Big Finish love what they do and they know their medium, as well as their audience.
One of the things I always appreciate in their Doctor Who audios is that anyone can jump in at almost any point. They do a superb job at filling in the listener about past events without dwelling on them. You may miss something if you aren’t listening too carefully but that’s just part of why re-listening to an audio is so rewarding.
The Spoils of War
The Spoils of War is a set of four stories that take place between episodes Death-Watch and Terminal. There are more box sets scheduled over the next year that will also take place during the same time. We have a majority of the original cast returning to their roles and they seem to be fully enjoying themselves. Despite the subject matter being revolutionary, fun is what you want to have when listening to an audio and the cast really do deliver.
Each of the four stories are fairly self contained stories but clearly work towards a larger picture, both within this boxset and within the series itself. This is what I mean by Big Finish know how to tell stories. Fans looking to fill in gaps and learn more about their favourite characters will get that in spades. New listeners can enjoy fun stories and hopefully join along for the rest of the adventure outside of these stories.
Direction and Scale
Director John Ainsworth does a stellar job creating a nostalgic atmosphere. There are times you feel the massive scale and scope a TV show in the late ’70’s and early 80’s would be aiming to create and there are times that you lovingly feel the limitations of budget. You go from feeling like you are in a massive action film to having classic sound effects and dialog which recreate perfectly what actually would have been seen.
The sound design by Nigel Fairs and Luke Pietnik is used to great effect. However they manage to re/create the sounds used is impressive. Music by Nigel Fairs is also great. Though I’m not familiar with Blake’s 7 music it feels both modern and of the era which is difficult. The music/effects in the episode Close Enough are just exquisite, especially the stuff around/about the talk of telepathy.
Cast and Characters
The cast of characters are diverse and the performances are great. To pick a stand out performance is impossible because the scripts are so interesting and the actors do a superb job of delivering those lines. Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon is hypnotic and Yasmin Bannerman picking up the role of Dayna is vibrant and exciting. Cally is a truly interesting character played by Jan Chappell, and it would be a crime not to mention the incredible Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan. Michael Keating as Vila Restal is maybe my personal favourite performance simply because he’s such a realistic character.
If you’re looking for a meaty science-fiction series to discover, or rediscover, Blake’s 7 is certainly worth picking up. Despite not having much background I was able to enjoy the stories and found myself wanting to know more about the world, the politics and the characters. Blake’s 7 seems like a truly ambitious and unique show despite its influences being many.
As always, the cast and crew of Big Finish are a talented group who put out top quality performances in all elements. New listeners may need to work a bit harder to follow along, but the stories are interesting enough that it will engage any willing listener. Most listener’s will be fans already and should have more than enough fun with this.
Blogtor Rating – 8/10
This title was released in July 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until August 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date.
Liberation by Steve Lyons
In the aftermath of the Galactic War, everything has changed for Blake’s former associates. Having lost their leader, they are forced to work with new allies – people they can’t trust. And that may just get all of them killed.
Outpost by Christopher Cooper
Tarrant and Vila are on a mission to the abandoned outpost Clivian 410B when a Federation taskforce attacks. The wary crewmates must learn to work together if they stand any chance of staying alive.
Close Enough by Sophia McDougall
When the crew of the Liberator are lured into a trap, it’s Avon’s life – and the freedom of the galaxy – that hang in the balance, while Cally regains something she thought she had lost forever.
Solus by George Mann
When the Liberator responds to a distress call from the Solus research station, Avon is hoping to find something valuable he can salvage. Instead, he finds only one survivor amongst the wreckage: President Servalan.
Written By: Steve Lyons, Christopher Cooper, Sophia McDougall, George Mann
Directed By: John Ainsworth
Paul Darrow (Kerr Avon), Michael Keating (Vila Restal), Jan Chappell (Cally), Steven Pacey (Del Tarrant), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), Yasmin Bannerman(Dayna Mellanby), Alistair Lock (Zen/Orac), Sara Powell (Rokon), Stephen Boxer(Tarkol), Daniel Collard (Aqulia / Guard #1 / Guard #2), Sophia Hannides (Shuuna), Tracy Wiles (Valance / Roska), Keith Drinkel (Kaverin), Charlotte Watson (Imra)
Producer John Ainsworth
Script Editor John Ainsworth
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs