(special thanks to Big Finish for providing me with a review copy!)
After travelling through time and space with the Doctor, Henry Gordon Jago and Professor Litefoot are back in London starting brand new lives. Jago has become a huge celebrity and Litefoot the quiet owner of a bookshop, but in all other respects it is business as usual.
As they investigate a wealth of new cases – including a restaurant where the food eats the people, and a book with dangerous powers – a long game is playing out. A figure from their past is back, and this time he means to destroy them…
STARRING: Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Trevor Baxter (Professor Litefoot), Lisa Bowerman (Ellie), Duncan Wisbey (Sacker), Raquel Cassidy (Guinevere Godiva), Ben Willbond (Timothy Vee), Jamie Newall (Aubrey), Chook Sibtain (Guru Sanjaya Starr), Ken Bones (Dreislav), Anna Tolputt (Summer), Alex Mallinson (Doctor Evans)
I’ll be honest. When I first began listening to the Jago and Litefoot series, I hadn’t any real high expectations. I liked the characters well enough in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, but anything more than that seemed excessive and kind of silly.
Fortunately, I was very, very wrong in this outlook. The series has, thus far, been one of Big Finish’s standout productions, and hasn’t just had the title characters. We’ve also had Leela and the Sixth Doctor turn up, and that last one ended up being important, since they went on two adventures with the Sixth Doctor and when he dropped them off, it wasn’t in Victorian England. No, he left them, by accident, in 1968.
There are four stories in this set, each one chronicling the successes and setback of Jago and Litefoot as they try to navigate a London very different from the one they are familiar with. For Jago, this involves going on TV and creating his own variety show. For Litefoot, this involves opening up an antique bookstore. They aren’t completely alone, however, as their friend Ellie, aging slowly due to contact with a vampire a few seasons ago, is still around and helping them out.
Of the four stories, I feel that “The Age of Revolution”, the first, is the strongest. It does an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the series, and introduces us to the 1960s-style version of the J&L theme. It also shows us exactly how well our heroes are adapting to this strange new world.
By contrast, the second story, “The Case of the Gluttonous Guru”, just didn’t really engage me. Introducing the whole Indian vibe was a good idea, and certainly fits what I know of 1960s London, but the execution was rather flawed. Definitely the weakest of the set, and one of the rare misfires as a whole for the series.
As for the third and fourth stories, “The Bloodchild Codex” and “The Final Act”, both were quite good. I Feel that they tied up the series nicely, did a great job of setting the stage for the next series, and really did a wonderful job of mixing in elements of “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. A good conclusion to an overall wonderful set of stories.
What does the future hold for J&L? Season six isn’t too far off, so we shall find out soon!