A07 – MISSION TO DESTINY (and a bit about the little details.)

“The answer is here. If only we could see it.”

I’ve decided I want to write about clues and attention to detail.  The working out of all kinds of things, just like the episode that is the focus of this blog post.  And there’s a little bit of indulgent naval gazing as I venture into the winter of this blog series.

The first time I watched ‘Mission to Destiny’ I was immediately drawn to the fact that the production team had cannibalised the set designs from ‘Space Fall.’  To be honest, I didn’t pay a blind bit of attention to the plot or the attempts to solve the mysteries onboard the spacecraft.  I was too busy being wrapped up in the production details – another mystery of its own.

When the episode had finished, I quickly decided I should watch it again in the not too distant future, but this time I should spend a bit more time focussing on the actual story.

In other posts, I’ve mentioned the idea of the ‘ultra geek’ – that itch to delve into micro detail.  One day that particular journey will be will be told.  I feel sure that many of us reading this will hold that fascination with the intricate, the minutiae, or what exists behind the surface.  I love the idea that we don’t just watch our favourite series, we study it like a prized collection, like the dusting of the glass cabinets of a museum, in the hope we find that extra little bit of information that we didn’t previously know.  Like a never-ending crossword.

As Blake himself once said “People collect the strangest things.

I looked up the origins of the word ‘Geek’.  Here is what Oxford dictionaries have to say.

Geek has seen an interesting transformation in meaning over the last couple of decades. The word used to be a cruel and critical label attached to clever, but socially awkward, people – such as computer or science geeks. The origin of this sense of the word can be traced back to the late nineteenth century, and comes from the (now obsolete) English dialect word geck (meaning ‘mad or foolish person’), which is related to the Dutch word gek, meaning ‘mad’ or ‘silly’.

Then, in the 1990s, everything changed. The computer industry helped many geeks to achieve great success, and the wider perception of geeks began to shift. Being a geek was suddenly a positive thing, suggesting an admirable level of knowledge, expertise, and passion: geeks could do ‘cool stuff’. It’s now common for people to be self-proclaimed or self-confessed geeks, with geekiness no longer confined to the world of science and technology (1)

Boffin.  Egghead.  Anorak.  Nerd.  Ordinary human being.  Take your pick.

I suppose that’s been one of the difficulties about writing a blog like this.  Occasionally people who sit outside of the world of whatever fandom we sit within, catch a blog post and snigger.
“Why on Earth are you going into that level of detail”
“Who on earth is going to read this?”
Isn’t it all a bit sad.
Luckily my wife is far more diplomatic; “You’re not the man I married” she says adoringly.  But she understands.

Sometimes there’s a strange sense of guilt that I’m not always paying attention to the actual outcome of the television series I love, but rather more about the the endeavours of those who were responsible for it.  This is what sticks out when I’m watching Blake’s 7.

But I love it.  I love taking the the time to study it.  I love working out things that is a part of Blake’s 7 – the species.  And I reckon you do too.

When I was having a ‘deeply philosophical’ discussion with my wife about what is behind the obsessive studies of something we care about.   She said that being a specialist  is a natural human behaviour linked to survival.  A vestigial trait.  “Like a bone we never use” – I like that.

Geekery started with Doctor Who. It was the way in.  It quickly hooked me.  The combination of ‘The Five Doctors’ and the Radio Times 20th anniversary pull out, sent me into a new level of fascination.  Years later, with the arrival of episodic VHS tapes, and the beginning of Andrew Pixley’s archive section in Doctor Who Magazine, I had totally succumbed.   ‘Warriors of the Deep’ became a study of interconnecting set design, ‘The Caves of Androzani’ became a study of how to push the barriers of multi camera drama, the entirety of Season 15 became the fascination of making the programme in spite of absolutely everything, and ‘Inferno’ became the mission to work out where all the scenes were filmed within the refinery location – something that I eventually turned into a poster.  For many weeks and evenings this became my crossword.  It was the thing you do in little moments of spare time.  I loved working out the puzzle and solving the mystery.

