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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lightfoot and Jago: the Return of the Old Favourites, 12 Jan 2010
This review is from: Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
I'm too young to remember the episode actually being on - far too young, in fact - but watching the video, I agree with most fans. The Talons of Weng Chiang is one of THE best Doctor Who stories EVER, EVER, EVER, rivalled only, perhaps, by 'The Pyramids of Mars' and 'Blink'. This is partly because of its main side characters, intellectual police doctor Professor Litefoot and bluff-and-bluster theatre man Henry Gordon Jago. It's long been my opinion, akin to many other fans, that the two lovable Victorian gentlemen deserve their own spin off series, and now they've very nearly got it with this one-off Big Finish audio drama. It's a one off in Companion Chronicles terms in that the Doctor doesn't appear and it's dealing with one off companions - Litefoot and Jago never actually entered the TARDIS, let alone travelled on it, but their experiences the Talons of Weng Chiang more than make up for the fact.

The format of the Companion Chronicles is, of course, that an old companion of the Doctor's returns to recount a story, with one other actor. This story takes place in a pub, where Litefoot and Jago, who have been teaming up to investigate unusual happenings since their encounter with the fourth Doctor and Leela, have met up to discuss their latest adventure. It's a creepy one. The idea of a body being dragged out of Thames is always a good beginning in any Victorian mystery, and it gets creepier from there. The body is actually a cleverly disguised wooden mannequin, and what happens next is very much a la ghost story writer M.R. James. It just gets creepier from there. Be prepared for a gruesome description in the middle of part two. In my opinion it was rather overdone (I thought I was going to see my dinner again). Enough said. Despite this, it's a very good story, and no doubt the characters help with that. Their rather quirky attitude helps the story not to fall out of creepy and into terrifying. For me, the concept certainly pushed it. It's interesting to note the mythology in this one. It could almost be taken as a prequel to the 1960s story Invasion. I won't go on. I might give too much away. Anyway, it's a ripping good yarn, if a bit sinister. Andy Lane writes excellent descriptions, and carries out the task of portraying the characters of Litefoot and Jago admirably. I'm so glad that this story has led to Litefoot and Jago getting their well deserved spin off series at last, albeit on audio. In short, well worth a listen, but not for the faint of heart.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Case of the Companion Chronicles, 12 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
A most marvellous medley of magical meanderings, this story is one of the best bits of Doctor Who nostalgia this millennium. A simple story told from two perspectives; the exaggerated and colourful versus the purposeful and scientific, with great music enhancing the Victoriana feel.

These two unlikely characters just beg a whole series of companion chronicles to themselves.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wood you believe it?, 29 May 2009
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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
11th in the latest series of doctor who companion chronicles. These are talking books involving actors who played companions to the doctor on tv reprising their role to tell an all new story. But this one is a rather special release that breaks the usual format.

In 1977 Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter played theatre owner Henry Gordon Jago and pathologist Professor George Litefoot opposite the fourth doctor in Doctor Who - The Talons Of Weng Chiang [1977] [DVD] [1963]. It was suggested at the end of that tale that the two might have further adventures. And now thirty two years later, they do.

This story is complete on one disc with two episodes, running twenty five and thirty five minutes respectively. And it involves Litefoot and Jago meeting in a pub to discuss their latest case. It involves living wooden mannequins, mad scientists, criminal gangs, strange electric machinery and a deadly threat to the nation! But fear not, because Litefoot and Jago are on the case.

The format of the story involves the two characters talking and one relating to the other how their investigations went. Some excellent writing really creates the setting and the spirit of the thing well, with some convincing descriptions of Victorian London and some excellent moments of witty dialogue.

This does present a slight problem pacing wise at first because it's well within Jago's nature to procrastinate, and you may find yourself wanting to tell him to get to the point a few times in the first part.

But the writing gets very clever in part two because it draws the two disparate narratives together, as the pair work to get things in the right order, and it does so without invalidating what has already been revealed.

There's some very inventive and original writing in the nature of the threat they face also.

The two actors return to their parts as if they'd never been away from them, and they're a delight to listen to. The end of episode two is set up for further adventures. And I hope we get them.

Not a classic release, but jolly good fun and well worth a listen. As is the nine minute long interview with the two actors and the director of the story on the final track of the disc
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4.0 out of 5 stars "The Overdue Spin-off", 20 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Jago & Litefoot appeared of course in the classic Tom Baker adventure "The Talons of Weng Chiang" & author Robert Holmes thiought there was a spin-off in the characters. It's believed this was discussed as a possibility but never got as far as scripts being written.
Well we've got it now and although this 1st story is officially part of the Companion Chronicles series, it serves pretty well as a pilot, there's even a potential recurring enemy thrown in!
In a script clearly written for the audio medium Jago and Litefoot meet in a London pub to compare notes on their linked but separate adventures investigating mannequins that come to life and how they are linked with executed felons apparently returned to life. This is a fun structure as the pair put the story together and try to dramatically top each other's tales of horror. Living mannequins are a nicely Holmesian idea recalling both the Autons and Mr Sin from Talons. Talons is also recalled in a couple of brief references too.
Christopher Benjamin is a little gruffer vocally than he was when he was in Talons but still recaptures the character of this hyperbole spouting, self promoting showman, who exaggerates & isn't "So bally brave" when it comes to it but remains a good guy underneath.
Trevor Baxter who is much closer to his younger voice also effortlessly recaptures the character of Professor Litefoot, a mixture of Sherlock and Watson. The character interplay is marvellous and can only bode well for the later adventures.

There's also fun to be had as Litefoot "plays the roles" of the ruffians he meets when recounting his story, only to get poor reviews from Jago.

A minor character Ellie the barmaid is played by Lisa Bowerman and I believe returns in the series.

There's also an interview section after the story.

For anyone who enjoyed Talons of Weng Chiang, I recommend this highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well polished story, 4 Mar 2011
This review is from: Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Two victorian old boys tell a great story down the pub. Mahogany Murderers quickly takes you into the action but holds you throughout, with a well paced atmospheric story, with a dramitic ending but leaving plenty of room to carry the story on.
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Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
Mahogany Murderers (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) by Andy Lane (Audio CD - 30 May 2009)
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