly.

Vila and Kerril explore the vault. What doesn’t surprise Sue is Vila’s decision to leave Kerril to face whatever traps the designer has in store for them. What does surprise her is that he goes back for her when she screams the place down.

Sue: That is totally out of character for Vila. Thank God.

Kerril and Vila are transported to a room which is equipped with its own exposition machine and two skeletons. Sue listens patiently as Valentine Dyall explains the plot to her.

Exposition Machine: Once in every thirty-five generations, they will gather near the city at the edge of the world, and one will be found who can enter the vault. My people will know peace only if he returns. He will return only if the ship has reached its destination.

Sue: It’s a very convoluted way of going about things. Why have they made it so difficult for themselves? Why doesn’t the ship send a message when the ship arrives? Why do they have to randomly kill people? And if the ship landed the day after somebody died, they would have to wait thousands of years to try again. It’s crazy.

Vila believes that he will suffocate to death because the ship hasn’t reached its destination yet. Kerril decides to go out with a bang.

Sue: Now she’ll know for sure whether Vila is a “little man” or not.

City at the Edge of the WorldMeanwhile, Tarrant and Dayna are busy infiltrating the city.

Sue: Tarrant thinks he’s James Bond. He isn’t. He couldn’t be less like James Bond if he tried. He’s the guy who dies in the pre-titles sequence and doesn’t even have a name. Have I told you that I don’t like Tarrant any more?

Dayna uses a drone to take out Bayban’s men.

Sue: That’s how the Cybermats should have behaved. I like Dayna. She doesn’t piss about.

You can’t say the same for Bayban and his humongous gun.

Sue: Well, you know what they say…

His gun is so massive, Bayban needs help moving it.

Sue: Here’s some advice for you: try pointing it at the door while you’re assembling it next time.

Vila and Kerril are still in the land of the living.

Sue: Did she leave her boots on? Kinky.

Me: I don’t know about you but those skeletons would have put me off my stride.

City at the Edge of the WorldVila and Kerril are actually on an alien planet.

Sue: Oh look, somebody left them with a beach ball to play with.

Sue isn’t very impressed with Vilaworld.

Sue: Just think how brilliant it would have been if that door had opened out onto the South of France. Or a sunny beach. Or a field somewhere. It looks like someone has decided to stage Play School in a garden centre.

Avon and Cally end up fighting Bayban and his men.

Sue: The fight scenes always let Blake’s 7 down. They’re never very realistic. I dread the fight scenes, I really do.

When Bayban is overpowered, Avon threatens to put him out of his misery.

Bayban: Go ahead. You’d be famous. The man who killed Bayban.

Cally: I’d quite like to be famous, too. How about the woman that killed Bayban?

Dayna: Or better still, the girl who killed Bayban.

Sue: Or worst of all, the posh twat who killed Bayban.

When Vila prepares to leave Vilaworld, Kerril doesn’t take the news lying down.

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: Vila, you idiot. You’re supposed to be Adam and Eve, now. You’re practically married to her.

Vila tries to get his end away one last time before they leave.

Sue: I know I should hate this episode, but I can’t.

Vila, reeking of sex, is welcomed back with open arms. Well, sort of.

Avon: Every silver lining has a cloud.

Sue laughed so hard at that, she spilt her tea.

Sue: That’s the funniest line in Blake’s 7 so far. That was brilliant.

Norl is very happy, too.

Norl: My people are coming. They are summoned to enter the city.

Sue: All six of them. This has been a lot of trouble just to open an airport for six people. And surely they are just moving from one shit hole to another. I don’t see what they’re getting out of this. Wait until they see where they’ll be washing their clothes tonight.

Norl: Vila, you’re a clever man, and brave. My people thank you.

Sue: Aww, that was so sweet. Good old Vila.

Me: You’ve changed your tune.

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: He was a real person for a change. I’ve warmed to him. And it makes me hate Tarrant that little bit more. They should take Tarrant’s bracelet off him and leave him here.

Kerril decides to leave with Norl.

Sue: No! You should join the crew. You would be great. You could even call it Vila’s 7, if that’s what turns you on.

Vila has a big decision to make.

Sue: Let’s put it this way: Vila will never get a better offer than this. However, it doesn’t really make any sense for them to leave for that planet. She’s gone from a hardened warrior to a helpless sex-starved princess awfully quickly. It’s a bit dodgy when you stop to think about it, so I won’t.

Vila: I like you, Kerril, more than anyone. Anyone I’ve ever known.

Kerril: The difference is, I love you.

Sue: Vila must be amazing in bed. That’s all I’m saying.

And that’s when Bayban interrupts the party. Kerril makes it inside the vault and Vila teleports back to the Liberator as Bayban turns his massive gun on the force field. A deranged Bayban blows himself and the city to smithereens.

City at the Edge of the WorldSue: Nice impression of an angry turtle at the end there, Colin.

Vila may have lost the girl but at least he got the crystals.

Avon: I’m impressed.

Sue: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but so am I.

Vila is worried that he may have made the biggest mistake of his life.

Orac: I would predict that there are far greater mistakes waiting to be made by someone with your obvious talent for them.

Vila: Shut up, Orac. Still, it’s a comforting thought. Let’s hope they’ve all got good legs.

I had planned to cough over Vila’s final line, but I needn’t have worried. Sue laughed her head off.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I loved that.

9/10

Sue: The plot was a bit bonkers but I loved the dialogue. And I’ve changed my mind about Vila. He was brilliant in that.

Me: Isn’t it time you gave an episode 10 out of 10?

