Writers Peter Anghelides, Steve Lyons, Mark Wright and Cavan Scott have produced three hour-long audio plays that make up volume six of Liberator Chronicles, the Big Finish series of Blake's Seven audio plays. Here, four of the original actors – Paul Darrow, Sally Knyvette, Gareth Thomas and Steven Pacey – are joined by guest stars Adrian Lukas and John Banks.
Blake’s 7: Review of Liberator Chronicles Volume Six
The sixth in the Big Finish series of Blake's Seven audio plays contains three stories featuring Blake, Jenna, Avon and Tarrant.
Liberator Chronicles Volume Six
The sixth volume of Big Finish’s Liberator Chronicles Blake’s 7 audio dramas sees the return of Gareth Thomas as Blake, Sally Knyvette as Jenna, Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon and Steven Pacey as Del Tarrant. Guest stars are Adrian Lukas as Bracheeni and John Banks as Correl.
Big Finish is continuing with the format of three stories, though this time they are linked; the first tells of an early attempt by the Liberator crew to find Blake and Jenna while the other two explore what actually did happen to Blake and Jenna. Recorded at the Moat Studios in London, the three hour-long plays were directed by Ken Bentley and start just after the Galactic War that was finishing as season three began.
“Incentive” by Peter Anghelides
Set early in season three, the opening tale tells how the newly formed and reformed Liberator crew are keen to find the missing Roj Blake and Jenna Stannis. Orac had worked out that Blake and Jenna were in a weapons facility and they planned a rescue. The story starts with Avon and Tarrant being interrogated by Bracheeni after the mission went wrong.
“Jenna’s Story” by Steve Lyons
There has been a lot of speculation, and fan fiction, about what happened to Jenna after the end of the Galactic War, which took place between seasons two and three. Here, Steve Lyons gives his version in a story in which Jenna is rescuing new character Lucius Correl. She fills in the details to Correl. Blake is on his way and Jenna has hopes of building a new rebellion.
“Blake’s Story” by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott
Blake and Avon meet round a campfire, and Blake tells him his story of what happened after they abandoned the Liberator at the end of the war. Blake had started to build a new group but was keen to get back to the Liberator, especially with the Federation still trying to rebuild after the war, but things didn’t all go to plan.
Are they any good?
In “Incentive”, revealing the story in bits and pieces through Avon’s and Tarrant’s interrogations was a good plan. And I loved the fact that the armaments expert was called Rogerson, which Avon suspected was a pseudonym for Roj Blake, but there is a nice little twist in that tale. Adrian Lukas’ Bracheeni was suitably polite in a nasty sort of way. Darrow and Pacey worked well together, as one would expect. The story is a nice mix of adventure and psychological manoeuvrings, with the odd snippet of humour.
I must admit, I struggled a bit with “Jenna’s Story”. Sally Knyvette does not seem to keep a monologue as interesting as, say, Paul Darrow does, and thus it might have been better if there had been more dialogue between Correl and Jenna rather than Jenna telling the bulk of the story, with just the odd intervention from Correl. The short bits where they did talk with each other stood out, but overall the story was a bit dull, and no humour whatsoever.
Much better was “Blake’s Story”. Blake and Avon always bounced off each other so well, and the authors have captured that, but in short sections. Gareth Thomas is also better able to carry the large chunks of the story that he related himself; he also does a good Scottish accent. There is also what appears to be an obvious canonical problem about when and how the conversation between Avon and Blake took place, but that is just about forgivable as the story is suitably entertaining and there is a sort of unsatisfactory explanation near the end. My favourite line came from Blake: “There always seems to be a bar these days.” Ah, if only. And we get to hear how Blake got the scar.
So, two out of three isn’t bad, with “Jenna’s Story” letting down the side somewhat. “Blake’s Story” was the best, helped by the chemistry between the characters Blake and Avon and the actors that play them. And such a nice opening story with a Rogerson in a Blake’s 7 tale. There should be more of that.
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