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Starring: Gareth Thomas (Blake), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Paul Darrow (Avon), Jan Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating (Vila), David Jackson (Gan) and Peter Tuddenham (Orac/Zen).
Guest-Starring: Sheila Ruskin (Alta One), Harriet Philpin (Alta Two) and Roy Evans (Slave).
Crew: Frank Maher (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Geoffrey Manton (Production Assistant), Sheelagh Rees (Production Unit Manager), Mat Irvine/Peter Pegrum (Visual Effects Designers), Peter Chapman (Film Cameraman), Ian Sansam (Film Recordist), Sheila S. Tomlinson (Film Editor), Brian Clemett (Studio Lighting), Clive Gifford (Studio Sound), Richard Yeoman-Clark (Special Sound), A.J. Mitchell (Electronic Effects), June Hudson (Costume Designer), Marianne Ford (Make-Up Artist), Dudley Simpson (Music), Terry Nation (Series Deviser), Chris Boucher (Script Editor), Sally Hulke (Designer) and David Maloney (Producer).
Story: The Liberator is drawn by remote operation to the 12th sector, Astro 781, a place called Space World. There it is reclaimed by its alien creators, who also intend to kill Blake and his group.
The place was created after three planets in the system were at war, one of them developing a computerised network known as “The System” to allow it to take over the other two. All three planets are now controlled by The System, and operating under the name Space World.
Imprisoned, the crew escapes, while the alien operators teleport two guards with explosive devices aboard the fleeing Liberator. However, Cally beams them instantly back aboard Space World, where their thrown explosives destroy The System, causing the whole of Space World to explode. The Liberator is pursued by a sister ship, which fires on them. However, Orac has scrambled its launch system, causing its missiles to pre-detonate and destroy itself, fulfilling his prophecy. (See Orac). Against Avon’s protests, Blake tells the crew to plot a course for Earth.
The Liberator: The Liberator is known to its alien creators as Space Vehicle 2, and has sub-control rooms, apparently more than two. It also has “seekers” which can be fired from the ship.
Orac: Orac’s voice has changed - a result of exposure to Zen? (In real life, of course, it was just cheaper to get Zen’s voice artist, Peter Tuddenham, to do both voices rather than rehiring Derek Farr.)
“Imagine you’re standing on the edge of a cliff.”
“As long as you’re not standing behind me.”
An in-built question remained in the series right from the second episode: who built the Liberator? After twelve episodes and exactly twelve months we finally get to find out the answer: some women in glitter and tinsel. To say this is an anticlimax is an understatement.
Yet there’s a clear attempt to boost the look of the show, with one or two smaller rooms added onto the Liberator (the side of the teleport room in particular) and much-improved model effects. It’s still cheap, but by Blake’s 7’s standards this is a mega-budget blockbuster.
It’s fun seeing who’s had a haircut in between seasons. Cally’s perm is given more shape, Vila appears to have had highlights and Avon has a kinky black leather outfit. The opening scene between him and Blake is outstanding, yet Paul Darrow’s performance is more self-consciously arch than before.
Terry Nation’s fourteen script in a row (after this he would only write five more scripts for the series) it’s one that ties up loose ends. We have the origins of the Liberator and the fulfilment of Orac’s prophecy. We also have much running around, the contrivance of helpful aliens and a very workmanlike script. Somehow just blowing up the aliens seems far too convenient, and too structured a way to resolve things. Still, it’s all very watchable, and never really drags. On that begrudging sense of praise I must give it: