The Way Back was the first episode of Series A of Blake's 7 first broadcast in 1978.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

From the VHS release:

Life in a domed city of the future is secure and comfortable for Roj Blake until he discovers the nightmare that contracts everything he knows and threatens to end his life on Earth. When the former resistance leader, brainwashed by the Federation, is contacted by a new dissident group, he is first shattered to learn about his past and then horrified by the brutal massacre of the dissidents. Facing a staged show trial, he finds himself banished to the penal planet, Cygnus Alpha...

Plot[edit | edit source]

Roj Blake meets his friend Ravella and her companion Richie who promise to give him information about his family. He is shocked when they instead take him outside the domed city without authorisation, a criminal act, to a meeting of anti-Federation dissidents. The group's leader, Bran Foster, reveals that Blake was once a resistance leader and associate of Foster. However, he was betrayed by somebody within the group and captured. The Federation brainwashed him into renouncing his movement then erased his memory of the ordeal. His brother and sister, who he believes live off planet, were both executed; Foster reveals that the regular communications Blake gets from them are faked, as part of the treatment to keep him in line.

Blake leaves to gather his thoughts as Dev Tarrant, another associate of Foster, addresses the meeting. However, a group of Federation troopers arrive. Despite Foster attempting to surrender peacefully, the troopers open fire and kill everyone in sight. Blake is arrested on returning to the city.

After mentalist Doctor Havant tries and fails to convince Blake that he imagined the massacre, he meets with Federation Arbiter General Ven Glynd and prosecutor Alta Morag. They are worried if news gets out of Blake's involvement with the dissidents, or if he is killed, then it will encourage further resistance. Morag suggests a way to discredit Blake using implanted memories. After the others have left, Glynd meets with Tarrant: he is a Federation agent who set up the massacre.

The full list of Blake's supposed crimes.

Blake meets with his defence lawyer, Tel Varon, and is shocked to learn that he has been charged with various assaults on children. He realises he is being set up but offers no defence. At his trial, he is sentenced to permanent exile on Cygnus Alpha. He attempts to speak out but is sedated, seeing Tarrant enter the court room as the drugs take effect. He recovers in a holding area with the other prisoners, including smuggler Jenna and compulsive thief Vila Restal.

Varon filming bodies.

Varon begins to wonder about Blake's claims and he and his wife, Maja, discover from computer records that all three children who Blake is alleged to have assaulted were absent from school the day before the alleged assaults, instead being in a medical clinic. Varon realises that implanted memories were used to fake their evidence. He takes his findings to Glynd but becomes suspicious when Glynd mentions a part of Blake's story Varon hadn't told him about. He overhears Glynd talking with Havant and realises he is involved. After tricking Havant into handing over relevant files, Varon and Maja visit the site of the massacre and photograph the abandoned corpses of the dissidents. However, a Federation trooper sees them leaving and notifies the authorities, having been tipped off by the record keeper.

Varon and Maja, dead.

Blake is loaded aboard the prison ship London with the other prisoners and the ship takes off. Tarrant watches its departure and orders a group of Federation troopers to dispose of the dead bodies of Varon and Maja, making it appear they died in an accident. As Blake watched the image of Earth recede, he defiantly tells a guard he's coming back.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Crew[edit | edit source]

Story notes[edit | edit source]

  • This was the first episode of Blake's 7 broadcast, although not the first made.
  • It marked the beginning of an unbroken run of 14 episodes written by Terry Nation.
  • This is the only episode not to feature Avon.
  • Michael Halsey, who appears as Varon, later played Zee in "Gambit".
  • Early titles for the episode included "Cygnus Alpha" (later used for the third episode) and "Prologue".
  • The camera angles at the conclusion of the episode show only a small section of the London: The following episode, "Space Fall", reveals a larger area and more prisoners.

Ratings[edit | edit source]

7.4m

Filming locations[edit | edit source]

Scubland-Bray, near Maidenhead; Monkton-Farley/Eastham Quarry, near Corsham, Wiltshire.

Production errors[edit | edit source]

to be added

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • This episode marks the first appearances of Blake, Jenna and Vila, as well as Federation troopers.
  • Ven Glynd would reappear in "Voice from the Past".
  • The story of Blake's original arrest would be elaborated upon in "Seek-Locate-Destroy".
  • Blake keeps his promise to return to Earth in "Pressure Point".

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Blake: I've done without food or drink for 36 hours.
Ravella: How do you feel?
Blake: Hungry and thirsty.

Vila: I hate personal violence, especially when I'm the person.

Vila: Murderers. Liars. Cheats. Smugglers.
Jenna: Thieves.
Vila: And they're the nice people.

Vila: Can you put a word in for me?
Blake: I'll try and think of one.

Home video releases[edit | edit source]

Australian VHS cover.

DVD cover

  • Edited version as part of compilation video "The Beginning" in 1985.
  • Original BBC video release (Volume 1) in 1991.
  • Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 1) in March 1998.
  • DVD release as part of the Series 1 box set on 1 March 2004.

External links[edit | edit source]

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