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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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101 comments

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    May 8, 2014 12:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “they wanted Servalan to take a more active role in the series”

    I guess with Travis gone, she has to to do all the hands on stuff herself now.

    Not too bad an episode on rewatching it, but yep, pretty average overall.

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      May 8, 2014 12:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Robert Dick

      >I guess with Travis gone, she has to to do all the hands on stuff herself now

      TAKE TWO: I guess with Travis gone, she has to to do all the hands on hips stuff herself now

      • May 8, 2014 1:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Alex Wilcock

        That’s the worst thing about this episode. Heels, maybe, but she doesn’t even have as good a frock as Michael Gough.

        From now on (or Aftermath on), for me, the redeeming feature of many a terrible episode is the juxtaposition of beach / quarry / municipal dump with Jacquie Pearce striding calming across it in a cocktail frock. It may irritate Sue, but with some stories there’s not much else to look forward to.

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          May 8, 2014 2:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Robert Dick

          Much the same as ever then, only now we have more Jacks (never *ever* Jackie) on location.

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    May 8, 2014 12:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
    John Miller

    Can’t remember this one at all. And Neil shouldn’t have told about Blake and Jenna, and let it just be a creeping feeling.

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      May 8, 2014 12:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Robert Dick

      I wouldn’t have told her either. But presumably viewers knew at the time, and if he felt it was starting to get in the way of Sue just enjoying the episodes on their own terms then he was right to do so.

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        May 8, 2014 2:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Chris Allen

        “But presumably viewers knew at the time”

        There was definitively press coverage at the time that gave the game away. So the very odd shots of the empty flight deck at the start of “Aftermath” and the lack of Blake and Jenna in the escape capsule sequence made the dramatic constraints of their off-screen departure all too obvious.

        Re-watching series 3 it seems that Blake does at least get mentioned in conversation more than I remembered. It seemed at the time that he was quickly forgotten.

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    May 8, 2014 12:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Dick

    Series three is the best season – Volcano tests that. It’s not the only one.

    Have I mentioned Boucher’s Guide to Rating a Season. Four episodes will be poor. Four will good. Four will be great. It’s where that thirteenth episode falls that judges what your season has been.

    • May 8, 2014 1:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Alex Wilcock

      That’s an interesting one – thanks!

      Only works for Seasons Two and Four, though, in my opinion: One’s got a lot more that’s middling than either extreme, and for me there’s almost no middle at all in Three – they tend to be either brilliant, and more of those than in any other season, or downright stinkers, similarly. So perhaps the “Three is the best” depends on whether you look at the good bits or the bad bits.

      My own suggestion about how people judge a season is where the great, the OK and the A*****s fall rather than how many there are. One starts brilliantly so it’s easy to forgive the filler; Four front-loads its loads of old rubbish, so by the time it gets to a string of great episodes people have made up their mind. As ever, YMMV.

      I’d also be tempted to say ‘Judge them by how much Boucher is in them,’ which I suspect Chris would agree with but Sue wouldn’t.

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        May 8, 2014 6:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
        DPC

        Series 3 is an oddball, but I’m finding the style more watchable than series 1 or 2 – despite those two years having different/arguably better material.

        I used to dislike series 3, but thanks to “Wife and Blake” I’ve not only had a chance to revisit it to reacquaint, and finding her take very refreshing… much thanks!

        Series 4 rocks, IMHO… won’t spoil any episodes, though.

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    May 8, 2014 12:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jonathan Baldwin

    I used to live in Ripon – didn’t recognise the location. Is it Brimham Rocks?

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    May 8, 2014 1:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    I quite enjoyed this one when I watched it for the first time recently, not half as bad as i remembered but it is filler and a bit of a waste for an actor as good as Goth. He would have been much better cast as a Federation character though I guess that probably would have been too obvious.

    The ‘android’ is hilarious – it even pre-dates the Buck Rodgers school of ‘futuristic’ design 🙂

  • May 8, 2014 1:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    Don’t worry, Sue. I didn’t work it out either. My husband had to give me the “Blake’s gone and he’s not coming back” talk at around this point, too.

    There were many swear words used.

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      May 8, 2014 1:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Ian

      It was certainly common knowledge at the time – the press and the Radio Times ran features on the new cast, and Chris Boucher was reported as saying (in regards to the title still being Blake’s 7) something along the lines of ‘the Queen’s Hussars are still the Queen’s Hussars even when the Queen’s not there.’

      I remember a letter in the Radio Times praising the new series but saying it should have been renamed ‘Avon’s Revenge’ 🙂

      So yes, Sue’s not being told anything viewers wouldn’t have known at the time.

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        May 8, 2014 7:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Harriet

        Oh, yes, I remember the Avon’s Revenge letter!

        It wasn’t me.