Did I mention that ‘City at the Edge of the World’ is my favourite episode of Blake’s 7?

Sue: The fight scenes let it down a bit. And Avon was just a supporting character, so it wasn’t perfect. It was pretty close, though. Why? Is that as good as it gets?

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailer includes MASSIVE spoilers.

Back
Next

The Harvest of Kairos

Rock Bottom…

The Harvest of KairosThe Liberator is orbiting a planet when Tarrant detects two Federation ships heading their way.

Tarrant: It’s an old Federation manoeuvre. Unimaginative, but so’s a punch in the mouth. At least it tells us who sent them.

Dayna: Servalan.

Sue: Oh no, not again. And it was going so well.

Me: We’re less than a minute into this.

Sue: I know.

Millions of miles away, President Servalan is micromanaging the Federation’s latest attack on the Liberator.

Sue: She’s redecorated her spinning house. It’s a bit grim but at least it shows off her Fairy Godmother outfit.

Servalan can’t wait to bring Tarrant down.

Servalan: This time we get it right.

Sue: She never used to be this hammy. I can’t take her seriously any more. She’s a pantomime villain. I remember when Blake’s 7 used to be gritty and interesting.

Vila and Avon teleport back the Liberator.

The Harvest of KairosSue: That was a long way to go for a tab.

Sue isn’t very keen on Avon’s extramural activity.

Sue: Is this what Avon has been reduced to now – collecting rocks? I remember the good old days when they were looking for Star One and their lives had some kind of meaning. What is the point of them any more?

People are beginning to think that Servalan looks tired, and one man in particular has been taking the piss out of her below decks. When Sue finally meets Jarvik, he reminds her of a young Timothy Dalton. He’s definitely the strong, silent type.

Servalan: Well? Have you nothing to say to Servalan?

Pause.

Sue: I bet he doesn’t even have an Equity card.

Jarvik: Woman, you are beautiful.

Sue: He thinks he’s Tarzan. Oh my God. No way!

Yes way.

Sue: Did that just happen? Did he just snog her face off? Is she dreaming this? Am I dreaming this?

Sue ain’t seen nothing yet; just take a look at this (text wouldn’t do it justice):

[jwplayer mediaid=”10441″]

Sue: What the **** is Servalan doing? Surely the guards should be standing in front of her, not the other way round. This is ridiculous. Who directed this rubbish?

Me: Gerald Blake.

Sue: That’s all we ****ing need! Another useless Blake! I mean, look at her! WHAT IS SHE DOING?

Servalan and Jarvik discuss Tarrant’s tactics.

Sue: Hang on a minute. This doesn’t make sense. They’re talking about Tarrant like he’s a big deal or something. When did that happen? It’s as if they wrote this for Blake and then they did a find-and-replace on the script at the last-minute.

The Harvest of KairosMe: As if!

Tarrant wants the crew to dabble in a bit of piracy.

Sue: So is this what they do now, they fly around the universe stealing rocks? I can’t believe I’m saying this but the crew are flapping about now that Blake has gone. At least Blake had a vague plan. This lot haven’t got a plan at all.

Just like Hank on Breaking Bad, Avon is completely obsessed with his rock.

Sue: I quite like the fact that Avon is having his own little adventure and he can’t be arsed with Tarrant. It’s just a shame that Tarrant is the one who’s having the interesting adventure.

Servalan discovers that Jarvik used to be a Space Captain, but when she searches the Federation’s computer records, she is taken by surprise.

Servalan: Why?

Jarvik: Because I am a human being.

Sue: Er… was that supposed to mean something? Her screen went a bit wobbly and that was it. Am I missing something?

Servalan decides to employ Jarvik as her right-hand man, even if he is a poet with a temper.

The Harvest of KairosServalan: But first, there is the question of that degrading and primitive act to which I was subjected in the control room.

Sue: (as Servalan) I liked it.

Servalan: I should like you to do it again.

Sue: Oh. My. God. I was only joking!

The last time Sue’s jaw was this slack, Ingrid Pitt was karate kicking a sea monster in the face.

Sue: What the hell am I watching? Because it isn’t Blake’s 7!

Servalan gives the order for the slave workers on Kairos to be left there to die because the Federation have exceeded their baggage allowance.

Sue: What a bitch. I thought a quick shag would have improved her mood.

Down on Kairos, someone is about to fall off a fence.

Sue: STUART!

A particularly nasty guard is also left there to die.

Sue: Ha! Serves you right, you Nazi ****. I enjoyed that.

The Harvest of KairosJarvik prepares to coordinate his attack on the Liberator.

Sue: This is vaguely exciting, I suppose.

Jarvik: Sit down and shut up.

Sue: Charming. I can’t believe that Servalan is putting up with his nonsense. It doesn’t feel right.

Even though they are under attack, Avon forces Cally to stare at his rock.

Tarrant: Is this the time or the place?

Sue: Tarrant does have a point. What’s got into Avon this week?

Avon: I understand that this ship is the most powerful in the galaxy and that you are the most astute space warfare commander.

Sue: Is that it, then? Has Avon given up? I’m not happy about that. Avon should be the one in charge. That’s silly.

The Liberator evades the Federation’s pursuit ships.

Sue: I didn’t know that the ship could roll like that. Why has it never done that before?

Me: Tarrant must be a better pilot than Jenna because Tarrant is A MAN!

Sue: Don’t you start.

Jarvik: Gently now, Killer Three. Ease your way in.

I can’t stop giggling.

The Harvest of KairosSue: I bet he’s exactly the same in the bedroom.

