The Web

Written by:
Terry Nation
Directed by: Michael E. Briant
Episode Length: 49'38
Original UK Transmission Date: 30/1/1978
Original UK Ratings: 9.6m
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: Richard Beale (Saymon), Ania Marson (Geela), Miles Fothergill (Novara) and Deep Roy/Gilda Cohen/Ismet Hassam/Marcus Powell/Molly Tweedley/Willie Sheara (Decimas).

Crew: Christina McMillan (Production Assistant), Sheelagh Rees (Production Unit Manager), Ian Scoones (Visual Effects Designer), Terry Nation (Series Deviser), Ken Willicombe (Film Cameraman), John Murphy (Film Recordist), Martin Sharpe (Film Editor), Bob Blagden (Graphics Designer), Brian Clemett (Studio Lighting), Tony Millier (Studio Sound), Richard Yeoman-Clark (Special Sound), Barbara Lane (Costume Designer), Marianne Ford (Make Up Artist), A.J. Mitchell (Electronic Effects), Dudley Simpson (Music), Peter Brayham (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Chris Boucher (Script Editor), Robert Berk (Designer) and David Maloney (Producer).

Story: Cally talks of the legend of the lost, "Cast out, unfit to share the soul of Auronar." Six of these creatures have set up a corporate identity on an unnamed planet and use their powers to drag Cally - and the Liberator - to them. Using a silica-based organic material (a mutation "not unlike fungus") they trap the Liberator in a web. The corporate identity has created two symbiotic humanoids to do his work, and the decimas - biologically engineered creatures whom Blake helps destroy the gestalt and regain their freedom.

Avon: Avon's dislike of Gan is given its first real display here, with him sniping to Gan about a repair system: "It's slow. You should appreciate that problem." He also confides in Gan his ambitions to command the ship with: "I don't think Blake would agree to that." "There will come a time when he won't be making the decision." How very prophetic.

Neutron Blasters: This is the first time that the Liberator's neutron blasters have been used. We also learn that they require a "neutron flare shield" before they can be activated. They're also ready (yet not used) in Bounty and Redemption. However, despite the fact that someone seemed to say "clear the neutron blasters for firing" every other episode, they're rarely used, seeing operation just seven more times after this story. (For the record, the episodes were Shadow, Trial, The Keeper, Star One, Volcano, Dawn of the Gods and The Harvest of Kairos).

"A bomb was all we needed!"

The first truly below-par episode of Blake's 7, there isn't really a lot to recommend here.

One of the series' failings was in its infrequent depiction of alien races. Doctor Who could get away with giant ants and alien puppets, but in the more realistically coded Blake's 7 universe they just don't wash at all. It's a shallow indictment I know, but this episode, with its cartoon Liberator shots, human head glove puppet body and silly egg-shell Ewok sound alikes corrodes any sense of credibility the series had built up. Oh, and Cally gets mentally possessed this episode. Maybe a novelty here, but when it happened again in fifty million other episodes it started to get more than a little tired. Thankfully Gareth Thomas again gives a class performance to salvage something from the weak script.

Good bits: "All I said was 'What do you think of the outfit?'" Not a great line, but Vila's timing is excellent as always. Blake and Avon after Avon saves his life: "Why?" "Automatic reaction - I'm as surprised as you are."

Embarrassing bit: The possessed Jenna. Like a preschool Exorcist for recovering alcoholics.

Bad bit: Blake and Avon discussing the moral of the story at the end. This is taking the Star Trek referencing too farů