The good people at Big Finish continue to be a loving lifeline for Blake’s 7 fans. There’s a tremendous back catalogue to purchase from and they continue to put out new merchandise regularly. Take for example the recently released ‘Restoration Part 1‘. This year will also see Restoration Parts 2 and 3 released, but this month also offers us ‘Uprising’.
‘Uprising’ is a bare bones audio book meaning that we don’t have any of the additional music or sound effects found throughout other ranges. What ‘Uprising’ does have is a story, heart and Travis! Well, Stephen Greif, but if you’re reading this review, you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, Stephen Greif, who narrates this book, plays the role of Travis, both in Series 1 of Blake’s 7 and now with Big Finish. Space Commander Travis is a ruthless officer who becomes obsessed with catching Blake and his crew. A great villain, who one could also, nearly, pity.
So much better than good, Greif
Greif has that voice which could put children to sleep, or keep them awake and terrified, however his inflection requires. It’s warm, calm and perfect for narrating because he doesn’t just read the words, he can tell the story. Without needing to throw on wild accents or play any part, he commands your attention without demanding it. It’s a gift for audio books to have a reader be knowledgeable about the material and understand how best to convey it.
The book is written by Christopher Cooper. Not only is this an audio book, but a traditional book as well. Cooper has worked on a variety of stories and dramas for Big Finish. ‘Uprising’ is clearly a love letter to the early days of Blake’s 7 as it takes place rather early on and has all of the major original characters at play.
The story has a focus on Gan, that most underappreciated strong man. Big Finish had spoken with Cooper, (click here for the full interview) and he had this to say about Gan: “…(Gan, was) very under-served in the TV show. I wanted to add more depth to him, and talk about his neural inhibitor. I wanted to give him the storylines I feel he missed. Everyone else got the funny lines and he always seemed left out.”
Cooper goes on to say, “And of course he’s one of the cast that is no longer with us. So, in terms of writing an audio for Big Finish there are characters that you can’t write for without recasting the actor. So I wanted to write for Blake and Gan. That first era of Blake’s 7 is my era. I hope I’ve done it justice!”
And justice he has done.
Before the book starts Stephen Greif reads out the credits and then the dedication. “To Jackie Pearce“. It’s lovely. Jacqueline Pearce who passed away in September 2018 was a great ambassador for Blake’s 7. Her role as Servalan may just be the defining character from the program because her strong female villainous role was over the top yet honest. To have the dedication read by Travis, Stephen Greif, a friend and colleague, felt most loving. Thankfully, she can live on through her work and stories such as this.
What’s not to like? A good, new, Blake’s 7 audio book, read by Stephen Grief. We may not have a full cast audio drama but we can still have a full cast story.
You can purchase ‘Uprising’ in audio book format from the Big Finish website. You can also purchase a hardcover, or ebook copy as well.
This release is exclusive to Big Finish Productions.
“There was an antique dressing table in the suite, very old and painted off-white with gold trim. She sat down in front of it and wiped away the layer of dust and blood that dulled the mirror, looking at the face which was reflected back at her. They’d had a name for that face: Jade. And the name alone had terrified them. She terrified them.”
Blake persuades the Liberator crew to join an uprising on the planet Istria, a vital supplier of food to the Federation. He hopes to hit the Federation where it hurts – and send a powerful message of unity to rebel groups everywhere. But with the odds stacking up against him, and Space Commander Travis in hot pursuit, even Blake starts to wonder who he can trust. Is he right to put so much faith in the Istrian rebels and their mysterious hired mercenary? It’s clear that Jade is a deadly killer a secret past, but what is her hidden agenda – and how has Gan fallen so completely under her spell?
Produced by Xanna Eve Chown.
Written by: Christopher Cooper.
Directed by: Neil Gardner.
Stephen Greif (Narrator)