When Servalan believes that she’s lost the battle, she throws a temper tantrum. Jarvik has to restrain her on a cream leather couch; no Battle HQ is complete without one.

Jarvik: Lie there and keep quiet until I tell you otherwise.

Sue: This episode is beginning to make me feel uncomfortable. Why are you laughing, Neil?

Tarrant’s gang are in the middle of transferring the Federation’s precious cargo of Kairopan to the Liberator when they are ambushed by security guards.

Guard: Stay exactly where you are, and don’t get excited!

Sue: Not much chance of that, mate.

Avon pops his head into the A-plot and saves the day.

Sue: The director really hasn’t got a clue. I’m beginning to feel embarrassed for the actors.

Jarvik has the last laugh: there are more guards in the Kairopan containers.

Sue: Idiots.

The Harvest of KairosServalan teleports to the Liberator.

Sue: Servalan does have one redeeming feature.

Me: What’s that?

Sue: She’s one of the few people in Blake’s 7 who pronounces Avon’s name correctly. I’m sick and tired of people calling him “Avin” all the time.

Servalan dumps our heroes on Kairos.

Sue: I bet they eat Vila first.

Back at Space Command, Jarvik is tempting Servalan with his unzipped jumpsuit.

Me: There’s some eye-candy for you, love.

Sue: He should be wearing a gold medallion in the shape of the Federation logo.

Servalan: You really are a primitive, aren’t you? Come.

Sue: Stop laughing, Neil.

Kairos is covered in a strange web.

Sue: Haven’t we been here before? Is it the Yeti?

The Harvest of KairosServalan and Jarvik are enjoying a postcoital glass of Lenor when Jarvik admits that he doesn’t like Mutoids very much, and he certainly wouldn’t want to live next door to any of them.

Sue: Racist and sexist. Such an attractive combination. Give your head a shake, Servalan.

Servalan wants Jarvik to prove his masculinity to her.

Servalan: If you’re to be man enough for me, to be co-ruler with Servalan, you must meet Tarrant face to face, man to man.

Sue: Whoever wrote this episode has some serious problems with women.

Avon discovers a 1960s NASA lunar module in an abandoned aircraft hangar.

Sue: What the hell? Who left that there? Is this episode going to go all timey-wimey now? EH?

Jarvik teleports to Kairos so he can retrieve the crew’s teleport bracelets (Lesley Judd must have been killed in the war).

Sue: Did he raid Blake’s wardrobe before he left? He looks like a right dick.

Jarvik narrowly avoids a giant ant.

The Harvest of KairosSue: Oh dear. And do you know what the worst thing about that is?

Me: That it looks like a giant hoover bag?

Sue: No. It’s that it probably cost a small fortune to make it. I bet most of the budget went on that… that… thing. What a joke.

Vila is snoring his head off in the lunar module.

Sue: This is the first time I’ve ever been jealous of Vila.

Cut to Vila standing in a field.

Sue: What the ****?

Me: Eat your heart out, Eisenstein.

Avon is still admiring his rock.

Avon: This happens to be the most sophisticated life form that it has ever been my good fortune to come across. Present company not excepted.

Sue: Not only that, you can scrub your back with it in the shower.

Dayna cries out in terror. She is tangled up in a deadly web, helpless against the monstrous insect advancing towards her. At least that’s what it said in the script.

The Harvest of KairosDayna: Do something!

Sue: Yeah, stop laughing at her. This is serious. Look, pet, just kick your boot off and walk away. Honestly, the direction is a joke. And why is this thing rubbing its arse on the floor like that? That’s what Buffy used to do when she had worms.

Jarvik arrives to save the day.

Jarvik: You, woman. Give it the Kairopan.

Sue: I wish I had some Kairopan. This is giving me a headache.

Avon decides to keep his distance.

Sue: I bet Paul Darrow refused to be filmed anywhere near that thing. Oh look, there’s a static caravan in that field over there. Somebody is doing a self-build on Kairos.

The ant shuffles back the way it came.

Sue: Oh for ****’s sake. Don’t show it again!

Jarvik and Tarrant fight.

Sue: Why are the crew standing there watching this; do they really hate Tarrant that much? It’s four against one! Five if you count Vila. Just walk over there and PUNCH THE BAD GUY IN THE FACE!

Tarrant and Jarvik tussle on the floor while Ken Russell blushes off-screen.

The Harvest of KairosSue: Why is the director shooting this as a love scene? GET A ROOM!

Tarrant is overpowered by Jarvik’s MALENESS.

Sue: To be fair, I could probably take Tarrant.

Dayna decides to have a go next, leaving Avon to race off to the lunar module, where he finally loses his patience with Tarrant.

Tarrant: There’s nothing I can do with this.

Avon: YOU CAN GET IT OFF THE GROUND!

Sue: Paul Darrow wasn’t acting then.

It’s Dayna’s turn to wrestle with Jarvik on the floor.

Sue: That’s right, Cally, just stand back and watch. Don’t help your friend or anything silly like that. Unbelievable.

The giant ant returns for seconds.

Sue: Just kick it in the face.

Jarvik teleports to the Liberator with Dayna. Tarrant launches the lunar module, just in time to escape a deadly hail of plasma bolts. It doesn’t look good for our heroes but Avon has an ace up his sleeve. Yes, you guessed it. His rock.

The Harvest of KairosAvon: Sopron is a mirror. A distorting mirror. It reflects a slightly greater image of whatever it is that happens to be scanning it. Zen saw a capacity charged brain, because that is what Zen is. Orac saw a highly sophisticated computer, because that is what Orac is.

Sue: And the director is making this look like crap, because that is what he is.

Avon: The question is, what will Servalan see, and will she be fooled by it?

Sue: Given that everybody in this episode so far has been fooled by the bad special effects, I’m going to say ‘yes’.

Tarrant’s bluff works, but because Servalan is a sore loser, she orders Dayna’s execution.

Jarvik: No, wait. There’s no need to –

The security guard accidentally shoots and kills Jarvik. Well, I say ‘accidentally’. It’s staged so badly, it looks like he did it on purpose.

Sue: WHAT THE -? Rewind that. Oh my God. What was the director thinking? That settles it. This is the worst directed episode of Blake’s 7 – or Doctor Who – that I’ve ever seen. It’s dreadful. How was this ever broadcast? Were people still watching Blake’s 7 at this point?

Me: Approximately 9 million people every week. Prime time BBC-1.

The Harvest of KairosSue: Unbelievable. And nobody complained?

Me: Terry Wogan did. Regularly.

Sue: I’m not surprised. This is shocking. Why are you laughing, Neil?

Servalan evacuates the Liberator.

Sue: So does this mean that an inanimate lump of rock is now a regular member of the crew? They should call it Gan.

Avon is pleased to see the back of Jarvik, but Tarrant mourns for Adonis.

Tarrant: He was a special sort of man.

And for the first time in this experiment, Sue throws a cushion at the television screen instead of me.

Tarrant: Get us out of here. I’ve had enough of this place.

Sue: And I’ve had enough of this ****ing episode! Make it stop!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: Irredeemable sexist crap.

0/10

Me: Wow.

Sue: It was badly directed, offensive, stupid and badly directed. And what made it even worse was the sexist pig was shown to be right ALL THE TIME. I kept waiting for a woman to kill him. I thought there would be a progressive message at the end about the battle of the sexes. Something that might excuse it. But no. I bet the writer has a tiny cock.

Me: Would you like me to subject you to it again?

Sue: Only if you let me slice off your testicles first.

Me: Woman, kiss me!

Sue: **** off, Neil.

Next Time:

Back
Next

Dawn of the Gods

Do Not Pass God…

Dawn of the GodsThe episode begins with a quick game of Space Monopoly.

Sue: They’ve definitely given up on Blake and Jenna if they’ve got enough time to play games like this. On the one hand, I’m happy that they are chilling out together, but on the other hand, haven’t they got anything better to do? Like saving the universe, or something like that?

It isn’t all bad news: Avon is wearing a pair of tight red leather trousers this week.

Sue: I was playing tennis with my doubles-partner, Helen, today. And when I told her that I had to watch Blake’s 7 tonight, she screamed “AVON!” at me. I told her to keep her hands off him. He’s mine.

The Liberator isn’t heading where it should be heading.

Sue: The set is knackered. It’s falling to bits. If Avon leans on that console, the whole thing will probably give way. It’s a bit sad, really.

Tarrant: Vila, Cally, Dayna. A full manual check on all systems, weapons, force wall, everything.

Sue: Hang on a minute. Who put posh boy in charge? Avon is in charge; everybody knows that.

Tarrant believes that the Liberator is in the grip of a tractor beam. Avon isn’t convinced.

Tarrant: Just because you don’t know how to build a high-energy traction beam doesn’t mean that no one else knows how to build one.

Sue: It’s as if Blake never left. What a dick.

Tarrant believes that Cally’s people, the Aurons, could be responsible for their sudden change in direction.

Dayna: Do they all have your telepathic powers, Cally?

Cally: Some, to a degree, but our powers are limited.

Sue: You said it, love.

Dawn of the GodsAt least the director, Desmond McCarthy, is doing is best.

Sue: Ooh, that was a very nice focus pull. And not just because we’re now focusing on Avon. That would have been a difficult shot to pull off in that studio. I’m impressed.

According to the sensors, the ship is falling into a sling shot orbit.

Sue: Their sensors are playing the theme from Psycho. Turn it off! Argh!

Tarrant: But there’s nothing there.

Avon: Three guesses, if you need them.

Sue: It’s a black hole.

Vila: A black hole. My god.

Sue: Yeah, it isn’t rocket science. Actually, it probably is, but you know what I mean.

But if the black hole doesn’t surprise Sue, something else does.

Sue: Bloody hell, Vila was quite good in that scene. He didn’t crack a pathetic joke; he looked genuinely upset. There’s hope for him yet.

Avon: If it is a collapsed white dwarf star, gravitational distortion will tear the Liberator apart. Our remains will spread out over the entire surface adding a thickness of a few atoms to its diameter.

Sue: The man from Cosmos (she means Neil deGrasse Tyson) would tarted that up so it sounded more cheerful.

Dawn of the GodsWhile the crew ponder their imminent death, Sue is distracted by something else.

Sue: Why is the top right-hand corner of the screen flashing?

Me: That’s Zen.

Sue: Oh. I thought an ad break was coming.

And the reason why the Liberator is falling into a black hole? Yes, you guessed it: Orac.

Orac: I have noticed that the occupants of this spacecraft have a lamentable lack of interest in the more fascinating aspects of the universe. You must excuse me, I have many observations to make.

Sue: I don’t believe it. Look, if Orac is that interested in black holes, open a window and throw him into one. No one will miss him. He’s useless.

The Liberator is hit by a large sheet of Mirrorlon.

Sue: What the hell is Avon doing? Is he trying to hide under a blanket?

No, he’s trying to put a space suit on so he can do a runner.

Sue: And where is he going to go, exactly? He hasn’t thought it through.

