1/10/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 5 CDs 300 minute story. Price: CD: GBP35.00 (UK), Download: GBP30.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-561-7). cast: Christopher Benjamin, Trevor Baxter and Louise Jameson.
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
With the arrival of jungle warrior Leela, things take a slightly different turn in the new ‘Jago And Litefoot Box Set Three’. There are four stories again, all with different writers which do follow loosely the overall story arc. There is also a disc of extras which include the usual interviews and writers thoughts.
Each of the following full cast audios features the trio they seek to uncover the darkness that is converging in London.
Dead Men’s Tales by Justin Richards
The lithesome Leela quickly establishes herself and takes the lead in an investigation about the dangers of time. There have been mysterious sightings and strange phenomena in London and Leela must go under cover as a Cockney barmaid. She takes to this rather too well and becomes adept at pint pulling, although she still has a nice line in scary threats. There is much banter down the pub but something wicked has been set in motion and the dead men are coming her way.
The featured guest actor is Warren Brown (DS Ripley in Luther).
The Man at the End of the Garden by Matthew Sweet
This whimsical tale features our investigators but takes us a little further out of the main story arc. A series of thefts on one street leads Henry Jago to the house of authoress Eleanor Naismith. He thinks she would make an excellent stage act. Shouting at the housekeeper through the door, his offer to slip his bona fides through the letter box is taken rather amiss. But the housekeeper, Mrs Hitch, lets him in when she hears Mrs Naismith being attacked. After Jago has broken a door down, he finds Eleanor Naismith and her daughter have vanished! This is a completely stand alone story apart from featuring our three investigators.
The featured guest actors are Joanna Bacon, Joanna Monro (Rega in The Planet of the Spiders) and Eden Monteath (one of the children in TV Doctor Who’s The Eleventh Hour).
Swan Song by John Dorney
As the trio are drawn to the source of the time disturbance, Jago starts to have visions of the future and it’s not good news. Meanwhile in the future, the team who are experimenting with time are having their own visions and worse. One of the team is a frustrated dancer whose chances to dance The Swan were obliterated by an accident. Now a physicist, she still believes in believing what you can see, even if that means they are seeing ghosts.
Guest actors are Abigail Hollick, (legend of the Cybermen-Alice Liddell) Hywel Morgan and Andrew Westfield.
Chronoclasm by Andy Lane
The time breaks are getting worse and our trio are in big trouble. There is something nasty in Professor Litefoot’s house and it didn’t bother with the door getting in. It looks like the Professor’s going to need a builder. But before that, there is the little problem of the end of the world to be dealt with. Oh and an extra Jago, as if one wasn’t enough. With the big bad, revealed the team do not have time on their side.
Guest actors are Philip Bretherton who makes a cracking villain, Duncan Wisbey (Big Finish regular) and Wendy Padbury (who needs no introduction).
It’s a natural progression to bring the tigerish Leela into the adventures of the duo given that the actress has close links with the team at Big Finish. I’m assuming her dress is on the demure side and suitable for the cold weather of London. Here Leela is not the character from the later adventures in Gallifrey but a combination of wild thing and a more sophisticated version. She is at home either with futuristic technology or her hunting knife and is always very useful in a fight.
Once again, the series of four stories are entertaining with much of the quality coming from the interaction of Litefoot and Jago, now with added Leela. There is an element of the blind leading the partially-sighted here. Leela has more experience than the two Victorian men but she is not the Doctor so essentially they are feeling their way for much longer than the Doctor would. It is all done with so much verve and passion that the drama is carried along by the cast. There is enough variety between the individual stories giving them momentum and some comedy relief is always part of the show. It is the writing, of course, that starts these off so well but also the direction by Lisa Bowerman which brings out the fine performances from the cast, not forgetting the sound design and music by Howard Carter.
The appeal of these shows is not just the connection to ‘Doctor Who’ but the use of the pair as investigators has more than a hint of the Sherlock Holmes stories who look into seemingly impenetrable mysteries. The two leads have a bond which is brought out by the witty dialogue and word play which makes it consistently amusing and rewards revisiting.
With at least two more box sets to come, it looks like Jago and Litefoot will be investigating for some time yet.
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