One of the best things about Big Finish finally acquiring the rights to the modern series of Doctor Who is that the show’s past can now collide with its present in fresh, unlikely ways. Even if they haven’t got the cast members to hand, 21st century characters can now turn up whenever they please. Take The Jago and Litefoot Revival, for instance, which pairs those intrepid investigators of infernal incidents with none other than the Tenth Doctor.
As the first instalment of a special two-part Short Trips (which sort of goes against the point of them being ‘short’ but, hey, we’re not complaining), Act One mostly holds back on the team-up and instead focusses on Jago and Litefoot at a crossroads in their lives. For once the strange-goings on in London have dried up and the pair are desperate for adventure. Luckily for them, their old friend is about drop back into their lives.
This is Jonathan Barnes’ first time writing for Jago and Litefoot, but he is nonetheless a safe pair of hands as his run on Big Finish’s Sherlock Holmes audios means that he is a natural at working within the Victorian time period. The tale is also told with a refreshing change of format – as Litefoot and Jago recount their adventure to an enraptured audience whilst on stage. Using this in place of the usual plain narration adds another dimension to the story and there is much fun to be had from having Jago interrupt Litefoot’s precise storytelling with his unique theatrical flair.
Likewise, Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter can do no wrong, as they slip comfortably back into their old roles for the umpteenth time. With no David Tennant on board, it is up to them to capture his Doctor’s quasi-cockney, youthful tones and, remarkably, it works a treat. Baxter, in particular, does a fantastic job. Benjamin, on the other hand, manages a hilariously spot-on impersonation of Lisa Bowerman’s barmaid Ellie.
The Jago and Litefoot Revival gets off to a thoroughly entertaining start with this first part that sports strong writing and voice performances – and even squeezes in a fantastic fan-pleasing twist to boot. Roll on next month’s second act. Or, in other words, Allons-y!
THE JAGO AND LITEFOOT REVIVAL – ACT ONE / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN / WRITER: JONATHAN BARNES / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER BENJAMIN, TREVOR BAXTER / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW