Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen (BBC Audio)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 June 2018 - Reviewed by Peter Nolan
Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen
Written by: James Goss
Based on a Story by: Douglas Adams
Read by: Dan Starkey
Runtime: 9hrs 44mins
Originally Released January 2018
Avilable from Amazon UK
Like the preceding Douglas Adams adaptations, Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen presents an unusual challenge for a reviewer. There are really three different bases on which it needs to be judged – Adams’ original story, the success of the adaptor in capturing that while perhaps finessing the rough, unfinished edges, and whether the final result is actually any good. In the audiobook version, a fourth element is thrown on top of even that.

In terms of Adams’ canon, there’s an inescapable sense of desperately sieving the dirt and rocks at the bottom of the well for any last drops of murky fluid that can reasonably be called ‘water’.

Shada was an epic hole in Doctor Who’s history filled with Gareth Roberts’ meticulous research and skilfully Adamsesque writing. It allowed us a best guess of what Adams might have done with all the time in the world. And The Pirate Planet was one of the last remaining un-novelized 20th century Doctor Who stories. Both were a bit of a holy grail. They offered up the chance to explore all the gags and insights Adams had scribbled into the margins in his typical ‘up to the last minute’ style. The Krikktmen was a story loosely sketched out, then rejected, then worked on some more, and then rejected again.

Its pedigree as a story deemed not worth making first or even second times around immediately makes it that little bit less of a glittering prize. Even in terms of Krikkitmen’s original afterlife as Life, the Universe and Everything (aka most people’s least favourite Hitchhiker’s novel), makes for a less auspicious start. The existence of Life, the Universe and Everything creates a unique problem for Goss in his adaptation too. Shada was a script brimming full of ideas and characters, and Adams cherry picked a couple for recycling in the otherwise original Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. But Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen and the third Hitchhiker’s novel as essentially the same plot, with the same villains, and most of the same gags, only with different characters as our heroes. It makes it less of an exercise is trying to spot the bits Adams would later recycle and more trying to spot the bits he didn’t.

 

Prior to this adaptor James Goss has shown himself one of the most talented and prolific authors of Doctor Who books and audios, with a keen ear for the style and tone of any piece. Here he tries to address the unique nature of the project by adding on a couple of extra layers to the plot, but not wholly successfully. Adams’ concept was always a villainous, universe shuddering plan that didn’t make any sense. There’s a villainous xenophobic race whose motivation and end goal don’t really make any sense, exposed as a front for motivations and goals that make less sense. In Goss’ version, then exposed as yet another front for even more nonsensical motivations and goals.And as for their methods -- the whole scheme is a basically a two million year plot to press a button, where simply walking up to it and pressing it in the first place would have done as well.

As part of the rearrangement of the furniture there are journeys to more planets than I recall in the original, and new elements of Adamseque parody and these sometimes fall flat or are tonally misplaced. The elongated quest takes the Doctor, Romana and K9, for instance, to a planet where people are addicted to being terminally offended by everything. They complain about rescue ships being agents of ‘the patriarchy’ and the Doctor winds up vilified for telling a woman she’d be prettier if she smiled more. It's an attempt at the type of skewering of social orthodoxy Adams did so well, but lands well wide of the target.

Possibly the greatest misstep is making this an adventure for the Fourth Doctor, Roman and K9 at all, rather than the originally intended Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane. It immediately makes it a less interesting proposition and increases the sense of being the poor relation to the other Adams adaptations. The notion of what an ‘Adamsesque’ Doctor/Romana/K9 adventure looks like has been codified and established across dozens of TV episodes, novels and audios and the writer and the team seem to go together perfectly. But that just makes it seem all the more exciting to explore the road not taken. How would Adams have written Sarah Jane’s character? What roads would the humour have gone down? It’s a shame to miss the chance to find out.

 

But how does this fare as an audiobook? Narration duties are taken on by Dan Starkey – most famous to TV viewers as Strax and several other Sontaran characters since 2008. There are no Sontarans on offer here, but he still marshals all the forces at his command in an effort that could only be called heroic. Adams’ prose has always featured an odd contradiction whereby it reads like it was designed to be spoken aloud, but when spoken aloud it sounds like it really needs to be seen written down. Goss’ text magnifies that effect even more. Starkey navigates the river of footnotes, parentheses, diversions, and sudden intrusions from text books with the skill of a white-water kayaker throwing himself off 150ft falls for fun.