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        May 9, 2014 12:07 amPosted 2 years ago
        Nick

        I remember him being quoted saying that. I also remember the interminable, peruile piss-taking by Terry Wogan on his radio show about “How can dey call it Blake’s Seven?’ He en’t even in it en there’s not even seven of ’em.”

        But the escape capsule bit at the start of Aftermath is a define “offscreen clunker”. Mind you, Wogan et all had to eat their words later on…

        No spoilers, Sweetie!

      • May 9, 2014 1:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Michelle

        I saw Blake’s 7 for the first time way, way back in 2013 🙂

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        May 9, 2014 2:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        Starburst had interviews in 1979 with “the new young cast”, as well as the oldsters (I think they were recording an episode at the time which Michael Keating really liked…) and also David Maloney who came up with the Hussars line. They did mention Blake and Jenna had gone and been replaced by Dayna and Tarrant, with Tarrant being Jenna’s replacement as she was the pilot/smuggler, whereas Blake like Dayna had a personal vendetta against the Federation and the person who’d killed his/her loved ones (Travis for Blake, Servalan for Dayna)!

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    May 8, 2014 1:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Oh God, it’s Allan Prior again. Miasma bolts launched and running.

    When Tarrant points like an idiot and incredulously barks “What’s that!?”, is he asking about Michael Gough’s stilted pomposity, or the lumpen nuclear parable, grid reference right in his face? Better start running.

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    May 8, 2014 1:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ian Banks

    I watched this episode all the way through once, when the videos were released in the early 90s. I’ve never been able to finish it since, despite watching the series with my wife and then my kids. It just starts, middles and ends with nothing much going on.

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    May 8, 2014 2:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Marian de Haan

    I rather like this story. It has a nice pace except for the boring Pyroan bits but I always fast forward through those. I like especially that for once Avon, upon spotting Servalan, is doing the sensible thing by teleporting back to the Liberator at once! That gets it an extra point. Plus, there’s a volcano in it. (I love stories with volcanoes in them, especially when there’s a mighty eruption at the end.) That’s good for another extra point. As I would have rated this episode 6/10, that makes it 8/10 for me.

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    May 8, 2014 5:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Gareth M

    This story always reminds me of The Dominators. It’s got a volcano, some pacifists, some people with bad dress sense who’re slightly camp. There’s aggressors whose fashion tilts towards black.

    This episode, like many deserves a ‘good try’ award. They’re trying. Trying to make it a science fiction show in different settings.
    Everything with Avon on board the Liberator is interesting. Paul Darrow manages to make the battle sequences interesting through mostly barking orders.

    In series 1 or 2 this story probably would have had a generic (and disposable) Federation leader rather than Servalan turning up.

    Having her in the story would probably get a bit tedious, but it’s Servalan.
    It does seem like now there’s been this big war she’s had to start doing things herself rather than sending minions to do it for her. Maybe she doesn’t have any minions left, or doesn’t trust her minions because Travis went bad, or badder.

    This was a moderate story for Dayna and Tarrant, but it doesn’t really enlighten on their characters much.
    Was Cally in this story? All I remember is her doing some ‘beckoning’.

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      May 8, 2014 6:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      Seconded.

      Or “The Daleks”, which is one of the rare times a story involving pacifism actually works. Of course, David Whittaker edited it and his stories were always well above average in WHO…

      It does deserve an award for making an attempt – but something that should be making the story be more than the sum of its parts just isn’t there…

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    May 8, 2014 5:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robin Brown

    Some of my very earliest TV memories concern being utterly baffled by Blake’s 7 and the cast. I always thought that Tarrant was Blake because he had curly hair; I also thought that Avon was Blake, because he was in charge. If Blake had returned it probably would have blown my mind.

    I came to appreciate Stephen Pacey on my recent rewatch – he’s pretty good, especially considering he was about 17 or something at the time. Not sure I’ve ever seen someone do so much acting with their teeth.

    As for Volcano, it’s one of three or four B7 episodes I’ve never finished. Dull as ditchwater.

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      May 8, 2014 10:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      Almost as baffled as I was when I first watched Space Fall. I thought Paul Darrow was Patrick Troughton. I then thought that that the computer console room that Avon, Blake and Jenna were occupying was the Tardis control room. I came up with a theory that they were saving money by using old Doctor Who scenes as part of the episode. A strange theory even if I was only 8 years old.

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      May 9, 2014 12:10 amPosted 2 years ago
      Nick

      I remember at the time how Steven Pacey was played up as a sex symbol and he seemed to crop up on loads of game shows and chat shows.

      Tarrant may have been fairly one dimensional as a charcter, but that was one dimension more than Blake ever was.