infernokey

It’s taken a while for this blog to obsess over the tiny details that exist within Blake’s 7, but I now feel I have reached where I want to be with it.  I think the post about the colour palettes used across all 52 episodes was that moment I worked out the level.  I’m still amused by the fact that during the attempt to work out the overall amalgamated colour scheme, there was the usual brown, beige and grey… and a vivid turquoise.

colourpaletteoverall

This was the moment I realised that I wanted to talk about the design considerations a lot.  The set design textures and fittings, the style of the corridors, the detail of the flight deck, or the way the planets were realised, suddenly became a lot more easier to express.    These were the things I had always noticed, but in those early tentative posts, I couldn’t quite work out how to present them.

Take the chairs.  As I have watched these episodes it has become evident that the way to depict the far future is to not always go down the custom built approach, but to use contemporary design instead.  Suddenly I’ve stopped seeing the odd design classic here and there, and started to imagine the treasure trove that must have existed in the BBC store room.  And then I discovered, thanks to that 1971 behind the scenes of BBC Television Centre video that you can find on youtube, it really did exist!  A Narnia for the seating fanatic!

And suddenly Blake’s 7 isn’t that fondly remembered “western” in space that Clive James mocked, and Terry Wogan loved.  It is far, far more than that.  It is the Design Museum of mid to late 20th century furniture!

And suddenly the sofa that Frank Bough interviewed a (probably) squiffy Tom Baker on ‘Nationwide’ around the time of ‘The Armageddon Factor’ (1979) was also the sofa of choice for the Alta in ‘Redemption.’

And there’s those urgent, vital questions that hang over all of us. What actually is that dome from Powerplay?  Who is the figure lurking in the distance during the early moments on Sarran, in ‘Aftermath’.

Take this chap.  His name is Guy Hassan.

Hardly a household name.  But one day, he became the name behind the question of “who is behind the mask?”  Other names are easy answers; Dave Prowse, John Scott Martin, David Banks.  Even Keith Hodiak, the man behind the Rason Warrior robot in ‘The Five Doctors’ (1983), made it on Toby Hadoke’s Who’s Round.

Guy Hassan played ‘Robi’, the curiously ineffectual robot that hangs out with Michael Gough in ‘Volcano’.  And yet, for ages Hassan seemed to be only traceable to that one role.  Until recently.  Thanks to an update on IMDB, he is linked to the BBC’s 1979 adaptation of ‘Testament of Youth’.  It’s a speaking part, and is a pretty good performance in the short scene he features in.  Suddenly he isn’t that bloke who has to rotate his arm like a mechanical man, he’s a real living person.  An actor no less.

And suddenly Blake’s 7 was all over ‘Testament of Youth’ – Sally Hulke was the production designer, Denis Carey popped up in a moment that didn’t involve the putting on of a fur coat.  Another scene included David Troughton, and Geoffrey Burridge together.  Gold dust!

And then I thought to myself that I’ve never seen a picture of Sally Hulke before.  I wonder if I can put a face to the name.  The person responsible for deciding that an amazing space age chair needs to feature in ‘Killer’.  Is it custom made by the BBC or something that exists commercially?  I don’t think I’ll ever find that out.

So my attention then shifts to the location filming of ‘Killer’ and whether I could find a picture of Oldbury Power Station and, despite the additional buildings that popped up since 1978, see if I could plot that piece of grass that Avon and Vila run across as they make their way into Q-base.

No sweat.

Then what was the source of the stock photo of the research facility featured in ‘Seek-Locate-Destroy’.

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 19.51.37

No luck.

