Blake’s 7 a la Big Finish

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  • #316

    Do not open until February!

    Amusingly enough, apparently all three stories take place between the season 1 episodes Project Avalon and Breakdown.

    #3055

    Big Finish has also made this announcement about the second Liberator Chronicles box set [LINK]:

    Jan Chappell and Paul Darrow have been reunited to record an episode of Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles. The series of enhanced audiobooks is being released in a licence deal with B7 Enterprises.

    The characters of Cally and Avon appear together in The Magnificent Four, an episode from Volume 2 of The Liberator Chronicles which will be released in August 2012. The script is by Simon Guerrier, and finds the pair abducted by a rival team of freedom fighters… who also own an advanced spaceship from the same race that built the Liberator.

    “This second set of stories plunges us right into the universe of the show’s second season,” says producer David Richardson. “As we continue with more recordings, and as edits continue to come in, I’m thrilled with how The Liberator Chronicles captures the tone of those early days of the show. This is Blake’s 7 how you remember it from the late ‘70s – but with brand new stories!”

    Volume 2 also features the story False Positive, which stars Gareth Thomas as Blake alongside Beth Chalmers as Lian. The script is by Eddie Robson, a veteran of the Doctor Who and Bernice Summerfield audio ranges, and finds Blake on an undercover mission to alert the puppet leader of an alien planet of the malign influence of the Federation.

    The third story will be announced in early 2012.

    That’s fairly big news, as Jan Chappell has been one of the few members of the original B7 cast that Big Finish could never pin down to be in anything. She’d already done one of the “reimagined” Blake audios for B7E, but never worked for Big Finish until now.

    If they’re able to land Glynis Barber or Josette Simon, I’ll truly be impressed. I’m hoping that one of these stories will feature Servalan and the Stephen Grief version of Travis (before he “regenerated” between seasons 1 and 2) – come on guys, the neat thing about Blake was that not every story was from the good guys’ perspective. And both Grief and Jackie Pearce have worked for BF several times. It’s just waiting to happen.

    I’m really excited to hear these. Whoever does the music, I hope they remember: BIG CHURCH ORGAN, small horn section.

    #3056

    Available in May – the first of Big Finish’s original Blake’s 7 novels. [LINK]

    Written by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, The Forgotten is set between the TV episodes Mission to Destiny and Duel, where rebels Blake, Avon, Cally, Jenna, Vila and Gan are still coming to terms with their new life aboard the Liberator.

    After carrying out a successful attack against a Federation communications station on Xantos Beta, the Liberator is hounded by Travis into an area of negative space – an area that appears blank on all star charts. As the Liberator penetrates deeper into the sector, the journey become increasingly erratic, and Jenna struggles to keep the ship under control as Zen goes offline and all systems shut down. The abandoned space station they see looming ahead seems like the crew’s only chance of survival. But they don’t know what is waiting for them on board… or that their troubles have only just started.

    Cavan Scott and Mark Wright have been writing together for over ten years, and are best known for the Doctor Who audio dramas featuring The Forge, which began with Project: Twilight in 2001. The Forge returned in Project: Lazarus (2003), Project: Destiny (2010) and the original novel Project: Valhalla (2005). They are also the producers of Big Finish’s range of Iris Wildthyme audios, featuring Katy Manning, which is due to return in 2012.

    Fans of Blake’s 7 since the broadcast of The Way Back in 1978, Cavan and Mark are thrilled to be working on one of the first new Blake’s 7 novels in over 25 years.

    “I remember making a teleport bracelet after Blue Peter did a feature all those years go, and playing Blake’s 7 in the school playground,” says Mark. “To now be creating a new adventure for the original crew of the Liberator is one of those dream jobs that comes along every now and then.”

    “It’s a real privilege to be part of Big Finish’s Blake’s 7 revival,” adds Cavan. “The challenge is to create a modern adventure that remains true to the exciting, gritty universe that Terry Nation created all those years ago. I hope we do Blake and co proud!”

    It can be pre-ordered here.

    #3057

    Coming in November…

    Written by Scott Harrison and set between the TV stories Trial and Killer, Archangel finds the rebels trying to move on from the horrific death of crew-member Olag Gan.

    When an old friend of Blake’s – believed to have been murdered five years earlier by the Federation – is discovered alive in a labour camp on Sigma Minor, the rebels decide to mount a daring rescue attempt. But the talented cybernetic engineer Blake once knew is a shadow of his former self. His memory has been wiped, his family are prisoners of the Federation, and his name is inextricably linked to a sinister project known only by a codename: Archangel. An ultra-secret experiment so dangerous, so horrific, so terrifying that it was shut down by the High Council and ordered never to be reopened… until now. This time, death may be the Liberator crew’s best option.

    Scott Harrison is a writer and playwright whose stage plays have been produced in both the US and the UK. As well as contributing short stories for the popular time-travelling voodoo cult Faction Paradox (originally created for the BBC Books Eighth Doctor range) and for both the Steampunk and Horror genres, he has also written comic book scripts, audio scripts and for various eBook and audiobook collections. He is range editor for the Modern Masters of Audio series (produced & directed by Neil Gardner) and is currently writing for and editing a new Steampunk anthology for Snowbooks, where he is absolutely thrilled to be working with legendary Blake’s 7 scriptwriter Tanith Lee.

    Scott is thrilled to be part of this exciting new range as he has watched Blake’s 7 all his life. ‘I hope to make the novel as breathtakingly exciting as each of those 52 TV episodes have been for me over the past 30-plus years,’ he says. ‘To be invited by Big Finish to be a part of this range, particularly at its outset, is surely every writer’s dream, not to mention a huge honour.’

    Pre-order hardback or ebook.

    #3058

    Big Finish is upping the number of Blake’s 7 audio releases in 2013, as well as adding more members of the original cast. [LINK]

    Following an excellent critical response to the release of the first volume of Blake’s 7 – The Liberator Chronicles, Big Finish Productions is delighted to announce that its output for the range will be increased in 2013. The series of enhanced audiobooks is being released in a licence deal with B7 Enterprises.

    Four box sets (each containing three stories) are planned for 2013, to be released in February, May, August and November. The productions will see the return of Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon, Michael Keating as Vila Restal, Jan Chappell as Cally, Stephen Greif as Travis, Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan… with additional cast members yet to be announced.

    I’d love to see them take the plunge with these and do full-cast stories, like they finally did with Stargate. However, I seem to recall reading that part of the contract with B7 Enterprises specifically forbids this, to avoid competition with B7E’s line of “reimagined” Blake’s 7 audios. I think we know what’d happen if a “new cast” audio and one with the original cast were released at the same time. Also, I suppose that the two-hander format allows them to dance around the absence of deceased actors like Peter “Zen & Orac” Tuddenham and David “Gan” Jackson.

    #3059

    The Supreme Commander is back, baby. A Servalan? In Africa? Well… she must’ve escaped from the zoo! [LINK]

    Jacqueline Pearce, who now lives in Africa, has flown into the UK and is currently recording four brand new stories as the scheming and manipulative Servalan for the audio series Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles. The series of enhanced audiobooks is being released in a licence deal with B7 Enterprises.

    Servalan first wowed viewers with her stylish evening gowns, close-cropped hair and ambitions of power during the TV show’s first season in 1978. She went on to become a staple of the series over its four series, always plotting to bring down Blake, Avon and the crew of the Liberator.

    Servalan will make her first appearance in Wolf by Nigel Fairs on Volume 2 of The Liberator Chronicles, which is released in August. The story finds Cally on a mission to discover what happened to the respected Auron scientist Gustav Nyrron (who appeared in the Volume 1 story Solitary) – and only Servalan knows the answer.

    Wolf also stars Jan Chappell as Cally, while Anthony Howell (Foyle’s War) will be reprising the role of Nyrron.