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        May 9, 2014 10:07 amPosted 2 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        I remember in the B7 reunion documentary made to go along with the dismal Barry Letts audio efforts of the late 90s, Steven Pacey is asked about whether Tarrant’s personality as a young juvenile lead, and the first words Steven comes back with are “Which personality is that then?” 🙂

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        May 22, 2014 5:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        He is cute. And he does have a nice accent like the rest of them. It’s nice to hear these accents because if I ever see UK TV now, everyone either has a kind of mid-Atlantic accent or something so hideously, deliberately uneducated that I can’t bear it. Jesus, people used to aspire to have more than just money and fame.
        I sometimes play youtube Jeremy Kyle for my Chinese students (I am a private tutor, so I can do what I want) and they are always as round-eyed as a Chinese gets. Round-eyed and “O-mouth” as they call it. They literally cant believe it and they are totally hypnotised: the ugliness, the harshness of the voices, the swearing and the hanging out of the most personal laundry. A street sleeper in HK wouldnt do this.
        I bet if they remade this now, they’d give them all horrible voices. Well, Avon would work if it was a Mancunian accent and I’m not just saying that because I am from there. It’s the only one deadpan enough, plus Avon complains all the time and so do we, it’s our default mode.
        Blake…I guess he could have a Scots accent. That might work, but not Glasgow.

        And Jenna could have a sexy Geordie one..it’s a knicker-dropping accent, Geordie. After Manc, its the coolest.

        Cally could be ethereal Welsh.

        And of course no scouse, not even for Vila. No and no and no. Actually, it would likely work. No no. I just imagined it. Unendurable. Leeds instead.

        And Tarrant can be a poncey southern jessie.

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      May 9, 2014 9:57 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      A true guilty pleasure for any name-spotting Who or B7 fan is Whodunnit, with Jon Pertwee. You’d be amazed how many alumni from both shows turn up as guest actors, including Steven Pacey (who actually *was* about 17 at the time), and the Darrow having entirely too much fun as the Inspector of the Week. It only goes entirely off the rails into the realms of parody in the episode with Katy Manning, because panelist Terry Scott just can’t help himself.

      • May 10, 2014 12:36 amPosted 2 years ago
        carey

        It only goes entirely off the rails into the realms of parody in the episode with Katy Manning, because panelist Terry Scott just can’t help
        To a curlywhirly?

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    May 8, 2014 6:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nick

    Me: We’ve visited this location. About fifteen years ago, I think. It’s in Ripon.

    Sue: 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

    I think there’s scope for a new blog here – Adventuers with the Wife and Neil… 😉

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    May 8, 2014 6:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    DPC

    Hmmm, an android with blue balls doesn’t make me think “classic episode” is the right description…

    The plot is a cliche and Michael Gough is wasting his talents. I’m amazed the actors got through while making it.

    The first two eps of series 3 suggest a new arc, with finding Blake and Jenna. As early as this episode everyone on screen acts as if those two never existed. Even series 2’s arc was better handled, and arcs were still experimental at best in the industry.

    I adore how Sue wants it to become “The Avon Show”.

    And do hang on, Sue, as there are a number of better episodes coming. “Volcano” is easily in my bottom-4 list. I had rewatched series 3 over the last 2 weeks and there’s one episode (or two) in series 3 that I think you might give at least 9/10 to, if not more… 🙂

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      May 9, 2014 10:00 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Thankfully, Paul Darrow and blue androids wouldn’t come together in quite such a disastrous combination ever again.

      Oh shit, hang on.

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        May 10, 2014 10:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
        DPC

        LOL!

        But Paul Darrow does the ham right – “Timelash” is remarkably watchable thanks to him and Colin Baker having their contest to see who can chew up the most scenery in 30 seconds. I luv ’em both! Still, “Timelash” had some potential in there for being a potentially good story, but… blech. A good story with both those actors would go a long way…

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          May 11, 2014 10:03 amPosted 2 years ago
          Nick

          … And, of course, without the sock puppet at the end! 🙂

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      May 22, 2014 5:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      actually, all that stuff about education through electric shocks and brainwashing seemed to have been nabbed straight from Brave New World.

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    May 8, 2014 6:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    The big mistake they made with this episode was having Tarrant and Dayna as the leads – we don’t really know them yet, so it’s hard to care what they get up to. There’s some decent stuff with Avon and Vila later on, but overall it’s pretty average. And perhaps setting it on the slopes of an active volcano was a bit ambitious, as there’s no location in Britain that would look anything near appropriate…

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    May 8, 2014 8:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mark Taylor

    “Look on the bright side, Blake’s gone”

    My thoughts exactly!

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      May 10, 2014 10:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      Aye.

