Raiding Servalan's HQ, the Scorpio crew discover
that she possesses a jewel from a long-lost circlet, a mystical
artefact with the power to control minds. Soon Avon is as
determined as Servalan to acquire the Sevenfold Crown...
This attractive package, which reflects the design of the
DVD box sets of the television episodes, unites both of the
Blake's 7 radio dramas from the late 1990s, The
Sevenfold Crown and The Syndeton Experiment.
Darrow, Michael Keating, Steven Pacey, Peter Tuddenham and
Jacqueline Pearce all re-create their familiar roles (Avon,
Vila, Tarrant, Orac/Slave and Servalan). Josette Simon and
Glynis Barber were unavailable to reprise the characters of
Dayna and Soolin, but Angela Bruce and Paula Wilcox step into
their shoes more than adequately, sounding remarkably like
the original performers. If any member of the cast seems unfamiliar,
it is Steven Pacey as Tarrant, who sounds almost unrecognisably
some reason Barry Letts, former Doctor Who producer
and writer of the Who radio serials The Paradise
of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space, was drafted
in to pen these stories, rather than a writer associated with
Blake's 7. As a result their tone, especially that
of The Sevenfold Crown, seems overtly comical. Several
members of the cast, Jacqueline Pearce in particular, seem
to revel in the innuendo inherent in words such as "organ",
"back door" and "penetration". Or maybe I'm just used to hearing
her as Madame Deephole in Soldiers of Love!
Sevenfold Crown is double the duration of a regular Blake's
7 episode, and its plot (though I use the word loosely)
is a rambling affair, involving teleport malfunctions of the
type that usually only affect Star Trek's transporters.
This story doesn't truly capture the magic of the television
series, but I must admit it's nice to hear Avon, Vila, Orac
et al together again.
Tired of running, Avon and company plan to settle down
on the planet Syndexia. But Servalan is ahead of them, on
the trail of Dr Rossum, a man who has invented a device that
offers total control over human beings...
Syndeton Experiment works rather better. First of all,
the running time (just over an hour) is closer to that of
a television episode, so the plotting is tighter and the whole
affair feels more like "proper" Blake's 7. Secondly,
the comical moments are fewer and farther between, and the
dialogue is more in the style of the series: for instance,
Avon expresses his concern that if Vila were captured by the
Federation, he would "crack like a soft-boiled egg".
are a couple of downsides to this production, though. First
of all, Servalan's plan hinges upon mind control, just as
it did in The Sevenfold Crown. Secondly, there is some
rather obvious doubling up of the cast, with, for example,
Angela Bruce and Peter Tuddenham as a couple of Federation
officers and Michael Keating playing a tour guide. (Also,
I can't help thinking of cinder toffee whenever anyone mentions
However, Syndeton retains its crown over Sevenfold.
This three-disc collection is augmented by interview material
from the original cassette release of The Sevenfold Crown
plus extracts from BBC7's Zen and the Art of Blake's 7.
With a total running time in excess of three hours, this box
set is great value for money.
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