    The three-disc box set also includes The Magnificent Four by Simon Guerrier, which reunites Paul Darrow and Jan Chappell as Avon and Cally, who are abducted by a team of rebels that have stolen another ship from The System.

    False Positive is by Eddie Robson, and stars Gareth Thomas as Blake and Beth Chalmers as Lian. Blake is under psychiatric evaluation on an alien planet – are his stories of subversion and rebellion just the ravings of a delusional mind?

    Volume 2 of The Liberator Chronicles will be released in August 2012.

    I’ve listened to two out of the three stories of the first box set so far, and they’re decent, though I find the “Companion Chronicles” format (veering abruptly between two-actor dialogue scenes and single-voice audiobook narration) irritating. I really wish they could get everyone who’s still alive in the room at the same time in the same way they do their primary Doctor Who audios.

    #3060

    Who wants to write for Blake’s 7? [LINK]

    An open submissions window for Blake’s 7 writers is announced. Big Finish is proud to announce a very special Blake’s 7 book, which will comprise three original novellas, to be published in 2013. The book will consist of stories chosen from an open submissions opportunity, and it is being released in a licence deal with B7 Media.

    Each novella will be approximately 20,000 words in length and can use any of the characters and settings from the first season of Blake’s 7 (plus, of course, new guest characters and settings of the author’s devising).

    The deadline for submissions is midnight on 10 June 2012. Any emails received after this time will not be read. Please note that any stories not set during series one will sadly be disqualified. The chosen writers will be announced in September.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity for all budding Blake’s 7 writers out there,” says Xanna Eve Chown, the books editor for Big Finish. “And it’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to discover new talent as we make our exciting plans for the future.”

    Guh…

    I really wish I was good at writing fiction sometimes.

    #3061

    @earl wrote:

    I’d love to see them take the plunge with these and do full-cast stories, like they finally did with Stargate. However, I seem to recall reading that part of the contract with B7 Enterprises specifically forbids this, to avoid competition with B7E’s line of “reimagined” Blake’s 7 audios. I think we know what’d happen if a “new cast” audio and one with the original cast were released at the same time.

    NEWS FLASH: B7E apparently likes money. [LINK]

    The cast of Blake’s 7 is reunited in a new full cast adventure. The original cast of Terry Nation’s acclaimed series Blake’s 7 are reuniting for a special audio episode, to be released in February 2013 (in a licence deal with B7 Media).

    Written by Peter Anghelides, Warship finds the spaceship Liberator acting as the sole line of defence against a massive alien invasion fleet, while Blake and his crew desperately await the arrival of help from the most unlikely of sources – President Servalan and her Federation forces…

    “This is the Blake’s 7 episode that we’ve always wanted to hear,” says producer David Richardson. “It fills in the missing gap in the mythology, following the Galactic War, and ultimately to Blake and Jenna’s departure as members of the Liberator crew. And it tells a whole lot more too – that alien attack force is actually far more destructive than expected, but the Federation may just have a surprise line of defence…”

    “I’m delighted to see Big Finish tackle their first full cast Blake’s 7 story,” says Andrew Mark Sewell, Executive Producer of B7 Media, “and it’s great that Peter’s script so perfectly captures the spirit of the original to tell (and complete) such a significant – but previously unseen – part of the whole mythos.”

    Warship stars Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon, Michael Keating as Vila Restal, Sally Knyvette as Jenna Stannis, Jan Chappell as Cally, Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan and Alistair Lock as Zen and Orac.

    The hour-long story will be released in February 2013 as a double disc set, with the second disc comprising interviews and behind the scenes material from the historic cast reunion at the recording session. It will retail for £12.99 on CD and £9.99 on download from bigfinish.com.

    A novelization of the episode will also be released in February 2013, in ebook form only. The book will retail at £4.99, and expand upon the cataclysmic events and key developments in the story.

    Wow. Wow wow wow. They actually listened.

