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Warlord was the twelfth episode of Series D it was first broadcast 14 December 1981.


From the VHS release:

With their Pylene-50 pacification programme going from strength to strength, the Federation's expansion continues relentlessly. In desperation Avon calls a conference of all the non allied planets. United they could effectively manage all the necessary anti-toxin. But their shaky alliance hinges on the mighty Zukan, and it is uncertain where his true loyalties lie...


Avon has summoned a group of planetary leaders to Xenon in the hope of forming an alliance against the Federation. He explains to them that he has a vaccine against pylene-50 and is hoping to mass-produce it to stop the Federation's expansion. In the middle of the conference, another warlord, Zukan of Betafarl, who had previously refused Avon's invitation, arrives on Xenon. He has brought with him equipment to set up a manufacturing plant for the vaccine and states that the raw materials needed are being harvested back on Betafarl, suggesting Scorpio go to collect them.

Tarrant and Soolin watch as the technicians from Betafarl install the equipment. They meet with Zeeona, Zukan's daughter, who Tarrant met on Betafarl. She came on the Betafarl transport without Zukan's knowledge to see Tarrant again and they quickly slope off for a romantic encounter. Zukan and his assistant Finn fit a device inside the equipment and Finn tells Zukan of Zeeona's presence. He quickly puts a stop to her encounter with Tarrant but Zeeona says that she will be travelling back to Betafarl with Tarrant aboard Scorpio.

Zukan asks Avon to take Zeeona and Scorpio to Betafarl instead. Soolin also goes along, since she has taken a dislike to Zukan. As they take off, she tricks Avon into leaving the flight deck, then teleports Zeeona down to Xenon where Tarrant is waiting. She convinces Avon to carry on to Betafarl: If they turn back, Zukan will know they disobeyed him, whereas they can always claim to have lost her on Betafarl.

After the planetary leaders have left the planet, the device Zukan left behind triggers, setting off a series of explosions that damage Orac and trap the crew in the control room, while the technicians are killed by something released in the cargo area. Tarrant and Vila unsuccessfully attempt to dig themselves out while Dayna and Zeeona discover a radioactive airborne virus developed on Betafarl has been released; Zeeona realises Zukan is responsible. Tarrant shuts down the air supply even though it leaves them in danger of suffocation.

Zukan and Finn rendezvous with Servalan's ship: She has promised him control of the other planets in the alliance in exchange for his getting rid of the Scorpio crew, although he hasn't told her the location of Xenon Base. Avon and Soolin land Scorpio in a remote spot and are ambushed by Federation troopers. Avon is taken prisoner but Soolin pretends to be Zeeona. Servalan leaves Zukan's ship, planting a bomb in the airlock. Zukan sends Finn to remove it, then ejects him and the bomb into space: However, the explosion badly damages the ship. Soolin manages to overcome the troopers and rescue Avon.

Scorpio sets off back to Xenon but the air supply will run out before they arrive. Zukan signals them, saying he can tell them how to get fresh air if Scorpio rescues him, but there is no time to reach him before the air runs out and he refuses to believe they wil rescue him if he tells them. Zeeona tries to tell him she is on Xenon but, having heard the report of her being on Betafarl, Zukan refuses to believe it. Avon works out which air vents are safe to reactivate and Zukan is killed when his ship explodes.

Scorpio teleports everyone aboard but Avon wants the base decontaminated. Zeeona offers to go down and do it, wearing a protective suit. Tarrant objects but Soolin tells him to let her do it her way. Some time later, Tarrant frets that she hasn't returned and Avon, in a faux casual manner, agrees he should go after her. Tarrant and Dayna teleport down to find the decontamination finished but Zeeona dead from the radiation: She took her glove off.



  • Stunt Co-ordinator - Terry Forrestal
  • Production Manager - Christina McMillan
  • Production Associate - Uncredited
  • Production Assistant - Patricia O'Leary, Elizabeth Trubridge
  • Assistant Floor Manager - Kevin Mann
  • Film Cameraman - Fintan Sheehan
  • Film Recordist - Dick Manton
  • Film Editor - Sheila S. Tomlinson
  • Videotape Editor - Ian Williams
  • Visual Effects Designer - Jim Francis, Mike Kelt
  • Video Effects - Robin Lobb
  • Graphic Designer - Dick Bailey
  • Properties Buyer - Francis Smith
  • Technical Manager - Terry Brett
  • Senior Cameraman - Dave White
  • Vision Mixer - Nigel Finnis
  • Studio Lighting - Warwick Fielding
  • Studio Sound - Trevor Webster
  • Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
  • Costume Designer - Nicholas Rocker
  • Make Up Artist - Suzanne Jansen
  • Music By - Dudley Simpson
  • Series Created By - Terry Nation

Story notes[]

  • This is the last episode to feature Servalan.
  • Viktors Ritelis didn't tell Paul Darrow and Glynis Barber where some of the mines had been placed. When running through the minefield, most of their surprised and frightened looks are genuine.
  • The rifle used by the Federation guards was originally designed as the standard weapon for our heroes in Series D, though the clipguns were used instead. It gets used again in the next episode in carbine form.
  • One of the Vogan costumes from the Doctor Who serial "Revenge of the Cybermen" was resused, complete with the sash featuring "the Seal of Rassilon".



Filming locations[]

The Friary Shopping Centre, Guildford, Surrey. Betchworth Quarry, Reigate, Surrey.

Production errors[]

To be added.


  • The Scorpio crew acquired the vaccine against pylene-50 in Traitor.
  • Despite going to the trouble of decontaminating it here, the Scorpio crew quickly abandon and destroy Xenon Base in the following episode, Blake.


Via: Avon's idea of diplomacy is like breaking someone's leg and then saying "Lean on me."

Zukan: Betafarl has perpetual day, do you know?
Dayna: No.
Zukan: Never sleeps. Perpetual light. All that energy. There are times when I miss the dark. It's hard to live always in the light.

Home video releases[]

Series 4 DVD

DVD cover

  • Original BBC video release (Volume 26) in 1993.
  • Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 26) on 17 January 2000.
  • DVD release as part of the Series 4 box set on 24 April 2006.

External links[]