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Audio Review: Liberator Chronicles Volume 11x: Remnants

Liberator Chronicles Volume 11x: Remnants

Review by Jackie Emery

Starring Paul Darrow and Sally Knyvette, with Alistair Lock as Orac

Written by Simon Guerrier 

Sound Design by Martin Montague 

Music by Jamie Robertson

Directed by Ken Bentley

Produced by David Richardson for Big Finish Productions

Well now, what an unexpected treat! On the same day that Big Finish announced the continuation of their Blakes 7 range in 2016, they also released this exclusive Liberator Chronicles story. Written by one of my favourite B7 writers, it features two characters whom I have long wished to hear sharing an adventure, as I sometimes wonder what might have happened if Avon and Jenna had abandoned Blake on Cygnus Alpha and gone off with the Liberator.

Avon: "They’re dead. Blake, Cally, Gan, Vila... All gone."
The listener is plunged straight into the action as Jenna teleports a badly-injured Avon back to the Liberator. Their mission to the planet Laresh has gone disastrously wrong and all their crew mates have been killed. Avon and Jenna now have to decide what to do next, because despite Blake's death, the Federation are still keen to mop up the remnants of his gang...

Of course, we know canonically that Blake and the others can't really be dead, but disbelief is easily suspended, thanks to the quality of the writing and performances. We are with Jenna as she grieves for her lost comrades and Blake's lost cause; we are with Avon as he blames himself – and Blake – for what happened on Laresh. And we are with both of them as they discuss their future plans and argue about which of them gets to keep the Liberator. Remnants is a great mix of action, emotion and humour, with some wonderful verbal sparring and an insight into the dynamic between two characters who are well matched in strength and intelligence.

Sally Knyvette plays Jenna at her best – tough and fiesty; a skilled pilot who gives Avon orders on the flight deck and makes some nicely ascerbic comments about him during her narration. Paul Darrow is excellent during their shared dialogue scenes, but I found some of his narration tended to be a bit mannered and 'Series 4'-ish, compared with the lighter, more statacato delivery of Avon in Series 2.

As with other two-hander stories in the Liberator Chronicles range, there is a good balance of dialogue sequences and alternating narration. In addition, Avon and Jenna each have scenes with other characters. The Fat Man in Jenna's scene was performed by Paul, but the female character with Avon is not heard, and some of those moments don't work quite as well, especially when Avon addresses her directly with lines like: "What do you think?" and then describes her replies. Molybdenum Brown ("Molly to her friends") is a great character and even a couple of lines spoken by her would have been a welcome addition to those scenes.

The music by Jamie Robertson complements the action without being obtrusive, the sound design by Martin Montague provides subtle differentiation between the dialogue and narration sequences, as well as building up the atmospheric backgrounds and detailed sound effects that go towards making these audios such a great listen.

Remnants is the penultimate release for the Liberator Chronicles, which will end with next year's Volume 12. It is also the last of those produced by David Richardson. With top quality writing, performances and production values, the series is definitely going out on a high.

Liberator Chronicles - Remnants is available from Big Finish on digital download for only £6.99. Those who pre-ordered Volume 12 will have received it for free!

You can listen to a trailer here: LC11x Trailer

Full details of the current range of B7 audio dramas, audio books and original novels available from Big Finish can be found on their website here:  B7 from Big Finish.

And watch this space, because there's more to come!


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