Review: Fractures - Blake’s 7 / Author: Justin Richards / Publisher: Big Finish / Starring: Gareth Thomas, Kerr Avon, Michael Keating, Jan Chappell, Sally Knyvette, Brian Croucher, Alastair Lock, Bethan Walker / Release Date: Out Now
Fractures is the first in what will be a monthly series of six full-cast Blake’s 7 audio adventures. Written by Justin Richards and starring all the cast from Series 2 of the TV show (including Travis), this series is the first time that the whole crew has been reunited apart from 2013’s Warship.
With a whole series to introduce, including five main characters (and two computers), this story needs to entertain and whet the appetite for more. It is tucked in before the crew locate Star One (i.e., the end of the second TV series) and begins with the Liberator surrounded by Federation pursuit ships…
The Liberator and crew survive their encounter, but only by entering the Derelict Zone, which is a region of space that the Federation has marked as not to be entered as nobody has ever returned from there. While the Liberator repairs itself, the crew have to split up to investigate a mysterious power shortage. As they explore, they come face to face with betrayal and paranoia in equal amounts and the listener is kept on their toes trying to figure out just what is really happening and who can actually be trusted.
The story ends by widening the gap in the TV continuity and setting the team a new objective to pursue before they can continue looking for Star One. This is a clever idea, as was splitting the key characters apart to allow them all to have moments in the audio spotlight. All the actors are on good form here and all of them convince in their reprise of their original roles. Director Ken Bentley had a lot of balls to juggle to make this episode work and should be congratulated.
From the first moment when the strident theme tune powers out to the end of the story, this is a 100% solid Blake’s 7 fare, and let's hope the rest of the series is to this standard or even better.