Deliverance

Written by:
Terry Nation
Directed by: Michael E. Briant (and David Maloney, uncredited)
Episode Length: 49'11
Original UK Transmission Date: 20/2/1978
Original UK Ratings: 9.0m
Original UK Chart Position: 36

DVD Availability: Try sendit.com 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: Stephen Greif (Travis), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), Tony Caunter (Ensor), Suzan Farmer (Meegat) and James Lister (Maryatt).

Crew: Victor Mallett (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 Recordist), 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), Frank Maher (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Chris Boucher (Script Editor), Robert Berk (Designer) and David Maloney (Producer).

Story: The son of a man named Ensor has visited Servalan in order to obtain medical supplies for his father. With his father living alone on the planet Aristo, he must get the supplies back before it is too late. However, Ensor Jr. has also bartered to sell his father's invention, Orac, to the Federation for 100 million credits. Servalan arranges for the destruction of Ensor's ship so that she can take Orac from his father and keep the credits; his son's death would be an official "accident" and their agreement would be legally binding. Ensor's escape capsule is found by the Liberator crew at 112 intersect 59, planet Cephlon, and with the rest of the group having teleported off-ship, he demands Blake and Cally take him to Aristo at gunpoint, before he dies on the journey there.
On the planet Cephlon, Gan, Vila and Avon come across a society that sees Avon worshipped as a God. Avon helps to launch a rocket of fertility cells that will help the race repopulate another planet in around 500 years' time. They return to the Liberator with Blake having learnt of Orac from Ensor, and anxious to pursue it…

Maryatt: Ensor's co-pilot, killed on impact, was Space Surgeon Maryatt (assumed married with two children), with a security pass to anywhere in the Federation. He had previously saved Travis's life, and, while working under Servalan's instructions, she arranges for him to be posted as a deserter, his family to go into slavery on one of the frontier worlds.


Viewpoint:
"Are you afraid I'll be able to cope with it better than you?"
"No."
"Well… perhaps you ought to be."


When I first saw this episode I expected Vila in the woods, being told to bend over and squeal like a pig. Sadly, however, it's a rather standard tale of cavemen and hostages.

Tony Caunter, the staid Roy Evans from Eastenders, here lends plank-like gusto to Blake's 7. Though as his dialogue contains some of the worst exposition ever heard in the series then it's perhaps not surprising. There is a notable attempt to improve the special effects in this one. They're still laughable, but there are some decent explosions and not a sign of the cartoon Liberator. However, the use of NASA stock footage - complete with lines and crackles on the film - is risible.

In fact, with the excessive and clunky exposition (Gan: "Do you know exactly what we're looking for? Cos I don't think I've ever seen an impact cab capsule.") and Jenna being left behind, this one has Terry Nation written through it more than any other. Space surgeon indeed! It's a decent enough episode, though, with some amusing - albeit contrived - moments of humour between Vila and Avon.