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Starring: Derek Riddell (Roj Blake), Colin Salmon (Kerr Avon), Daniella Nardini (Servalan), Craig Kelly (Commander Travis), Carrie Dobro (Jenna Stannis), Dean Harris (Vila Restal), Owen Aaronovitch (Oleg Gan) and India Fisher (Lora Mezin).
Guest-Starring: Alistair Lock (Derelict Ship Voices), Jonathan Redwin (Cassim Rafat), Kevin Jon Davies (Councillor Adrius Singh), William Johnston (Police Scout), Barbara Joslyn (Control), Jonathan Rhodes (Sky Leader), Andy Thomas (Refinery), Rula Lenska (Dr. Ruth Ashaya) and Jake Maskall (Lt. Jorge Garcia)
Crew: Marc Platt (Writer), Ben Aaronovitch (Script Editor), Alistair Lock (Sound Design/Post Production/Title and Incidental Music), David Hall (Casting Director), Simon Moorhead (Executive Producer) and Andrew Mark Sueall (Director). A B7 Production in association with Sci-Fi Channel (UK). Based on the original television series Blake’s 7 created by Terry Nation.
“Can you manoeuvre clear?”
“No can do Captain – any chance of pulling us off?”
Yeah, I laughed. I’m puerile like that, I guess. But aside from unintentional double entendres, this is better. Much better. Quite why Aaronovitch, the series’ weakest writer, should be given the task of script editing the series is beyond me, but the script itself here is by Marc Platt (Doctor Who: Ghostlight) and is a great improvement.
Faced with an intelligent ship they can’t control, the new Liberator crew here have breathing space to get to know each other – and us, them. While it’s a larger step up than the final score would indicate (Rebel was more like two-and-a-half stars, this is nearly three-and-a-half…) there’s still some lacklustre performances, most notable Derek Riddell, wooden in parts, and Craig Kelly, miscast as Travis. Kelly was, of course, most famous for playing Vince in Queer As Folk and gets a similarly nerdy name here. Yes, that’s right, Travis gets a first name and it’s… Stephan. Rumours that Zen’s full name will one day be revealed to be Leslie are yet to be confirmed.
Despite Platt being a better writer than Aaronovitch (who isn’t?) then we still get some appalling lines, such as descriptions of Servalan that “Her road’s paved with the skulls of her enemies” and “one day a great tide of retribution will come. When the blood of her victims sweeps her away to wash the galaxy clean.” Dreadful stuff, as are pretentious chapter titles like Vishnu Junction. Humour is as old hat as it was in the previous story, including ancient lines like Vila’s “My goosebumps have got goosebumps”. And in spite of it all, the series feels flawed by the fact that we don’t really know anything about the Federation other than its “evil” with a capital E.
In all, though, it’s pretty listenable stuff, far more inspiring than the prior outing and almost worthy of higher marks… purely on its own terms.