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Blake's 7 - Orac

episode 1.13

UK 1978
produced by
David Maloney for BBC
directed by Vere Lorrimer
starring Gareth Thomas, Michael Keating, Sally Knyvette, Paul Darrow, David Jackson, Jan Chappell, Jacqueline Pearce, Stephen Greif, Derek Farr
written & created by Terry Nation, music by Dudley Simpson

tv-series
Blake's 7

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For the set-up for this story see the previous episode, Deliverance.

... on their way to Aristo, to save Ensor's father, conveniently also named Ensor (Derek Farr), & to keep Orac (whatever that is) from falling into the clutches of the federation, all the crew of the Liberator having been on the last rescue mission - that being Avon (Paul Darrow), Vila (Michael Keating), Jenna (Sally Knyvette) & Gan (David Jackson) - falls ill from radiation contamination, leaving only Blake (Gareth Thomas) & Cally (Jan Chappell) to teleport down to the planet. But to spice things up, federation supreme commander Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce) & space commander Travis (Stephen Greif) decide to pay Ensor an unfriendly visit at around the same time to get their hands on Orac, who/what turns out to be the ultimate supercomputer - & not even an elaborate defence system, caving in caverns & dragon-like monsters can keep them from getting ot Ensor's lab.

Thank god Blake & Cally have gotten there just before them & help Ensor escape, but unfortunately on their escape he dies, the medicine brought by Blake & Cally having arrived just a few minutes too late.

On the beach, Blake & Cally have their final shoot-out with Travis & Servalan, & it seems Travis can finally get around to kill Blake ... but thanks to a timely intervention by Avon & Vila, Blake, Cally & Orac are saved at last, Travis & Servalan are left on the planet empty handed.

 

Orac might not be a very sophisticated episode, nor has it much originality to offer, but as pure sci-fi-action it's pretty solid, though some of the plot does leave to be desired (e.g. who come all of a sudden Avon & Vila are able to save Blake & Cally when during the whole episode they were seen dying from radiation contamination), & the cliffhanger ending (this was the end of Blake's 7's first season) copmes a bit heavy-handed when the crew's newly found supercomputer-pal predicts their spaceship will be blown up.

By the way, Stephen Greif had to undergo surgery while shooting this episode of the series, which did not allow him to stand up let alone walk afterwards - meaning he could only be shot from the waist up & had a body double for walking-scenes - this becomes bloody apparent considering the odd camera-angles in which many scenes are filmed, just showing legs or feet.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD