Monday, 29 April 2013

A8 Duel

EPISODE: A8 Duel

BROADCAST: 20/02/1978
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 1

"Blake is sitting up in a tree, Travis is sitting up in another tree. Unless they're planning to throw nuts at one another, I don't see much of a fight developing before it gets light."

Travis locates Blake in orbit round a planet where the Liberator is recharging it's energy banks. Blake, Jenna & Gan teleport down to the planet to explore where they find huge carved statues and an endless field of graves. Gan briefly glimpses two women watching them but when Blake and Jenna look they are gone leading Gan to think his limited has malfunctioned. They sight the pursuit ships in orbit and teleport back to the Liberator. The Liberator is attacked by the pursuit ships firing Plasma Bolts but stands it's ground with judicious use of it's force wall. Blake attempts to ram Travis' command ship but as he fires time slows on both ships. The ships are held in space a short distance from each other as Blake & Travis are teleported to the planet by Giroc, the keeper, and Sinofar, the guardian. The ships are held in position by their power and the crews released to observe what happens on the planet. They explain how warfare consumed their planet and made it barren by radiation. They force Blake and Travis to fight in the nearby forest armed only with a knife and accompanied by one of their crew - Jenna with Blake and a Mutoid with Travis. After surviving the night Jenna is captured by Travis' Mutoid companion. Blake attempts to rescue her and fights Travis, defeating him but doesn't kill him, causing the Guardian & Keeper to end the contest. They recharge the Liberator's energy banks and hold Travis and his ships till the Liberator has time to escape.

"There's nowhere to run Blake!"

No hardly Star Trek: Arena at all is it?* The sad thing was I had to dig out my TV Sci Fi encyclopaedia and read till I worked out which episode of Trek this was reminding me of. Amok Time (the battle element) and Errand of Mercy (the all powerful aliens) sprung to mind but this "Gorn ship pursues Enterprise to unknown planet where all powerful beings force the two captains to fight" is spot on. Deary me. And a planet devastated by a war with radiation? No not Skaro is it?

* Matt Marshall points out to me the short story "Arena" on which both tales are based.

Still at least Travis is back adding some much needed Federation villainy and we get to meet the Mutoids - cybernetic ally adapted humanoids dependant on a blood serum (which is oddly bright green) to survive. Travis blames the Mutoid for their failure but she'd told him she was in need of more blood: If Travis had let her drain Jenna she'd have had the strength to help Travis beat Blake. Still it gives Jenna something to do and we finally get to see Jenna's surface outfit in a girly pink colour. Gan, briefly seeing Sinofar and Giroc on the planet, wonders again if his limiter is malfunctioning: it serves to remind the episodic audience that his brain implant is there but watching these is quick succession it makes the imminent failure of the device obvious!

The reason the episode works as well as it does is that in the director's chair sits Douglas Camfield one of the true greats of 60s and 70s TV. His Doctor Who credits are legion, but by this stage he's stopped working on the series due to the stress it was causing him which his wife feared would evacipate his heart condition. Out of all his Who stories he'd only done one set on an alien planet - Terry Nation's (and Dennis Spooner's) Dalek Masterplan, almost all of his were set on contemporary Earth.

The cast for this episode is very small so there's not a lot of room for Camfield to bring his regular actors into play. Sinofar is played by Isla Blair (later to be Isabella in DW: The King's Demons) who is the wife of the great Julian Glover, who'll be along shortly. Her choice of costume leaves us in little doubt that it was cold on the studio set! Patsy Smart plays Giroc and she's got another DW credit to her name as Ghoul in The Talons of Weng Chiang. Christopher Smart is the extra playing the non speaking Mutoid on Travis' ship. He's already been - uncredited - in The Way Back as Federation Trooper, Space Fall & Cygnus Alpha as a Prisoner. He'll be back as a Mutoid, presumably the same one, in the next episode Project Avalon then in Star One as a Star One Technician and Powerplay as Hi-tech Patient. He's also got a ton of DW uncredited extra credits to his name: Day of the Daleks: Episode Four - UNIT Soldie, The Monster of Peladon: Part Three - Miner, Genesis of the Daleks: Part One & Two, The Masque of Mandragora: Part One - Peasant villager & Part Three - Brother and will appear in Full Circle: Part One as a Citizen and Time and the Rani: Part 4 - Genii

