Review: Battleground (Blake’s 7) / Author: Andrew Smith / Publisher: Big Finish / Starring: Gareth Thomas, Kerr Avon, Michael Keating, Jan Chappell, Sally Knyvette, Dan Starkey, Tim Bentinck, Abigail Hollick / Release Date: Out Now
Battleground is the second in the first monthly series of six full-cast Blake’s 7 audio adventures from Big Finish. Written by Andrew Smith, this story, whilst featuring the main crew, focuses in on the activities of Blake and Avon. The cast is rounded out by Dan Starkey (Strax from Doctor Who), Tim Bentinck (David Archer in The Archers) and Abigail Hollick.
The story centres on the search for the Federation’s new project to gather data much as Orac does. This leads them to the planet Straxis, which is also known as Battleground 9 (presumably there are others) and here they meet up with Abel Garmon (Bentinck) who is desperately trying to survive an all-out Federation assault that is being led by the arrogant and dangerously inept Voss Ferrell (Starkey) – all this being under the supervision of a military analyst Alexa (Horrick). All three new characters are well rounded and convincingly performed, with both Garmon and Alexa candidates for a spell on the Liberator. Alexa in particular could have easily made a love interest for Avon whereas both Ferrell and Garmon have stories as yet unfinished by the end of this 60 minute audio adventure, which is as it should be.
The story ends with the usual narrow escape but still leaves a cliff-hanger for the subsequent episode. As the end music rolls the listener realises that they have been thoroughly absorbed and have lots of ‘what happens next’ questions, which is the mark of a good story well delivered.
Another absolutely solid release and our only gripe is that we wanted more of the new characters (fingers crossed for a return in a future series).