A large eye fills the screen.

Dawn of the GodsSue: And that must be Servalan’s eye. I was wondering how long it would take her to show up.

The ship has taken one hell of a beating; most of the power has been drained.

Sue: They should light the ship like this all the time. It hides the chipped paintwork.

Tarrant isn’t impressed with Avon’s talent for self-preservation.

Tarrant: One day, Avon, I may have to kill you.

Sue: I’ve gone right off Michael Ball. He’s just Blake with a tighter perm.

Orac has been a very naughty boy.

Orac: It has been necessary for me to assume control of the ship. Excuse me. I have many observations to make.

Sue: This has been on the cards for a while now. Orac will be the death of them.

Cally has been knocked unconscious, so the crew take her to a resuscitation chamber. A voice calls to her telepathically. Hey, I’ve just noticed that Cally’s name is in the word ‘telepathically’. Terry Nation, you card!

Thaarn: I am the Thaarn.

Cally: The Thaarn?

Sue: What is it with this show and thongs?

Dawn of the GodsMe: Not thong – Thaarn. You’ve got thongs on the brain.

Sue: I haven’t got a ****ing clue what’s going on in this episode, that’s for sure.

Back on the flight deck, Sue is distracted by something else.

Sue: I’m pretty sure that Dayna just fell down the stairs. She just looked at the camera as if to say, “Are we OK or are we going for a another take? I think I’ve broken my ankle.”

Two more distractions made it practically impossible for Sue to concentrate on whatever it is the crew are waffling on about: namely the interminable ‘clacking’ sound in the background and Vila’s decision to join the Hare Krishnas.

To cut a long story short: the Liberator is outside normal space, and Vila will have to leave the ship to check it out.

Vila: Oh no. Not me. Not a space suit. Nothing, absolutely nothing in the whole galaxy can or will persuade me to wear one. Not a chance.

Cut to Vila in a space suit.

Cut to Sue’s impression of a trombone.

Sue: Give me strength.

When Vila leaves the ship, he finds himself on solid ground.

Vila: We must be on the surface of a planet. It’s hard, and even, like it’s artificial.

Sue: Like a studio floor painted black.

Dawn of the GodsThe voice of Thaarn contacts Cally again.

Thaarn: Cally. Come to me. Come to me, Cally. I need you. Need you.

Sue: This has to be the weirdest obscene phone call ever. Maybe if he cut back on the heaving breathing, it wouldn’t be quite so creepy.

Vila explores the outside world.

Sue: This reminds me of Alien. Even the space suit is similar. It’s quite eerie, this.

Like a facehugger launching itself from an egg, Sue’s next statement takes me by surprise:

Sue: Vila is actually quite good in this.

Vila is blinded by some lights, and for a moment, it looks like it could be the death of him.

Tarrant: I’ll go and fetch him. We can deep freeze his body until we’re back into space, where we can give him a decent star orbit burial.

Sue: They don’t seem that bothered. Still, it was Vila.

Well, that didn’t last long, did it.

A clawed machine is attempting to turn the Liberator into scrap metal.

Sue: So it’s basically WALL-E.

Dawn of the GodsAvon, Tarrant, Cally and Vila decide to investigate further.

Sue: That shot would make a great album cover. The story is a bit rubbish so far, but at least the director is making an effort, especially when you consider what he’s been given to work with.

Desmond McCarthy has been given a bumper car to work with.

Sue: OK, this is officially a bit mental now. And shit. Really, really shit. Have they run out of money already? We’re only four episodes into the season. Oh dear, this is dreadful.

Just when we believe that things can’t get any weirder, the Caliph of Krandor turns up.

Sue: Why is Willy Wonka in this?

The Caliph apologises for the dodgem car. Well somebody has to.

Caliph: We usually use this for rounding up runaway slaves. Oh, quite inappropriate in this instance, but it was the nearest at the time. I do hope you understand.

Sue: And when we aren’t using them for rounding up slaves, we use them as ghost trains.

Dawn of the GodsThe Caliph wants to know where Orac is.

Dayna: There is no person of that name aboard this ship, and never has been.

Sue: And that’s why you shouldn’t count Orac as part of the seven. Although that’s the least of the title’s problems. I don’t even know why I’m still thinking about it.

The crew are locked in a cell, and Cally passes the time by telling everybody a story.

Cally: The story goes back to the mists of Time, to the Dawn of the Gods… blah… blah… million years… blah… blah… rage…blah…blah… chariot… blah… blah… terrible vengeance.

Sue: I bet it took her days to learn all that. And I bet nobody could be bothered to follow it.

Krandor’s senior technician, Groff, makes an appearance.

Sue: EH?

Groff looks like he’s been supervising a card game in a Western Saloon.

Sue: Did wardrobe deliver the wrong costume by mistake or something?

The Caliph wants to know where Orac might be hiding.

Caliph: How tall is he? (Tarrant raises his hand a couple of feet from the floor) A dwarf?

Tarrant: We never think of him as one.

Caliph: What is the color of his hair?

Tarrant: He hasn’t got any. A bald dwarf shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Dawn of the GodsSue: That’s my favourite line in Blake’s 7 so far. Genius.

In Krandor’s gravity generator room, Avon and Tarrant are given some maths homework to do.

Tarrant: Graphite writing stick? I’ve never seen these things outside museums.

Sue: I’ve been to a pencil museum. It’s in Keswick. Fascinating place.

Sue’s mind is definitely beginning to wander. But then something happens that takes her breath away.

Sue: NO! You can’t do that!

