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Blake's 7 - Duel

episode 1.8

UK 1978
produced by
David Maloney for BBC
directed by Douglas Camfield
starring Gareth Thomas, Michael Keating, Sally Knyvette, Paul Darrow, David Jackson, Jan Chappell, Stephen Greif, Patsy Smart, Isla Blair, Carol Royle
written & created by Terry Nation, music by Dudley Simpson

Blake's 7

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When their ships are locked in mortal combat in outer space, Blake (Gareth Thomas) & Travis (Stephen Greif) are suddenly teleported from their repsective Ships' bridges to the planet the orbit of which they use as battlefield. There they meet Giroc (Patsy Smart) & Sinofar (Isla Blair), 2 survivors with supernatural powers of a non-extinct race - a race extinct by a war fought with weapons more powerful than Blake or travis have ever seen.

Giroc & Sinofar want to teach Blake & Travis a thing or 2 about the futility of war by pit them one against the other in a mortal man-on-man combat, without any fancy weapons, & by having them experience the death of a friend in the context - so blake gets Jenna (Sally Knyvette) as his companion, Travis his Mutoid (Carol Royle), an emotionless, vampiric half-human machine built to serve the humans.

& despite the ruthlessness of both Travis & his companion soon puts them in the lead, in the end Blake & Jenna win the battle thanks to their compassion - & Blake even refuses to kill his opponent, out of fear he might enjoy it & thus be no better than him - he has learned his lesson. Travis on the other hand has learned nothing & doesn't waste a second to mourn the death of his Mutoid, promising Blake deadly revenge - he is banned forever from the planet (which might be just as well, as he didn't have any intentions to either stay or return).

Ba the way, even the Mutoid is alive again in the end.


Reminiscent of the Star Trek episode The Savage Curtain (1969), Duel does however take a more subtle approach to the main concept (all-powerful aliens forcing humans into mortal man-on-man combat), as here the aliens actually want to show their human captives the futility of war (while in Star Trek they merely wanted to determine who would win in a battle of Good [a gang that included of course Kirk, Spock & Abraham Lincoln] & evile [among others Genghis Khan]).

However, don't get your hopes too high fopr this being the most thoughtful sci-fi story you have ever seen, as the result is exactly what one might have expected in the first place, including Blake not being able to kill his mortal enemy, and Travis learning nothing from his experience. Furthermore it seems this profound battle has no repercussions whatsoever on the characters' furhter development or the series, so what one might have learned in the end is more like it's futile to learn about the futility of war.

That cast aside, as a pure entertainment-story, Duel is not half-bad.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD