Viewers were surveyed about their views on Duel and an Audience Research Report was issued on 20 April 1978.
British Broadcasting Corporation Confidential
AN AUDIENCE RESEARCH REPORT
Producer: David Maloney
8: Duel, by Terry Nation
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Monday 20th February, 1978. 7.15-8.10pm, BBC-1
1. Size of audience (based on results of the Survey of Listening and Viewing).
It is estimated that the audience for this broadcast was 19.2% of the United Kingdom population. Programmes on BBC-2 and ITV at the time were seen by 0.5% (averaged over Children’s Wardrobe and Newsday) and 25.1% (averaged over various programmes).
2. Reaction of audience (based on 227 questionnaires completed by 14% of the viewing panel).
The reactions of this sample of the audience were distributed as follows:
A+ A B C C-
% % % % %
19 44 27 8 2
giving a Reaction Index of 68. The current average for the series is 65.
3. Most of the sample audience felt that the characterisation in the Blake’s Seven series was successful, as each character was, they said individual and interesting. Clearly Blake (Gareth Thomas) and Jenna (Sally Knyvette) were the most popular, and several of those reporting commented that Blake was convincing and likeable, a credible leader and good foil to the personalities of Avon (Paul Darrow) and Vila (Michael Keating). Avon was considered an interesting character; as one viewer put it: ‘Even though he is callous and apparently without morals he is still likeable’. There were a few critics of the characterisation, who either felt that the personalities were not sufficiently believable, or that they had not been developed enough as individuals. However, these were in the minority, and, although reporting viewers did not single out any of the other characters for comment, it was widely felt that as a team they blended together and were developing well, helped by the consistently high standard of acting, so that the programme was both exciting and enjoyable.
4. Most of those reporting praised the special effects used in the series, thinking them both plausible and intriguing, and the coloured images shown on the Liberator’s screen were particularly liked. Some viewers said that these special effects compared favourably with those of Star Trek, since they were more imaginative and clever. A few critics, however, felt that they were sometimes overdone - the sound effects could be too noisy and penetrating - or that at times the space scenes were unconvincing: for example, it was suggested that the Liberator travelling through space looked insufficiently realistic. The majority of viewers, however, found that the gadgetry increased their enjoyment of the programme; indeed for some it ‘made’ the series.