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Audio Review: Fortuitas - Ep2.2 of Big Finish's 2nd Classic Audio Series

BLAKE'S 7 - THE CLASSIC AUDIO ADVENTURES - Episode 2.2: Fortuitas
Review by Jackie Emery

Starring: Paul Darrow, Steven Pacey, Jan Chappell, and Michael Keating, with Tom Chadbon as Del Grant, Alistair Lock as Zen and Orac, and featuring Hywel Morgan as Marl Rankin and Jo Howarth as Eva.

Written by George Mann
Sound Design by Martin Montague
Music by Jamie Robertson
Cover Art by Grant Kempster
Directed by Lisa Bowerman
Produced by Cavan Scott for Big Finish Productions


The search for Dayna takes the Liberator to Solace, a former galactic tourist trap fallen on hard times. When he loses a second member of his crew, Avon is forced to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. As Orac and Del Grant track a radical new movement that is campaigning for the purity of Solace, a deadly trap begins to tighten. The future is Fortuitas. The future is now.

For an all-cast B7 series set in Season C, the reluctance of Josette Simon to return to her role as Dayna was always going to be an issue. It was therefore an inspired idea for Big Finish to turn this to their advantage and use her absence as the focus of their new series. Just as the search for Star One became the starting point for several very different episodes in Season B of the TV series, the Search for Dayna is proving to be a handy starting point for new and varied adventures for the Season C Liberator crew, which now includes Del Grant.

In Fortuitas, the second episode in the series, a dealer in information on the planet Solace claims to have word of Dayna. However, when Dayna cannot be found and another member of the crew goes missing, Avon is determined to find out what is going on. This is a mystery story, similar in tone to Mission to Destiny. Like all good mysteries, it is gradually unravelled through a series of plot twists and dangerous revelations. But while Mission to Destiny is a 'bottle' episode, with the mystery contained within the Ortega, Fortuitas has a broader scope and takes place over a number of locations, which include a park, a factory and run-down amusement park.

Fortuitas has Avon at centre stage, with the lion's share of the action and dialogue. Tarrant and Grant get some planet-side action, Vila gets a few good lines (or is the butt of them) but Cally seems to have very little to do. In that respect, the episode feels somewhat unbalanced, especially as there are two very good guest characters, Marl Rankin and Eva, excellently played by Hywel Morgan and Jo Howarth.

In an unusual move, Orac is taken down to the planet and becomes very much part of the action as he and Avon try to out-Sherlock each other in solving the mystery of the disappearing people. It also becomes a neat audio narrative device when Orac (in one location) makes Avon (in another location) describe what he is seeing, thereby providing this listener (in her living room) with a detailed description of the scene! Alistair Lock has already proved a worthy successor to Peter Tuddenham as the voices of the Zen and Orac, and in this episode he really shines.

Once again, the music and sound design are marvellous, especially the desolate amusement park which had an almost Stephen King-like spooky atmosphere. By now, I almost take for granted that all the Liberator fx will be accurately rendered, but it's unfair to do so - the reason it all sounds so 'right' is the result of painstaking work by the sound designer.

The CD extras include the trailer for the forthcoming episode Mindset which is due out in January 2015, and the latest issue of Vortex magazine. However, due to a mastering issue, the 14-minute extras track didn't make it on to the CD, but is available as a free digital download from the Big Finish site. Note of caution the entertaining interviews with Alistair Lock, writer George Mann, script editor Justin Richardson and guest actors Hywel Morgan and Jo Howarth contain spoilers for the episode!

Fortuitas is available from Big Finish on CD and digital download here:2.2 Fortuitas.
Details of forthcoming episodes in this series are here:B7 Classic Audio Adventures.
The full range of Big Finish's B7 range is here:B7 from Big Finish.

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