Review: The campest season on DVD!
Spiralling between car crash and I, Claudius, the third series sees Blake's 7 get bolder, braver and even more jaw-dropping.
This is a future where the women are beautiful, the men are ugly, and the only drink is creme de menthe.
It's a rivetting journey. No matter how bad an episode there's always a genius idea, belting witticism, or wonderful bit of set design that keeps you going.
We've lost Blake and Jenna, and we don't miss them. Instead we have Avon leading the Liberator crew on what's either an amoral crusade, or an interstellar pub crawl.
It's basically a fight between Servalan and Avon as to who can steal the show. Servalan wins by a swish. Mad, bad, and impossibly quotable, she's far more interesting than the Liberator crew. If she's not chained to a wall ("It is an old wall, Avon. It waits..."), she's criticizing Dayna's clothes, being set up for a gang-bang on a sheepskin rug, or failing to notice the Liberator falling apart around her ("Maximum power!" indeed).
We learn that Servalan has special buttons for dispatching her hapless minions (Poor Ginka! Poor Commander Darren!), a space ship with shark's teeth, and a fondness for being called "Woman!" by a bit of rough.
How can Avon compete? By heading for every artificial planetoid in sight (with invariably disastrous consequences), sulking in leather, and coping very badly whenever telepath Cally gets taken over by glitter balls.
New crewmember Dayna provides welcome distraction. Not only can Josette Simon really, really act, she gets the show's best introduction - she rescues Avon, announces he's the most beautiful man she's ever seen, then explains the only other man she's seen is her father, whose surname is, blissfully, Mellonby. Frankly, we're not surprised when she starts pulling large bombs from skin-tight catsuits...
The most surprising thing is seeing the Liberator eaten away by a space enzyme that attacks everything on board... except for the nasty white leatherette sofa, which is probably still floating about in space somewhere.
These DVDs come with the peculiar extras we expect of a Blake's 7 DVD. Gorgeous menus (CGI space battles to a rock guitar version of the theme), a charming interview with the make up designer, and, of course, Jacqueline Pearce commentaries.
Just as the eskimos have dozens of words for snow, so Ms Pearce has dozens of ways of saying "Darling." Witness the splendid moment where Chris Boucher explains that a set gets re-used later on in the episode.
"Oh, darling," she breathes, "Surely you redressed it?"