He also deserves nothing short of a standing ovation for taking a book with literally dozens of characters and making them all distinct, recognizable, and memorable. Many of them appear for only a scene or two or – worse from the narrator and listener’s point of view – are introduced in one scene and then pop up again four or five hours later in the listening experience but must be immediately recognized and remembered.  At points he seems to be channelling the entire League of Gentlemen through one set of vocal cords. There are moments you could swear you listening to Reese Shearsmith’s angry old lady arguing with Mark Gatiss’ uncertainly plodding autocrat.  Other bits of Starkey’s mental casting are inspired, liked Hactar the evil (in principle) supercomputer sounding like nothing so much as a somewhat bored Welsh shopkeeper.

His Tom Baker is remarkable but takes a little getting used to. In essence, Starkey perfectly captures Baker’s louche, slightly ironic mode of delivery and tone of voice and then sticks with it. If his Fourth Doctor has a flaw is it that it doesn’t swoop around the full range of emotion and unpredictable acting choices Baker revelled in. But if this Doctor sails through the tale being ironically amused at everything, it’s no terrible thing. And with Baker’s voice being so rich and distinctive, being able to replicate it so well in any of its modes is worthy of great praise.

 

Overall then, Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen is worth checking out more as a historical footnote than as an original work. Strangely enough, more so to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans than to Doctor Who fans. But it is worth checking out, especially in audio form, if only for Dan Starkey’s contribution.

 





Torchwood: We Always Get Out Alive (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 18 June 2018 - Reviewed by Tom Buxton
We Always Get Out Alive (Credit: Big Finish)
Writer: Guy Adams
Director: Scott Handcock
Featuring: Eve Myles, Kai Owen
Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)
Running Time: 1 hour

Released by Big Finish Productions - May 2018
Order from Amazon UK

“Not mentioning how raw your wife’s home-cooked lasagne is, I can do; apologizing to the Home Office because you’ve left a dead squid thing in the middle of St Mary’s –“

“You said you loved my lasagne!”

In an ever-fluctuating world where political regimes collapse as fast as they emerge, where once-indestructible business behemoths perish like wanton flies and where the fate of any TV show hangs by a knife-edge daily, only one immutable truth is certain – nothing lasts forever. Just ask the original production team behind Torchwood’s TV run; the first proper Doctor Who spin-off show rapidly grew from strength to strength between 2006 and 2009, only for its divisive – to say the least – fourth season Miracle Day to abruptly bring about its on-screen demise. Big Finish’s intervention couldn’t have come soon enough, then, delivering fans with gripping new adventures that reveal both unexplored missions for Torchwood Three and never-before-seen facets of the wider secret agency. However, as with the show’s televised tenure, surely the studio’s luck will run out eventually?

After several superb boxsets and almost 20 standalone instalments in the range, not least March’s riotously entertaining The Death of Captain Jack and April’s rib-tickling country getaway The Last Beacon, that question weighed heavily on this reviewer’s mind as he hit Play on the monthly range’s latest instalment, We Always Get Out Alive. It couldn’t have come to the fore at a more opportune time, however, since for all his experimentation with haunting horror-esque setpieces, Guy Adams’ focus lies squarely on the matter of mortality and for how long those bold – or reckless – enough to risk it as part of their profession can hope to outrun the tentacles of fate. Of course, many civil servants do beat the odds every day, returning home to their loved ones and living to fight the next battle, but those of us looking in from the outside can only imagine the intense emotional strain that such an unpredictable, risk-laden lifestyle would place on those relationships as time passes.

Indeed, between facing down drug-addled aliens demanding 10% of Earth’s younglings as a gift, cannibalistic guests at their own wedding and at times the very worst of humanity, Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams have amassed their fair share of emotionally traumatic baggage over the years. While we’ve seen their inevitable resultant tension bubble to the surface in fleeting moments of the show to date, nowhere has the subject been explored in greater detail than with Alive’s psychodrama-driven narrative. Adams manipulates the pair’s growing anxieties with magnificent aplomb; as they deal with the fallout of a recent mission-gone-wrong, his script masterfully reveals how, through Rhys’ fears surrounding his wife’s nonchalant attitude to brushes with death, even arguments over the right turn to take on a near-deserted rural road could pose just as substantial a threat to their challenged marriage as the mysterious forces manifesting in their vicinity. It’s as cunning a metaphor as any for the ongoing struggle surely faced by soldiers, firefighters or the like in relationships, delicately deconstructing this fraught dynamic while seemingly revealing huge admiration on Adams’ part for those couples whose love and loyalty endures regardless.

This mounting tension extends far beyond the couple itself, their obligatory alien pursuer sure to unsettle even the most steeled listener on their own travels. As with many of the great antagonists in fiction and especially within the horror genre, it’s to Adams’ credit that he wisely leaves much of the nameless foe’s facets up to our imagination, cunningly keeping it just outside of our heroes’ field of perception while having its influence gradually rise through lost memories, spontaneous outbursts of rage from Rhys and Gwen as well as fleeting thuds from the Cooper car’s boot. The latter element is also aided in no small part by Alive’s brilliantly subtle sound design, which keeps us completely on edge to the extent that moments of silence ratchet up the fear factor just as much as the distant howls, ominous rustling and increasingly audible footsteps somewhere nearby the vehicle. A word of warning: don’t listen in the dead of night unless you’re well-versed enough in the realms of horror to endure Alive’s eerie gothic atmosphere. Suffice to say that this reviewer scarcely regretted his decision to hit Play in the broad daylight of his train journey to London.

But as much as it goes without saying at this late stage, beyond its chilling script and technical strengths, by far Alive’s finest assets are the two performers tasked with delivering each and every line on this occasion: Eve Myles and Kai Owen. Gwen and Rhys’ tempestuous yet heartfelt dynamic has long served as the franchise’s emotional core thanks to the pair’s grounded performances and nothing changes here in this respect; Owen recapturing Rhys’ risk-averse approach – from tackling missions to heeding the highway code – perfectly, while Eve’s portrayal recalls Clara Oswald’s arc in Doctor Who Season Nine, her relentless energy as this undaunted yet reckless heroine a simultaneously thrilling and worrying ‘sight’ to behold. Nor does it hurt that Alive offers both thespians the opportunity to display perhaps Torchwood Three’s sole surviving recruits – depending on whereabouts in the show’s timeline Alive is situated after Children of Earth – at their most personally vulnerable, albeit with plenty of well-timed jokes such as the lasagne gag above enabling vital catharsis for the players and audience alike.

Usually, you’d expect us to highlight one or two shortcomings holding the latest Torchwood release back from the Hall of Fame around about now, right? Well, think again – such is the scale of Adams and company’s magnificent achievement that almost no noteworthy flaws sprang to mind as the credits rolled. Similar to how Cascade left the door open regarding the eventual fate of Toshiko Sato’s consciousness, so too does Alive refuse to fully acknowledge whether the faceless threats – both extraterrestrial and psychological – besieging our ever-wearying protagonists have truly subsided come the play’s conclusion, particularly given Adams’ insistence upon subverting our sense of reality throughout. That ambiguity only serves to strengthen the play’s societal subtext though, speaking to the ongoing struggles inherent in any marriage and indeed the joint trauma that couples tested to the limit must learn to live with somehow, rather than finding any idyllic quick-fix solution to such woes.

In contrast, however, this reviewer can wholeheartedly lay any fears surrounding the longevity of Big Finish’s Torchwood range to rest. Between the outstanding opening half of this fourth monthly run of one-off outings, the long-awaited gratification of the original team's reunion in Believe as well as the exemplary note on which Aliens Among Us concluded in February, far from spreading itself too thinly across myriad strands, the show’s never been on better form than it is today. For those wondering where to start with exploring the franchise in audio form, Alive represents an ideal entry point, its captivating thrills making 45 minutes feel more akin to 15 and its standalone nature – no Committee mentions in sight here – preventing the need to pick up ten prior releases in order to stand any chance of understanding what’s occurring. As for the rest of us who’ve grown alongside Gwen and Rhys over the past 12 years, the harrowing setpieces, multi-layered performances, stunning sound design and stirring societal themes make We Always Get Out Alive nothing short of an essential purchase.

