RADIO TIMES: For the Liberator's crew the planet Obsidian offers the prospect of allies and a safe base from which to work. But Obsidian holds a deadly secret.
Monday, 21 January 1980: 7.15pm-8.10pm
Hower - Michael Gough
Bershar - Malcolm Bullivant
Mori - Ben Howard
Battle Fleet Commander - Alan Bowerman
Mutoid - Judy Matheson
Milus - Russell Dention
Writer - Allan Prior
Director - Desmond McCarthy
Producer - David Maloney
Script Editor - Chris Boucher
Stunt Co-ordinator - Stuart Fell
Production Assistant - Edwina Craze
Production Unit Manager - Sheelagh Rees
Director's Assistant - Hermione Stewa
Assistant Floor Manager - Antony Root
Film Cameraman - Peter Chapman
Film Recordist - Ian Sansam
Film Editor - Sheila S Tomlinson
Series Videotape Editors - Sam Upton (Uncredited), Malcolm Banthorpe (Uncredited)
Visual Effects Designer - Steve Drewitt, Jim Francis
Video Effects - A.J. Mitchell
Graphic Designer - Doug Burd
Studio Lighting - Brian Clemett
Studio Sound - Malcolm Johnson
Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
Costume Designer - Dee Robson
Make Up Artist - Sheelagh J. Wells
Music By - Dudley Simpson
Series Created By - Terry Nation
Freelance director Desmond McCarthy had previously worked on Z Cars and Coronation Street.
The script originally had a much larger role for the robot (called Robi) but this was later trimmed back when the robot costume was unveiled to McCarthy.
Make-up artist Sheelagh Wells created a distinct look for the Pyroans,“They had to look as if they were suffering from radiation sickness, but we drew the line at them losing their hair.”
Volcano was the second episode of the season to enter production (after Powerplay) and filming commenced in August 1979 at two key locations in North Yorkshire, Greenhow Hill at Hebden Moor and Almescliffe Crag, near Ripon. This marked the first work on the series for Steven Pacey and Josette Simon.
During filming, Paul Darrow slipped and fell and had to be rushed to hospital. It was discovered that he had chipped a bone in his ankle, which meant the remaining shooting schedule had to be restructured to avoid any unnecessary movement for Darrow.
Rehearsals for the episode began on Thursday 13 September 1979 and studio recording began on the evening of Thursday 20 September in TC6 at BBC Television Centre. This session included all the scenes set on-board the Liberator flight deck for both Volcano and Powerplay.
The second evening of recording included all the scenes set on Servalan’s new ship – the Mark Two Starcruiser. Friday 21 September included a major photocall for the regular cast and guest star Michael Gough.
Jim Francis designed the shark-like new ship for Servalan as well as a number of props such as the direction indicator and the compressed air gun.
Stock footage of volcanic eruptions was sourced from a 1972 edition of Horizon called Out of Volcanoes. Stock footage of a nuclear explosion was also used as well as reused material of Federation ships taken from Duel from Series A.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“It became Blake's 7 without Blake, and it seemed to be all right. It was as though the series had enough mileage in it to keep running without the main character. It's very rare that you can do that. One great American producer said that his motto for a successful series was to never tamper with the format - if it's doing well leave it alone and don't get clever. Yet this ws a change of a very vital nature and the series certainly weathered it.”
Writer Allan Prior, interviewed by TV Zone in 1995.
“We kept a kind of regimented look on that one, mainly because the director wanted it. I think the people lived underground and I based them on what people who lived underground would actually look like, and we used a lot of things in the decorations for their costumes like minerals and rocks and things like that. They were a society that had gone underground because of the effects of the air outside. Again, we gave it a reasonably sterile look, as though they were trying to keep the effects away by keeping everything pristine and clean.”
Costume designer, Dee Robson, interviewed by Terminal in 1990.