As Big Finish explores the possibilities of its extended post-2005 licence for Doctor Who, this is the crossover fans have most expected: the meeting of Victorian investigators Jago & Litefoot (played by Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter) and the Paternoster Row gang, or at least in this case Strax (Dan Starkey).
This two-disc release is stripped back to basics to allow plenty of time for listeners to enjoy the interplay between Jago & Litefoot and Strax. The TV conceit of a Sontaran wandering Victorian London attracting little attention is to the fore as Strax is exploring part of London near the Red Tavern. For those who don’t know, this is the pub run by regular Ellie Higson (played by director Lisa Bowerman), and soon Strax is engaged with all the regulars, including Inspector Quick (Conrad Asquith). Not only is this about a clash of cultures, but there is another wrangle to contend with – Strax’s memory is muddled and he believes Jago & Litefoot are Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint in disguise. This raises several smiles as the three of them investigate a set of hauntings.
Yes, it’s not just about the crossover but also a mystery to investigate as a mysterious woman (Carolyn Seymour) is wandering around asking strange questions. There’s also the matter of a haunted house and several missing brains. All standard fodder for Jago & Litefoot. Over its two discs, this story manages to give every character several meaningful scenes, and also lets listeners see this from two points of view – Jago & Litefoot dealing with Strax or vice versa. The ending may be a little more science fiction than is normal for Jago & Litefoot but it entertains from start to finish.
If you have the chance to hear this on decent hifi, do. Some of the soundscape is rich in bass tones and builds an atmosphere. Direction is as crisp as ever, and all that is missing is the cliff-hanger linking to further releases. Dan Starkey’s Strax is as good as ever and all the cast are spot on. On the evidence of this release, there is plenty of possibility for this particular crossover and surely Big Finish will announce more.
JAGO & LITEFOOT & STRAX: THE HAUNTING / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN / AUTHOR: JUSTIN RICHARDS / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER BENJAMIN, TREVOR BAXTER, DAN STARKEY, LISA BOWERMAN, CONRAD ASQUITH, CAROLYN SEYMOUR, STEPHEN CRITCHLOW / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW