An hour-long play, Escape Velocity is a prequel to Blake's 7, set before the opening events of the series. In B7, the eponymous hero Roj Blake leads a team of renegades, thieves and criminals on a crusade against a fascistic interstellar Federation; their weapon is the alien starship known as the Liberator, discovered damaged and adrift.
The origins of the Liberator and Zen, its on-board artificial intelligence, have always been mysteries that I wanted to explore, so in Escape Velocity I wrote the story of how this vessel becomes the broken ghost ship that appears at the start of Blake's odyssey...
Directed by Andrew Mark Sewell, there's a great cast here. Reprising his role as Zen from the earlier Blake's 7 audio series is Alistair Lock, who worked hard to bring a real sense of emotion and nuance to the AI character; joining him are Zoë Tapper (Survivors, Hex), Jason Merrells (Waterloo Road, Lark Rise to Candleford), Tracy-Ann Oberman (Doctor Who, Big Train) Sam Woodward (Spooks) and Pamela Banks (Reverb).
Before Blake; before the Seven; before the rebellion began…
The Liberator – a mysterious alien starship controlled by a synthetic intelligence known only as Zen.
A derelict rescued from the brink of destruction by Roj Blake and his band of dissidents, the ship is their weapon in the war against the corrupt Federation, its origin unknown – until now. What terrible catastrophe left the Liberator drifting and shattered? What drove the ship’s computer to murder its original crew? What dark secrets lie at the heart of this alien machine? For one woman, a pilot in the service of the all-powerful System, these questions will be answered in a desperate search for her own identity...a search that can only end in betrayal and death.
Escape Velocity will be broadcast on December 24th at 6.00pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra as part of the '7th Dimension' programme slot and then again at midnight for an encore presentation. After that, it'll be available for another seven days via the Beeb's iPlayer service.
If you'd like to buy a CD or digital download of the play, click Here to find them at the B7 Productions website.