JAGO AND LITEFOOT SERIES 8 / AUTHOR: JAMES GOSS, ANDY LANE, SIMON BARNARD, PAUL MORRIS, JUSTIN RICHARDS / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: TREVOR BAXTER, CHRISTOPHER BENJAMIN, LISA BOWERMAN, CONRAD ASQUITH, JENNA RUSSELL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Big Finish has released the eighth series of adventures for Henry Gordon Jago (Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Baxter) the Victorian investigators of matters mysterious and malign who spun out of the Fourth Doctor story Talons of Weng Chiang. This boxset consists, like the previous, of four discs worth of adventures plus a final disc of behind the scenes documentary.
James Goss kicked off the entertainment with Encore of the Scorchies a tale of malevolent, mischievous puppets with a penchant for performing in musical medleys. Last seen in James’s The Scorchies (a Jo Grant Companion Chronicle), they arrive in London needing somewhere to perform their show – where better than Jago’s theatre!
If you’re making a story about the Scorchies, the only way is to make it as large and musical as possible. This means we get plenty of pompous performances including Jago, Litefoot, Ellie Higson (Lisa Bowerman) and more. All this fun crowds out the plot to an extent and the characters themselves make several self-referential observations to move things to their dramatic conclusion.
Andy Lane penned a more restrained second story with The Backwards Men; a straightforward story of alien possession and a device that once used evolves people into strange reverse perambulating peculiarities. The plot takes few twists, though is well written and a welcome change of pace after the first one.
Third are Simon Barnard and Paul Morris who gives us a story of East London islands, mudlarks and alien incursion in Jago & Litefoot & Patsy. Patsy is the mudlark (ie scavenger on the banks of the Thames in its tidal section) played by Flaminia Cinque who relished this over the top character who plays a key role in exposing evil doings in a toxic tannery.
Justin Richards wrote the final instalment of this boxset Higson & Quick in which barmaid Ellie Higson and Inspector Quick (Asquith) have to step in when Jago & Litefoot are unable to cope with the latest threat to London and the world. Events take their toll on our heroes and at the end, they decide they need… but that’s for the next boxset, available in March 2015.
Lisa Bowerman directs and performs with her usual skill and special mention goes to Howard Carter for the score for Encore of the Scorchies.
These four stories start off on an exceptionally high and end on a merely good story. Overall this is yet another solid release and keeps the standard at the level fans have come to expect.