      I rewatched all of series 3 over the last week and my love for it has grown rather a lot. There is a new dynamic and, as much as I adore Blake and Jenna, their replacements (Dayna, Tarrant) often end up getting far more interesting things to do as the episodes go by, compared to what Blake and Jenna got…

      The show almost seems better with the new cast and formula, even if I have various nitpicks at times…

  • May 8, 2014 8:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    encyclops

    I don’t mind Volcano — like the other Allan Prior stuff, it’s dull and poorly structured, but there’s the germ of a worthwhile idea in there somewhere.

    I never get tired of seeing Servalan walk through quarry planets in heels. Absolutely fabulous.

  • May 8, 2014 9:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    Interesting that Tarrant compares the liberator crew with ‘other mercenary groups’.

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    May 8, 2014 9:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    I’m with Sue on this one – very dull, very series two and the first clunker since The Keeper. But then, any episode that names the inhabitants of a Volcanic planet ‘Pyroans’ deserves everything it gets.

    1 mark for the comedy, cut-price C-3PO who appears to be the bastard child of The Tin Man and Twiiki.

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      May 8, 2014 11:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Richard Baker

      I’ve always thought the planet’s called Obsidian because it’s volcanic and the inhabitants are called Pyroans because their ultimate victory is Pyrrhic.

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        May 9, 2014 3:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        I thought it was because they ended up as pyromaniacs

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          May 22, 2014 5:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Or on the funeral pyre.

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    May 8, 2014 9:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Dull. Features the most pointless robot in sci-fi history. And it is NOT 3 points better than Trial.

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      May 8, 2014 10:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      A mate of mine was more impressed than me because of the references to Brave New World, but perhaps he was just easily impressed by anything that gave a veneer of intellectual credibility to a crappy sci-fi programme!

      Interesting that family loyalties are a theme here as in previous Allan Prior scripts (not that interesting though).

      I quite like the mystery around why the planet has never been invaded, but I’m not convinced that blowing up your entire world (presumably including children) on a point of pacifist principle makes sense. Maybe that’s why it was rumoured that Blake was hiding there, he could have slotted in well with his warped morality.

      The only good bits are when the Liberator is captured. Good idea as a one-off, just as long as they don’t do it again – that would get a bit tiresome

      I do agree with Sue 100% on this point :
      “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.”

      As I said, a dull episode. Surely next week’s episode will be better … won’t it?

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        May 9, 2014 2:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        All the stuff about the nuke under the volcano leaking radiation is a bit weird. Bershar’s made up to look like he’s a bit ill, and it’s implied the whole population are slowly dying, infertile, or both. Presumably a metaphor for the dangers of living on the slopes of an active volcano (like real-life people do on Earth, today). But it might explain their willingness to end it all early, especially if there are no children or anyone younger than Bershar to worry about. I think Dr Who’s “The Leisure Hive” did it slightly better.

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          May 9, 2014 11:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
          wyngatecarpenter

          ” Presumably a metaphor for the dangers of living on the slopes of an active volcano (like real-life people do on Earth, today). ”

          Funny you should mention that, me and the wife had our honeymoon in Serento in sight of Vesuvius. Several thousand people still live on the slopes of Vesuvius. As it is predicted that there will be a massive eruption early this century the govt offers people financial incentives to relocate. Many people take the money then move back to Vesuvius. It’s got good soil for growing tomatoes, which seems to be a better reason for staying than the Pyroans have.

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    May 8, 2014 10:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Yesterday my 2 year old son pointed to my DVD shelf and said “Maybe watch Blakes 7”.
    This followed him waking up from his afternoon nap a couple of weeks ago halfway through Season 4 Ep 2. Not perhaps what I should have shown to a child, but there you go

  • Visit site
    May 9, 2014 2:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    “My son, the animal rules you” is probably the worst line in the history of screenwriting, including the white powdery ones in rolled-up banknotes.

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      May 9, 2014 11:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      Not sure it’s even the worst line in Blakes 7. Brian Croucher has been kocked a lot here but it can’t have helped that in his first episode he had to deliver something like “You used me as an automatic thought tracer”

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        May 9, 2014 11:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        I meant “Brian Croucher has been KNOCKED a lot here”. What I wrote suggests something very different.

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        May 10, 2014 10:31 amPosted 2 years ago
        Nick

        Hmmm… I wouldn’t put it past Servalan to own a strap-on.

        No. Let’s not GO there!

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

          Shipping much, Nick??

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      May 10, 2014 6:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      But something Wyngate will soon be saying to the two year old son if he’s brought up on the Blakes7 philosophy of life. Do unto others before the Bs do it to you and teleport out. Pre school’s gonna love him.

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        May 10, 2014 6:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        My son the animal rules you I mean. Can never get my replies in the right slot

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    May 9, 2014 3:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Survivors of a galactic pantomime? If only! Needed a lot more oomph and snarks to lift it. Too much pastel chiffon. Not enough studs and leather. Pleased to see a federation thug buying it at the rim though.