This is the only episode of Blake's 7 NOT to feature incidental music by Dudley Simpson - even the musical sting as someone arrives by teleport is missing. The only thing Simpson contributes is the theme music which is on every episode. Many years ago Camfield employed Simpson to do the Incidental Music on his first two Doctor Who stories, Planet of Giants and The Crusade. At some point after this a dispute arose between the two: Kaldor City, despite making an error on which story they last worked together says

The last time Douglas Camfield had used Dudley Simpson as composer was in 1964, on “Planet of Giants.” According to Simpson, at a subsequent dinner party, Camfield asked Simpson what he earned as a composer of incidental music, and, on hearing the answer, never employed him again.
while Wikipedia's Dalek Masterplan article claims
The series' soon-to-be regular composer, Dudley Simpson, did not work on this serial owing to a serious dispute with director Douglas Camfield. Sometime after the production of the serial The Crusade, the two had a small falling out. On the next serial that Camfield directed (The Time Meddler), Camfield elected to use percussion music, feeling that it lent to the story's atmosphere. However, Simpson interpreted this as a snub by Camfield, causing the dispute to escalate. By the time this serial had entered production, relations between the two had grown so bad that Camfield refused to even consider Simpson, instead hiring Tristram Cary. The dispute was still unresolved at the time of Camfield's death in 1984.
Since Camfield is no longer with us we are unaware of his view on the matter.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 2 days after Doctor Who episode 476 The Invasion of Time Part Three, which was broadcast on 18/02/1978, and 5 days before episode 477 The Invasion of Time Part Four, which was broadcast on 25/02/1978.

This is the second episode to appear in the second Blake's 7 book, Project Avalon, along with Seek Locate Destroy, Project Avalon, Deliverance & Orac. Dual gives it's name to the second Blake's 7 compilation released in the mid 80s which also contains Seek, Locate, Destroy and Project Avalon. Initially released for around £25 it was re-released for £10 on 5th March 1990 alongside the other three compilations. An episodic version was released on Monday 7th Jan 1991 paired with the previous episode Mission to Destiny as Tape 4 and alongside the rest of the first 8 episodes all paired off Tape 1 The Way Back/Space Fall, Tape 2 Cygnus Alpha/Tine Squad & Tape 3 The Web/Seek-Locate-Destroy with a DVD release for the whole of season 1 followed on 1st March 2004.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A7 Mission to Destiny

EPISODE: A7 Mission to Destiny

BROADCAST: 13/02/1978
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 1

"You can bet your life on it. In fact, you've just bet both our lives on it."

A crewman on a starship is murdered and the ship sabotaged. The Liberator detects the damaged ship and investigates. Blake, Avon & Cally teleport over and find the crew drugged and in comas. Blake discovers they'd been tranquillised with gas and deactivates the gas supply with Avon's help. Cally finds the dead body in the control room and the numbers 54124 written in blood. The waking crew realise flight engineer Dortmunn is missing. The Captain Kendall confirms a previous sabotage to the communications system and a life rocket is found to be missing. Kendall shows Blake a neutrotope which he believed Dortmunn may have stolen but it's still in the safe. He tells Blake how their planet is in danger. They discover the ship is crippled and won't be able to get the neutrotope to Destiny in time. Blake offers to take it there, a journey time of 4 days, leaving Avon & Cally behind to make repairs. Cally finds the body of the missing Dortmunn in the ship's hold. As suspicion shifts to the crew on the ship there is another killing with crew member Sonheim appearing guilty of the killing. Avon translates the numbers into the name Sara, one of the crew, who holds them all at gunpoint, before locking herself in the control room. Cally works out another ship is homing in on their location to rescue her. Blake discovers the Neutrotope is missing and turns the Liberator around. Avon dupes Sara into leaving the control room and captures her regaining the Neutrotope and control of the ship. Blake teleports aboard with and rescues the crew before destroying the ship as Sara's co-conspirators arrive to collect her. The Liberator returns the rest of the ship's crew to destiny with the Neutrotope.