The Liberator‘s flight deck is being dismantled for scrap.

Me: You said the ship had seen better days. Maybe it’s for the best.

Sue: Are you mad?

Thankfully, Orac and Zen generate a defence mechanism that stops the salvage crew in their tracks.

Sue: And why have we never seen anything like that before? That could have been really useful loads of times in the past.

Meanwhile, Cally is splayed out on a fur rug.

Dawn of the GodsSue: Now that’s what I call a cell.

The Thaarn tells Cally his plan.

Thaarn: And the great universal force that controls the universe, is gravity. The orbit of the planets, the slow turn of the galaxies. I have built a machine that can generate gravity. When it’s complete, it will be powerful enough to move planets, and stars. He who controls gravity, controls everything.

Sue: My favourite song is about gravity.

Me: (trying to sound interested because I know what’s coming) Is it really?

Sue: Yes. I think you should make all our readers listen to it. I have to watch Blake’s 7 twice a week, so the least they could do is listen to the song.

Me: Very well, if you insist…

Sue: He should sing this to her if he wants to get into her pants.

Me: I’ll try to remember that.

The Thaarn wants Cally to rule the universe with him.

Sue: If I were Cally, I’d be asking him three questions at this point: 1) What do I have to do? 2) What are the hours like? and 3) Can I have a look at your face, please?

Cally manages to trick the Thaarn into turning off the cell’s energy isolators. She blasts the room with her gun and all hell breaks loose in the gravity generator room.

Groff: The energy isolators have been switched off! Get back to your ship! Quickly!

Tarrant: What about you?

Groff: I’ll be alright, get going! But if you could tell them, my family, they were always in my thoughts.

Sue: Just leave with them, you fool! Why are you staying there? YOU DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

Avon decides to leave Cally behind.

Sue: She just saved your lives! The way this lot carry on, I’m surprised there aren’t five new crew members every couple of weeks. They go through crew members like they go through bracelets.

Dawn of the GodsCally gets to see what the Thaarn really looks like.

Sue: So the bald dwarf was hiding in that room all the time!

Our heroes rush back to the Liberator, but Vila is caught in the headlights of an oncoming bumper car.

Me: Scream if you want to go faster!

With everyone safely on board, the Liberator re-enters normal space. Sue tuts loudly.

Zen: Detectors indicate that a small spacecraft has left object centered on main screen and is flying on a reciprocal course.

Cally: That must be the Thaarn. I should have killed him.

Sue: If that bald dwarf turns out to be the next Travis, there will be trouble. I don’t know how many jokes about Ian Hislop I can make.

Tarrant switches Orac off.

Sue: Now throw his dongle away and stick him on eBay.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was dreadful. I’ll give it one mark because Servalan wasn’t in it, and another mark for the direction, which wasn’t that bad, considering. The rest of the episode was a mess.

2/10

Next Time:

There will only be the one blog update this week. I’ve got a man flu and writing this up has almost finished me off. Plus, we are both heading for the Guernsey Literary Festival this weekend, where I will be giving an after dinner talk dressed as Matt Smith. Yes, I know! Follow us on Twitter if you want to see how that pans out.

We’ll be back next Tuesday. But before we go, here’s a trailer for a new interactive computer game starring Paul Darrow.

Sue: He’s still got it.

Volcano

Burning down the house…

VolcanoThis episode begins with two of our heroes teleporting down to the surface of an alien planet.

Sue: Is that Blake?

Tarrant: Safely down.

Sue: Oh, it’s him. He doesn’t half look like Blake. And why is he dressed as a pirate?

Me: We should probably name one of our wild cats Tarrant.

We currently care for four feral cats that still remain nameless.

Sue: Absolutely not. People will think we named the poor thing after Chris Tarrant. We can call one of the girls Dayna. I can live with that.

The planet Obsidian is home to an extremely large volcano.

Sue: The stock footage and this location don’t really go together; they need more yellow smoke if they’re going to sell this to me.

Me: We’ve visited this location. About fifteen years ago, I think. It’s in Ripon.

VolcanoSue: Have we? I don’t remember you mentioning Blake’s 7 at the time. Although it does explain why you were dressed as a pirate.

Deep inside a secret base, two men are monitoring Tarrant and Dayna’s progress on the surface. The older man is named Hower.

Sue: Ooh, he’s really famous. Don’t tell me…. He’s been in loads of films. He plays gay men quite a lot.

Me: It isn’t Ian McKellen.

Sue: Oh.

Me: It’s Michael Gough. He used to be Alfred the Butler in the Batman movies before Michael Caine took over. Remember?

Sue: Oh yes. I do remember. He’s very good.

Me: You may also remember him as The Celestial Toymaker.

Sue: Oh for ****’s sake. You’ve spoilt it now.

A robotic waiter serves Hower a refreshing beverage.

VolcanoSue: You can’t move for idiots like him in Piccadilly Circus.

Dayna and Tarrant continue to search for Dayna’s friends.

Sue: I thought they were supposed to be looking for Blake? Why are they looking for Dayna’s friends? Are they running a taxi service on the Liberator now?

Back on the ship, Vila doesn’t understand why Obsidian survived the recent war unscathed.

Vila: Nobody wanted it, that’s what I reckon. And very sensible, too.

Avon: Let us settle this neurotic little worry. Zen, do you have sufficient information to be able to tell us when the next major volcanic eruption on the planet Obsidian is to be expected?

Sue: He may as well have said, “Sit down, Vila, and let the grown-ups take over”.

While the crew debate the Federation’s motives, Sue issues me with a stark warning:

Sue: Just so you know, if Servalan turns up on that planet, the cushions are coming out.

