Monday, 29 July 2013

B8 Hostage

EPISODE: B8 Hostage
BROADCAST: 27/02/1979
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
DIRECTOR: Vere Lorrimer
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 2

"What have I done to deserve this?"
"How long a list would you like? "

The Liberator is attacked by a fleet of Federation pursuit ships. They escape but need time to recharge their energy banks. Blake receives a message from the planet Expar from Travis where he is holding Inga, his cousin. Blake goes to Expar to try to rescue her. Servalan is visited by Councillor Joban who is upset at the spread of news of Blake's activities. Travis' location is communicated to Servalan. When they arrive at the planet Cally's telepathy detects something as Blake teleports down and locates his uncle Ushton. A suspicious Avon teleports down to the planet as well. Ashton tells Blake of how Travis arrived & captured Inga and where he is located. Avon follows Blake and summons Vila from the Liberator. Ushton warns Travis Blake is coming. Servalan races to Expar. Avon has spotted Ushton moving without a limp and leaves Vila to keep an eye on him. Blake is attacked by one of Travis' men and caught in a man trap while Vila is caught by Ushton. Travis demands the Liberator from Blake so he can evade Servalan. Avon too is captured in a net. Travis has Vila brought out the cell and turns the air supply off to Blake & Avon demanding Vila tells him how the teleport bracelets work, forcing Jenna to teleport one of his troopers Molok to the ship who forces Jenna & Cally to the flight deck. Avon tells Blake he told Servalan that Travis was here. The trooper tries to force Cally back to the planet but Jenna teleports him into space as Zen detects an approaching pursuit ship. Ushton attacks Travis and frees Blake's crew. They track Travis, who wounds Avon, but capture him and leave him for the approaching Federation ship. Ushton & Inga elect to remain on Expar to utilise the building and supplies that Travis has allowed them to access. Servalan finds Travis and releases him to purse Blake, guaranteeing he will be listed as dead if he finds Blake.

That wasn't the greatest thing I've ever seen by a long shot. The battle at the start is obvious padding to get the episode up to length and serves little purpose for the rest of the plot. Neither the crew's tiredness or the Liberator's need to recharge gets mentioned again. It's the start of Horizon all over again! < Checks writer > yup it's Allan Prior again! Second episode and he's already recycling ideas and not doing anything with them. What's the purpose of Ushton's limp? It's to give away that Ushton has betrayed Blake when he doesn't do it. But why is he feigning a limp in the first place???? Why bother to invent a new group of murderous psychos the Crimnos? You don't see anything special about them! And if the tower that Travis is hiding in contains supplies that might be useful to the rest of the people on the planet don't you think it might be an idea to flag that in advance? Oh and lets throw in Blake fancying his cousin just to get Jenna all stroppy.

No it didn't do it for me can you tell? I'm laying most of the blame at Allan Prior's feet.... about the only thing I can't pin on him is why the Mutos are suddenly not wearing their headgear on Servalan's ship revealing some nasty 60s style bleached hair.

There's an all time Doctor Who great in this episode: Kevin Stoney plays Joban and he's completely wasted only appearing in just one scene! Yes we know Servalan has political enemies, we saw Traitor two weeks back! He was Mavic Chen in The Daleks' Master Plan, Tobias Vaughan in The Invasion (both Douglas Camfield) and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen. He returns to Blake's 7 as Ardus in Animals. John Abineri, Ushton, has also got a few Doctor Who stories to his name: he was in Fury from the Deep as van Lutyens, The Ambassadors of Death as General Carrington, Death to the Daleks as Railton & The Power of Kroll as Ranquin. He's Hearne the Hunter in the ITV Robin of Sherwood but has probably been seen my the most people as the butler in the original Ferrero Rocher Ambassador's reception advert. You almost certainly won't recognise him but the Space Commander in charge of the Liberator's pursuit at the start of the episode is Andrew Robertson who played Mr Fibuli in the superb Doctor Who story Pirate Planet. Bruce Purchase, who played his boss The Captain, in the same story will be along in a few episodes time in The Keeper. James Coyle, Molok, has an interesting entry on his CV: He was in the banned The Professionals episode Klansmen as Merv.

