Blake’s 7 – Audio Series 4 “Crossfire – Part 3” Review

B7 Crossfire P3

Blake’s 7 Audio Drama Series 4 comes to a close with “Crossfire – Part 3”, another set of four stories, now in the middle of the galactic civil war between Servalan and the Former President. The Liberator crew can find only way solution to ending the war, and nobody is thrilled with it… but was I thrilled in hearing it?! Pretty much! Let’s take a closer look…

Synopsis (of Episode 4 “Death of Empire”):

Servalan is Supreme Empress of the Galaxy – but the man whose throne she usurped wants it back. The final battle of the Civil War begins – and it’s time for the Liberator crew to take a stand.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

B7 CF3 Refuge

That’s two of the cast, anyway! I wonder how many pictures they took of a the new Dayna…

Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow) – Avon is not in the mood to help people if it puts him in danger, but even he may be forced into action if the civil war continues to do this much destruction…

Vila Restal (Michael Keating) – Vila is happy any where he’s safe… which makes living in a ship flying around in the middle of a galactic civil war a rather unpleasant place to live…

Cally (Jan Chappell) – Cally lost her home planet and the majority of her people, so seeing whole planets being laid waste in the middle of the war breaks her heart. Surely there’s something they can do to help?

Del Tarrant (Steven Pacey) – Tarrant has been busy recently, the galactic civil war, constantly being on the run… so busy he never did get round to reading that message from his brother…

Dayna Mellanby (Yasmin Bannerman) – Dayna is still laser-focused on taking out Servalan and getting revenge, which is why she doesn’t mind the war continuing so long as it puts her mortal enemy in the crosshairs.

Orac (Alistair Lock) – Orac is the super-intelligent A.I. that, much to its distress, is being used to intercept transmissions and help with other small tasks beneath its person…

Zen (Alistair Lock) – Zen is the on-board A.I. of the Liberator. Handy for… well, you know by now.

Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce) – The new President, no, sorry, the new Supreme Empress of the Galaxy, who has found herself in the middle of a civil war with the man who she took power from…

The Former President (Hugh Fraser) – Still unable to let go and retire, the Former President is taking his lost 13th Legion and attacking Servalan’s outposts, and with any luck, her home…

And more!

The Good:

B7 CF3 Kith and Kin

A story focused on Tarrant is my pick of best story… who would have thought?

While no story in this set was straight up bad, the stand-out to me is Episode 3 “Kith and Kin”, which is odd as it focuses on Tarrant, a character I never really liked in the TV series! He finds out his dead brother Deeta’s final message was to tell him that their older brother Dev Tarrant was the one who killed their parents. This sets him on a quest to track him down, and potentially kill him, despite the fact that he is now the last living family member besides himself. Cally comes along and acts as moral support from time to time, and the setting of a secret retirement home for a wealthy that has been kept under wraps due to shady Federation goings is an interesting one, but it really is the interaction between Del, Dev and Dev’s wife Reeva that’s the highlight. It gives you a glimpse into Del’s complicated and frankly unpleasant family, and makes you almost feel sorry for Dev, despite the fact he’s not a nice person. His wife is who actually killed the elder Tarrants, and Dev just escaped with her, which makes for a bitter sweet conclusion for Del when he kills Reeva (in a gun fight before knowing the truth) and leaves his brother to die by her side…

Speaking of Episode 4, it thankfully lives up to the hype of being the pay off to the Crossfire story arc. “Death of Empire” (which is right up there with that Transformers film called “Dark of the Moon” for annoyingly off-sounding titles…) sees the Former President find out the location of Servalan and lead a full-on assault, and the Liberator crew flies straight into the middle. They have agreed that the only way to bring a swift end to the war is for Servalan to win it, and so they try to help their sworn enemy, but only end up in the middle of a large ground assault, trying to find their way into Servalan’s mansion. Meanwhile Tarrant, still despondent over his last adventure, is goaded into fighting the 13th Legion flagship head-to-head with the Liberator, a choice that leaves his craft severely damaged. It all comes together with an open-ended conclusion: Servalan just disappears (well, it’s claimed the escape ship she used was destroyed, but since she’s still around at the end of TV Series 3, we know that’s not the case!), the Former President has therefore seemingly won and everyone is back on board the Libertator, just in time for it to lose all power and get pulled into the gravitational well of a nearby star, guaranteeing them certain death! Much like the Servalan stuff, if this wasn’t set in the middle of an already established TV series it would be a great cliffhanger (and very fitting given some of the other TV Series-ending cliffhangers they used to do), but even knowing they’ll escape with the ship, it’s an effective cliffhanger because I don’t know how they’ll get out of it!

That leaves us with Episode 1 “Ministry of Truth”, which is good. It’s set in a TV studio that makes propaganda for the Federation, but is also secretly housing a Federation military radio outpost. It has some good twists and turns, and a fun look at a propaganda show that’s very much like Blake’s 7 if it were filmed from the Federation’s point of view. It also featured the returning Zeera Vos from the first Crossfire set, and she returns a few times throughout Set 3. She is a good, almost Travis-like recurring villain.

Finally Episode 2, “Refuge”, is probably the weakest. The Liberator come across a large cargo vessel that piloted by one of Vila’s old friends, and it turns out it’s hauling the last few hundred people of a race that is now planetless. The driver was planning on selling it to Servalan (via Zeera Vos, of course!) and the Liberator crew soon have other plans, although Avon isn’t too fussed. Cally is the voice of reason here, and after a few tricks and twists with the money/crystals, Avon and co. haul the people to a nearby planet to save them, and have finally decided on a plan to end the war, but Dayna isn’t happy about it! I’m not sure about “making sure Servalan wins is the quickest route to peace in the galaxy”, but I guess it makes sense, and I love how it plays off the fact that Avon keeps failing to kill Servalan, and even might have a thing for her (something teased many times in the TV series…)

So a good boxset, with a great double bill to end!

The Bad:

B7 CF3 Ministry of Truth

This wasn’t bad, but you know… I had to put a picture here for consistency’s sake…

The first two episodes don’t set the world on fire, but I think that’s mainly comparing it to the last two, which are great! But yeah, no real bad to speak of.

Overall Thoughts:

B7 CF3 Death of Empire

Death of *an* Empire, surely!

Blake’s 7: Crossfire Part 3 is a great boxset, much like the TV series this series ends on a great few episodes after some pretty good middle ones. Also much like the TV series it ends on a hell of a cliffhanger that thankfully we won’t have to wait a year to hear the resolution of…

Episodes 1 “Ministry of Truth” and 2 “Refuge”:

4 Star Listen

Episodes 3 “Kith and Kin” and 4 “Death of Empire”:

5 Star Listen

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