Written by:
Terry Nation
Directed by: Vere Lorrimer
Episode Length: 51'22
Original UK Transmission Date: 6/2/1978
Original UK Ratings: 8.8m
Original UK Chart Position: 41

DVD Availability: Try or Amazon

Starring: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan) and Peter Tuddenham (Zen).

Guest-Starring: Boom Mike Shadow (Himself), Julian Glover (Flayn), Ian Thompson (Farren) and Christian Roberts (Renor).

Crew: Geoffrey Manton (Production Assistant), Sheelagh Rees (Production Unit Manager), Ian Scoones/Mat Irvine (Visual Effects Designers), Terry Nation (Series Deviser), Ken Willicombe (Film Cameraman), John Gatland (Film Recordists), M.A.C. Adams (Film Editor), Brian Clemett (Studio Lighting), Clive Gifford (Studio Sound), Richard Yeoman-Clark (Special Sound), A.J. Mitchell (Electronic Effects), Rupert Jarvis (Costume Designer), Marianne Ford (Make Up Artist), Bob Blagden (Graphics Designer), Dudley Simpson (Music), Peter Brayham (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Chris Boucher (Script Editor), Peter Brachacki (Designer) and David Maloney (Producer).

Story: Gan suffers a potentially fatal seizure after his limiter develops a fault. With severe neurological disturbance centred at the 03 zone, sub 4 section of the cerebrum, the Liberator travels to the XK72 space laboratory to enlist help. However, after contacting Professor Kayn, Avon finds he recognises them (He describes Jenna as "a celebrity") and Kayn reports them to the Federation. Avon, who was considering staying on the station, warns the rest of the crew and they escape, before a plasma bolt from a Federation pursuit ship destroys XK72. While stalling for time Kayn cured Gan's problem, yet the limiter has to remain in place.

XK72: A permanent research station financed by a consortium of planets, which has two fields of research - weaponry and space medicine.

The Federation: Professor Kayn talks of a "matter transmission project" which the Federation abandoned.

The Liberator: The Liberator has tranquillisers that are adhesive pads, two of which, it's suggested, could render a normal human unconscious for one hundred hours.

"Staying with you requires a degree of stupidity of which I no longer feel capable."
"Now you're just being modest."

The production was getting rushed at this stage, so it's perhaps to be expected that what looks like a window can be seen in a space shot, and the studio lights break in on the Gan/Blake fight. It also has - to my eyes, anyway - the highest amount of boom mike shadows in any episode.

A story based on Blake's 7's most boring regular character; it's ironic that although nominally about Gan, he rarely features. Also worrying is David Jackson's acting. Most of the time when he's supposed to be deranged his expression looks like he's having a wank. His superheroic feats of strength also make this the most cartoonish episode until season three introduced a giant ant.

I used to hate Blake's 7 when I was younger, mistakenly believing it was a cheap show where every episode ended in the crew laughing stagily. Well, I was right about the cheap. But this is one of just three episodes (the others being Trial and Children of Auron; with Ultraworld, Rescue and Assassin also having a wry, would-be funny quip climax) that ends with the crew chuckling heartily. Obviously the trio of sardonic Avon laughs at their terrible plight - Terminal, Gold and Blake - do not count. Anyway, the reason why I mention all this is that for once the crew laughing happily into the end credits doesn't seem to be scripted, and it feels like genuine ad-libbed laughs. I mean, what are they laughing at anyway? They're all pissed!

Talking of laughs, look out for perhaps the only decent line Jenna ever got: "I love girls with a sense of humour" - "Yes, I can see where that would be an advantage." There are many nice lines like this - probably written by Chris Boucher - yet we do also get "space medicine." Pure Nation.