All too often, the shorthand description for Blake’s 7 is “Robin Hood in space” – to the extent that when such a phrase was used about another upcoming SF series, many assumed it referred to a reboot of the show. What both the Early Years audio series and Big Finish’s tales have reminded us is that it’s a lot darker than that description would imply, with James Goss’s contributions in particular keeping the downbeat element alive. Una McCormack’s story here reflects that, and at the end, you can’t help but reflect that it’s not Blake’s optimism that is going to be triumphant, but Avon’s cynicism.
Paul Darrow narrates the tale, and McCormack provides him with an internal monologue that is absolutely true to the character. Darrow does full justice to the script, his occasionally elongated syllables imbuing layers of contempt and pragmatism as he talks about Vila, Cally, and notably Blake. Jacqueline Pearce has less to work with but her performance allows listeners to fill in the gaps themselves and glimpse the long game Servalan is always playing. Martin Montague’s soundscape and Jamie Robertson’s music support the two actors’ work to produce a panoramic audio vista that’s some of the best I’ve heard from Big Finish in recent years – full marks to director Lisa Bowerman and outgoing producer David Richardson.
Verdict: Script, performances and production combine for one of the best Blake’s 7 audios. 10/10