RADIO TIMES: An entire world is under sentence of death unless Blake and his crew can save it...
Broadcast: Tuesday 6th March, 1979: 7.15pm-8.10pm, BBC 1
Writer: Terry Nation
Director: Vere Lorrimer
"The Del Grant that I knew said that if we ever met again, he would kill me." Avon
Grant - Tom Chadbon
Provine - Paul Shelley
Cauder - James Kerry
Ralli - Lindy Alexander
Selson - Robert Arnold
Tronos - Geoffrey Snell
Vetnor - Sidney Kean
Arrian - Nigel Gregory
Stunt Co-ordinator - Leslie Crawford, Peter Brayham
Production Assistant - Geoffrey Manton
Production Unit Manager - Sheelagh Rees
Film Cameraman - Max Samett
Film Recordist - John Gatland
Film Editor - Sheila S. Tomlinson
Series Videotape Editors - Sam Upton (Uncredited), Malcolm Banthorpe (Uncredited)
Visual Effects Designer - Mat Irvine, Peter Pegrum, Andy Lazell
Electronic Effects - A.J. Mitchell
Studio Lighting - Brian Clemett
Studio Sound - Malcolm Johnson
Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
Costume Designer - Barbara Kidd
Make Up Artist - Ann Ailes
Music By - Dudley Simpson
Series Created By - Terry Nation
Countdown was watched by 6.9m viewers.
The script was commissioned from Terry Nation early in 1978. It was intended as a ‘one-off space adventure’.
By this stage it was clear that Gareth Thomas would not be returning for a third season. Countdown originally introduced a ‘substitute Blake’ figure. This character later became Del Gran
The Sun newspaper printed as story on Tuesday 20 Feb 1979 suggesting that Gareth Thomas was leaving the series. Blake’s Seven will survive the attack of the Federation and go on to a third series – even if it means doing it without Blake. Already the BBC are making plans for another series of 13 weeks’ star struck adventures. But Gareth Thomas who plays Blake may have other ideas. So far he hasn’t signed up for the third series. Producer David Maloney says “We are in a very flexible stage at the moment. Terry Nation, the creator of the series, is working on the outline of the next 13 episodes. We are certainly hoping that Gareth will be with us.”
The main guest star for Countdown was Tom Chadbon as Del Grant. He recently reprised the role in the Big Finish range of audio adventures.
Paul Shelley (Provine) had recently appeared in an episode of Secret Army in a very similar role.
The scenes of the rebels storming the base and Avon & Grant at the polar base were filmed at Ealing Studios.
Filming at Ealing Studios took place from Monday to Wednesday 29 November 1978.
The scenes of Cally and Jenna in the teleport bay were pre-recorded on Thursday 11 Jan 1979.
Peter Tuddenham was not required for this episode. Orac is mentioned but not seen or heard.
Studio recording took place in TC1 from Tues 23 to Wed 24 January 1979.
The escape rocket prop was a modified version of the capsule from Time Squad.
The stock shot of the polar wastes was from Operation John Biscoe and had previously been used in Project Avalon.
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Countdown Publicity still
Gareth Thomas, James Kerry and Lindy Alexander. BBC Copyright image.
Countdown Publicity still 2
Michael Keating, Gareth Thomas, James Kerry and Lindy Alexander. BBC Copyright image.