intrepid investigators of infernal incidents are back in their twelfth collection
of curious capers, courtesy of those audio impresarios at Big Finish
Productions. As any fan of the company’s output knows, Jago & Litefoot is
one of their strongest continuing ranges – and Series 12 is another sturdy run.
Justin Richard’s ‘Picture This’ kicks
off the quartet of new adventures with a trip to the Scarlet Gallery, where the
paintings are reputably haunted. Naturally, this makes for an evocative
setting, if a slightly peculiar one for audio. Richards spins an enjoyable yarn
(or should that be paints a fetching portrait?) which is peppered with some
suitably eerie moments. Plus, it does a good job of setting up the series’
ongoing plot threads.
‘The Flickermen’ from Paul Morris and
Simon Barnard is perhaps the best of this bunch, as it features a historical
guest star and an intriguing new monster. When cinematic pioneer R.W. Paul’s
theatrograph shows begin outselling Jago’s music hall acts, he and Litefoot
take a trip to the fairground to check out the competition… and discover a
terrible monster connected to the new technology. The titular Flickermen, who
phase in and out of reality, are distinctly Moffatesque – they even come with
their own creepy nursery rhyme.
Paul Morris’ School of Blood’ and ‘Warm
Blood’ by Justin Richards form a kind of loose two-parter, as Jago and Litefoot
investigate the vampire attacks sweeping London – which they fear could be the
work of their barmaid friend Ellie Higson. ‘School’ is a fun boarding school
mystery, especially as Henry and George get to go incognito - as caretaker and
science teacher, respectively - in order to solve the unexplained
disappearances of the staff members.
The series finale ‘Warm Blood’ has a
lot going for it. As well as harking back to events from Series 1, it has to
deal with both the emotional conflict between Ellie, Jago and Litefoot and the
high stakes (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the Old One and his vampire army. In
the event, the whole thing is sadly tied up a little too quickly and neatly for
it to be a totally satisfying final hour.
Without the frills and high concepts of
certain other series – for instance, Series 11 featuring both the Sixth Doctor
and the Master - Jago & Litefoot Series
12 doesn’t exactly carve out anything new. Even so, the odd couple dynamic of
its stars is as entertaining as ever, and Christopher Benjamin and Trevor
Baxter never let the side down. All in all, this is yet another solid round of
adventures for what is, by some margin, the longest-running Doctor Who spin-off in any medium. And
for good reason too.
JAGO AND LITEFOOT SERIES 12 / WRITERS:
JUSTIN RICHARDS, PAUL MORRIS, SIMON BARNARD / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN /
STARRING: CHRISTOPHER BENJAMIN, TREVOR BAXTER, LISA BOWERMAN, CONRAD ASQUITH,
RONALD PICKUP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW