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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
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Started: 09 July 2016

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Audio Review: Drones – Ep 1.3 of Big Finish's Classic Audio Series

BLAKE'S 7 - THE CLASSIC AUDIO ADVENTURES - Episode 1.3: Drones

Review by Jackie Emery

Starring:
Gareth Thomas (Blake), Paul Darrow (Avon), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Michael Keating (Vila), Jan Chappell (Cally) and Alistair Lock (Zen and Orac)
with Tim Treloar as Bru Renderson and Sara Powell as Dr Cara Petrus.

Written by Marc Platt
Sound Design by Martin Montague
Music by Jamie Robertson
Cover Art by Grant Kempster
Directed by Ken Bentley
Produced by David Richardson for Big Finish Productions


The assistance of the Liberator crew is urgently needed on Straxis - but Roj Blake has acute problems of his own... After taking drastic emergency measures, Blake, Vila and Cally teleport back into a war zone in a bid to make new allies. But the Federation is testing advanced new weaponry here. And Vila looks set to be an early target…

The previous episode of this full cast Series-within-Season B ended on a corker of a cliff-hanger! Liberator is drifting helpless and damaged above the planet Straxis; engines failing, no weapons, no force wall and Federation pursuit ships on their way. Writer Andrew Smith then handed the baton to Marc Platt, who has kept up the pace with even more action, peril and interesting new characters.

Straxis is a planet where convicts and criminals are used as targets for Federation training. Having reluctantly left rebel leader Abel Garmon behind, Blake is now keen to find him again. Meanwhile, in a different zone on the planet, rebel Bru Renderson is desperately calling for Blake's assistance, as the Federation is using his group to test their latest weapon - the deadly Drones.

This episode feels more balanced than the previous one, with the action evenly distributed among the main characters. On Straxis, Blake, Cally and Vila come under attack and Vila falls victim to one of the Drones. On board the Liberator, Avon and Jenna are dealing with the dangers resulting from the drastic measures they had to take to protect the ship. Even Zen and Orac have problems of their own, and the cliff hanger ending to this episode, while not as dramatic as the previous one, is very interesting indeed.

The regular cast's acting is as good as always, with special mention going to Alistair Lock for his portrayal not only of Zen and Orac, but for a scene in which Orac mimics Zen! The new characters Bru Renderson and Dr Cara Petrus are interesting, with credible back stories and motivations. Both are well played by their respective actors.

Once again, the detailed soundscapes and appropriate music provide a richly immersive background - pun intended! As I was lucky enough to have been present at the cast recording of Drones, it was especially interesting for me to hear how the clean dialogue was brought to vivid life by the sound design.

I'm loving this new series; the way each episode builds on what has gone before and hints at what's to come, as well as being a terrific story in its own right. The overall arc has me completely hooked and impatient to hear what happens next - especially as the teaser trailer for Episode 4 - Mirror - includes the reappearance of Travis...

Like the previous episodes, Drones is accompanied by a good selection of extras. In addition to the aforementioned trailer, there is another series of enjoyable interviews with the cast and crew, and a copy of Vortex Issue 61 featuring an interview with Michael Keating.

Drones is available from Big Finish on CD and digital download here: 1.3 Drones
Details of forthcoming episodes in this series are here: Full Cast Series
The full range of Big Finish's B7 range is here: B7 from Big Finish

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