I must confess that it has been quite a while since I’ve listened and reviewed a Big Finish adventure, let alone a “Jago & Litefoot” one. However, as soon as I began listening to this new set of adventures, I knew that we were back in business, especially as this particular series had a good mix of stories and concepts, characters, and villains.
As I just mentioned, this series’ stories seemed to be a little bit more of a mixed bag as compared to last season, but all of them ended or were resolved in a very Whovian fashion. I quite liked that as it allowed me to keep on guessing as to how they would wrap up each story.
I also liked the fact that there was a stronger presence in the recurring characters of Mr. Hardwick, Mr. Kempston, and Professor Claudius Dark, and they were seamlessly interwoven into the series as part of the series’ overarching story line, making it a big improvement over Series 3’s Mr. Payne.
Louise Jameson was once again at the top of her game in this series, and I’m glad that Lisa Bowerman’s Ellie Higson and Conrad Asquith’s Sergeant Quick had more to do in this series. I also love the fact that both Ellie and Quick are, at this point, quite used to the “infernal investigations” that Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) end up getting mixed up in, that they are now able to take initiative and really help them out when needed. They have done so in the past three series, but I felt that they matured and grew to the point that they know exactly what to do when these things happen.
Both Benjamin and Baxter are at the top of their game, and even more so in this series as they were given a lot of good material to not only stretch their characters, but themselves as actors as well.
Colin Baker’s Professor Claudius Dark was amazing, and funny enough, this just might be my very first ever run in with this particular Baker in the Whoniverse.
I loved every story that each of the writers threw at us, and it all built up well to the finale of the series.
Anyway, beyond this point, there will be spoilers…so you know the drill. Turn away now, or forever be spoiled. You have been warned!
Series 4 started out with Nigel Fairs’ “Jago in Love”, which, despite its title, was a strong outing for Jago, Litefoot and Leela. We got to see Benjamin truly giving a spectacular performance, in which we also get to see his more romantic side; Jameson being awesome as Leela as per usual; and it gave Baxter a lot to work with as he had to pretend to act like a young woman as his body got possessed by the spirit of one. I also love the fact that it hinted at the fact that Litefoot did have a flame in the past, but that it was never meant to be.
The story itself, with haunted mirrors, Brighton, and two ill-fated love stories was truly one for the books, and honestly didn’t seem too much like a “Doctor Who” story. However, as it is part of the Whoniverse, it was given a little twist with the appearance of some sandmen, the mysterious Mr. Hardwick and Kempston, and the strange and mysterious Professor Claudius Dark who seems to know our three protagonists.
Of course, I did have my suspicions on who exactly Dark was, and it was pretty much confirmed for me in the second story of the series, John Dorney’s “Beautiful Things”. Interestingly enough, the main thing that tipped me off, aside from Leela trusting this man explicitly, was the fact that he had suggested to Leela that they go to Brighton for holiday.
When I heard that, I got flashbacks of the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana II (Lalla Ward) on Brighton beach at the start of “The Leisure Hive”.
Dark was pretty much present in this episode quite a bit, but ended up disappearing at a certain point. At this point, I think it was starting to get established that Kempston and Hardwick were the villains and not Dark.
I must confess that I wasn’t as over the moon as I was with the Doctor meeting Shakespeare with them meeting Oscar Wilde, but I loved how different Jago and Litefoot’s reactions were to him. And even though I’m not fond of the man myself, I thought the portrayal of Wilde was well done.
I also love how this story was an homage to “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, but this time, it involved a massive library brought to life by one person’s imagination and hunger for art.
I also loved seeing Jago and Wilde together, especially as Jago soon discovers that Wilde can best him at alliteration any day.
Next up was Matthew Sweet’s “The Lonely Clock”, which picked off from where the last story ended, with Jago and Litefoot getting aboard a train, where strange things started happening all of a sudden.
I liked that it started immediately, as the opening then became quite different from the rest, and I loved the fact that we were seeing the story from two points of view- from inside the train, and from the outside.
The story itself was more “Doctor Who” than the rest, as it began to build up on the machinations of Kempston and Hardwick, and it involved a device called the “timecracker”.
However, the best part of this story was undoubtedly when Dark revealed himself as the Doctor. Interestingly enough, this is the actual first ever time that I am experiencing the Sixth Doctor, as I only just finished watching the Fifth Doctor’s (Peter Davison’s) first season. That moment, though, gave me chills.
Justin Richards’ “The Hourglass Killers” was a great “Doctor Who” adventures, while bringing the entire Series 4 to a satisfying conclusion.
Here, we discover that Kempston and Hardwick are part of an alien species called the Temparons, whose ship was accidentally dug up and excavated, and that as they want to be masters of time itself, they need the Doctor’s TARDIS.
I loved how this story was put together, with great dialogue, humor, and my first ever taste of the Sixth Doctor.
I also particularly enjoyed the dynamic that Six had with Leela, as it was so different from Four and Leela. Six didn’t really rebuke Leela that much, meaning that she was more mature and wiser than before, and that they had a lot of mutual respect for each other.
I also loved how they decided to separate Ellie and Jago from the group for a bit, as they put up an effort in being the decoy Doctor and Leela. That was such a joy to listen to, and in particular, Ellie’s efforts to pretend to be Leela.
The whole concept of the Temparons was pretty neat, especially as they were “the sands of time” themselves.
Oh, and the sandmen seem like better versions of the sandmen that we got in “Sleep No More”.
Unfortunately, when all is said and done, Leela bade goodbye to the Victorian era and to her dear friends, as it was time for her to leave. I really loved how Leela was able to team up with Jago, Litefoot, Ellie and Quick, and I’m going to miss hearing Jameson’s voice on the series. However,on the flipside, I love that Jago and Litefoot are finally getting to travel in the TARDIS with the Doctor, and their unorthodox reactions to it were priceless as well.
All in all, Series 4 had strong stories, great performances, a great build up to a satisfying conclusion, and a good mix of stories with a “Doctor Who” twist that also built upon and allowed the main and secondary characters to grow and develop over time.
What was your favorite story of the series? Was their a story you didn’t like? What do you think of the Sixth Doctor with these three characters? Let me know what you think in the comments below!