Most people vented their disappointment in the two Blake's 7 radio plays written by Barry Letts in scathing remarks, or protesting letters. Judith Proctor did something more constructive and at the same time countered the criticised writers last defence - You do better!"
Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, she did. The audioplay ALL CHANGE has the same premise THE SEVENFOLD CROWN and THE SYNDETON EXPERIMENT had: its set in the fourth season, and the task of the Scorpio Crew is to find, destroy or win a device before the Federation can. There is a third party involved, that fourth-season archetype, the mysterious scientist. But the result is startlingly different.
For starters, this Blakes 7 drama actually has Blake in it, masquerading as inventor Dr. Probert. The device in question is equally known to the audience - its the teleport system Blake has been developing as Probert, trying to recreate the one from the Liberator. Secondly, Soolin and Dayna are their old selves from the TV series, instead of acting as damsels in distress (one of Letts more annoying blunders). As a matter of fact, the characterisation of everyone is spot-on, not a big surprise if one is familiar with Judiths fanfics. What did surprise me - knowing her to be primarily a Blake and Avon fan - was that the character who gets deepened the most in comparison with canon is Tarrant. He has a touching scene with Dayna in which we learn a lot about his background and the reason why he originally deserted.
Also getting some depth is Deva, previously known to us only through the last episode, BLAKE, and not exactly popular among fans, probably due to his status as the OTHER computer expert in Blakes life. His joining up with Blake and the tentative friendship developing between them show both the similarities and the differences between Fearless Leader in the first two and in the last season. Blake here is more cynical, more ruthless and less given to trust, but just as passionate about his Cause, and still willing to risk everything for his friends.
In this way, and many more, ALL CHANGE also serves as a prequel to the final episode, with which it shares the sense of Blake and Avon circling around each other. Judith has to use some frustrating accidents to prevent them from actually meeting or the rest of the Scorpio Crew noticing Probert is Blake in order to keep faith with the canon, but still manages to let them save each other and gets in a classic remark:
Blake: Let me introduce you to Orac.
Deva: What is it?
Blake: Its an extremely useful pain in the neck. Speaking of which, wheres Avon?
By the time one finishes this audioplay, the only thing one regrets is that this isnt what the BBC gave us. Read and enjoy!
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Last updated on 23rd of January 2000.