Next Time on Torchwood – Let’s do the time warp again as ex-Torchwood agent Norton Folgate invites us – along with Sergeant Andy Davies, doubtless as hopelessly confounded as ever – to 1950s Soho, where raunchy encounters, gun-slinging gangsters and an all manner of seedy dealings apparently lie in wait. What could possibly go wrong, eh? The pair’s initial encounter in Ghost Mission didn’t quite hit the mark for this reviewer back in 2015, but considering how Andy’s subsequent clash with Owen Harper in Corpse Day resulted in one of the range’s strongest hours to date, anything could happen later this month…





Jenny: The Doctor's Daughter (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 10 June 2018 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Jenny - The Doctor's Daughter (Credit: Big Finish)

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom):
Released: June 2018
Running Time: 5 hours

Georgia Tennant only guest starred on one episode of the show, but her character left an imprint on the series.  The ending of that episode left fans wondering if she would ever return.  Particularly as rumor had it that Steven Moffat had made the suggestion to Russell T Davies to have Jenny live...people long assumed that meant he had plans to have her return.  But, alas, she never did under his tenure.  So Jenny was seemingly a character that was teased to make a return, but probably never would as creative teams move on. But isn't that exactly the reason we have Big Finish?  Particularly as having the show back on TV makes Big Finish the perfect place to explore the more obscure cracks of the Doctor who universe.

So Georgia Tennant (who as many fans know is the daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, and current wife of Tenth Doctor David Tennant) gets her chance to revive the character, in her very own Big Finish boxset. The results are entertaining, as Georgia Tennant proves a charming and likable lead. 

The opening story Stolen Goods sets the tone, with Jenny getting into an accident with an alien that looks like a frog in a suit (sorry, salamander), and while the amphibian alien tries to con Jenny out of a bunch of money, she is also being pursued by some kind of cyborg that wants to capture a Time Lord.  She also meets a frozen man who is even more new to the universe than she is.  It's a fun opening, particularly Stuart Milligan as Garundel, who sounds like he is doing a bit of a Paul Lynde impression.

Prisoner of the Ood, involves the Ood on Earth, trapping and turning people in the village into Ood.The reasoning behind that strange plan slowly reveals itself as the episode goes on. As the mystery is one of the few things this episode has going for it, I won't get too deep into details on it.  I wasn't as engaged with this second story as I had been with the first.  I am a fan of the Ood and I think Jenny is a decent Doctor stand-in, but it lacked the energy and fun that was so present in the opener...and ended up feeling like a standard Doctor Who story, though with an inexperienced adventurer in the lead. In the end, the episode feels more like an excuse to use the Ood, and not anything that seems worth it to have them.  

Things bounce back for the third entry, Neon Reign, which is creative and fun, even if the message is too on the nose. Jenny and Noah end up on a planet being ruled over by a sexist dragon which forces woman to serve men who stay at home and do drugs all day.  The female empowerment message lacks any real subtlety, which is a shame, but at least the story features a dragon and some crazy high concept stuff, which makes up for it. At the very least the supporting characters in this one were more interesting than the Ood story, and it was well paced with interesting story bits.  

The set concludes with Zero Space, which finds Jenny and Noah lost in an area of space with nothing in it.  Well nothing except a big research space station being run by 200 clones of the same two people.  And their ability to clone so perfectly is a decidedly dangerous place to be when you are as rare as Jenny and Noah and being pursued by a crazy cyborg bounty hunter that wants to sell you to the highest bidder.  Being able to have spares to sell would come in handy!  The finale to the set is pretty good, though there was definitely a moment or two where it was clear they wanted a certain plot device to remain a twist or have a big reveal...and that lead to me actually yelling "get on with it!" when I had figured out where it was probably heading and they kept teasing out the information.  The concepts were all interesting on their own, they didn't need a big twist to keep it entertaining, and holding back and having characters constantly hold back from saying what they mean just frustrated me a bit.  Which is a shame, because beyond that it is a great climax to the box.  

Jenny: The Doctor's Daughter, is an enjoyable new set from Big Finish.  It isn't their most exciting new range, but it has a lovable lead and has potential to become something quite entertaining.  It just isn't all there yet.  One of the nice things for Big Finish going into this set, the character of Jenny was such a blank slate that they really could have gone anywhere with her. There wasn't that much to her in the original episode. Here she is a fun character to ride along with, even if the stories within a bit uneven, at least you can count on the lead performance...and is there anything more Doctor Who than uneven storytelling with a consistent lead? Fans of the Tenth Doctor or the new series will probably find something to like in here, it may not be perfectly executed, but it is still pretty fun.  






The Christmas Invasion (Audiobook)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 7 June 2018 - Reviewed by Peter Nolan
 The Christmas Invasion  (Credit: BBC Audio)
Adapted by Jenny T Colgan
Based on the original script by Russell T Davies
Read by Camille Coduri
Cover by Anthony Dry
Released May 2018

To begin this review at the end, Jenny Colgan’s Afterword sees her describe her love of the classic Target range. She touches on that old chestnut that in her day it was the only way to relive episodes after their broadcast and, besides, all this t’where fields back then lad, but doesn’t dwell. Rather she weaves a picture of a lovely childhood spent lingering at the desk of her local library. Trying to navigate the torture of rules that meant she could only get out four Targets a month. She concludes with the observation that the first Target she’s ever own all to herself will be one she wrote and notes how mad and wonderful that is.