The crew have another reason for coming here: Blake.

Avon: It’s getting to be a fairly common rumor. We could spend the rest of our lives chasing down the ones we’ve picked up so far.

Sue: What about Jenna? Why don’t you look for her? I thought she was in hospital. Oh no. You don’t think they stole her organs, do you?

VolcanoBack on the Obsidian, Tarrant and Dayna are drenched in a strange liquid that’s been fired from a gun. The mist renders them both unconscious.

Sue: Hang on a minute. Rewind that. Yes, I thought so. How the **** did he fire the gun into the wind like that? His hair is flying backwards. Rewind it again. Yes, there. No, back a bit. There. Look! The steam went straight back into his face! Unbelievable!

I rewind it one more time.

Tarrant: Is it raining?

Sue: Bloody hell, they really are using water pistols this week.

Back on the Liberator, Avon is doing what he does best: putting Vila in his place.

Avon: I think you should get back to recalibrating the weaponry systems.

Sue: If you can tear yourself away from Judo practice. And if Vila is really a black belt, I’ll eat my hat.

Hower examines Tarrant and Dayna’s unconscious bodies.

Sue: The face-stroking is a bit creepy, mate. If Tarrant wakes up with his trousers on back to front, you’ll know who to blame.

Hower eventually introduces Tarrant and Dayna to his family.

Hower: This is my son, Bershar. He has special duties.

Sue: And the man in the silver suit is my other son, Robbie. He’s a huge disappointment to me.

Tarrant assures Hower and Bershar that he isn’t Federation.

Tarrant: We are survivors of a galactic war.

Sue: Survivors of a galactic panto, more like.

VolcanoAnd then, just as Sue is settling into a stupor…

Sue: Oh, for God’s sake.

Me: Please don’t hit me! It’s not my fault they wanted Servalan to take a more active role in the series.

Sue: I preferred it when she was scheming in a ball gown somewhere safe. I can’t believe she’s flying around the galaxy like an evil Captain Kirk. It’s silly.

Me: It would be like Margaret Thatcher driving around in a tank. Actually, that’s a terrible example.

Back on the Liberator, Avon is teasing Vila for fancying Dayna.

Vila: Pretty? Yes, I suppose she is. I hadn’t really noticed.

Avon: We’ve seen you not really noticing, frequently.

Sue: Dayna is so out of Vila’s league, it’s not even funny. Avon won’t feel threatened by this at all. Dayna will probably be a bit creeped-out, though.

Tarrant wants to know if Blake has visited Obsidian.

Tarrant: Hasn’t he contacted you? We heard he’d been here.

Sue: I’ve got it! Blake is hiding in the robot costume.

VolcanoThere’s lots of talk of pacifism and neutrality (“So they are basically Switzerland, then”) but I can tell that Sue’s mind has begun to wander.

Sue: I’m a little tea-pot, short and stout… I’m sorry but this is a bit dull. I don’t know what’s happening and I don’t really care.

Meanwhile, on Servalan’s ship…

Sue: At least she’s wearing something sensible this week. It isn’t very flattering but it is practical. I prefer it when she’s sipping cocktails in a dress, though.

Servalan has instructed a Federation officer named Mori to steal theLiberator. Mori wants to know why Obsidian wasn’t touched during the recent war.

Mori: They were right in the middle of the war zone where some of the greatest battles of the galactic war took place.

Sue: We’ve only got his word for that. It didn’t look that great from where I was sitting. And who is this guy, anyway? He’s very twitchy. And he isn’t even remotely threatening. He looks more like an accountant. Travis wouldn’t give him the time of day.

Servalan joins Mori’s troops on the surface of Obsidian.

Sue: She’d better be wearing white hiking boots. No. Of course she isn’t. She’s wearing heels. On a windswept moor. She makes me laugh.

Servalan is approached by two men who vanish in and out of thin air for no readily apparent reason.

Sue: What the ****?

The two men are brothers – Milus and Natin (which Sue mishears as ‘Nutty’) – give Servalan a small object. Servalan immediately orders their execution, but when Mori gives them a chance to run, they refuse.

Sue: Why don’t the pacifists run away? I thought they’d be really good at that.

volcano11Tarrant tries to do a deal with Bershar.

Sue: He isn’t getting any less posh, but I still like him. Yes, he looks like he’s walked off an amateur production of The Pirates of Penzance, but he at least he’s dishy. The only problem I have with Tarrant is that he looks too much like Blake.

Me: You’d think they would have taken that into consideration when they cast the part.

Sue: I know. It’s almost as if they were trying to replace Blake even though Blake is still in it.

I pause the DVD.

Me: Is he?

Sue: What do you mean?

Me: Haven’t you worked it out yet?

Sue: Yes, Blake is in the robot costume.

Me: No, he isn’t. Blake’s gone.

I suddenly feel as if I’m telling her that one of her kittens has died.

Sue: What do you mean, Blake’s gone? Gone where?

Me: I mean he isn’t coming back. The actor, Gareth Thomas, got fed up. He wanted to direct a couple of episodes but the BBC told him to sling his hook.

BlakeSue: That’s a bit mean. He couldn’t have done any worse than some of the directors we’ve had to endure. Like this one, for example.

Me: Anyway, that’s it. He’s gone.

Sue: So we’ll never see Blake again?

Me: No. Never.

Sue: Even though his name is in the title of the programme?

Me: I know. It’s weird. Just ask Taggart.

Sue: Then again, what can you do? You can’t change the title of the programme in the middle of a series.