Judy Buxton plays Inga> She later appeared in By The Sword Divided as Susan Protheroe. This production also featured Blake actor Gareth Thomas as Major General Horton so I thought I'd see who else we knew that was in it: Julian Glover, Kayn in Breakdown, was lead character Sir Martin Lacey in the early episodes of the series. Malcolm Stoddard, Leitz in Traitor, was Colonel Hannibal Marsh, Adam Blackwood, Tok in Assassin, was Peter Crane (3 episodes, 1983). David Neal, Gerren in Games, was Preacher Lambe. David Collings, Deva in Blake, was John Thurloe while Janet Lees Price (Paul Darrow's wife) who was also in Blake as Klyn, played Emma Bowen.

We're back at Betchworth Quarry again for the exterior scenes, previously used in Time Squad and Deliverance. It's got three more appearances to come yet!

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 3 days after Doctor Who episode 505 The Armageddon Factor Part Six, which was broadcast on 24/02/1979 and concluded the 16th season of Doctor Who.

Hostage was released on video on 3rd September 1991 as part of Blake's 7 tape 11 with Countdown and alongside tape 12 which contained Voice from the Past & Gambit. The Blake's 7 season 2 DVD containing this episode was released on 17 January 2005.

Monday, 22 July 2013

B7 Killer

EPISODE: B7 Killer
BROADCAST: 20/02/1979
WRITTEN BY: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Vere Lorrimer
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 2

"Blake takes risks to help other people. Sometimes people he doesn't even know. One day that great big bleeding heart of his will get us all killed."

Avon and Vila teleport down to the planet Fosferon where Q base is located on as The Liberator detects an old Earth ship approaching and Cally detects a malignant presence aboard. Avon and Vila enter a base through some outlet pipes. Blake has Orac try to obtain information on the spacecraft. Avon has come to see his old friend Tynus: Avon needs a crystal from him to break a new Federation code. The Liberator attempts to warn the base that their salvage vessel is approaching a ship that may be inhabited. Tynus agrees to start a fire to allow Avon to steal what he needs. Orac discovers a ship of that description went missing. Blake teleports down to where the recovery ship is landing he tells the chief scientist Dr. Bellfriar of how the ship had disappeared. A body is brought out the ship and an autopsy is carried out. They trace the body's identity via an ID disc to the crew manifest. The corpse suddenly comes to life an attacks the Doctor killing him before collapsing again. The technicians who tried to rescue the Doctor are taken ill and die.The infection spreads rapidly throughout the sickbay. Tynus sets off his explosive charge allowing Avon & Vila a chance to try to steal the crystal they need. Vila finds evidence that Tynus has warned the Federation that the Liberator is there. Blake has a theory the ship was used as a weapon with a virus planted aboard. He returns to the Liberator to use Orac for some calculations into an antidote for the virus. Tynus holds Avon at Gunpoint but is distracted by Vila and electrocuted. Avon & Vila return to the ship with the crystal they need. Dr Bellfriar transmits information on the virus to Blake before he too is overcome by it. Blake puts a plague warning out on Fosferon.

My goodness! A space plague episode and Terry Nation *ISN'T* writing it. Instead it's a big welcome to long standing Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes who had by this point written (deep breath) The Krotons, the Space Pirates, Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, Carnival of Monsters, The Time Warrior, The Ark in Space, Pyramids of Mars, Deadly Assassin, Talons of Weng Chiang, The Sunmakers, The Ribos Operation and The Power of Kroll. He'd just completed a 3 1/2 years stint as series script editor when Blake's 7 started and Chris Boucher tells that Holmes was offered the Blake's 7 script editor's job before he was. It should be pointed out that Holmes had already script edited 3 Terry Nation stories: Death to the Daleks (uncredited), Genesis of the Daleks and the Android Invasion. You get the feeling that Holmes should have been a good fit as a script editor for Blake's 7.... He has a reputation for using pairs of characters in his Who scripts and repeats it here with Avon & Vila - in fact three of his four Blake's 7 scripts centre round these two. I think it's the first time that it's been just them paired together in the show though there have been other occasions where they've been on missions with others. But out of the crew it's been these two characters that have really stood out so it's great to finally see them getting time together. And FINALLY Avon's in black studded leather a look that's probably most closely associated with the character. It's a shame that some of the other costumes are so awful especially the apron like protective gear and the Michelin Man space suits!

The Avon and Vila section of the plot - get in, convince Avon's "friend" to help them steal something, get out. Yes you can tell it's going to go wrong and the friend will betray them .... It would almost have been nice for it to have played out differently! At least they have the decency to make it obvious early on!

