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Audio Review: Devil's Advocate - Ep2.5 of Big Finish's 2nd Classic Audio Series

BLAKE'S 7 - THE CLASSIC AUDIO ADVENTURES - Episode 2.5: Devil's Advocate
Review by Jackie Emery

Starring: Paul Darrow, Jan Chappell, Michael Keating and Steven Pacey, with Tom Chadbon as Del Grant, Alistair Lock as Zen and Orac, and featuring Hugh Fraser as The President and Simone Lahbib as Pelora

Written by Steve Lyons
Music and Sound Design by Alistair Lock
Cover Art by Grant Kempster
Directed by Lisa Bowerman
Produced by Cavan Scott for Big Finish Productions


When Del Tarrant joined the Liberator he thought he’d left his past behind him. But the past has a habit of catching up with you...

Two Dels are pictured on the cover of this CD, and a third is mentioned in the opening scene when a spaceport tannoy announces a departure to the planet Del 10 - a little in-joke that raised a smile in this listener as the episode began. This story is a good mix of adventure, political intrigue, old loyalties and new betrayals. In addition to continuing the search for Dayna story arc, it also ties in with Big Finish's other all-cast series and brings the welcome return of the President (now ex-President) of the Federation, played by Hugh Fraser with deliciously serpentine smoothness.

The previous two episodes focused on individual characters – Cally in Mindset and Vila in Ghost Ship. Devil's Advocate is more of an ensemble piece and all the characters have their share of the action. Each of the crew gets the chance to demonstrate their particular skills; Avon works with computers, Vila picks locks and Cally uses her telepathy. There is plenty of the entertaining banter and witty exchanges that are the hallmark of Blakes 7, and we even get to hear Vila singing a happy little drinking song.

But it's the two Dels who shine in Devil's Advocate. For Tarrant we get a back story that was never explored in the TV series, as well as an old flame, Pelora, nicely played by Simone Lahbib. The two actors have great chemistry, and their scenes are nuanced with undercurrents of past relationships, present temptations and the unreliability of memory.

In this episode, Del Grant is for once in the driving seat rather than just along for the ride, and his feelings and motivations come to the fore in scorching scenes with his crewmates, and with the former President.

I have one continuity nitpick: while the crew are on different parts of the Liberator, Cally tries to reach Tarrant telepathically, but says that he must be out of range. However Cally's telepathic range was able to reach from the Liberator to Space City, so Tarrant would certainly have been within range inside the ship. Perhaps he was in a shielded area?

That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The search for Dayna has stepped up yet another gear, and I can't wait to find out what happens in the final episode.

With Alistair Lock providing his usual quality of music and sound design, and another super cover by Grant Kempster, this is a series that just keeps getting better and better.

Extras:
Issue 73 of Vortex magazine – which includes interviews with the writers of Liberator Chronicles Volume 11, also due out this month. There is a trailer for the final episode, and interviews with Steven Pacey, Hugh Fraser, Cavan Scott and Justin Richards.

Devil's Advocate is available from Big Finish on CD and digital download here: 2.5 Devil's Advocate.
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.

Photograph of Paul Darrow, Hugh Fraser and Simone Lahbib courtesy of Big Finish

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