But I did notice the ‘tapered squares’ that featured on the walls in the climax between Blake, Cally and Travis, and noticed them in many other episodes, particularly in ‘Gambit’


Then ‘Gambit’ lead me to the question of who played Thrylce – the gambler who failed to beat the Klute at speed chess.  The cast list doesn’t make it clear, so I’m guessing it’s Jan Murzynowski on the basis that he also is listed as a guard in ‘The Keeper, but correct me if I’m wrong.  I reckon he is the one behind Servalan as she turns to Gola and goes “Uh..uh” as only Servalan can.  

Condering Murzynowski was listed as playing Smithy’s Assistant in the 1979 Tommy Steele showcase ‘Quincy’s Quest’ it was obvious that I might catch a glimpse of him in order to confirm my educated guess, only for then to see someone else who featured in ‘Gambit’.  Someone dressed in Georgian attire, in 1979.  Aubrey Woods no less.  He clearly had a stranglehold on this kind of part.  What a profitable evening!

Of course ‘Gambit’ featured actor Deep Roy as the Klute, as did ‘Moloch’, which posed the question in my mind; who is the supporting extra who played Servalan’s Mutoid in that episode?  Nikki Dunsford was the name I discovered.  Still performing, and appearing in the odd convention today.

Hmmmm.  Too easy.  So I started to think about how they created the hull of a convict carrier using some rag cloth, strings and a couple of tubes.  Very ingenious, but immediately my mind was drawn to the pathway in the distance, which was the same one Blake ran up in ‘Hostage’.

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 20.17.36.png

And then I was back to season B.  Like the chair in ‘Killer’ there are other questions I’ll never work out, such as; did anyone get paid under equity rules for pointing a gun at Gan in ‘Shadow’ in a single two second shot?  That hand needs paying!  It reminded me that ‘Warlord’ director Viktors Ritelis was happy to step in when William Russell decided he didn’t want ants crawling over his arm in the 1965 Doctor Who story ‘The Crusade’.

I’m guessing the hand belonged to the enforcer himself, Archie Tew, who is now a life coach in America.

And then in ‘Shadow’ I realised that the teleport bay only features in two very brief shots, and it make me think about which episodes did the production team only use either the flight deck, or teleport bay.

Flight deck only:
Space Fall
Mission to Destiny
Weapon
Star One
Dawn of the Gods
Ultraworld
Death Watch

Teleport bay only:
Countdown
Gambit
Aftermath (the flight deck scenes were taken from ‘stock’)
City at the Edge of the World
Rumours of Death

Having explored the flight deck in detail here, it lead me to the differences in the set design for the teleport section between season A and the remaining Liberator seasons. I noted how the upper section of the set starts off with a greater number of tightly packed horizontal lines in the first season, before settling into the more familiar rows that also feature in the upper sections of the flight deck, specifically around the top half of Zen and the main screen.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 19.46.45

And what about the vertical wall that sits to the right of the teleport (as we look at it) – not only does the rectangular panel switch from black in season A, to a holagramatic look later on, but also the the bottom of that wall starts of as a diagonal slope in season A, before being redesigned as an extension to the steps in season B and C.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 20.03.09

And what about the cabinet that houses the teleport bracelets.  It gets a swanky makeover from season B onwards.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 20.22.42.png

On the teleport set, we get to see the wobbliest space helmet in ‘Voice from the Past’ as Blake sets off to recce Del 10.  And that helmet and collar has popped up a few times, recently in the Doctor Who adventure, ‘The Invisible Enemy’ (1977), allowing us to see the reflection of the studio in both adventures.

And ‘The Invisible Enemy’ includes the wonderful Harry Fielder, known to many fandoms through his contributions across many different fantasy series and franchises.  I say wonderful, because I’ve always had a soft spot for the way he shows anguish.  Check out the graceful way he dies when zapped by the possessed helmeted trio (he’s the one on the right) – in fact I have a hazy memory that Doctor Who Magazine noted one of these three in their fabulous and much missed “Supporting Artist of the Month” feature.

And Fielder features in ‘Space Fall’, providing the top class control over the prisoners as they merrily plan their rebellion.  The face he pulls when Gan wraps his hand around his neck, reminds me of the face Roger Moore pulled when ‘Jaws’ held him back in his giant palm, on a train somewhere in Italy.