Meanwhile the deserted ship/space plague is so Terry Nation it's untrue, especially when it turns out that the plague is a weapon sent by whoever lurks within "The Darkling Zone". It almost seems like this bit of the story is setting up a running plot point but I don't think it is ever referred to again. I suppose they could be whoever are fighting the Liberator before it's found in Space Fall or possibly an advance guard for the aliens we'll see in Star One. Or even Terry Nation's metal friends from Doctor Who that he wanted to cross over into Blake's 7. We shall never know! The make up on their victim is superb though!

Lots of familiar stuff in this episode: there's the UFO Control panels in the control room on Foforen and reused model shots of the London landing and the Liberator at the end - look very closely and you can see a very small model of the London alongside suggesting it's taken from Space Fall. And yes it's another power station location: it's the Oldbury on Severn location used in Time Squad.

Playing Dr. Bellfriar is Paul Daneman who was Bilbo Baggins in the 1968 BBC Radio dramatisation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Ronald Lacey is Tynus, a couple of years before his Raiders of the Lost Ark and Firefox appearances. His daughter is the actress Rebecca Lacey. Colin Higgins who plays Tak was the "Fake Wedge" in Star Wars that sits next to Luke on the briefing and says "that's impossible, even for a computer". Michael Gaunt, Bax, has several appearances to his name: he was in Breakdown (uncredited) as XK72 Personnel/Pursuit Ship Leader, Sand (also uncredited) as the Base Computer and Games as the Game Computer on Orbiter. There are some "interesting" entries on his acting CV where you'll get to see more of him than you do in this series! Finally the doomed pathologist Wiler is played by Morris Barry. He directed three Doctor Who stories: The Moonbase, The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Dominators. This is his first recorded TV acting job but he would later appear in The Creature from the Pit as Tollund as well as the David Maloney produced Day of the Triffids.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 3 days after Doctor Who episode 504 The Armageddon Factor Part Five, which was broadcast on 17/02/1979, and 4 days before episode 505 The Armageddon Factor Part Six, which was broadcast on 24/02/1979.

Video 02 July 1991

Killer was released on video on 02 July 1991 as part of Blake's 7 tape 10 with the previous episode Trial alongside Tape 9 Horizon & Pressure Point. The Blake's 7 season 2 DVD containing this episode was released on 17 January 2005.

Monday, 15 July 2013

B6 Trial

BROADCAST: 13/02/1979
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 2

"Which only leaves one question to be answered. Is it that Blake has a genius for leadership, or merely that you have a genius for being led?"

At Space Command Travis is being held awaiting court martial on charges of murdering thousands of civilians. The Liberator enters orbit of a planet where Blake prepares to teleport to the surface. At Space Command Bercol & Rontane are monitoring the trial for the President who is worried about Servalan's ambitions while Blake's crew ruminate on Blake's disappearance and Gan's death. Avon tries to persuade Vila & Jenna to leave. Blake's homing device to return to the Liberator is stolen by an alien being, Zil, who Blake pursues. On the Liberator Avon unveils a system for evading Federation space detectors. Zil tells Blake that they need to keep moving as the ground rumbles and Zen predicts that the landmass Blake is on is sinking. Zil removed Blake's equipment to keep it safe and returns it to him. Blake saves her from being absorbed by the planet. Orac analyses the planet and reveals it is alive, striking back against a parasitic organism on it's surface. They begin searching for Blake. Zil guides Blake to where the eggs of her people are, under threat from the planet. The Liberator brings Blake back aboard. Blake decides to restore his crew's reputation, vulnerable after Gan's Death, by a raid on Space Command. At his tribunal Travis argues his case while the Liberator successfully passes Federation Patrols undetected. As Travis is sentenced to death the Liberator attacks. Travis uses the confusion to escape. He confronts Servalan at gunpoint demanding a pursuit ship to hunt Blake down. She gives in and assigns him a Mutoid crew and he leaves knowing she will be now hunting him and Blake.

Argh another laughing ending! Oh they annoy me!

The episode is two different, but related threads. Blake is punishing himself for Gan's death while Travis is effectively being punished for his part in Blake's escape ...... I think. It's a little hard to fathom Servalan's motivation throughout - has she engineered Travis' trial or not? Is she effectively sanctioning his pursuit of Blake at the end? Just not sure. She does alright out of the episode though: political rivals eliminated, an embarrassment on her staff gone and Blake being pursued.