    #3062

    Tom Chadbon also played Duggan in the Douglas Adams Doctor Who classic City Of Death, and made an even sillier appearance in Trial Of A Time Lord. His Blake’s 7 character was given a lot of emphasis despite appearing in only one episode. [LINK]

    The third volume of the acclaimed Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles will comprise one epic three-part story, which is set during the show’s third season. The series of enhanced audiobooks is being released in a licence deal with B7 Media.

    The Armageddon Storm is performed by Paul Darrow as Avon, Michael Keating as Vila and Jan Chappell as Cally, and Tom Chadbon reprises his role as Del Grant from the TV episode Countdown. It finds Del seeking out the crew of the Liberator for help, when the Federation begins testing a new superweapon that can blast whole planets to dust.

    “The brief I gave for The Armageddon Storm was to deliver a huge action movie that was spread over three episodes,” says producer David Richardson. “That’s never really been done before in Blake’s 7. And set against all the thrills and danger, we have Tom Chadbon back as Grant, a character who shares with Avon a deep sadness over the death of his sister Anna Grant. What he doesn’t know, of course, is that Anna was a Federation agent who faked her own death. And now Avon has killed her…”

    “The Armageddon Storm will be a roller-coaster ride,” says Andrew Mark Sewell, executive producer for B7 Media. “I’m delighted to see these audios exploring themes and characters from the classic series, while simultaneously forging out into new territory.”

    The three-disc box set is written by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, whose credits include numerous Doctor Who audios for Big Finish and AudioGO, plus the Blake’s 7 novel The Forgotten.

    Volume 3 of The Liberator Chronicles will be released in February 2013.

    #3063

    Hooooooboy. This is either gonna be great…or it’s gonna stink. [LINK]

    Many legends surround the aftermath of the collapse of The Federation, including the fate of Kerr Avon… What happened to Avon after the death of Blake and the crew of the Scorpio? Paul Darrow’s vivid re-imagining picks up Avon’s story at the final moments of the final episode of Blake’s 7 and follows him on his fight for survival, this time with no crew and no ship to help him.

    The adventure continues years later as Avon, now an old man, finds himself a key player in the game of power politics being played out on a grand scale by The Quartet – four ruthless leaders in an uneasy alliance, who govern the world in place of the Federation. Old enemies resurface and dangerous new ones appear as the time comes for old scores to finally be settled…

    “It’s been an honour to continue the story of Kerr Avon in print,” says Paul, “and I’ve greatly enjoyed the process of writing Lucifer. The book is now complete, and we’ll be heading into the recording studio in the autumn to record the audiobook version, which will be released alongside the novel.”

    Lucifer will be published in May 2013 and is available for pre-order now, price £14.99 in hardback, and £12.99 as an ebook. The audiobook of Lucifer is also available for pre-order for £25 on CD, and £20 on download.

    The reason this news has me gritting my teeth is that Darrow once wrote a novel, “Avon: A Terrible Aspect,” which was a prequel to B7, and his prose style (to say nothing of the backstory he crafted, which seemed to fly in the face of everything that B7 itself had set up) left something to be desired.

    There’s also been one novel, “Blake’s 7: Afterlife”, written by Tony Attwood in the ’80s, billed as the official continuation of the show. It’s not a terribly good book. After seeing one of my reviews of it, Mr. Attwood got in touch with me several years ago to let me know about some of the strictures that were in place on what he did with the book by way of Terry Nation’s agent and the BBC, and while I hold firm on my belief that the book isn’t terribly good, I sympathize with the author’s attempt to please multiple masters who were holding him to an unlikely laundry list of demands that creatively hogtied him.

    One audio sequel I do recommend, set many years after the TV finale, is The Logic Of Empire, which gets a bit far-fetched with its circular plotline but is as good a wrap-up as any I’ve seen.

    It’s a minefield, this whole following-up-on-the-last-episode business. I’m not sure anyone’s ever done it satisfactorily. And now Paul Darrow’s going to take a swing at it. Good luck, Paul.

