Writers Simon Guerrier, Marc Platt and James Goss have produced three hour-long audio plays that make up volume eight of Liberator Chronicles, the Big Finish series of Blake's Seven audio plays. Here, three of the original actors – Gareth Thomas, Jan Chappell and Jacqueline Pearce – are joined by guest stars Peter Miles, Dan Starkey and Jemma Churchill.
Blake’s 7: Review of Liberator Chronicles Volume Eight
The eighth in the Big Finish series of Blake's Seven audio plays contains three stories featuring Blake, Cally and Servalan
The eighth volume of Big Finish’s Liberator Chronicles Blake’s 7 audio dramas sees the return of Gareth Thomas as Blake, Jan Chappell as Cally and Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan. Guest stars are Peter Miles, Dan Starkey and Jemma Churchill.
Big Finish is continuing with the format of three separate stories for the chronicles, and this time they vary dramatically in style and quality. “Spoils” by James Goss is delightful and “President” by Simon Guerrier maintains a high quality. Marc Platt’s “The Sea of Iron” though struggles, but much of that can be attributed to the execution.
“President” by Simon Guerrier
Servalan has a quiet chat with Secretary Rontane (played by Peter Miles) in a cell about how she set up the president while she awaits the executioners. She met the president and discussed Blake, but in a rather surprising way. Even though a lot of this is a monologue by Jacqueline Pearce, there is still some delightful dialogue, bordering on flirting at times, between Servalan and Rontane.
It was odd to hear Servalan say she paid more attention to her appearance than usual when she met the president; I didn’t think that was possible. More interesting though was the glimpse into the way the Federation in general and Servalan in particular worked.
“The Sea of Iron” by Marc Platt
Cally is having problems, mental problems, nausea problems, voices in her head. Her quest to find out what was going wrong leads her to seek out her mentor Captain Mani Yalleg. However, events do not go to plan thanks to Servalan.
When Jan Chappell first started doing these, her voice was notably different from how she was when younger. She had appeared to have remedied that in later plays but now sadly seems to have reverted back to her current voice, which makes it hard to imagine it is the younger version speaking. As much of this comprises Jan talking, the problem is not minor; there is a nice story buried here but this makes it hard to appreciate. Thankfully, the second half sees Jacqueline Pearce sharing the dialogue and that makes it more enjoyable.
“Spoils” by James Goss
The interview with the author in the accompanying Vortex magazine he says he wrote this because the one thing missing from the show was the “happy ending”. But don’t worry, it is not that kind of story. There is though a little bit of tongue-in-cheek as Roj Blake meets the dream makers – played by Dan Starkey and Jemma Churchill – who can show him what would happen if he won.
Blake becomes interim president, just for a few months while democracy is established, but the months turn into years. With more than a little in common with Animal Farm, this is full of humour and a few odd scraps thrown to the fans. An excellent story to finish this collection.
Recorded at Audio Sorcery and Moat Studios, volume eight of the Liberator Chronicles (ISBN: 978-1-78178-308-5) comprises three plays directed by Ken Bentley and Lisa Bowerman. Martin Montague was responsible for the sound design and Jamie Robertson for the music. Cover art was by Grant Kempster. The download also comes with a copy of issue 63 of Vortex magazine, which includes an interview with Paul Darrow and comments from the writers of this collection on their stories.