Apart from providing the initial motivation for Blake's solitude Gan's death doesn't feature mush in Blake's part of the story. His stay on the planet is confusing for most of it's duration right up until the point that Orac deduces the planet is alive and attacking Zil's people as an infestation. All well and good but who are they? Where do they come from? How did they get there? And why did Blake just leave them behind to die?

It's only at the end that two stories come together with Blake's attack. Designed to make them look good all it ends up doing is benefiting his enemies by killing some of those opposing Servalan and facilitating Travis' escape. In the long term these may not be good things.

Some biggish names guest starring in this episode, and a couple that will be recognisable to the general public too. John Savident plays "Starkiller" Samor. He'll be back in Orbit as Egorian and features (briefly!) in Doctor Who: The Visitation as The Squire. He's probably best known now for playing Fred Elliott in Coronation Street. We also have two returning actors and characters from Seek Locate Destroy: John Bryans as Bercol and Peter Miles as Rontane. By the end of the episode both characters would be dead but Bryans returns again as Shrinker in Rumours of Death and later features as Torvin in Doctor Who's The Creature from the Pit. Miles had already been in Doctor Who three times: as Dr. Lawrence in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Professor Whitaker in Invasion of the Dinosaurs & General Nyder in Genesis of the Daleks. There's no way you'll recognise Kevin Lloyd as trooper Par but a few years and several stone later he's be playing Tosh Lines in The Bill! He's also got a Dempsey and Makepeace appearance to his name with former B7 guest star (and future regular) Glynis Barber as Jimmy Mulgrew in The Prizefighter as well as some episode of Coronation Street as Don Watkins. Sadly his dismissal from the Bill and subsequent death made tabloid headlines. Graham Sinclair, playing Trooper Lye, is the son in law of Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim. Colin Dunn, the Guard commander, was in the first episode of The Tripods S2 as Kurt.

A big hurrah for the arrival of experienced Doctor Who director Derek Martinus. In charge for the stories Galaxy 4, Mission to the Unknown, The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks, The Ice Warriors and Spearhead from Space he'd not directed for Doctor Who since 1970.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 3 days after Doctor Who episode 503 The Armageddon Factor Part Four, which was broadcast on 10/02/1979, and 4 days before episode 504 The Armageddon Factor Part Five, which was broadcast on 17/02/1979.

Trial was released on video on 02 July 1991 as part of Blake's 7 tape 10 with the following episode Killer alongside Tape 9 Horizon & Pressure Point. The Blake's 7 season 2 DVD containing this episode was released on 17 January 2005.

Monday, 8 July 2013

B5 Pressure Point

EPISODE: B5 Pressure Point
BROADCAST: 06/02/1979
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 2

"If we succeed, if we destroy control, the Federation will be at it's weakest. It will be more vulnerable than it has been for centuries. The revolt in the outer worlds will grow. Resistance movements on Earth will launch an all-out attack to destroy The Federation, they will need unifying; they will need a leader. You will be the natural choice."

Travis & Servalan lie in wait for Blake at an Underground Security Centre as the Liberator approaches Earth. Blake plans a raid into the Forbidden Zone to destroy their control computer. He has made contact with resistance leader Kasabi so he doesn't have to risk his crew on the raid. They volunteer to come with him anyway, including Avon who hopes to gain the Liberator when Blake is occupied running a full rebellion. Kasabi's group are massacred by Servalan who takes her prisoner. Travis finds a homing beacon about her person which he uses to summon Blake just as he has given up and is planning to leave. Blake & Gan teleport down into the ruins of a church. They find a survivor of Kasabi's group, her daughter Veron, hiding in the ruins. Avon is suspicious that Blake has not made contact with Kasabi. Avon & Villa teleport into the Forbidden Zone to analyse the defences and are teleported to Blake just before the systems activate. Blake's party are gassed by Veron who steals their teleport bracelets and seals them in an underground crypt. She delivers the bracelets to Travis as per ordered who tells her that her Mother has died in captivity. Gan forces the door allowing them to escape, evading Travis. Blake's party hide in the Forbidden Zone with Avon deactivating the defence system allowing them to get inside. They descend into the bunker with Vila opening the door to Control which they discover is an empty room. Travis corners them and explains that Control was moved off Earth 30 years ago. Servalan orders their release, having been captured by Jenna and Veron, who explains how she was forced to betray them. Travis throws a grenade at Blake bringing the roof down and trapping Gan who is killed. Veron remains on Earth to continue the Rebellion while Blake's party return to the Liberator and flee the solar system.

