Either way you ask the question, the answer is the same – They are computer’s from the BBC sci-fi series, Blake’s 7, that ran from 1978 to 1981.
They are described in Blake’s 7 – The Programme Guide as follows;
Computer invented by Ensor which had the ability to tap all other computers through the use of a standard component, also invented by Ensor, found in every computer in the galaxy – The Tarriel Cell. Orac used special communication waves that passed into a fifth dimension, the same dimension which allows thought transference. However, Orac had no consciousness in that dimension and was thus not telepathic. It enjoyed playing Galactic Monopoly, disliked work it considered unnecessary, loved gathering information and had delusions of grandeur. Orac could actually take over other computers and force them to obey commands. Indeed according to its inventor, Orac was more than a computer, it was a brain. Nevertheless it had definite limitations to its capacity to take in information. Orac was severely damaged to the extent of ceasing operation in the explosions caused by Zukan on Xenon based, but was sufficiently repaired by Avon to be able to track down Blake to Gauda Prime. Orac was not seen during the final shoot-out on the planet, presumably having been left outside the base in a safe place.
Master computer on Liberator, with all guidance, battle and other secondary computers working under it. Zen was susceptible to influence by outside computers, such as Orac and the computers of the System. It finally broke down after being attacked by the fluid particles encountered en route for Terminal.
There was a third computer featured in the series called Slave, which The Programme Guide describes as;
Master computer on the space ship Scorpio, built and programmed by Dorian. It had a cringing personality, addressing Avon as “Master” and others as “Sir” or “Madam”. It apologised continually and was occasionally reduced to panic, concluding its journey to Gauda Prime with the statement, “The ground is very close, Sir”.
An interesting fact is all while all three computers had separate and “different” voices and personalities, their voices where all supplied by one “actor” – Peter Tuddenham.
[This article explains a comment made in my previous article “AUSOM gets surprise preview of the iPod“]
The official BBC web page on Blake’s 7 can be found at
Descriptions of the computer’s came from Blake’s 7 The Programme Guide – The definitive handbook to the BBC TV series compiled by Tony Attwood.
Artwork courtesy Louise and Simons Blakes 7 Fan Site
A copy of this article, with colour images, is available from my website, https://www.nicholaspyers.com.
Interested in reprinting this article? Any non-profit Apple Macintosh User Group (MUG) may re-print, free of charge, any of the articles written by Nicholas Pyers found at https://www.nicholaspyers.com/articles. There are just a couple of conditions, which basically boil down to letting us know – for the full terms and conditions, please visit https://www.nicholaspyers.com/reprints.