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Trial was the sixth episode of Series B first broadcast 13 February 1978.


From the VHS release:

With Gan dead, distanced from the safety of the Liberator, Blake is questioning his purpose in life. While Travis, courtmartialed and alone, has every reason to contemplate his death...


Outside a court room aboard Servalan's command station, two guards, Par and Lye, admit the arbiter, General Samor, Rontane and Bercol, who are present as observers, and finally the prisoner: Travis. Travis is charged with ordering the massacre of unarmed civillians on Zircaster and Servalan has ordered his defence attorney, Major Thania, to ensure he is found guilty. Thania starts by insisting on a full list of the alleged victims so Samor, who will have to pronounce sentence, will know the details.

Blake has ordered Zen to find an uninhabited planet and, although the Liberator has little information on the planet they are orbiting, he considers it suitable. He sends Cally away then has Orac alter the co-ordinates before he teleports, so the crew are unable to track him.

The crew are unable to get answers out of Zen until Cally wonders what Gan would ask. Vila asks if Blake left a message and Zen plays the recording: Blake says that Gan's death has left him uncertain if it's worth going on, so he's removed his bracelet and left it next to a device that will signal its whereabouts at a specific time. Both he and the crew can decide at that point if they all want to carry on. Avon dismisses it as manipulation but Vila, Jenna and Cally believe he is sincere.

Rontane explains to Bercol that Servalan wants Travis out of the way before he can testify at an enquiry into her handling of the Blake situation. Thania is concerned at Travis' detached attitude during proceedings and has Par, who once served under Travis, smuggle a bottle of alcohol into his cell. However, Travis still refuses to talk to her.

Blake encounters an alien, Zil, who warns him of being absorbed by the Host. The planet turns out to be less stable than believed, with cracks appearing in the surface. Blake retrieves his bracelet but is unable to signal the ship. Onboard the Liberator, the crew realise that the planet is in fact the Host, a living organism, and the land mass is shrinking as it tries to rid itself of the parasites on its surface. Zil falls into one of the cracks but Avon is able to fly over the surface with the teleport channel open, allowing the crew to teleport Blake aboard when it locks onto him.

As Thania is about to give her closing statement, Travis speaks out for the first time, insisting on giving the statement himself. He states that as a Federation officer he is a product of his training: He reacted on Zircaster as he was trained to react and any other officers in his position would have done the same.

Blake tells the crew that he was starting to believe in their legend but Gan's death has shown him they aren't invincible. He feels they need to restore their legend by attacking Servalan's base. Using a deflector shield devised by Avon to avoid detection, the Liberator launches a hit and run strike just as Samor is sentencing Travis to death. The courtroom is depressurised but Travis gets out of the section before it is sealed off, knocking Par unconscious.

Travis confronts Servalan who readily provides him with the missing components of his lazeron destroyer, a ship and a crew of Mutoids conditioned to obey him, knowing that he will go after Blake.



Story notes[]

  • This is the last episode in which Gan is mentioned.
  • John Savident, who plays Samor, later appeared as Egrorian in "Orbit".
  • Thania is the first female Federation officer seen apart from Servalan, and the last until Arlen.
  • Avon's line "Keep thinking, Blake. That's what you're good at" is an homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both Chris Boucher and Paul Darrow were fans of westerns.
  • This is the episode with the longest wait before the appearance of the Liberator crew. It's six minutes, seventeen seconds before we first see the ship. The nearest antecedent is "Countdown", which takes 6.06m before revealing the regulars, followed by "Sarcophagus" (5'55m) and "Sand" (5'13m).



Filming locations[]

Royal Alexandra and Albert School, Merstham, Surrey.

Production errors[]

To be added.


  • It was previously mentioned in Seek-Locate-Destroy that Travis had ordered a massacre on the planet Auros. It is unclear if the Zircaster incident is connected.
  • Rontane and Bercol had also previously appeared in Seek-Locate-Destroy.
  • The detector shield established in this episode is mentioned on a number of other occasions during Series B.


Jenna: There aren't even any people down there.
Avon: So it has at least one aspect of paradise.

Vila: He was straightforward. Didn't expect to be double-crossed at every turn, not like us. He trusted people. He trusted Blake.

Blake: I almost killed all of you. I did kill Gan. For nothing.

Avon: Is it that Blake has a genius for leadership or merely that you have a genius for being led?

Par: He was hard.
Thania: But fair?
Par: No. Not often anyway.

Jenna: Do you want to tell me why you've left most of the southern hemisphere off the search pattern?
Avon: I don't believe that Blake can think and swim at the same time. It's nothing but ocean down there.

Avon: One of these days they are going to leave you. They were almost ready to do it this time. One more death would do it.
Blake: Then you'd better be very careful. It would be ironic if it were you.

Avon: It's not often that one comes across a philosophical flea.

Home video releases[]

Series 2 DVD

DVD cover

  • Original BBC video release (Volume 10) in 1991.
  • Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 10) on 5 October 1998.
  • DVD release as part of the Series 2 box set on 17 January 2005.

External links[]