A bit of a game changer this one in more ways than one.

Yes it ups the anti by killing off one of the main characters. Reportedly writer and series creator Terry Nation, returning for his first episode since Redemption wasn't happy with Michael Keating's performance as Vila and wanted to kill him. Vila however was a popular character with viewers. Gan however... the character has had little to do all series. At one point actor David Jackson is alleged to have handed script editor Chris Boucher a note with the number 4 on it. "What's this mean?" asked Boucher. Jackson replied "That's the number of lines I have in this week's episode" Ironically he does actually get something to do this week behaving very protectively towards Veron. Misguidedly so as it turns out. But by killing Gan the series raises the stakes somewhat and gives it a "nobody is safe" feel that pervades for the rest of the run helped by a number of other disappearances and deaths along the way.

The idea of a Federation Central Control computer running everything, introduced here, drives the rest of the season. It's a stunning reveal that it's not where everyone says it is with Blake charging triumphantly into what turns out to be a completely empty room and then sinking to his knees. Blake's at his most fanatical in this story and he looks more broken by discovering Control is not where he thought than by the death of Gan.

Servalan is provided with some background here..... though the story differs depending on who you believe. We know for certain that Servalan was an officer cadet under Kasabi and turned her in for treason. Kasabi's version indicates that Servalan wasn't up to the grade and she got tuned in for listing Servalan as unfit for command .

Not 100% convinced by the quality of the location footage in this episode - it looks very washed out. But hurrah for a return of the security camera during it: it features in the title sequence and is the very first thing we see in the series proper.

Paul Darrow cannot run!

Some more idiocy from the main cast - just how long does it take them to realise their teleport bracelets are missing after they wake following the gas attack?

The various traps Blake's team have to penetrate to reach traps Control is more than slightly reminiscent of the getting into the Exillon city sequence in Death to the Daleks, and to a lesser extent the journey to the Dalek City in the Daleks. But it's a stable of the 40s Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers series Terry Nation was brought up on so....

Were you fooled by the different lighting on various levels in the complex? No, neither was I: it's the same set again and again bought home by seeing the ladder 3 times!

The ending, with Jenna turning up holding Servalan at gun point, was bit too much "In the nick of time" for me especially as it isn't remotely telegraphed in advance..... And how did she do it? Lock onto the teleport bracelets, beam down, capture Servalan, release Veron who has seen the error of her ways and then get Servalan down the ladder into the bunker in *THAT* dress which is completely different to what she was wearing in the rest of the episode ???????????? (What is that Lizard doing to her? No I don't want to know!)

But if you're summing this episode up in the end it comes down to being "the one where Gan dies". David Jackson continued to appear on televison for many years after he left the series. He died of a heart attack on July 25, 2005 aged 71, the first member of the regular Blake's 7 cast to die.

Rebel leader Kasabi is played by Jane Sherwin, the wide of former Doctor Who Producer/Script Editor Derrick Sherwin. Blake's 7 Producer David Maloney cast her in one of his stories, The War Games, as Lady Jennifer Buckingham. Playing her daughter Veron is Yolande Palfrey who'll later appear in Doctor Who: Trial of a Timelord 9-12 (Terror of the Vervoids) as Janet. One of the Mutoids, Sue Bishop was also in a Doctor Who playing a Sister in The Brain of Morbius while the actor playing the rebel Arle, Alan Halley has a Terry Nation's Survivors credit to his name as Henry in The Peacemaker.

Locations used in this story are mainly found near Abingdon: Church Farm, Abbey House (The Abandoned Church), Under Croft & the RAF base (control's defences) plus Hardwick House in nearby Pangbourne.

This episode of Blake's 7 was broadcast 3 days after Doctor Who episode 502 The Armageddon Factor Part Three, which was broadcast on 03/02/1979, and 4 days before episode 503 The Armageddon Factor Part Four, which was broadcast on 10/02/1979.

Video 02 July 1991

Pressure Point was released on video on 02 July 1991 as part of Blake's 7 tape 9 with the following episode Horizon alongside Tape 10 Trial & Killer. The Blake's 7 season 2 DVD containing this episode was released on 17 January 2005.

Monday, 1 July 2013

B4 Horizon

EPISODE: B4 Horizon
BROADCAST: 30/01/1979
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Wright Miller
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 2

"Oh YOU are curious! I'm glad we have a worthwhile purpose!"

"I'm not expendable, I'm not stupid and I'm not going!"