This starts out as an open and shut case of a murder mystery only really opens up later on with the addition of another body. The episode plods along till Dortmunn is found and Mandrian is killed when it becomes obvious that there's a killer still on board. I think the spaceship's crew are a little trusting of Blake letting him take the Neutrotrope without sending one of them along with him for the journey. Blake's got not authority, they've not heard of him so he's got no reputation with them either. He's just some random stranger that appears from nowhere. I suppose the ship's crew do have Cally & Avon effectively as hostages.... which is good for us as on the spaceship Avon gets to do a lot of the talking. It's a good episode for him and Cally - isolating them from the rest of the Liberator's crew gives them some space to shine, but back on the Liberator Gan, and to a lesser extent Jenna and Villa get little to do. Gan and Jenna have been very poorly used the last few episodes.

There's several sequences in this episode shot on film, including that in the filter room. and I can't work out why. The section where Dortmunn is discovered, yes, because there's a stunt fall involved. But the others? Odd. But not as odd as the very 70s digital watch Blake is wearing at the start of the episode!

The guest cast is packed with recognisable faces several with Doctor Who form Kendall is played by Barry Jackson, probably most famous now as Dr Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. He'd been in two Doctor Who's back in the 60d - Ascarius in the Romans and Jeff Garvey in Mission to the Unknown - and had a further appearance as Drax in the Armageddon Factor in his near future. By this point John Leeson, Pasco, was regularly playing the voice of K-9 and would later appear as Dugeen in DW: the Power of Kroll as well as Blakes 7: Gambit as Toise. Carl Forgione, Grovane, had been Land in Planet of Spiders and would return as Nimrod in Ghost Light while Nigel Humphreys, Sonheim, would appear as Bulic in The Warriors of the Deep (director Pennant Roberts). Stephen Tate, Mandrian, was Alan in 4 episodes of Terry Nation's Survivors (s2 eps 8, 11-13 - 8 & 11 were directed by Pennant Roberts). Beth Morris, the murderess Sara, had recently appeared as Julia Drusilla in the 1976 BBC adaptation of I, Claudius. Finally, thanks to his tumble out of a cupboard, regular Doctor Who stuntman Stuart Fell gets an onscreen credit as Dortmunn to go with his long list of Doctor Who credits: The Curse of Peladon & The Monster of Peladon (as Alpha Centauri), Planet of the Spiders (as a tramp), The Ark in Space (as a Wirrn), The Android Invasion (as a Kraal), The Brain of Morbius (as Morbius Monster), The Masque of Mandragora (as an entertainer), The Invasion of Time (as a Sontaran) and State of Decay (as Roga)..... His character's name Dortmunn is very similar to Dortman, a character Terry Nation wrote in Dalek Invasion of Earth.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 2 days after Doctor Who episode 475 The Invasion of Time Part Two, which was broadcast on 11/02/1978, and 5 days before episode 476 The Invasion of Time Part Three, which was broadcast on 18/02/1978.

Mission to Destiny is the second episode this season, after The Web, not to be released on one of the 1980s compilation videos. It was eventually released on Monday 7th Jan 1991 paired with the following episode Duel as Tape 4 and alongside the rest of the first 8 episodes all paired off Tape 1 The Way Back/Space Fall, Tape 2 Cygnus Alpha/Tine Squad & Tape 3 The Web/Seek-Locate-Destroy with a DVD release for the whole of season 1 followed on 01/03/2004. It's the first episode on disc 3 of the series.... Oops as I look at the disc itself I see that the picture of Travis on it is reversed!

Monday, 15 April 2013

A6 Seek-Locate-Destroy

EPISODE: A6 Seek-Locate-Destroy

BROADCAST: 06/02/1978
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Vere Lorimer
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 1

"Run Blake, run. As far and as fast as you like. You can't hide from me I am your death Blake!"

When a raid on the planet Centero goes wrong Cally is presumed dead. She has in fact been captured and turned over to Travis, a Federation Space Commander with prior history of Blake who is charged to with finding him. Avon intercepts a message about Travis appointment and Blake recalls their first meeting where Travis lay in wait in a location for two days and massacred Blake's friends. The Federation discover that Blake has stolen a Cypher machine and they transmit a message saying an injured Cally will be transferred to a facility elsewhere on Centero to lure him back to the planet. Travis lies in wait for Blake on Centero but after a long wait Blake reveals himself that he has been hiding there for some time. He rescues Cally and taunts Travis before leaving with Cally pursued by Travis' ships.