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    May 9, 2014 6:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    San

    I keep waiting to hear comments about the changed intro music… shall it pass unscathed?!

    As superpowers go, wiggling ears beats Cally’s telepathy. Those bits actively annoyed me, seemed to go forever.

    Michael Gough, by my reckoning, is the best actor to be wasted in B7, but hey, at least he’s there. Makes me sad the first references are always to blasted Batman, he did so much fabulous work, “The small back room”, “Blackeyes”, the demented Bluebeard in the 1953 Sherlock Holmes series with Ronald Howard (these are findable on that site with vids) etc.

    Not a sparkler, this story, but better than either Hostage or Keeper. Btw, if they had to live with that noise all the time, I suppose suicide wasn’t all that grim a prospect.

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      May 9, 2014 7:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Gareth

      What do you mean by “changed intro music”? The theme’s still the same.

      • Visit site
        May 9, 2014 11:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
        San

        The arrangement isn’t.

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    May 9, 2014 7:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Angela R.

    And this is the point at which my interest in the show began to fade a little, both as an child and as an adult viewer. I was clearly a very series 1 and 2 child, since I have vivid memories of the cast from those series, but couldn’t remember Dayna and Soolin at all before a rewatch a few years back. I have no childhood memories of any episode of the show after this point, until we reach Orbit….

    There are still some strong episodes to come, but without Blake and Jenna (and in particular the frisson of ideological conflict between Blake and Avon) and with no series “arc”, I find the “bog standard” episodes like “Volcano” have less re-watch value. This is also the point where I start to regard the reappearance of Servalan with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

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      May 10, 2014 9:11 amPosted 2 years ago
      Annie's

      If you truly believe in something you have to be prepared to die for it. Blake believes in the revolution Avon doesn’t. He plays the percentages and only risks if doing so increases his chances of survival. That’s what the rest of the stories focus on. Its a choice we all face on a smaller scale – when, if ever, do we choose to act from principle against our self interest not enlightened? How often do we confuse the two? My problem with Blake was that he expects everyone to be prepared to die for his principles. Avon just expects them to do what he advises if they want to survive and not get in his way. From now on Blakes 7 offers a cold cold view of the world unmitigated by sentiment ( Star Trek) which is why panto is needed. It makes it bearable!!

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    May 10, 2014 9:10 amPosted 2 years ago
    Katy

    Volcano is one of my least liked episodes… so I’m astonished it managed to scrape a 4/10 😉

    Mostly showed up to say – I’ve never heard that Gareth Thomas left because he wanted to direct before. Which doesn’t mean it’s not true, it’s just odd. From everything I’ve heard and read (‘Blakes 7: The Inside Story’ and Darrow’s autobiography spring to mind), he left because he went up to Trevor Nunn in a bar and said ‘I’m Blake from Blake’s 7 – can I have a GOOD part in your Shakespeare now?’ and Trevor Nunn said ‘yes, all right’ and made him Orsino, which IS a good part.

    • Visit site
      May 10, 2014 11:06 amPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      I think he was unhappy in the part but said he would have considered staying if he could have directed a couple of episodes, I so he could portray Blake the way he wanted.

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      May 10, 2014 12:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
      rob

      Orsino is a good part but ironically most people only remember Gareth for ‘Blake’s 7’ – other than Dr Who, it’s the only show people seem to remember and still talk about from that ‘golden era’ of BBC drama.
      Gareth revealed in later years that he asked to direct a few episodes if he would stay having tried and failed to get on an internal BBC Directors course.
      As Chris Boucher once remarked – there was an awful lot of Cambridge/Oxford snobbery towards B7 within the BBC – they pretty much hated it but Boucher was convinced that his writing on B7 was better than those Play For Today efforts that would get Radio Times covers. Gareth was somewhat affected by this snobbery though in terms of B7 – I think his departure actually made the series more popular.

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        May 10, 2014 2:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Katy

        Interesting – thanks both for the replies. I didn’t know he was interested in directing at all.

        From the sounds of both replies though, I think probably Rob’s discussion of how he (and the rest of the Beeb) didn’t really take the show seriously is the real reason he wanted to leave – and Shakespeare was something he did and does take seriously, and something he really wanted to get back into. I still think from the sounds of it that maybe directing might have made the whole B7 package more interesting to him, but ultimately it just wasn’t what he wanted to do and he might of stayed anyway… if he hadn’t been given a better offer. Which he was.

        Which is a shame, because you’re right – he is still known for being Blake. And I’d argue he was very good at it, whereas I recently bought a recording of him as Claudius in ‘Hamlet’ (also starring Christopher Timothy) and it is not all that.