And this leads me to ‘Space Fall’, where the designs created by Roger Murray-Leach provide not only an effective backdrop to the shenanigans onboard the prison ship London, but also a framework to be reused in a future episode – a very useful budgetary tactic.

And that future episode is ‘Mission to Destiny’.  We’re right back where we started.

connect

Geekery is a wonderful thing.  When I’m stuck on a train, which is an awful lot of the time, I’m looking at what people are doing to keep their brains ticking over.  Crosswords, Suduko, e-books, Dame Barbara Cartland novels.  Things that are traditional pastimes, and things I thought had disappeared.

But this blog has made me realise that this level of analysis and observation is my way of keeping my brain going.  It’s like a game of ‘Only Connect’, where you work out the connections between disparate elements.  As Jon Pertwee’s Doctor once said – “A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”  And even if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll happily wallow in the observational skill of everyone else who feels the same way inclined; for example, Clayton Hickman’s beautiful obsession with the TARDIS on his Twitter feed, the incredible MakingBlakes7, and the myriad of other microscopes that exist.

This is a Blake’s 7 blog, so the final line must go to Travis.  “So if I’m guilty of geekery, of mass geekery.  Then so are all of you!

Or something like that.

EPISODE DISCUSSION

We open with a ship.  We often open with a ship.  This one is a bit Space 1999 looking.

There’s a slow fade to a crewman at a control panel on a set that looks suspiciously like a redressed ‘London’ from ‘Space Fall’.  The pace is slow and deliberate.  The camera is gliding across in a arc movement, like the shots you often see in vintage 1970’s ‘Top of the Pops’, where the camera often tracks all the way from the front to behind the stage.

The crewman is yawning, and all seems quiet.

However Dudley Simpson thinks otherwise.  His music is totally dictating the scene.  The occasional piano chords and suspenseful cello riff is telling us one thing; something is about to happen.

Before it does there is some excellent space jargon to be had.

“Log entry one forty three. Flight time zero one zero, elapsed nine zero. We have reached course delta red two.”

When the ‘happening’ happens, it it through some lovely use of handheld camera, just like those classic murder mystery films and television shows.  It puts the audience right in the middle of the action, and with that, a vested interest in resolving the murder.

As we shift away from the corridor and into the darkness of space, we see the Liberator glide into view, and like ‘The Web’ it is accompanied with one of Dudley Simpson’s most gorgeous musical fanfares; one which reminds us that we need to still be awestruck by this ship.

It’s a shame then, that the twangy sound of the Ortega’s signal is so cod.

When Blake leans down to talk to Jenna, it’s somehow a distinctly Blake’s 7 type pose.  With Doctor Who of the time, you wouldn’t get this type of pose; either Tom Baker would be facing away from Leela, perhaps partly due to his dislike of the character, or standing up looking quizzical, in order to complete with Romana’s own brand of sardonic expressions.  But this period of Blake’s 7 is marked by the closeness of Blake and Jenna.

Speaking of poses, I’m loving how relaxed Blake is in this scene.  As he sits down on the luxury cream sofa and talks to Zen, it’s like he is about to settle down for a relaxing evening with a cuppa and whatever is on BBC Radio 3.

Seven episodes in and we’re still having fun at the expense of Zen, and his programming.  And why not?  It’s a chance to remind ourselves that the regular characters are (mostly) human beings who, more often than not, rely on unspecific instruction and gut instinct.

As the rest of the crew join in the fun on the flight deck, the cod sound effect has turned into a different kind of cod sound effect.   Just a bit deeper in nature.    Avon’s silent and petulant reaction when asked to join Blake is great fun.

Onboard the Ortega, there are chairs galore.  Regular readers will know that this excites me a great deal.  More on this later.