Ah every hero needs a good villain and here Blake's 7 supplies two of them at once. And, despite him appearing in the episode, neither of them is Peter Miles! Travis is the action man bad guy here and has a somewhat complicated origin as a character: He and Blake tell the story of how he ambushed Blake getting him arrested but lost his hand and eye in the process. Blake himself then compares it to the similar capture in The Way Back. But the original intent was that the traitor in the first episode would have been Travis, not a different character. Now I think this idea works a lot better for Travis and gives him a decent story over the series - I can't see why they changed it. Give Terry Nation his due he understands the idea of serial television pulling out a story arc idea years before it became fashionable.

His boss Servalan conveys power and menace whenever she's on screen - look there's our old friends the triangular/hexagonal wall panels from The Mutants and many other Doctor Who stories as the wall of her office (with the lines mounted vertically). She'll come into her own much later, with Travis is the centre of attention here, but I think it's rather obvious that she's more than friendly with her assistant Rai...... You get the odd feeling she's keeping him around as a pet!

This is the third episode on the trot to majorly involve Cally - her introduction, possession and then seeming death/capture!

Debuts for this episode: Two more hooded costumes: Gan's in Brown and Cally's in green - she held hers briefly last episode. The Federation Security robot, looking like a knock off Dalek, makes it's first appearance too. It's also of course the first appearance of Stephen Greif as Travis and Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan.

Two moments of absolute incompetence in this story: Why don't the Federation guards Vila talks to just arrest or shoot him? An idiot you don't recognise comes up to you in a sealed complex and you let him spout for ages? Deary me. And why does it take so long for the Liberator crew to realise that Cally is missing?

One prominent member of the guest cast is Peter Miles, playing Rontane, who was Dr. Lawrence in the Silurians, Professor Whitaker in Invasion of the Dinosaurs & Nyder in David Maloney's Genesis of the Daleks. He'll be back as the same character in B6 Trial as does John Bryans as Bercol. He'll also appear as Shrinker in C8 Rumours of Death and will appear as Tarvin in Doctor Who: The Creature from the Pit. Technician Prell is played by Peter Craze, a man with multiple Doctor Who appearances to his name: Dako in the Space Museum, DuPont in The War Games & Costa in Nightmare of Eden. He's the brother of Michael Craze who played Doctor Who companion Ben Jackson. Ian Cullen, Escon, was Izta in Doctor Who: the Aztecs.

I thought I recognised the Centero location from Doctor Who too but it turns out that Fulham Gas Works was never used in the series..... I am rather worried about the number of explosions seen in these sequences though!

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 2 days after Doctor Who episode 474 The Invasion of Time Part One, which was broadcast on 04/02/1978, and 5 days before episode 475 The Invasion of Time Part Two, which was broadcast on 11/02/1978.

Seek, Locate, Destroy is the first episode to appear in the second Blake's 7 book, Project Avalon, along with Duel, Project Avalon, Deliverance & Orac. I do not have a copy of this book. Seek Locate Destroy formed part of the second Blake's 7 compilation tape with Duel & Project Avalon released in the mid 80s and initially available for about £25. It was re-released £10 on the 5th March 1990 alongside the other 3 compilation tapes. This was the last of the tapes I bought on the Saturday following the release. It was released in episodic format on Monday 7th Jan 1991 paired with the previous episode the Web as Tape 3 and alongside the rest of the first 8 episodes all paired off Tape 1 The Way Back/Space Fall, Tape 2 Cygnus Alpha/Time Squad, & Tape 4 Mission to Destiny/Duel. A DVD release for the whole of season 1 came out on 01/03/2004.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A5 The Web

EPISODE: A5 The Web

BROADCAST: 30/01/1978
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Michael E. Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 1

"Automatic reaction, I'm as surprised as you are."

Cally, under the control of an alien being, sabotages the Liberator forcing it into a largely uncharted star system and into a web like structure in space which mobilises the ship. The Alien force takes control of Jenna and summons Blake to their planet. Cally believes they are lost members of her race the Auron. They attempt to escape the web by firing Liberator's neutron blasters but fail in their escape attempt. Blake teleports to the planet where he encounters the diminutive Decimas who attack him before he find shelter in a structure containing a paid of humanoids who introduce themselves as Novara & Greela. They are running out of power and want Blake to provide charged energy cells. The Liberator detects approaching Federation pursuit ships. Novara & Greela tells Blake that the Decimas, and themselves are genetic creations of another being who he is introduced: Saymon a small deformed being living in a tank, the combined form of the 6 Auron who came to the planet. Avon teleports to the planet with the power cells. They are taken into the compound by Novara & Greela, but the Decimas attack killing Novara & Greela. Avon & Blake install the power cells which causes the web to disperse and teleport to the Liberator as the Decimas kill Saymon. The Liberator evades the pursuit ships and escapes resuming it's course for Centero.

