The Sevenfold Crown

[Radio play based on the television series, 1998]

[The cover of the tape]

An extended version of the radio play was released on audiocassette by BBC Worldwide on January 5, 1998.

Starburst #233 (January 1998) had a 3-page article about The Sevenfold Crown. There were several photos, including this one of the cast as they are today. Steven was quoted as saying:

"The play seemed fairly faithful to the original," adds Stephen Pacey [sic], alias the renegade space captain Tarrant. "It was a good yarn and it was great to see all these people who I have worked closely with years ago, but haven't really seen that much of socially."

From SFX magazine:

BLAKEíS SEVEN: The Sevenfold Crown

BBC Radio

Producer: Brian Lighthill
Starring: Paul Darrow, Steven Pacey, Jacqueline Pearce
Reviewer: Anthony Brown

Donít let the opening put you off. The Sevenfold Crown begins with a dream so hammy youíll be inclined to dismiss the whole production as a terrible nightmare long before a stonking continuity error tips you off that itís a dream. Thankfully, things pick up after that.

Back in the days when Blakeís 7 was still on TV, it could be a little uneven. There were a handful of writers, including Chris Boucher and Tery Nation, who truly understood it, but the rest were a pack of hacks who treated it as a standard-issue space opera, leading to a glut of embarrassing robots and unconvincing monsters.

In that sense, The Sevenfold Crown isnít proper Blakeís 7, as it doesnít capture any of the political complexity which helped inspire JM Straczynski to create Babylon 5, but itís considerably better than most of the seriesí filler episodes. The plot is clsoer to Doctor Who than Blakeís 7, with Avon and Servalan battling for control of a psionic device created by an ancient civilisation in a manner worthy of the Doctor and the Master, but works well, though the Sevenís new-found tendency to help the poor and oppressed is rather out of character.

If the script is slightly off-target in recapturing the feel of the show, the cast slip right into their parts as if theyíd never been away. The opening sequence aside, Paul Darrow and Jacqueline Pearce have scaled back some of the OTT campness which crept into their performances during the final season, and Michael Keatingís Vila remains the core of the show - cowardly, pathetic and commanding by turn. The revelation, however, is Steven Pacey, whoís matured hugely as an actor over the last 15 years. While Tarrant is recognisably the same character seen in the series, heís gained a presence which makes him a genuine equal to Avon. Only Angela Bruce and Paula Wilcox prove disappointing as the new versions of Dayna and Soolin, and thatís more the fault of the script than anything. Though thereís a few references which establish them as hardened killers, they spend most of the time starting at frights like useless girlies.

The Sevenfold Crown isnít Blakeís 7 at its best, but as star- spanning space opera itís more than satisfying... And, best of all, it reunites the Seven ready for further adventures. More!

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