Alliteration, get used to it, because it will be using it a lot in the next few paragraphs.
My lords, ladies and gentlemen, please show your appreciation for those valiant voracious vocal vaudevillian Victorians. Those daring doers of detection and derring do Those capital capering capable coves, my lords ladies and gentlemen, please bid welcome to Mr Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot!
Series seven is my first time listening to our Herculean heroic historical heroes, and boy am I ashamed with myself, utterly gutted that I have taken this long to make a start. Tear down Torchwood, shift aside The Sarah Jane Adventures, these genial gentlemen from a post Georgian era are the very best of all the various Doctor Who spin-offs.
The story begins with Jago and Litefoot on the run, having been falsely accused of trying to assassinate Queen Victoria in series 6. Series 7 is split over four stories, each self contained, but each having a thread of the Jocular Jago and the Prissy Professor attempting to clear their names.
The first story is called The Monstrous Menagerie by Jonathan Morris, it is a real daft romp in the boys own adventure style, featuring Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle who is fed up of Holmes fans asking him to bring back the great detective. Featuring Time travel, dinosaurs and the inspiration for one of Holmes greatest adventures, great one liners by all, very knowing to Holmes fans and fans of Arthur Conan-Doyle, witty banter and repartee abound.
This is followed by The Night of 1000 Stars by James Goss, this really is something extraordinary. I have been listening to Big Finish audios for about 12 years, but this is just special, utterly wonderful. A completely character driven piece where the four characters, Jago, Litefoot, Ellie and Leela have their souls laid bare as they relive their most dark and sorrowful moments. It really is a thing of beauty told through the prism of acts in a theatre, it broke my heart.
Third is 7.3 Murder at Moorsey Manor by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, (think of a Victorian “Murder by Death” and you wont be far off), a mansion, a gaggle of Holmes enthusiasts and a death announced in the hour every hour. A really exciting whodunit ending on a cliffhanger which leads into the final part.
Lastly we have 7.4 The Wax Princess by Justin Richards, Jack the Ripper is at large again with a plot to wreak revenge and find his lost love. Gruesome, strange and compelling, and ending on an almighty cliffhanger (and a song!) that leads nicely into series 8.
What really makes this set special are the profound personable performances from Messers Benjamin and Baxter, who don’t sound like they have aged a day from Talons. They really are masters of their roles. The camaraderie is obvious and the warmth of their performances shines through. The supporting cast are fab too, with special mentions to Lisa Bowerman as Ellie and especially Louise Jameson as Leela, who conveys comedy and tragedy sometimes in the same line.
So, do I like it? Well of course I do, and I have series 1-6 and the Mahogany Murderers on my wish list to catch up with!
In summing up, to quote Mr Jago “oh corks!”, and I pop the cork on this jereboam of genial japery at a gigantic 10/10.