Or "an alien force possesses one of the crew forcing the ship off course but our heroes defeat them". So there was Jenna worrying about bringing Cally on board in the previous episode and straight away Cally does something odd and puts them in danger!!!!!!! Deary me. This is the first episode of the series not to be on one of the compilation video tapes put out in the 80s and you can see why: it's not essential to the ongoing storyline of putting the crew together or Blake vs the Federation. I look at it and just see bits ripped off from here there and everywhere. It doesn't help that every time Novara (Miles Fothergill) speaks all I can hear is his more famous role as SV7 in Doctor Who's The Robots of Death (Director: M Briant). Adding to the knock off feel of the episodes are the Decimas who look quite a lot like grey shrunken Zygons.

The Liberator uses it's weapons for the first time in this episode to try to disperse the web. We also get to see for the first time the closest thing Blake's Seven ever gets to a Uniform as the hooded outdoor gear makes it's d├ębut. Blake is wearing green, Avon grey/dark blue. Over the next few episodes everyone gets a set in their own colours..... until SOMEONE chooses a completely different style and stands out from the others.

Playing Auron gestalt Saymon is Richard Beale who's got some Doctor Who experience. He was a Refusian Voice in the Ark, Bat Masterson in the Gunfighters, the Broadcaster in Macra Terror and Minister of Ecology in The Green Death (Who directed that .... oh yes: Michael Briant!). He'll later appear in Tripods series 2 as Ulf in episodes 2 & 3 of the second series. Ania Marson playing Geela has 5 episodes of Target to her name. Playing the Decimas are a number of actors of diminutive stature who are known to us from various other locations. Top of the list is Deep Roy with Mr Sin in DW: The Talons of Weng Chiang to his name. He returns for several more Blake's 7 episodes: B11 Gambit as The Klute, C11 Moloch as the voice of Moloch and C13 Terminal as a Link. He's best known today for being all the Oompa Loompas in the most recent Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Marcus Powell will shortly get an uncredited appearance in Destiny of the Daleks to his name as well as returning in C4 Dawn of the Gods as The Thaarn. His extensive CV includes time as one of the original Oompa Loompas, as was another Decima Ismet Hassam, Time Bandits as Horseflesh, The Tripods as cook in the 3rd episode of the first series and in Star Wars cantina as Rycar Ryjerd cantina where he met his partner Gilda Cohen who is also a Decima in this episode.

Rather sadly I rumbled where this episode was filmed while watching it: Black Park in Buckinghamshire, which backs onto Pinewood studios and has thus been used in many films! Doctor Who went there for Full Circle and it was used in 5 UFO episodes (including the first Identified) and 3 Space 1999 episodes, including The Full Circle.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 2 days after Doctor Who episode 473 Underworld Part Four, which was broadcast on 28/01/1978, and 5 days before episode 474 The Invasion of Time Part One, which was broadcast on 04/02/1978.

This is the first of the series not on one of the 1980s compilation tape so the first time I saw it was when it was released on Monday 7th Jan 1991 paired with the following episode Seek-Locate-Destroy as Tape 3 and alongside the rest of the first 8 episodes all paired off The Way Tape 1 Back/Space Fall, Tape 2 Cygnus Alpha/Time Squad & Tape 4 Mission to Destiny/Duel with a DVD release for the whole of season 1 happening on 01/03/2004.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A4 Time Squad

EPISODE: A4 Time Squad

BROADCAST: 23/01/1978
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Pennant Robert
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 1

"I plan to live forever.... or die trying"