I love the moment when Avon contacts Vila, enquiring whether he is awake.  It might just be the first moment where their ‘special relationship’ is established.

I’m also enjoying the sleepy acting, and how the air flow control units falls apart when Gareth Thomas slides the switches.

Quickly I’m realising that this is an episode that is going to be full of long, lingering scenes that are full of suspense, creaky doors, tiptoeing down corridors, and little dialogue.  Perhaps Terry Nation is starting to feel the pinch?

It’s also a quieter episode.  It’s odd not hearing the wail of Federation alarms, or mysterious planetary noises.

There’s even some time for Avon to do some comic finger pointing.  A far cry from the same point in the previous episode.

There is a chance for a dozy, leisurely walk around the ship.

But soon the quietness is shattered by the sound of a character.   Upon disovering the dead body of the crewman, Sara really gives it some.  Perhaps a little bit too much.

Very quickly Blake has established that he is in control, immediately getting an apology from the captain of the ship – Dr. Kendall.  I can’t believe that this was the same actor who played Drax in ‘The Armageddon Factor’.  This is such a controlled performance.

There is another clumsy moment when Dr. Kendall checks the safe containing the super valuable neutrotope…with a clunk against the set as he takes it out of the locked compartment.  Even Barry Jackson lets out a sigh as though he expects a “Cut” and a second take…which never arrives.  None the less I love the moment he carefully takes the device out of Blake’s curious hands, it’s like a parent quietly taking an valuble ornamental vase out of the hands of a child who somehow has reached the unreachable.

I bring grave news!  The characters are surrounded by film (see ‘Sand‘.)  There’s a lot of it about in this episode.  Normally I associate film with scenes involving fire, explosions and water.  But many of the scenes here are straightforward corridor shots.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea that Avon and Cally would remain on the Ortega, but the lack of resistance, even from Avon about Blake’s decision to leave them there feels a little out of character.  I always felt that a little added conflict between Blake and Avon would help sell the idea to the audience.  But Avon doesn’t like an unsolved mystery, and either way it gives him the change to deliver his best line yet.

“Personally, I don’t care if their whole planet turns into a mushroom. I shall stay because I don’t like an unsolved mystery.”

And then again a few moments later

Cally: “My people have a saying, a man who trusts can never be betrayed, only mistaken.”
Avon: “Life expectancy must be fairly short among your people.”

Meanwhile, the Liberator flight deck feels like there has been some kind of power cut.  The lights are dimmed, and the space sounds less like a television studio, and more a hollowed shell.

Cally is on the prowl again, but she would make a lousy criminal.  Fancy not tucking Mandrian’s bedsheets afterwards.

Along the way she finds herself walking in on a domestic between Mandrian and Sara, and eventually stumbling upon a very dead Dortmunn.

We’re now into whodunnit territory as everyone gets together in the crew room.  I enjoy these type of scenes.  It’s not only the slow deduction of the plan by Cally and Avon, but it’s the whole blocking of the scene; the pacing across the set, walking behind and around the characters, the lingering stares, and obsession with body language.  There’s even a chance for Grovane to throw in a red herring into the mix.  It’s very much of the era.  Great stuff.

Back on the flight deck, there is a meteorite shower between the Liberator and Destiny. And it’s a biggy.  In fact I love the BBC sci-fi meteorite, spinning slowly towards us.  It’s very much like ‘The Invisible Enemy’.

Back on the Ortega the answer is right in front of Cally and Avon.  If only they could see it, or take a glance at the camera script.   It’s a crucial point in the episode, at a time where very little is happening.  We need another murder, and we get one, but it’s not one we were expecting.

It’s time for the audience to sharpen their suspicions.  Sara is very much in the mix now, although, as Cally looks down at the dead body of Mandrian, there’s a cheeky shot of Levett in the background with a smirk on her face.

It’s time for Avon to solve the case.  And doesn’t he just love this kind of thing.  Pouting and pacing all over the place.  It’s compulsive viewing.

