Victorian London has a superhero, leaps into action and dispatches the villains, loudly. Enter the Doctor and Romana, yes you guest it, there's Aliens at work. Jago and Lightfoot from the talons of wenchiang are ready to step in for the British Empire, Queen Victoria and anyone else in the mix. Eventually things come to a head with all parties running into each other and solving the mystery, Dr Who has people in it's stories with a hidden motive, a lot of the time you can understand why someone does what they do, this is one of those, prepare for some down to Earth plot realisation, slightly off the beaten track story.
This is episode 4 in the second series of the new Fourth Doctor Adventures put out by Big Finish. It features Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, with Mary Tamm as Romana I. This would I think be one of the last stories that Mary Tamm had a chance to record before her untimely death, and it is a bittersweet delight to be able to hear her in top form as the imperious and elegant Romana, alongside Tom in his usual fine fettle as the madcap but deadly serious Fourth Doctor.
The Doctor and Romana have followed what appears to be a crashed alien craft which has landed somewhere outside Victorian London. When in Victorian London, who else should the Doctor call upon for assistance than the inimitable Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago? It's an absolutely delight to hear these two again reprising their roles made so memorable in the 1977 story Talons of Weng-Chiang, and it's great that there was so much potential in Jago and Litefoot that they now have their own series, as well as occasionally meeting up with various incarnations of the Doctor as he potters about the universe. Adding Romana into the mix with these fine Victorian gentlemen just adds to the delight of this whole story.
A great Victorian thriller mixed with great classic Doctor Who humour and action, this is an unreservedly utterly recommended story for anybody who is already familiar with Doctor Who, or who would like to become more familiar. No prior listening or Doctor Who knowledge is required, but it does enhance the experience to already know a bit about Jago and Litefoot.
A new Doctor who audio story. Fourth in the current run of them that feature Tom Baker as the Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana.
This one stands on it's own and you don't need to have heard the first three in order to be able to hear this.
It also features Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter as intrepid Victorian investigators Litefoot and Jago. This would appear to be taking place prior to any of their own audio stories, so you won't need to have heard those either. Anyone reading this or listening to the cd will doubtless have seen their appearance in the tv story 'The Talons of Weng Chiang' so you will be familiar with that.
The story is a two parter, complete on a single cd. Both episodes run for thirty minutes [approx].
It sees Victorian London's criminal underworld finding themselves the target of a vigilante. Called the Pugilist. Who has some rather strange powers.
Litefoot and Jago are on the case. And the Doctor and Romana are in London as well.
The intrepid investigators can provide all the help the Doctor needs. Although he doesn't immediately reveal why they are there...
As in all their other audio appearances, all the actors here do slip back into their roles effortlessly. That and the sound design and music give a superb feel of setting and time. Splitting the characters up as they investigate results in some delightful character interaction and superb dialogue. The first episode isn't one that puts plot to the fore, but all the other elements are so good it's an enjoyable listen anyhow.
The second episode is superb, as it brings some real substance to the plot. Plus, at the heart of it all is some very believable character drama.
Along with that you have a lot of characters who all get great moments, some brilliant lines for Tom Baker that are huge fun to listen to. And some pretty decent plotting as well.
A story that takes a classic one of old, revisits the style and the characters, and manages to recapture all that plus be a great piece of entertainment in it's own right. This is a superb listen and well worth getting.
There's a trailer for the next one in this range on the cd track after the end of part two.
And fifteen minutes [approx] of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.
After a strong season opener, a weak two-parter (because it was a two-parter), the season returns to strength with a story that was an absolute joy to listen to. Romana's character is on top form throughout, given the sort of independence she had in The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara. Tom Baker is also top of his game since returning to Big Finish, given further witty and original dialogue to execute.
Of course one great asset to the story, or perhaps the greatest, is the appearance of Jago and Litefoot. The return of these characters several years ago was one of the best things Big Finish have done, having already done so many great things. Having just racked up a fifth box set, and appearances in three other stories, it is always an absolute treat to have them in a story.
Although often said in the interviews about what fun the production team have had, there can be no truer occasion than when Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter are on the set. If they are having fun producing a decent yarn full of wonderful dialogue then you can be certain that you too will have fun.
A good story is enhance by great dialogue and a very desirable cast. The Justice of Jalxar is a highly memorable story that I feel privileged to have in my collection and will enjoy experiencing again.
Pursuing the trail of a crashed alien ship takes the Doctor and Romana to Victorian London. Once there the Doctor decides they require some local expertise to continue their search. And he knows just who can help him, his old friends Jago and Litefoot.
Once Tom Baker started doing audio plays for Big Finish this was more or less inevitable. After the success of the Jago and Litefoot spinoff over recent years, the temptation to have them team up with the Fourth Doctor again must have been irresistible. Obviously this isn’t the equal of ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’ (that would be a near insurmountable task) but it is still fantastic.
It must have been tempting to use Jago and Litefoot in the Fourth Doctor audios that feature Leela. Enjoyable as that would be they have encountered each other again already in the Jago and Litefoot series anyway. Having them meet Romana is far more beneficial and provides a different group dynamic. It is intriguing how that in ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’ Leela seems to pair off with Professor Litefoot who seems fascinated by how different Leela is whereas in this play Romana is paired off with Jago who is clearly enamoured by her. It reveals an interesting contrast between the two companions. It seems a shame that K-9 doesn’t get to meet Jago and Litefoot. They would have been fascinated by him in their own ways and Litefoot would probably prove a good conversationalist for K-9.
The concept of the alien justice system works well enough. However, people effectively convicting themselves because the guilt they feel is read by a machine isn’t, perhaps, the most original of ideas in science fiction. It does serve the purposes of the plot though. The justice robot symbiont is quite an interesting idea and the Pugilist works successfully as some type of Victorian vigilante superhero; the use of anachronistic technology giving a steampunk feel. Romana’s mocking of the Pugilist’s disguise for his alter ego humorously pokes fun at the superhero genre.
It’s an enjoyable Victorian adventure with plenty of good lines, a keen wit and a story that captures the essence of ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’ and the Jago and Litefoot series. Most importantly it reunites the Fourth Doctor with two of Doctor Who’s best supporting characters.
What an amazing story! It goes without saying that the regulars are all amazing, and for having Jago & Litefoot reunited with the Fourth Doctor, this story would be worth buying. But this 60 minute story is brilliant in EVERY way! I, for, one, would pay good money for the dramatic, Victorian feeling soundtrack. The story isn't at all gimmicky, as could be a concern with a reunion story, it's actually very well written. The author, John Dorney, has all the characters just right, and creates believable and fun characters, that fit perfectly into the world of The Talons of Weng-Chiang. A truly top-notch and well-rounded story that doesn't take itself too seriously, and I look forward to Mr Dorney's future Forth Doctor stories, as he gets our favourite just right-next years The King of Sontar looks great! And I would LOVE more Jago & Litefoot with the Fourth Doctor!