Me: Let’s just say that you can. What would you have called the programme? Avon’s 7?

Sue: Don’t be daft. I’d probably call it The Liberators. Or just Liberator. Something like that.

Me: While we’re on the subject, I’ve got something else to tell you.

Sue: Not Jenna as well?

I offer her a tissue, even though she doesn’t need one.

Sue: Did she want to direct an episode as well?

Me: No, she just wanted the writers to give her something to do.

Sue: You can’t really blame her. She was basically a clothes horse in space towards the end. Oh well. I don’t know what else to say. I didn’t see that coming, but I can’t say I’ll miss them very much.

I resume the episode. I know it’s a pain in the arse but what can you do?

VolcanoServalan returns to her ship (“I hope she brought a packed lunch”) so she can contact the Federation’s battle fleet commander.

Sue: It looks like they dragged a tramp off the street and then they made him sit in a cupboard and film this scene. Servalan’s henchman have really let themselves go.

Servalan’s ship has a very striking design.

Sue: It looks like a dead, upside down crocodile.

Me: That’s exactly what they were aiming for.

It’s all kicking off on Obsidian. Mori has captured Dayna and Tarrant, thanks to the treacherous Bershar, and then, because Vila is so highly strung, three Federation troopers are accidentally teleported to the Liberator.

Sue: Vila, you numpty! Quick, flick the switch the other way before they know what’s happening. Oh, too late.

The Liberator is under attack.

Avon: Battle and navigation computers online.

Zen: Confirmed.

VolcanoAvon: Compute an initial evasion course to take the flank ship in delta seven out of line and into strike range.

Zen: Grid one zero four, standard by six.

Avon: Execute. Stand by the force wall.

Sue: Avon doesn’t need a crew. He can manage quite well on his own. Look at him standing there in his black leather, as cool as you like. I’ve changed my mind: call the show Avon.

Cally tries to warn Avon that the ship has been invaded. Given Paul Darrow’s reaction it’s impossible to tell if she’s been successful or not.

Me: I’m a better telepath than Cally.

Sue: That’s news to me.

Me: I know what you are thinking right now: This is shit.

Sue: It’s… average.

With the Liberator damaged and Avon incapacitated, Mori helps himself to Orac.

Sue: Take him. He’s ****ing useless.

Incredibly, Vila is left in command.

Sue: God help them all.

A little later, Vila and Avon assess the damage over a glass of green.

Avon: A mess.

Sue: Blake’s had worse days than this. Nobody died this time.

Sue finally decides who Bershar reminds her of.

VolcanoSue: It’s Richard E. Grant. Not only does he look like him a bit, he sounds like him as well.

She’s right. And this means we can’t take him seriously from this point on.

Bershar: We must defend ourselves or we’ll die, all of us. I don’t want to die, not for a stupid ideal that can never work!

Sue: I demand the best wines in the land! How does it go again, Neil?

Me: I came on holiday by accident!

Sue: Richard E Grant and Tarrant are trying to out-posh each other. They’ll be challenging each other to a game of polo next.

Hower has heard enough and he sentences his son to death.

Sue: So they’re pacifists but they have the death penalty. How does that work?

Hower explains why everybody leaves them alone, besides the fact they are tedious beyond belief, of course.

Hower: There is a nuclear device buried deep in the heart of the planet. One touch of that button and it blows.

VolcanoSue: I bet this episode ends with Alfred blowing up the planet. It’s so obvious.

Me: Switzerland’s heading for Switzerland.

Sue: Where’s Cally at this point? I’ve completely forgotten.

Me: Ah, yes. Cally. I have something else to tell you, Sue. You see, the actress who played Cally always wanted to turn her hand to directing –

Sue: NO ****ING WAY! They got rid of Cally as well? Doesn’t anyone care enough to stick around long enough to film a goodbye scene? For ****’s sake.

When Cally turns up in Mori’s care a few minutes later, I conclude that the cushion was worth it.

Sue: I really hate you sometimes.

Me: Of course you do. We’re watching ‘Volcano’.

Cally uses her unique brand of shit telepathy to guide Tarrant and Dayna to the rim of the volcano.

Dayna: I can hear something. A voice. It… it says to go forward, there.

Tarrant: All right, that’s what we’ll do.

VolcanoSue: I can’t believe he didn’t check to see if she was drunk before he agreed to that.

Dayna throws a grenade, which sends a Federation trooper tumbling into the hot lava.

Sue: Nice try. Looked shit, though.

Meanwhile, the Liberator is completely stuck.

Zen: The energy banks still require two minutes before power will be available to make navigation speed.

Avon: We’ll be dead by then.

Zen: One minute fifty-nine seconds.

Sue: This is worse than waiting for your iPhone to charge.

Down on the planet, Hower presses the big red button and the nuke goes off.

Sue: That’s an impressive body count for a pacifist. I bet Servalan escaped, though. She’s bound to be on the next alien planet they just happen to turn up on.

VolcanoThe episode ends on a bit of a downer.

Cally: She lost, and we lost. Only the Pyroans won.

Vila: If that’s winning, I’ll take losing every time.

Sue: **** off, Vila.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue turned to me, shrugged her shoulders and made a funny noise:

Sue: Ewurgh.

Me: What’s that supposed to mean?

Sue: It means, I don’t know what else to say. It was just… ewurgh.

4/10

Me: Bloody hell, that’s generous.

Sue: Nobody cares what you think, Neil. And it wasn’t that bad. I’ve seen a lot worse. And look on the bright side: Blake’s gone.

Next Time:

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