Blake’s 7 ‘The Armageddon Storm’

The Armageddon Storm – When mercenary Del Grant alerts the Liberator crew to the existence of a new Federation super-weapon, Avon leads an epic battle to avert catastrophe…

Released February 2013
Written By: Cavan Scott and Mark Wright

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast: Paul Darrow (Kerr Avon), Michael Keating (Vila Restal), Jan Chappell (Cally), Tom Chadbon (Del Grant)
Doctor Who is remarkable for its success in its home country and overseas. As much as I enjoy Who, it is truly criminal that Blake’s 7 is not more widely popular. A cult series that ran for four seasons with a definite ending, Blake’s 7 is, just as the opening credits sequence shows when a symbol very similar to the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek, is the opposite of traditional raygun sci-fi. This is reactionary, angry, cynical and bloody.

Developed by Dalek co-creator Terry Nation, Blake’s 7 is anti-establishment action-adventure following the exploits of a small group of rebels hellbent on freeing the human race from the control of the crooked Federation. Unusually, the lead hero Blake exited the program after the second season. Thought dead, the most unlikely successor Avon takes the reigns of the fight against the system of power. Hardly a heroic type, Avon is a sociopathic genius with marginal morals. Joining Avon is the cowardly thief Villa, the psychic terrorist Cally, the straight-laced ace pilot Del Tarrant and the weapon expert Dana. Blake’s 7 was incredibly successful during its time and garnered strong support as a sophisticated sci-fi series.

Thankfully, the folks at Big Finish who have reunited much of the cast to revisit this exciting program in a new series of stories set within the existing canon.

Whereas most of the Big Finish Blake’s 7 audios are short stories, The Armageddon is a larger scale story split across three parts. Avon and his crew meet a fellow freedom fighter Del Grant who has information leading to a wild chase deep within the Federation’s most high security prison and a hostile world at war. The ultimate goal is to find a doomsday weapon called the Armageddon Storm. But there is more at stake. Del Grant is the brother of Avon’s great love, Anna. There is friction between the two regarding Anna’s relationship and fate due to Avon’s crooked life.

A sharply-written yarn with plenty of humor (courtesy of the amazing Michael Keating) and drama, this story fits so perfectly within the world of Blake’s 7, that when I closed my eyes I could easily imagine a televised version. In addition to a superb script and top notch cast, the ‘aural landscape’ is similarly impressive. I was especially surprised by the soundtrack which is lovingly evocative of Dudley Simpson’s work.

If you are a fan of Blake’s 7 and have fond memories of the series, do yourself a favor and buy a copy, pour yourself a glass of wine and sit back for a very special treat. And if you are unfamiliar… start watching the old episodes (before they are pulled down).

Order Blake’s 7 – The Armageddon Storm from Big Finish here.