Peter Anghelides’ story marks the debut of Steven Pacey as Del Tarrant in the Big Finish range, picking up the role for the first time since Barry Letts’ Radio 4 plays at the end of last century. His voice is undeniably deeper, but as the story progresses, he recaptures the sometimes arrogant pushy former Federation officer who we met during the second half of the crew’s television adventures.
It’s a story that also involves Dayna and Vila, although (as with appearances by Cally and Zen), we don’t actually need to hear them. The other protagonist is Avon, which allows Paul Darrow not only to sneer at Tarrant, but also to adopt a rather interesting accent when he goes undercover.
Anghelides comes up with a new way around the format, by having both Tarrant and Avon telling their stories to Adrian Lukis’ Bracheeni, given a certain frisson by the Liberator crew members finding themselves strapped to a chair which delivers an electric shock whenever anyone tells a lie. And that does mean anyone in the room…
The story tries to explain some of the character changes between the second and third seasons – the final conversation between Tarrant and Avon in particular addresses this – as well as why the hunt for Blake and Jenna was apparently dropped. Like Anghelides’ Warship, it’s filling in gaps which are important to long-term fans, but that element won’t prevent more general audiences from enjoying the battle of wits.
Verdict: It’s not always a pleasant listen, but Anghelides once again shows he understands the Blake’s 7 characters. 8/10