The crew of the Liberator are suffering from delayed shock and exhaustion. After a near collision with a Federation freighter heading into the distant reaches of the galaxy for the planet Horizon, a planet visited by the Federation just once a year. Curious they pursue at a distance. As they approach the planet they are attacked by a defence system and only survive because of the ship's force wall. Blake & Jenna teleport to the planet where they find a mining operation before they are captured and interrogated by the planet's ruler Ro. Ro is being visited by his Federation tutor Komissar and reveals he is holding Blake. A worried Gan and a reluctant Vila teleport to the planet searching for the missing Blake & Jenna and they too are captured. Blake tries to sway Ro that the Federation have them enslaved for the ore, Monophasium 239, that the Federation are mining there using the planet's primitive population. Blake recalls to Ro meeting one of his friends, Poora, on the way to Cygnus Alpha. Blake, Jenna & Vila are put to work in the mine where Jenna meets Ro's wife Selma who has been imprisoned there. Avon tries to persuade Cally that they should run and leave but she teleports to the planet with information Orac has found on Horizon. When Cally looses contact with the ship Avon prepares to leave in the Liberator. Cally tells Ro that the Komissar killed his Father. The Komissar allows for Selma to be restored to Ro's side. Blake is brought out of the mine and tries to negotiate his life for the planet's freedom but is sent back to the mine. Avon intercepts a message from the Komissar to the Federation and that Federation Pursuit ships are on their way. He too teleports to the planet, but has Orac put him down where he won't be detected. Disabling the detector cameras as he moves he attacks the mine guards and frees Blake and his friends. Blake has Orac bring them all back to the ship. Selma is captured by the Federation trying to abscond. She is tortured by the Komissar. Blake returns to the palace and shoots the assistant Komissar. Ro rebels embraces his heritage and donning traditional dress slays the Komissar. He tells Blake he will resist the Federation as Blake teleports back to the Liberator. The Pursuit ships approach but are destroyed by Horizon's defence system.

In many ways this is a by the numbers episode: Blake turns up to a planet under Federation control and his actions free it. There's nothing really complicated going on (Shadow) there's no silly ideas (Weapon) and the costumes look a lot better that the last episode. We even get a "hang the gun on the wall" moment earlier on showing the defences the planet has which is then used later in the episode to save the Liberator which is a lot more satisfying than the ending of Shadow was. There's some reused model work, albeit with an effect laid over the top, of the London (from Space Fall) to show the Freighter approaching the planet but I can live with that: they're both Federation cargo ships. Whether that was a wise idea when Blake references the events of that episode is less clear especially when the person he mentions wasn't shown then!

Interestingly Avon, given the chance to run and be free with the Liberator and Orac his to do with what he will, doesn't take it. He goes down to the planet (the first time all of the human crew is off the ship) and rescues Blake in a very efficient manner. For all his dissmisiveness Avon needs his crew mates more than he says.

A first Blake's Seven script for Allan Prior here, who's got no previous Doctor Who experience but had written for Z-Cars and Softly Softly. He returns for 4 more episodes B8 Hostage, B12 The Keeper, C3 Volcano & D5 Animals making him the third most prolific Blake's 7 writer behind creator Terry Nation (19) and Script Editor Chris Boucher (9). His daughter is Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span who is believed to have inspired the X-Men character Madeline Pryor.

The Kommissar is played by William Squire who features in the Doctor Who story in progress when this episode was shown, The Armageddon Factor, as The Shadow. His assistant is Brian Miller who was in the Doctor Who story Snakedance as Dugdale and provided Dalek Voices for Resurrection of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks. His wife was the actress Elizabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith. Souad Faress plays Selma and provides the voice of Usha Gupta in The Archers. Her husband Ro is played by Darien Angadi, a former Top of the Form contestant, who committed suicide just a few years later aged only 32.

The Blake's 7 fanclub take their name from the title of this episode.

Horizon was broadcast 3 days after Doctor Who episode 501 The Armageddon Factor Part Two, which was broadcast on 27/01/1979, and 4 days before episode 502 The Armageddon Factor Part Three, (the first episode of the serial to feature William Squire) which was broadcast on 03/02/1979.

Horizon was released on video on 02 July 1991 as part of Blake's 7 tape 9 with the following episode Pressure Point alongside Tape 10 Trial & Killer. The Blake's 7 season 2 DVD containing this episode was released on 17 January 2005.