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          May 10, 2014 10:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Rob

          I totally with you that Gareth was brilliant at portraying Blake. He’s a terrific actor and I honestly think that brought a lot of depth to ‘Blake’s 7’. Without giving anything away, it is hard to imagine B7 without Gareth.

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      May 10, 2014 2:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Angela R.

      I think that Gareth talks about wanting to direct on the Kevin Davies documentary that B7 Enterprises rejected for the B7 box-sets.

      • Visit site
        May 10, 2014 5:01 pmPosted 2 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        He certainly talked about it on the Cult Of Blakes 7 documentary that was on a few years ago (BBC 4 I think). Boucher also says in the same doc that Thomas had started hanging around with a crowd of pretensious actors who were very sneery about Blakes 7.

        • Visit site
          May 10, 2014 6:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          A bit rich if the man who had recently been the male lead in Star Maidens had decided to leave on grounds of personal taste or production values. :p

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    May 11, 2014 10:09 amPosted 2 years ago
    Nick

    Not sure if anyone’s raised this before – and sorry if you have – but what with the discussions about Terry Nation and his wish to have the Daleks in B7, would the Cybermen have worked as a credible villian in B7?

    Their most recent Who appearance was Revenge of the Cybermen in 1975 when they looked distinctly Dalek-shabby, and the new revamped Cybermen wouldn’t be unveiled until Earthshock in 1982.

    In fact, does Blake’s 7 occupy the same reality as Dr Who?

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      May 11, 2014 1:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      It doesn’t seem to – compared to Dr Who, the Blakes 7 galaxy seems to have far fewer intelligent alien races in it. I suppose if the Federation had destroyed the Draconians, Alpha Centaurians, Arcturans, Ice Warriors, Cybermen, Daleks, etc then it might be made to fit but honestly what would be the point? (And I don’t count those lying Kaldor City audios…)

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        May 13, 2014 9:10 amPosted 2 years ago
        John Miller

        But the repeated alien attacks on Earth could well have been the reason to create the space mines. The only non-humans this side of the mines would be the Ice Warriors, who were in hibernation or far away from Mars at the time. It would also provide the reason for the militaristic society, and the total distrust of anything or anybody that doesn’t conform to the Federation ideal.

        • Visit site
          May 13, 2014 7:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Frankymole

          What space mines?

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      May 23, 2014 11:20 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Are you saying that because of that silver robot? lol

      I don’t think these crossover ideas are that good really…but I dont know why I dont like it.

  • May 12, 2014 2:07 amPosted 2 years ago
    Elizabeth Lang

    “And look on the bright side: Blake’s gone.”

    I share your sentiment.

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    May 12, 2014 1:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Marky Mark

    Am I the only one who actually liked Blake ?! I do miss him, although I have to say that :

    1. Avon is an excellent leader, who gets great lines, and
    2. I miss Jenna more !!

    This exchange regarding Dayna…

    Vila: Pretty? Yes, I suppose she is. I hadn’t really noticed.

    Avon: We’ve seen you not really noticing, frequently.

    …is probably my favourite conversation of the series to this date. Just loved it !!

    And I can never tire of seeing Servalan clambering in completely inappropriate high heels over rocks, etc.

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      May 12, 2014 4:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      I found Blake a manipulative bully and I never really understood the concern the crew felt for him. He seemed to be so sure of his moral high ground and his justification to Jenna in Spacefall “not til the honest man’ blah blah struck me then ( way way back) and still strikes me as patronising wank. But I’ve never been one for causes although standing up to be counted is a different thing. And he wasn’t even hot!!

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        May 12, 2014 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Smile

        I think they’re all flawed characters to a greater or lesser extent really, some better developed than others. These days, I tend to find Cally probably the closest to a sympathetic character among the regulars.

        • Visit site
          May 12, 2014 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Smile

          Although I suppose that Gan might also qualify. Provided his limiter wasn’t playing up, he usually seemed to be the most easygoing of them.

      • Visit site
        May 12, 2014 5:53 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Mark Mark

        I certainly agree that Blake wasn’t hot, but then none of them is, are they ? Vila is quite sweet, I suppose, but that’s as far as my compliments go

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          May 12, 2014 8:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Marky Marky Marky! Avon
          is sooo hot he out -hots the volcano!!

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        May 23, 2014 11:43 amPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        I actually thought Blake was pretty handsome. I liked it when he would chew at his thumb in an indecisive way, it humanized him, because he certainly did seem to be a manipulative bully indeed. And ironically, Avon bosses people about, is astonishingly rude, showers people with insults all day long…yet you feel his humanity right from the start. (dont say anything, Annie, about ‘feeling his humanity!)

        Blake needed humanizing much much more. It was no use to hear “they butchered my family and friends: what family? Why did they do that? Why are you a revolutionary anyway?

