Marooned on the arid desert world of Virn, Tarrant and his enemy must confront each other, and the past, whilst trying to solve the mystery of a lost Federation expedition. Meanwhile, time ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Paul Darrow ...
Jacqueline Pearce ...
Michael Keating ...
Steven Pacey ...
Josette Simon ...
Peter Tuddenham ...
Orac / Slave (voice)
Stephen Yardley ...
Investigator Reeve
Peter Craze ...
Servalan's Assistant
Jonathan David ...
Don Keller
Michael Gaunt ...
Base Computer (voice)


Marooned on the arid desert world of Virn, Tarrant and his enemy must confront each other, and the past, whilst trying to solve the mystery of a lost Federation expedition. Meanwhile, time is running out for the struggling Scorpio and Orac. Written by frank-270

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Release Date:

23 November 1981 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Although Blake's 7: Traitor (1981) established that Servalan had survived the events of Blake's 7: Terminal (1980), it is this episode that explains how she escaped: a power surge caused her to be teleported to a Federation ship. (However, no Federation ship was seen in "Terminal".) See more »


Kerr Avon: Orac, teleport.
Orac: Teleport? I am not programmed. Three squared to the principal.
Dayna Mellanby: Oh, no.
Orac: I love you.
Vila Restal: Orac!
Orac: My emotions are deeper than the seas of space. One times one is only possible in the ultra-dimensional.
Kerr Avon: Turn Orac off.
Orac: [breathily] I love you.
Kerr Avon: [offended] *Off*!
Orac: We will be lovers for a little while, or maybe for a long while, who knows?
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Classic From Tanith Lee
31 March 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Five years after a Federation survey group stopped broadcasting from the Planet Virn Sleer and investigator Reeves arrive on the planet trying to unravel the mystery of the disappeared survey party only to find a lifeform beyond human comprehension

Tanith Lee wrote the classic episode Sarcophagus from season three and her second contribution is also an excellent testimony to telefantasy. You could be very uncharitable and state that with a slight restructure this could have easily have been a DOCTOR WHO story that plays up to some horror elements . That'd be missing the point and even if it had ended up at the production office of John Nathan Turner , the producer of DOCTOR WHO at the time you'd still have a very enjoyable fantasy adventure, so much so one wonders why Tanith Lee never wrote for the show featuring the time traveling timelord

Much of BLAKES 7 fandom never gives this episode credit since it features Tarrant being stranded on Virn with Servalan rather than Avon being stuck with her but what you get is what you get . It's an episode that is very atmospheric and realising a barren planet that has a life of its own and is entirely studio bound must have been a nightmare for the production crew but director Vivienne Cozens manages to paint a vivid picture on the Planet Virn. The use of voice over for exposition is also very inspired . Likewise Lee has always been good at dialogue and we hear the brilliant put down of " I suggest you go back to the fire . The alternative is frostbite "

There is a slight flaw to the episode and its one that constantly plagues season four and that is no one recognises Sleer as Servalan until the script demands it for dramatic purposes . This time it's the sadistic investigator Reeves who recognises the former leader of the Terran Federation but since everyone who does recognise her ends up dead I'm guessing it's a bad idea to point out that Sleer isn't her real name

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