Blake’s 7 Liberator Chronicles Volume 7 by Simon Guerrier, Eddie Robson and James Swallow (CD review).

November 20, 2014 | By | Reply More

The ‘Blake’s 7 Liberator Chronicles’ are similar to the ‘Doctor Who Companion Chronicles’. They have limited cast and quite a lot of narration but work as enhanced audio books with music and effects that compliment the action and cannot really be compared with the classic audio adventures. However, as listeners of those ‘Chronicles’ know, these deliver more than promised in terms of content and interest and make a good way into the characters of ‘Blake’s 7’.

Each one has three stories of one hour and is told more or less from the point of view of one or more characters from the Liberator whilst falling within the overall continuity of the TV series.


7.1 Spy by Simon Guerrier

cast: Jan Chappell, Michael Keating and Gemma Whelan

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be married to Vila, then wonder no more as Cally (Jan Chappell) and Vila (Michael Keating) are wed. A vital mission sees them sharing the joys of matrimony on Cortol Four, a planet so depressed that no one is interested the warring couple, no one will make eye contact and no one will intervene. How to hide in plain sight, welcome to London.

Writer Simon Guerrier gets the two characters spot on and, as the project goes down the tubes, there is no married bliss for our pair to fall back on. How far will Vila go to keep his freedom? Yep, that far and further still. This narrative doesn’t pull punches or make a fairy-tale of a happy ending. This is how it goes and we wouldn’t expect anything else from Vila.

The marital sparring between Vila and Cally is spot on and the plot is dynamic extending to further characters and real danger. The ending is satisfactory and the issues covered offer intriguing insights into Vila’s character.

7.2 Disorder by Eddie Robson

cast: Jan Chappell, Paul Darrow, Gareth Thomas, Jacqueline Pearce, Beth Chalmers  and Anthony Howell

Oh, I do love a caper and here we have our very own ‘Ocean’s Two’ as Avon (Paul Darrow) and Vila (Michael Keating) set out to rob the Federation. Having secured work on a space station that is being decommissioned, they need to swipe the data and get the hell out. But when Vila gets distracted by a pretty face things are never going to be that straightforward.

This is as I said a great little caper with a twist that many of you will spot. What make it fun is the dialogue between the pair of thieves which brings out the relationship between Vila and the ever exasperated Avon. In fact, the only reason we know Avon is not an android is this relationship with Vila.

7.3 The Hard Road by James Swallow

cast: Gareth Thomas and Andrew Whipp

Blake (Gareth Thomas) has been having a serious think and he realises that he is just one man with a very few followers (that’s not even 7, Blake). He really needs to join up with other freedom fighters but he has to make compromises, he just doesn’t realise how many yet. He certainly has issues over leadership and just what armed revolt means.

Trek Dekkan (Andrew Whipp) is also a freedom fighter. He’s a nice guy, kind to animals and children and also following the hard road but Blake will have to decide whether to throw in his lot or strike out alone. It’s not going to be an easy choice and that’s if he’s allowed to make it.

I really like this as it actually gets into how difficult it is to make a change in your behaviour and the consequences of making these kind of decisions. It also ties in with one of the stories in the next ‘Liberator Chronicles’ where Blake finds out what it would be like if he actually succeeded in overthrowing the Federation.

The three stories are an examination of what happens between the broadcast adventures. They are all grim in places and this bleak and uncompromising look at the lives of the rebels brings the story of ‘Blake’s 7’ into a proper perspective. The stories are leavened with wit and banter, although this is mainly left behind for the final story. The character of Vila and his nemesis Avon naturally leads to entertaining repartee but there is less of that with Blake’s own tale. ‘The Hard Road’ ends this boxed set on a bit of a downer. Blake’s story is more of salutary lesson in humility and the responsibility of power. As an advert for revolution, it makes you want to support the dictators as better the devil you’ve already got into bed with.

The ‘Liberator Chronicles’ are proving to be exceptionally entertaining with different members of the crew getting the opportunity to shine in their own way, highlighting the character traits of the TV series but making them much more three-dimensional which ensures that these are definitely worth spending the time with.

Sue Davies

November 2014

(pub: Big Finish. 3 CDs 180 minutes 3 stories. Price: CD: £25.00 (UK), Download: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-307-8)

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Category: Music/Audio, Scifi

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