The Liberator is travelling to the the planet Saurian Major, so that Blake can link up with a resistance group there and help them destroy a major Federation communications terminal, when a space capsule is detected. Blake & Jenna teleport over to the confined capsule and it's brought on board the ship where it's found to contain three aliens in suspended animation. They start the procedure to revive them as Blake, Avon & Villa teleport to Saurian Major. Gan, who has been feeling unwell, admits to Jenna that he was arrested for killing a guard who killed his woman and as he rest an electronic circuit is visible in his head. One of the aliens revives, escapes and attacks Jenna, breaking her arm, but she locks it in the hold with it's ship. Gan uses liberator medical equipment to heal Jenna's arm and goes to check on the aliens. Blake is attacked by a woman, who is telepathic and speaks into his mind. She says her name is Cally from the planet Auron and tells them the resistance fighters were killed by the Federation spraying the atmosphere with poison following a raid. Jenna, realising Gan has been gone a while, searches for him and finds him injured. He tried to stop the aliens but was prevented from killing them by a brain implant limiting his violent impulses. Jenna kills the three aliens aliens and goes to disconnect the cables linking their ship to the Liberator's systems draining it's power. Zen detects a 4th alien and Gan, still struggling with his injuries, tries to assist Jenna but collapses in the Teleport Room. Blake, Avon, Cally & Villa break into the communications complex and destroy it, Gan teleporting back to ship just in time to rescue them from the explosion and allowing Blake to save Jenna from fourth alien. Cally elects to stay with Blake, despite Jenna's reluctance to let aliens on board and they dispose of the capsule before setting a course for the planet Centero.

Wayhay, another sci fi cliche: the ship full of a crew in suspended animation who turn out to be very nasty. Star Trek's Space Seed is the obvious anticendant and there's a similar episode of Space 1999 (Earthbound) which bucks the trend by having the aliens turn out to be OK. But generally: things in suspended animation = bad as parodied in the Red Dwarf episode Polymorph. You know it's going to badly wrong and sure enough it does. The capsule the aliens arrive in will be back a fair few times before we're done, having gone to the expense of making it the BBC try to get their money's worth out of. There's some very dodgy camerawork in one of the sequences with the aliens entering teleport room behind Jenna, accidentally revealing that the alien is there by providing a glimpse of it slightly too early! And Liz wasn't happy with their weapons commenting at one stage that it looked like Jenna was being attacked with a salad server!

Out of this we get some expansion of Gan's character: our strong man can't be violent or use weapons due to an electronic limiter implanted in his brain. We also find out why he was on the ship to Cygnus Alpha, for killing his wife's murderer a Federation guard, and this act makes him the most likely rebel against the Federation from amongst Blake's group. But knowing Gan's got electronics in his head, hands up who thinks it's obvious it's going to go wrong? And indeed the headaches he's suffering in the early parts of this episode are probably an early sign of that.

Saurian Major, with it's slightly aggressive Flora (DW: Keys of Marinus, Dalek Masterplan, Planet of the Daleks for those looking for Terry Nation recycling his back catalogue) (I know, what a shock!) is a bit of a desolate wasteland. It's not helped that the film sequences used on the DVD I'm watching are in a poor state with scratches and blobs all over the place! Old favourite Doctor Who location Betchworth Quarry (Genesis of the Daleks, Deadly Assasin) serves as the planet's surface while returning director Pennant Roberts makes his first trip to Oldbury Power station for the communications complex exterior & interior: he's back later this year for Blake's 7 Redemption.

Then there's Cally. Love the way her telepathy is handled here with a voiceover, works well. Alone for some time on the planet she's naturally wary of Blake's party - one of her first lines to Blake is "May you die alone and silent" - but falls in with them quite quickly when Blake reveals he's got a plan to destroy the complex and get away alive. Oh look Blake's got a spare Teleport Bracelet in Villa's box of tricks! Cally is played by actress Jan Chappell and her arrival completes the Liberator's crew bringing the complement to the seven in the series title.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 2 days after Doctor Who episode 472 Underworld Part Three, which was broadcast on 21/01/1978, and 5 days before episode 473 Underworld Part Four, which was broadcast on 28/01/1978.

The Way Back, Space Fall, Cygnus Alpha & Time Squad were adapted into book form by Trevor Hoyle. The Beginning, a compilation of the first four episodes of the series first released in 1985 for £25 and then again at a more affordable price of £10 on the 5th March 1990. Time Squad looses half it's length cut to 35 minutes for this release, but a full episodic release followed on Monday 7th Jan 1991 paired with the previous episode Time Squad as Tape 2 and alongside the other episodes from the first 8 all paired off Tape 1 The Way Back/Space Fall, Tape 3 The Web/Seek-Locate-Destroy & Tape 4 Mission to Destiny/Duel with a DVD for the whole of season 1 being released on 01/03/2004.