        It was at its best when Blake warned Del Grant not to harm Avon, because “he’s a friend of mine” and I’ll get you…

        How about that final line about “I have always trusted you”. How does that square with “I think Avon might run”? Which is for real? Does that mean Blake acknowledges how deeply Avon feels about him and always knew it?

        I just wish Blake had been acted with a bit more subtlety and may be it is a mistake in some ways to have one actor so good he just blows the rest away…I really found by series 2 only Vila had any vividness…and maybe Orac! He has good personality!

        There was just too much…missing. It needed a link, like when you write an essay! We heard they had been committing mayhem all over the show, but where? A situation map, please. I had this sort of bewildered feeling a lot of the time.

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          May 23, 2014 12:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Nick

          Maybe in the re-make he should be played more like David Brent or Andy Millman… Oh hang on…

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            May 23, 2014 3:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            lol! That’s actually a brilliant idea! David Brent on the Liberator! With Chris Finch getting off with Jenna…and that slimy Neil undermining David…I knew that Neil was dodgy right from when I saw he was big mates with the despicable Finch…

            So lets see, David would be Blake, perhaps Finch could be a bad Avon, would Gareth or Tim be Vila? No Tim would be Vila and Gareth, with being a soldier and all, would be Gan.

            Quiz night on the Liberator….Training Day….

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            May 23, 2014 8:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            Have you ever seen Blake’s Junction 7, an affectionate sort of B7 spoof made about ten years ago, in which Martin Freeman, Tim from The Office, played Vila? Mackenzie Crook, who had previously played Gareth, was Servalan too…

          • Visit site
            May 23, 2014 11:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Nick

            Heard of it but never seen it. I guess it’s on You Tube?

          • Visit site
            May 23, 2014 8:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            It did even have an authentic B7 cast member in it, Peter Tuddenham, who voiced Orac again for them too.

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      May 12, 2014 9:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Angela R.

      I think there are reasonable number of fans who like Blake and I am one of them. However, Blake is definitely a focus for the “love to hate” kind of fans. Those who dislike other characters do not seem to feel the need to bring the subject up constantly. I think this alienates fans of Blake from the fandom in general and deters them from posting their views. It certainly deterred me and still does to some extent. As others have pointed out, all of the cast are flawed human beings, so it seems unfair that Blake should cop so much vitriol.

      As far as looks etc are concerned, I find Blake as attractive as Avon, though I’m clearly out of step with the vast majority of the fans in this respect!

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        May 13, 2014 6:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Good for you. Stand by your man!

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      May 13, 2014 9:17 amPosted 2 years ago
      John Miller

      You are not alone. Blake was a great character, and a great leader. And Gareth is a magnificent actor.

      Unfortunately he was a realistic flawed leader at a time when characters had to be two-dimensional heroes.

      And of course Avon was always going to be better. When the number two character is far more interesting than the effective lead it tends to do some damage. But the Blake-Avon dynamic was a brilliant one, and that’s sorely missing from now on.

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    May 21, 2014 3:39 amPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    @ Katy & Rob:

    According to Chris Boucher as quoted on the Edinburgh Dr Who Group site, Thomas left the series after it was panned in the Evening Standard, and the actress Sian Phillips (sp?) effectively asked him “Why are you doing this crap?”.

  • Visit site
    May 22, 2014 5:01 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    That episode was absolutely terrible. I cannot believe Sue gave it a 4. I wouldn’t even give it 1 if Avon hadn’t looked cool running the place and also got hurt, which was cute and adorable.
    Imagine if there had been no Avon at all…not good for an ensemble thing, to be so dependent on one guy like this.

    And furthermore, since the teleport bracelets, what’s left of them, are always taken off them instanter, meaning that there’s always a strong chance of Vila putting through troopers or pirates or slave-traders, or even Travis (“Teleport! The word is Teleport!”) why doesnt clever fucking know-it-all Avon fit up some device to stop this? Program it to disintegrate non-welcome personnel? Or just set off an alarm, an intruder alarm, even one of those sensor lights…my friend has one and hedgehogs can set it off, it’s so sensitive. They dont even seem to have an on-board speaker-com. People are constantly nabbed in the teleport room while the flight deck is oblivious. Avon, fit up a CCTV! It isn’t rocket science!

    I mean, that really is obvious. Protect the front door, seriously. At least put a chain and a bowl so the intruders think you’ve got a big dog. I bet they dont even leave the bathroom light on when they go out.

    They never seem to learn from experience! Take extra teleport bracelets…and sew them into your clothes! Make them into hair ornaments!