So, it’s in this context that the novelization of The Christmas Invasion brims with affection and nostalgia for childhood days with your hands propping up your chin and you lost yourself in those curious little tales of Doctor Who. It also means that it’s the most traditional and straightforward adaptation. Russell T Davies uses the Target range’s long-standing custom of inventing entirely new subplots out of nothing but those subplots are very uniquely in his style. The Day of the Doctor, meanwhile, is so gloriously playful in its structure only Steven Moffat could have written it.

But Colgan takes the route of expanding on the script but, nearly always, doing so by giving us more insight into the thoughts and feelings of the various characters as they experience events pretty much identical to those seen on TVs on Christmas Day, 2005. Near the start, there’s a whole set of introductions to the Guinevere One team and their daily routine but once we get going there’s not much deviation from the plot. The Doctor piloting the TARDIS back to Earth from the Sycorax ship, rather than the Sycorax teleporting it down, is about as divergent as it gets.

But honest, believable emotion and character are Colgan’s strong suits, as anyone who’s read her non-Doctor Who books can tell you (yes, boys and girls, you can read novels without spaceships in them from time to time; your hair won’t go on fire, I promise). Her choices here bring the story very much into her wheelhouse and she expands skilfully on Davies’ own ability to make believable a character with only fifteen lines of dialogue. The chief beneficiaries of Colgan’s eye are Guinevere One boss Danny Llewellyn and UNIT operative Sally. On screen they get a brief flirtation – him flustered by a woman so beautiful being nice to him, her endeared by his combination of earnestness and humility. On the page, we lean in to the tragic undertones, as each mentally sizes up the other – imminent death focusing their thoughts on possible futures, possible futures they’ll never have the chance to even dip their toe in together.

The audiobook edition is read by the myth and legend that is Jackie Tyler herself. Or rather Camille Coduri, proving herself to be so much more than just Jackie. It’s easy to fall into the trap, when an actor is just so good at portraying one character, to forget that they have a whole acting range to explore. So apologies are due to Coduri in this review for she shifts effortlessly from one character to another throughout. Even her Jackie should be saluted as she recaptures with apparent ease every ounce of energy in her television performance, flicking back forth from that to her narrator’s voice with ease.

But her Rose is also astonishing. Even though Piper and Coduri have similar voices, and played their roles with similar accents, Coduri proves adept at capturing even that subtle difference. In some scenes of the Tyler women bickering back and forth, you could almost believe Piper had popped in for a cheeky cameo.

Her accents for the Welsh characters are almost as impressive. It probably shouldn’t surprise that a couple of years living and working in Cardiff gave our storyteller a good grounding in those Celtic tones, but it’s still striking that there’s nothing broad or comedic about her Llewellyn, but simply an authentic sounding rich tone. And when her Sycorax leader shows up, it almost blows you out of your chair in surprise. It certainly sent this reviewer into a few tracks of distractedly listening while googling who the second performer was. But, nope, 100% Camille Coduri. Treated and artificially deepened though it is, her capturing of the hard biting rage and disdain of the Sycorax is still note perfect and astonishingly good. With other male characters, she plays it safe and, perhaps wisely, simply throws a nod towards their style of speech though it’s still glorious to hear her Doctor and her Jackie’s take on the “I need…” routine.

Sound design wise, there are some clever choices here. Colgan adds the actual TARDIS departure to the ending, and in the audiobook’s take on that coda the full, lengthy version of the dematerialization sound is given a rare outing.  Its fading swoops and burbles and beeps form a subtle soundtrack to Jackie and Mickey’s thoughts on being left behind. Elsewhere, the soundscape wisely keeps out of the listener’s way but adds just enough background to give a nice sense of space and location.

Meanwhile, the handsome cover by Anthony Dry uses the same, striking pointillist style – each dot painstakingly created one at a time in pen and ink -  that’s dominated his Doctor Who work over the past two decades and has made everything from DVD insert booklets to the mural wall of the Doctor Who Experience so striking. It’s a style that, through artists like Ron Turner, Frank Bellamy and Chris Achellios, has long been associated with Doctor Who and makes for a comfortable fit for the next generation of novelizations.

