The evolution of the Blake’s 7 audios at Big Finish has been fascinating. The original set of Liberator Chronicles were very much in the Companion Chronicle mould, with two voices (and if a third character were required, one of the actors would have to step in). Then we got a bit more leeway and some stories featured more personnel, even if we were still in ‘enhanced audiobook’ territory. It was clear that far more was feasible, and luckily the licensors obviously agreed – so here we have the first full cast Blake’s 7 audio (in this variant of the universe anyway).
And it’s a triumph for all concerned. Director Ken Bentley and sound designer Alastair Lock seamlessly take us back to the gap between Series B and C. Writer Peter Anghelides picks up all the snippets of information from both the episodes Star One and Aftermath and then adds a whole new layer to them with the introduction of yet another threat for the Liberator crew to deal with. The dialogue falls under the tongues of the actors naturally, so more than ever before, you really feel as if this is an episode the BBC accidentally forgot to broadcast in 1979.
Fans of all the characters won’t be disappointed – there are great scenes for each of them, with some classic Blake/Avon and Avon/Vila moments. Alastair Lock steps into Peter Tuddenham’s shoes for both Zen and Orac and there’s an important, if not huge, role for Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan, giving one final stand-off between her and Blake.
The accompanying documentary is also interesting, particularly as it gives some of the history of the Big Finish work on the franchise, and it’s good to hear the actors’ views on the revival of their characters after so long. Let’s hope that we can have some more of these full-cast stories soon.
Verdict: Big Finish’s best contribution to the Blake’s 7 saga to date – don’t miss it. 9/10