    In the Middle Ages, they used to believe that the reason there were so many Nails From the True Cross, and bits of the Cross itself, and bushels of Thorns from the Crown, etc, was because they could magically reproduce themselves. (Amazing, absolutely amazing that when people noticed how many there were, they fed them this explanation). Could this be true of teleport bracelets, because they have reproduced a full rack now?
    And for fuck’s sake, Cally’s telepathy is ridiculous. Didnt they think to tell Tarrant and Dayna about it? “I can hear a voice…” I mean, does it not sound like Cally when you hear it in your head? If not, how would you not think you were losing it? And how come Avon can’t hear it in the next room? Not very impressive for a genius, Avon. Doesnt Servalan know? Doesnt she warn her myrmidons: watch out when you capture the brown-haired one, she can possibly speak in people’s heads although honestly Emu could have done better. Wouldnt it be wise to knock Cally out?

    After the last two episodes which were so storming as well. I dont get it. do the writers have to work alone? dont they have a team? I can never get ideas alone but just someone for a sounding board and its easy.

    Love the word myrmidons. Myrmidons, issues and hoodwinked, all good words.

    • Visit site
      May 22, 2014 6:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Smile

      Clive James referred to her troopers as myrmidons in his Observer review of The Harvest of Kairos… he wasn’t keen on the episode. Paul Darrow obviously read it at least as he made an amused reference to it in one of his B7 Monthly articles.

      • Visit site
        May 23, 2014 12:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Really? It’s an under-used word. Achilles’ lads, wasn’t it? His crew or posse or whatever the Greeks called it.

        What B7 monthly articles? Was it a newsletter or something?
        And I don’t like clive James. He’s so snooty. Sounds like lots of people were snooty about B7. I saw a documentary on youtube, I think its that cult of Blake’s 7 one, and the cast were reading original critical responses to the show and they were uniformly negative, which just shows you that critics are absolute dicks.
        It’s thanks to fucking critics we have all this bollocks of modern art, and if you want to see art that actually gives you that ‘beyond’ feeling, you have to go and see Chinese art, as they still value hard-earned skill on top of talent. Somebody explained to me that Chinese artists meditate very powerfully and then they feel something take them and spirit and mind and brush all move as one to make the brush-stroke…then people who have learned to appreciate art can also be lifted into this zone by viewing it. Whereas Western artists work more chaotically by deranging the senses. But now, its all these ‘challenging’ ideas…no skill at all. I just think it is only entertainment. And its all promoted by critics who say the rest of us are too dull to understand.

        Sorry. Rant over. I hate it though, a society without beauty or higher aim. Seems only actors are creating art now.

        Or maybe a living artwork, like Avon! (No, I am serious).

        Anyway, poor Gareth looked genuinely hurt when he was reading these rotten reviews. He was all defensive about it. The others were, like, shrugging it off with a laugh, but they looked hurt too. I don’t think Paul Darrow was on this.

        So the hell with the critics, just shows what they know. They do this on purpose, to make themselves look superior.

        • Visit site
          May 23, 2014 12:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Smile

          Blake’s 7 Monthly was a comic or magazine published for probably the 8 – 12 ish age market, between about September 1981 and August 1983. Ran for 23 issues, along with a special or two. It was mainly based around the fourth series, as that was current at the time, and had comic strips, text stories, interviews with the cast, episode guides, joke pages – I’m sure some will remember ‘Vila’s Gags’, which would be a set of sci-fi themed cartoons – and production photos from the making of the series.

          Paul Darrow wrote quite a few articles for it. He had a regular column from issues 6 – 13, called ‘Paul Darrow writes for you’, if I recall correctly, where he detailed in fairly light hearted fashion his memories of the making of each series of B7, about two issues per series. He followed that up with articles about the various women in Avon’s life, and about his favourite episodes, and all that kind of thing.

          • Visit site
            May 23, 2014 3:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Thanks! It sounds like you have collected the…or you have some memory there!
            How cute of Paul to do that. He does sound like a sweetheart.

          • Visit site
            May 23, 2014 10:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Angela R.

            I heard that B7 monthly was pitched at teenage boys, though I have never seen a copy. But I read somewhere that the majority of readers were actually women in their twenties. I wonder why that was….

        • Visit site
          June 8, 2014 6:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anna

          Actually Clive James loved Blakes 7 and often reviewed it in his weekly TV column for The Observer, in very positive terms.

          I would not describe him as snooty and actually I would say that he was a critic who applauded art and craftsmanship and real learning, exactly the sort of thing you’re talking about with Chinese Art.

  • Visit site
    June 6, 2014 4:29 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    I bought every issue of B7 Monthly from the age of 13 onwards. In 1983 when the BBC were forced to repeat season 4, they also promised that they would never bring the show back and with that, B7 monthly announced that it would;t continue. News of that was almost as bad as reading The Daily Mirror’s massive spoiler of how the series would end – 8 hours before that episode aired….

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