Back on the Liberator, Gan gets a line, and helps Blake open a box.  David Jackson must have been exhausted after this recording block.

Avon’s bravado takes centre stage as he leads everyone in failing to actually secure the murderer one she is revealed.  Still it happily adds on another 10 minutes to the running time of the episode.

Big shout out to the pen that translates 54124 to Sara.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 19.18.24

The Liberator arrives back within range of the Ortega alongside another nice little Dudley Simpson motif, and a singular lack of awareness of elapsed time, power reserves and mietorite showers.  It’s all a little too convenient.

Sara’s grapple with Avon is curiously staged.  It’s passively watched by the Ortega crew, but it gives Avon the chance to demonstrate his basic philosophy – don’t let gender affect anything and treat anyone in his way with the same basic contempt.

“You’d better get her out of here, I really rather enjoyed that.”

It’s stands out alongside his comment to Tarrant to shoot Vinni in the back during the climax of ‘Death Watch’.

Time is ticking.  And it is not Sara who is on the receiving end, it is Jenna and Gan.  It’s hard on David Jackson and Sally Knyvette to have to put up with two dreadful moments.  The first is as they have to convey tension, with Jenna saying “They’re getting very close.

A moment or so later, their fate in this episode is sealed with the truly woeful

Gan: “He’s cutting it too fine!”
Jenna: “Come on Blake, get out of there.”

There is another little nod to the Pennant Roberts directed ‘Space Fall’ as the Ortega is destroyed using a similar graphic to the flares seen by the London, just before the spectacular arrival of the Liberator for the first time.

The episode ends with a rather poor out of focus shot of Vila, with wobbly zoom.

‘Mission to Destiny’ is an odd episode.  It lurches all over the place.  The scenes on the Liberator flight deck feel like pure padding, and get in the way of the slowly paced events on board the Ortega.  But somehow I’m compelled.  It is perhaps one of the most forgivable Blake’s 7 episodes, as we’re at the point where we know and understand the regular characters, so when you lock them in a room with other new characters who might only appear in this episode, we have a added interest in all of them, in the true tradition of a whodunnit.  It’s a heady brew.

In my review of ‘Space Fall’ I celebrated Pennant Roberts direction, and re-assessed my previous view that he was responsible for episodes that lack visual impact and had poor production values.  There is more of an argument to suggest ‘Mission to Destiny’ falls into this category.

But it is only half true.  He gets to grips with the characters well, and has fun suggesting all kinds of misplaced maguffins and motivations offered in the script.  He’s really good at depicting drama.   However the production does feel sloppy, with some stark lurching from film to video, and occasionally some poor blocking and camera angles, such as the early scenes of Blake and Dr. Kendall in his quarters.

The cheapness of the episode is something I can totally forgive.  In fact it’s another great example of stretching the meagre budget so that we can enjoy 13 episodes of this first run.    So it’s a mixed bag really.

It’s also the first episode that truly neglects some of the regulars.  Up to this point there had been some reasonable action and dialogue for everyone.  However, Jenna and Vila are sidelined, and Gan feels virtually non existent.  David Jackson comes across as somewhat defeated here, which is rare considering his solid presence during his time on the series.

There’s a big cast in this one.  Barry Jackson is unrecognisable from Drax in ‘The Armageddon Factor’ (1979) where he almost upstages Tom Baker.  Nigel Humphreys, featured in ‘Out’ (see ‘Trial‘ for more about this series.)  Stephen Tate plays Lord Chiswick in ‘The Black Adder’ and Kate Coleridge, appeared in The Cedar Tree, and Upstairs Downstairs.  John Leeson featured in one of his standing up roles, while Stuart Fell falls off things, something of which he is good at.

I want to pay tribute to Carl Forgione, who may well be most known for his role in Jon Pertwee’s swan song ‘Planet of the Spiders (1974), but for this viewer, he will forever be known as the audience member who reveals himself to be a member of the ‘Bald Brummies Against The Big Footed Conspiracy Party’ in Knowing Me, Knowing You, with Alan Partridge.

