Blake’s 7: The Way Forward, and The Classic Adventures Series 01

Housekeeping point: I spent the last two weeks mainly commuting to work by car rather than by train, so my blogging has caught up with my reading backlog. This week I’m going to write up my recent audio listening instead of bookblogging. Normal service will resume at some point.

Absolutely ages back I listened to a few of the Big Finish Blake’s 7 audios (here, here and here). Around the start of this year I got a couple of full cast stories: the 40th anniversary The Way Forward, from 2018, and the first series in BF’s sequence of Classic Adventures of B7, released in 2014.

I probably listened to them in the wrong order: the absence of Gareth Thomas, who died in 2016, from the first half of the 2018 The Way Ahead is palpable. It’s a two parter centring around the character Avalon (from the episode Project: Avalon), the first part set during Series A and the second during Series C. Avalon herself and Dayna have been recast (Olivia Poulet and Yasmin Bannerman), and Glynis Barber plays Soolin’s daughter rather than Soolin for rights-related reasons, but everyone else is there – Paul Darrow as Avon, Michael Keating as Vila Restal, Sally Knyvette as Jenna, Jan Chappell as Cally, Steven Pacey as Tarrant, Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan and Stephen Greif as Travis. It’s a cracking script by Mark Wright and a great nostalgia fest. You can get it here.

Series One of the Classic Adventures certainly gave me the appetite for more. It starts with an excellent psychodrama, Fractures by the ever reliable Justin Richards (who has written more Doctor Who books and stories than anyone else alive, I think); and then goes into a sequence of five tightly linked stories by different writers, Andres Smith, Mark Platt, Peter Anghelides and the last two by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. Gareth Thomas was still alive in 2014 and gives his best here, along with the aforementioned Paul Darrow, Michael Keating (who gets a particularly good Vila plotline), Jan Chappell and Sally Knyvette, with Brian Croucher as Travis this time, and Hugh Fraser coming in at the end as the tremendously nasty President of the Federation. This is six hours of top-notch drama for (in my country) €25, incredible value. You can get it here.