This may not be a full-cast audio like Warship but what it lacks in direct dialogue for Dayna and Tarrant it more than makes up for with its epic length – pretty much the equivalent of four episodes of the original show are devoted to this story.
The first disc follows Avon and Del Grant (Tom Chadbon sounding pretty much like he’s hardly been away) up to a suitable cliffhanger; we then go back to what Vila and Cally have been doing, finishing at their side of the same point. Part three mixes and matches as appropriate. Paul Darrow, Jan Chappell and Michael Keating can’t complain that they’re being given anodyne scripts: this story puts them all through the wringer.
I’m sure there must have been discussions about the breakdown of the first two parts – would it perhaps have worked better if the story were told chronologically, so the danger that the two teams faced were counterpointed more dramatically? There’s a structural similarity to some of The Lord of the Rings here, where Tolkien followed a strand for a long period before doubling back and explaining what else had been going on; it works in a book, but when dramatized, it has its drawbacks. I think it works well as presented, but it would be interesting to hear an alternate mix.
As for the third part: the resolution of the cliffhanger is absolutely right for Blake’s 7 and the third-series characters that this story is using. It’s a slap in the face when it happens, but once the shock has died away, you realise that any other course of action would simply be wrong. And as for the ending – well, you hear Avon use an adjective that you wouldn’t normally associate with him… but which is totally appropriate here.
Cavan Scott, Mark Wright, Ken Bentley and David Richardson, take a bow!
Verdict: Big Finish’s Blake’s 7 are on a roll – don’t miss this either. 9/10