    #3064

    Big Finish has now lined up Stephen Grief (Travis mk. I), Steven Pacey (Tarrant) and Sally Knyvette (Jenna) to reprise their roles. This leaves Josette Simon and Glynis Barber as the lone holdouts. C’mon, ladies. Once you go Blake, you can’t go back.

    #3065
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    @earl wrote:

    Once you go Blake, you can’t go back.

    Remind me to swat you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and shout “bad dog!” the next time I see you. Pun punishment.

    #3066

    Here you go, fellas: Leela vs. Servalan. Well, kinda. [LINK]

    Volume 5 opens with Logic by Simon Guerrier, in which we meet Pol, an ordinary woman living an ordinary existence inside the domed city on Earth… who is visited by strangers who bring chaos to her life. Louise Jameson plays Pol, Paul Darrow is Avon, Sally Knyvette is Jenna and Jacqueline Pearce returns as Servalan.

    In Risk Management by Una McCormack, Blake and Jenna come to the assistance of the planet Sutskar, which is attempting to sell its antiquities to finance reconstruction. But the sale is mired by betrayals and intrigue… Gareth Thomas plays Blake, and Sally Knyvette is Jenna.

    Finally, in Three by James Goss, Supreme Commander Servalan accepts a rare interview with a journalist named Cullen. But as she welcomes Cullen aboard Space Command, slowly the truth unfolds concerning who is the hunter, and who is the prey… Jacqueline Pearce plays Servalan, and Joseph Kloska (Pete Versus Life) is Cullen.

    Volume 5 of The Liberator Chronicles will be released in August 2013. Volumes 1 and 2 are one sale now, with Volume 3 available in February 2013.

    #3067

    Remember Warship? Apparently it was successful enough that BF got the message, loud and clear. [LINK]

    Blake’s 7: The Classic Audio Adventures will launch in January with the first single-disc adventure Fractures by Justin Richards, in which an escape from a Federation pursuit ship leaves the crew of the Liberator licking their wounds. As the dust settles, realisation gradually dawns that the trust and camaraderie that has built up between them is dissolving… and one of the crew is working against the rest.

    The audio series sees the return of Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon, Michael Keating as Vila Restal, Sally Knyvette as Jenna Stannis, Jan Chappell as Cally and Brian Croucher as Travis, while Alistair Lock plays the computers Zen and Orac.

    Writers for the rest of the season also include Andrew Smith and Marc Platt (both of whom have written for Doctor Who on TV), Peter Anghelides (Blake’s 7: Warship) and Mark Wright and Cavan Scott (Blake’s 7: The Armageddon Storm).

    “I was delighted that our first full cast Blake’s 7 audio, Warship, received such glowing reviews and a rapturous reception,” says producer David Richardson. “I’m therefore thrilled that we’re able to continue with more full-cast stories, which are set during the second season of the TV show as a worrying revelation forces Blake to interrupt his search for the Federation control centre Star One.”

    “It’s great to be working with Big Finish on more full-cast Blake’s 7 stories,” says Andrew Mark Sewell, Executive Producer of B7 Media, “Given this year marks the 35th Anniversary since the TV series first aired, these epic sounding audio adventures are a great way for fans to celebrate Blake’s 7 enduring legacy!”

    Blake’s 7: Fractures is released in January 2014, and the stories continue monthly until June.

    #3068

    I’ve finally gotten around to listening to Big Finish’s Blake’s 7 full-cast audios, set during season 2 after the death of Gan (gently side-stepping the fact that the actor is dead), and they’re wonderful stuff. Someone finally got Gareth Thomas some tea with honey in it, and he sounds younger than 70 again. The story arc is pretty engrossing stuff – the crew gets wind of a Federation project to create its own Orac – and the stories play out on a much larger canvas than the TV series ever would’ve allowed for (i.e. crashing the Liberator into an ocean).

    Great stuff. Now I just want the rest of the “season” ASAP. 😎

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