And the Liberator Chronicles go out on a high – Guy Adams’ script for the second half of this story maintains the standard of the first, switching narrators from Steven Pacey’s Tarrant to Michael Keating’s Vila, and therefore allowing us some more razor sharp dialogue between Vila and his estranged father. Vila Restal might be almost usable as the dictionary definition of an unreliable narrator – as we are reminded on numerous occasions early on when his version of events is counterpointed with the reality of what occurred – and it’s to Adams’ credit that some of the later revelations work as well as they do, given what we know about the character he’s writing! Keating and David Warner have a great rhythm in their scenes together, and although part of me hopes for a return engagement, sometimes less is more.
I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but we know full well that Tarrant isn’t dead (given he’s in Series D…!) so as listeners we’re always going to be at least one step ahead of Vila’s interrogators. What works well, though, is the use of sound to tell the story, rather than everything coming through dialogue – it’s something that doesn’t happen half as much as it should in audio drama and I hope we’ll get more of it in whatever format Blake’s 7 reappears in.
The release also marks the end of Cavan Scott’s reign as producer of the range, and he’s taken the Liberator and its personnel into some new and challenging areas – not least with a whole series minus one of the key characters! I’m hoping that Tom Chadbon’s presence as Del Grant won’t be overlooked by the new Powers that Be…
Verdict: A suitably epic end to the Liberator Chronicles. 9/10