Horizon

Written by:
Allan Prior
Directed by: Jonathan Wright Miller
Episode Length: 50’28
Original UK Transmission Date: 30/1/1979
Original UK Ratings: 6.3m
Original UK Chart Position: 93

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 (Orac/Zen).

Guest-Starring: William Squire (Kommissar), Darien Angadi (Ro), Souad Faress (Selma), Brian Miller (Assistant Kommissar) and Paul Haley (Chief Guard).

Crew: Ralph Wilton (Production Assistant), Sheelagh Rees (Production Unit Manager), Mat Irvine/Peter Pegrum/Andrew Lazell (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), Paul Allen (Designer) and David Maloney (Producer).

Trivia: This was the episode with the lowest ratings on original UK transmission.

Story: The crew is in the early stages of “fatigue shock” and is looking for somewhere to rest for a while. Travelling on the edge of the spiral rim at zone 8 (which is claimed to be out of the reach of the Federation), they are passed by a Federation Freighter bound for the planet Horizon. They follow the freighter to zone 9 and orbit the planet at co-ordinates 10 by 13 WZ. Blake and Jenna teleport down to the surface in the theta section. However, they are soon captured by a native tribe governed by the Federation, as are Cally, Vila and Gan.
After the rest of the crew have been captured, Avon uses Orac to calculate that he has concentrated food for 1000 years with the Liberator on self-regenerating power. The ship can withstand all but an attack from three Federation Pursuit Ships, and by travelling alone Avon has a 3.5 to 1 survival chance. With this in mind, he contemplates deserting the others, yet changes his mind, rescuing them. Meanwhile, Blake has turned the tribal leader, Ro, against his Federation masters. (He tells him he knew about Ro from Pora, a member of the colony, and helps Ro to realise the Federation killed his father). Ro turns against the Federation officers and helps to overthrow them, while the crew teleport back up to the Liberator.

Grades: Grades are again mentioned, with Avon calling Vila a “fifth-grade ignorant.” (If this were to be taken literally, then this would suggest the D Labour Grade is a grade beneath the normal D Grade). Vila defends this by saying he had the wrong parents.

Gan: Orac is shown to be teaching Gan something, but what it is he’s teaching him is never defined. (Acting lessons? Don’t be so cruel!)


Viewpoint:
“I’m not expendable, I’m not stupid, and I’m not going.”

Odd that the Official Appreciation Society should name themselves after not only the episode that the least amount of people saw, but also one of the dullest.

It starts off well enough, but soon becomes a possible cure for insomnia. There have been worse episodes, dafter episodes, cheaper episodes… but few are so downright boring.

Gan in particular is annoying here, a man so thick that after being hit with a tranquilliser dart he walks towards the man who fired it instead of using his weapon. David Jackson gives one of his weaker performances here, and I for one was glad to see him bite the big one the following episode.

Perhaps the worst thing about Horizon is seeing Gareth Thomas and Michael Keating topless. For one, it’s sexist - why didn’t we get to see Jenna do the same? A wasted opportunity. Also, they make me look like I’ve got a good body. This is a classic example of how English the show really is - if this was a US series then it would have had bronzed leads with drumbarrel chests and six packs. Instead, Blake’s 7 gave us some primetime man breasts.

I do like Avon coming to the rescue, piqued by his conscience, and technically I have to give the episode average marks as it’s decently made and performed. Yet the next time I watch it I’ll remember to pack plenty of black coffee…