Power

Written by:
Ben Steed
Directed by: Mary Ridge
Episode Length: 49'57
Original UK Transmission Date: 5/10/1981
Original UK Ratings: 8.7m
Original UK Chart Position: 60

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Starring: Paul Darrow (Avon), Michael Keating (Vila), Steven Pacey (Tarrant), Josette Simon (Dayna) and Peter Tuddenham (Orac/Slave).

Guest-Starring: Glynis Barber (Soolin), Dicken Ashworth (Gunn Sar), Juliet Hammond Hill (Pella), Jenny Oulton (Nina), Paul Ridley (Cato), Alison Glennie (Kate) and Linda Barr (Luxia).

Crew: Stuart Fell (Stunt Co-ordinator), Ralph Wilton (Production Manager), Frank Pendlebury (Production Associate), Valerie Turner (Production Assistant), Josephine Ward (Assistant Floor Manager), Fintan Sheehan (Film Cameraman), John Tellick (Film Sound), Sheila S. Tomlinson (Film Editor), Sam Upton (Videotape Editor), Jim Francis/Andy Lazell (Visual Effects Designers), Robin Lobb (Video Effects), Doug Burd (Graphic Designer), Francis Smith (Properties Buyer), Terry Brett (Technical Manager), Dave White (Senior Cameraman), Nigel Finnis (Vision Mixer), Warwick Fielding (Studio Lighting), Malcolm Johnson (Studio Sound), Elizabeth Parker (Special Sound), Nicholas Rocker (Costume Designer), Suzanne Jansen (Make-Up Artist), Dudley Simpson (Music), Terry Nation (Series Deviser), Chris Boucher (Script Editor), Roger Cann (Designer) and Vere Lorrimer (Producer).

Story: The episode opens with the Scorpio trapped behind an impenetrable door of Herculanium, and only around three weeks of food. Meanwhile, Soolin has gone into hiding and Avon is out looking for Crystals.
At Grid reference 290 by 428, Avon is captured by the tribe of Hommiks, the all-male rulers of the planet. Their enemies are the Earth-descended Seska (it's implied that both races are from Earth), who have the power of telekinesis. Both races underwent a war, after which the leader of the Hommiks suggested that they turn their backs on 10,000 years of advancement and return to basics. However, one of the Hommiks, Cato, is secretly helping his tribe by maintained a solar-powered computer room, unbeknown to his tribal leader.
Avon challenges and defeats the leader, Gunn Sar, who has killed 26 men. Gunn Sar is later killed by Dayna, who is helped by the Seska's mental powers. The Seska, now only two in number, open the Herculanium door (resetting the nuclear device designed to go off when the door is opened), and one of them, Pella, steals away in Scorpio. Getting Orac to teleport him aboard, Avon kills her in self-defence, then brings the others across. Soolin emerges from hiding at the end and teleports aboard Scorpio with Vila. When Avon questions her allegiances, she indicates she's a mercenary, telling him she doesn't have allegiances but that, drawing her weapon to illustrate, she sells "my skill."

Vila: Vila refers to "CF1", which he claims was "a sort of Academy when I was a boy", which was presumably the name of his detention centre.

Equipment: The crew have new transceivers, presumably from Dorian's cache.


Viewpoint:
"It's your strength and however you use it a man's will always be greater."

The old pulp SF staple of a tribe of men and a tribe of women at war finally comes to Blake's 7, and it's no surprise that it's in a script by Ben Steed. Sadly, where his first two scripts were well thought and plotted, this one is written - and played - as a light entertainment sitcom. Dicken Ashworth is a great comic actor, but a dramatic one? After three seasons of RADA savages it's weird getting used to one with a northern accent. With him hamming it up and the ever-slappable Slave, this is more Galloping Galaxies than Blake's 7.

A load of bewigged men with false beards amble around like Monty Python rejects while Avon roughs up a woman then snogs her. The dialogue is again poor ("If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.") and it's a fact that nearly 5% of the episode is dedicated to painful fight sequences. Painful to watch, that is.

On the plus side, the teleport effect is far more impressive (though again, as with the title sequence, it's technically better yet lacks the same style) and Tarrant placing a gun in Avon's hand has some interesting Freudian connotations. But I can't imagine the disappointment viewers at the time must have felt, seeing such a good programme descend into this mess, with Vila an out-and-out clown and what is arguably the worst episode ever made…