Blake’s 7: Review: Big Finish Audio: The Liberator Chronicles 7.3: The Hard Road

Hard Road, The coverBlake contemplates working with another rebel, but do they share the same moral compass?

This is one of the best-produced of all The Liberator Chronicles. The story is narrated by Gareth Thomas, but you’d swear that there were far more of the original cast involved, so well presented is Jim Swallow’s excellent script. The musical lead in to the opening and closing theme tunes is an example of the attention to detail, as is the use of the effects for Zen.

Like the first story in this set, this asks questions about the set-up of Blake’s 7 that the TV series sometimes couldn’t answer. It moves it away from the Robin Hood in space idea and takes it once more into darker territory: will Blake allow the means to justify the ends? What exactly does he stand for – and what will he do when he realises that not everyone who is willing to share his aims will toe the line (an issue that at this stage in proceedings he’s just starting to realise might well apply to Avon as well)?

There are quite a few similarities to Cavan Scott and Mark Wright’s novel The Forgotten (which also features another rebel against the Federation who is prepared to cross the line when he feels it necessary) although Swallow focuses far more on the effects of this on Blake – there’s a contemplative pre-credits sequence that almost hints that what we saw in TV was the expurgated version of his adventures, while this doesn’t gloss over the harder realities.

Gareth Thomas and Andrew Whipp work well together, and hopefully there will be a follow-up – perhaps featuring a later incarnation of the Liberator crew. One led by someone without quite so many scruples? Let’s hope Swallow and director Lisa Bowerman get a chance to show us.

Verdict: Dark, unrelenting and at times grim, this is another strong addition to the line. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Volume 7 from Big Finish

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