Beth Morris, wins the award for the most off-screen deaths.  It’s just as well, as her demise at the hand of John Hurt’s Caligula, in ‘I, Claudius’ is particularly gruesome, and even had to be re-edited several times before the BBC was satisfied.  This was 1976 after all, a similar time that a freeze frame shot of Tom Baker’s Doctor underwater aired, and wasn’t edited out.

Finally, Brian Capron went on to big things in a famous street in the north of England.

SET DESIGN

setdestiny
Lets talk chairs.  The Ortega is awash with them.  My initial excitement about discussing a load of design classics was slowly watered down by the fact that some of the chairs featured were cheaper off-shoots of more famous designs.  Take the Eichholtz Trapezium Chair, which is an Art Deco design, that conveys a sense of elegance.  The two grey chairs featured in here are similar but different.

Other off-shoots include the Thonet barrel club chair.  In fact there is a distinctly tubular chrome vibe going on with a lot of the furniture here, especially the distinctive tables that feature throughout.  They look like something Rodney Kinsman would have designed, or something for the Thonet studio, but alas I can’t quite identify it for certain.

Italian designer Giancarlo Piretti designed and manufactured the Plan foldable chair in 1969.  This design is featured in MoMA and is made of fibreglass and chrome.  I think it is great.

Popping up in another episode is the Oxford high backed chair designed by Arne Jacobsen.  Where the Klute gets to sit in the version with arms in ‘Gambit’, here the Ortega is fitted with the armless model.  It was designed for the professors at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford, with the high back communicating a sense of prestige.

We also have the DS11 sofa from 1969 by De Sade of Switzerland.  I’m pretty sure it pops up again on the Virn base in ‘Sand.’

De-Sede-bank-DS-11-hoekbank-MARIEKKE-vintage-design-furniture-4

And finally, we have a fabulous 1960’s Reigate Rocking Chair by William Plunket. Check the link out, everything you could possibly need is there.

So much for the furniture, what about the space itself.  As mentioned earlier, Martin Collins predominantly redresses sets designed by Roger Murray Leach for ‘Space Fall.’  I totally understand the financial necessity for doing this, but it’s just a little bit too obvious that this was the ‘London’ prison ship.  I think the ships flight deck gave it away right at the beginning.

Collins manages to sneak in some of his own designs into the mix, notably the hexagonal doorway leading to the outside in ‘The Way Back’, which as doorways go, is quite signifiant in the story of Roj Blake.

There’s some familiar scenic panels, which can be found in other series too.

 

Dr. Kendall’s quarters is a curious design.  His desk might contain a lovely little pencil holder, but sits awkwardly wit the rest of the set, and the colour scheme and lighting feels out of kilter with each other.  But what do I know.  This is outer space.  Anything goes.

MUSIC SCORE
Dudley gets out the electronic piano that will famously characterise City of Death.  The result? Instant murder mystery.  There are slow lumbering brassy chords, and some percussive motifs to suggest the killer on the prowl.  It’s a great score.  I’ve already mentioned the tasty motifs that accompany the model shots of the Liberator at the beginning of the episode, and when it reaches teleport range of the Ortega towards the end.

HOW TO SELL THIS TO AN UNBELIEVER.
Everyone loves a murder mystery.  In this regard, it might be the perfect introduction to Blake’s 7.

MY FAVOURITE MOMENT
Avon’s Mushroom line.

THE MOMENT I’D RATHER FORGET
Sara’s scream.

VERDICT IN TEN WORDS EXACTLY
Recycled sets, furniture, storyline and air supply.  Sustainable Blake’s 7.

(1) https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/03/04/are-you-calling-me-a-geek/
http://www.peterevansstudios.co.uk/scenic-embellishment/
https://twentytwentyone.com/sites/default/files/products/files/magazine_article.pdf

 

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