Some may dismiss The Christmas Invasion as the least experimental, and therefore most disposable, of the new range. But that would be a mistake. Because its also the most successful at evoking that undefinable Target feeling. Of sending you back to days on tip-toes, peeping over the librarian’s counter to ask when you’ll next be able to take it out again. Add to that a versatile reader and sympathetic sound design and you’ve a release ready to stand up proud next to any of them in Target’s Golden Age.

 





Short Trips 8.05 - Trap For Fools - Big FinishBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 5 June 2018 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
Trap For Fools (Credit: Big Finish)

Producer Ian Atkins, Script Editor Ian Atkins

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: Stephen Fewell, Directed By: Lisa Bowerman

Cast

Mark Strickson (Narrator)

…St. Neot’s Refuge was founded in 3016 for the education of young men to the service of empire and state. In the quiet shade of Diaz’ world, each boy can develop that true sense of self-worth which will enable him to stand up for himself, and for a purpose greater than himself and, in doing so, to be of value to society; to be a man…’ School Prospectus.
 
‘Want to change the future, Turlough? Use a school,’ The Doctor.
 
I loved Davison's era, so I was quite excited to see that this month's Short Trips would be set in his era. The Doctor and Turlough are travelling in a not so crowded TARDIS, so that would set this story in quite a precise point in the fifth Doctor's timeline. Well, exactly between the televised stories of Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire to be precise.
 
The story opens with Turlough at school, but not at Brendon Public School, this time Turlough is at St Neot's Refuge, an off world public school. The Doctor is posing as a groundsman,. the TARDIS his hut. Turlough at first thinks that this is the Doctor's idea of some sick punishment, but it soon becomes evident that other, more sinister powers are at work.
 
Mark Strickson's narration is top notch. Not only does he slip back into the quite surly Turlough with ease, but his take on the fifth Doctor is nearly perfect. 
 
The Short Trips stories are nearly always ‘Doctor lite', which sometimes can be a bit of a disappointment. This is not in the case of Trap For Fools. Yes, the Doctor is flitting about in the background, keeping the schools cricket pitch in check, but this really is Turlough's story.
 
The monster in this is a fantastic creation. Writer Stephen Fewell (a Big Finish regular cast member) has outdone himself with the Entitlement. A race that just take what they want. And here the stakes are high. Not only are they slowly taking over the faculty, but they have also claimed the TARDIS. The climax to this story is a fantastic set piece, and very rewarding to listen to.
 
Trap For Fools is a very strong entry into the Short Trips range. I'll be eagerly looking out for more from Stephen Fewell.
 
A Trap For Fools is available from Big Finish here.




Jago & Litefoot Forever (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 2 June 2018 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Jago & Litefoot Forever (Credit: Big Finish)

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)
First Released: May 2018
Running Time: 3 hours

 

Big Finish's surprisingly long-running series Jago & Litefoot comes to an end, following the death of one of the leads Trevor Baxter, and the finale is quite heartwarming and rewarding for longtime fans. Newcomers won't be totally lost and can find some fun in this, but as a finale, it is most certainly geared towards longtime listeners.  

Henry Gordon Jago's good friend George Litefoot is missing, and it is up to Jago to find his lost friend, all while battling his own memory loss.  It is a story that celebrates the duo, and all of their friends both regulars of the show and recurring characters. Christopher Benjamin anchors the story with a fantastic performance, and his co-star Trevor Baxter is able to appear via archival recordings. 

In many ways, the story not only serves as an end to the series, but it is clearly built as a tribute to Baxter, who unfortunately passed before they could record together again. It is an excellent finale, saying goodbye to the likable pair and their friends in a lovely tale that is both fun and poignant and ends their Victorian Adventures on a high note. 

Also included in this set is The Jago and Litefoot Revival, which is a "Short Trips" story performed by Benjamin and Baxter, and tells of an adventure the pair had with two separate Doctors, the Tenth and Eleventh.  This is a fun lark as well, if for no reason other than to get a bit more of Baxter in the role before his passing.  

This series brought two actors who hadn't seen each other since they walked off that set of The Talons of Weng-Chiang in 1977, and brought them back together...and fans of their adventures will no doubt enjoy their final adventure together.   A great way to say goodbye to Baxter and the whole series. Fans of Jago & Litefoot rejoice, Jago & Litefoot Forever is a great farewell.



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