Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – Bayban the Butcher

Review by Ian McArdell


Bayban the Butcher grants Colin Baker’s famously off-the-hook villain centre stage. Although best known for playing the colourful Sixth Doctor, he gave an entertainingly big guest performance years earlier in Blake’s 7; Bayban, a self-aggrandising baddie with a penchant for alliteration, came up against Vila in Series C’s City at the Edge of the World.

This self-titled boxset follows an appearance in the recent Avalon series and there’s an audiobook origin story, Bayban Ascending, due in February too. While Bayban apparently died at the end of his only onscreen appearance, it seems you can’t keep a good berserker down. Continue reading

Review: Bernice Summerfield – The Weather on Versimmon

Review by Jacob Licklider


As The Two Jasons was brought forward from its initial January 2022 to October 2021, Big Finish Productions commissioned two further Bernice Summerfield audiobooks to replace that slot plus an additional slot for February 2022. The January slot was taken by The Weather on Versimmon by Matthew Griffiths, a novel released during the box set era of the Bernice Summerfield range to coincide with the release of Road Trip, the second box set. Luckily, unlike the initial five Bernice Summerfield novels, while plot points are referenced, but not integral to understanding that box set or the events of this book. This is essential as I have not heard any of the box sets yet. The plot sees Benny with Ruth searching for her son Peter who has gone missing. They find themselves on the planet Versimmon which is essentially a world of ecological artists, but the weather seems to be going haywire. There’s a hailstorm as climate change begins to ravage the planet for reasons that nobody is entirely sure of why as fauna has begun to join the flora.

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Audio Review: Survivors – Ghosts and Demons

Review by Ian McArdell


Ghosts and Demons is the latest story from the world of Terry Nation’s Survivors. While the audio dramas have pushed the timeframe on to the late 1990s with New Dawn, this story is firmly lodged within Series 1 of the television show (set around the time of the episode Something of Value). Indeed, the challenges our heroes face during the story are rooted in the events of that episode. As with some of the best of the full-cast range, Ghosts and Demons offers us multiple ways into the story by following the experiences of the characters through the early stages of “the death”. In most cases, it’s tragedy; for others, it’s freeing.

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Audio Review: Survivors – New Dawn 1

Review by Ian McArdell


New Dawn 1 is the first of two 3-story boxsets which picks up the tale some fifteen years after we last heard from Terry Nation’s Survivors.
Although it eschews a move into double figures, making a fresh start with the subtitle New Dawn, this is effectively the tenth audio series. With six new episodes adding to the thirty-six already released, there’s now more Survivors on audio than were made for television in the mid-1970s, which is a remarkable achievement. However, it’s not the Seventies that we are concerned with here; though it’s not specified, by my reckoning the events of New Dawn occur somewhere in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Abby Grant returns: Fifteen years after she went into hiding, having prized her conflicted teenage son Peter from the clutches of the quasi-military operation he’d become a part of, and despite his crimes, the pair fled.

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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – The Rule of Death

Review by Ian McArdell


Released as a tie-in to the full-cast boxset The Clone Masters, is the latest Blake’s 7 audiobook from Big Finish. As well as building on the events of that excellent three-part drama, which saw the destruction of the Clone Masters and their living city, this story goes back to the well; the civilisation of genetic manipulators and their culture were first introduced in the Series B episode Weapon. Here, writer Trevor Baxendale develops the stories of various characters who were caught up in the machinations of Servalan, weaving them into an exciting tale.

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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7: Avalon (Volume 2)

Review by Ian McArdell


Following three Earthbound tales, this second volume sees Avalon (Olivia Poulet) and her reluctant ally Argo Madison (Cliff Chapman) escape to the stars. While I found plenty to enjoy in the first set, notably the exploration of Earth’s society as glimpsed in Blake’s 7’s first episode, I found the central character of Avalon underdeveloped; despite her famous name we came away knowing precious little about her, save for a ruthless determination to destroy the oppressive Federation system.


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Audio Review: Avalon – Volume 1 (From ‘The Worlds of Blakes 7)

Review by Ian McArdell


Avalon Volume 1 launches Big Finish’s new range exploring ‘The Worlds of Blakes 7’. With the sad passing of key cast members rendering full-cast dramas with the Liberator crew untenable, this spin-off range aims to broaden the storytelling universe. Focussing on other characters and situations, other battles against the Federation, it still allows for some of the original cast to feature, essentially as guest stars. In this first boxset, Sally Knyvette and Stephen Greif reprise their roles as Jenna Stannis and Travis respectively.


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Audio Review: Blake’s 7 – Lucifer Genesis

Review by Ian McArdell


Lucifer Genesis is the final instalment in the late Paul Darrow’s trilogy of Blake’s 7 stories, charting the ongoing exploits of the character he so memorably brought to life: Kerr Avon.
First published by Big Finish in 2015, it has been recorded as an audiobook by Darrow’s colleague, Stephen Grief. Grief, of course, played the role of Travis in the television show’s first year. Up front, it is worth saying that I have not read either of the other Lucifer books, but it does not seem to matter – Lucifer Genesis is a relatively self-contained epic. It is also one that has a tremendous scope, with an intricate plot charting Servalan’s rise to power, then weaves in and out of established onscreen Blake’s 7 events. Throughout Avon is positioned as Servalan’s nemesis, with characters such as Blake and Travis merely diversions to be handled along the way.

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Audio Review: Space 1999 (Vol. 1)

Review by Ian McArdell


Space 1999 Volume 1 continues Big Finish’s vivid reimagining of the late 1970s Gerry Anderson classic. After launching with the show’s pilot episode, refashioned as an epic audio movie, this boxset moves us into the realm of regular episodes. While remaining faithful to the spirit of the original, this first set holds two original stories and one adaptation. The first deals directly with the aftermath of Breakaway, and follows up on the mysterious call to the planet of Meta – a plot threat surprisingly forgotten onscreen as the Moon headed on out into the universe. Continue reading

Audio Review: Blake’s 7 – Chosen

Review by Ian McArdell


Chosen is the latest Blake’s 7 novel from Big Finish, released in audiobook form. Set in Series A, between the episodes ‘Mission to Destiny’ and ‘Duel’, it meets the crew early on, still working out their dynamic as they deal with a host of dangerous situations. Continue reading