Big Finish really did good when they allowed Spotify to have some of their audio dramas for Whovians to enjoy, as it does allow Whovians who want more “Doctor Who” to whet their appetites with what they have to offer so that they can go and purchase the rest of a particular range or series from Big Finish themselves. As for me, it’s definitely working, as I’ve now come to the end of the line on Spotify for “Jago & Litefoot”, and I definitely do want to check out what happens next to them in their subsequent adventures after Series 5. However, before we move on from “Jago & Litefoot” for now, let’s dive right into the fifth series of their audio drama adventures.
At this point in the series, as we, the listeners, already know Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter), Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin), and Ellie Higson (Lisa Bowerman) well enough, Big Finish decided to take a big risk by shaking things up in a big way that would also present something new to avid fans and listeners of the series. And yes, they did deliver in the best way that they possibly could while still being the “Jago & Litefoot” series that we all love and enjoy.
The stories themselves were all very strong entries to the series. However, the second story, Marc Platt’s “The Case of the Gluttonous Guru” might be a bit divisive as some may like it, while others might find it hard to digest. As for me, I liked that this particular story came out of left field, but was one of the ones who couldn’t really truly stomach the story in the end.
This series’ villain was a good one as well, and whose character and eventual showdown with Jago and Litefoot was built up well, with a lot of interesting twists and turns in between.
All in all, Series 5 was another strong series in the “Jago & Litefoot” range, and one that I enjoyed more than Series 4, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
Alright, you know the drill, beyond this point, there will be spoilers!
First off, kudos to the writers for shaking things up by setting everything in the 1960s! It was great to see how Jago and Litefoot would react to their new circumstances and how they would try to make do of their situation, and I love where they went with it. I also liked the fact that the same old Ellie was still in the picture, but she didn’t age due to the fact that she had been a vampire at a certain point in time. The introduction of Detective Dave Sacker (Duncan Wisbey) was a great touch as well because not only does his family have a connection to Jago and Litefoot, but there needed to be someone on the police force who could help them out just as Sergeant Quick does. I also appreciated the fact that they only hinted at the adventures that they had together with the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker), because I do believe that that needs to be an entire new series or set of audio books separate from their own range.
Also, the decision to move Jago and Litefoot to the ’60s allowed for a breath of fresh air, just in case people were getting tired of the Victorian setting. I think that this was also necessary so that they could pull off the last story of the series.
The music for this particular series was such a delight to listen to as it was a breath of fresh air from the more Victorian strains we are used to. I loved the 1960s theme that they made for the opening title, and I love how they incorporated music and effects that you would also hear in a 60s tv show.
Jonathan Morris’ “The Age of Revolution” set up the tone, the villain, and delivered a great story all in one go. Having Sacker be the one narrating the first parts of the story until he finally realizes that this Jago and Litefoot are the same ones whom his grandfather had known was an inspired choice as new listeners to the range also got a brief introduction as to who these people are and as to what kind of adventures they end up getting embroiled in. I also love the fact that Jago is still an entertainer, while I felt a little bit bad for the professor as his knowledge of pathology is now quite dated. However, it still is the same old Jago and Liteoot adventure that we all know and love, just set in the 1960s.
Marc Platt’s “The Case of the Gluttonous Guru”, in the whole body of work of “Jago & Litefoot”, is thus far the most experimental and out of there story, and that is saying a lot as their adventures are far from ordinary.
I honestly didn’t know what to make out of it. The story was interesting, but I think it was the whole thing that the “Great Mother” is a giant toad, and the fact that tadpoles were hatching inside and coming out of people as toads with teeth, plus all the burps and toad sounds, just made it quite unpalatable for me. However, I give Platt props for creating a story that was just plain bizarre.
Coming from that story, I was quite relieved to hear that we were going back to the norm with Colin Brake’s “The Bloodchild Codex”. Here, a mysterious man and a woman are both in a race against each other to find the infamous “Bloodchild Codex or Grimmoire”, which contains the secret to eternal life. At the same time, several distinguished academics and experts are beginning to disappear, making Sacker a little bit worried for his two newfound and troublesome friends, but more worried about Litefoot than Jago. Ellie was used in a very interesting way here as the woman, Summer, believes that she has the secret of eternal life due to her appearance, and it was a great opportunity for Ellie to tell the audience that living a long life isn’t as great as people think it is.
I love how everything culminated in Bloodchild coming out of the codex and then getting blown away due to smoke, thanks to a wonderful move by Ellie.
It was also interesting how things began to build up in the background with Guinevere Godiva (Raquel Cassidy) setting things up for the series finale. I just love how this story ended up with Jago and Litefoot rediscovering the cabinet that Li H’sen Chang used, and the reappearance of the horrible Mr. Sin.
My only gripe with this particular story is that I got a little bit confused with the voices of Summer and Godiva as they sounded similar.
Justin Richards’ “The Final Act” wasn’t just a good story, but was an interesting way to present a sequel to “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. Here, everything from the House of the Dragon to Magnus Greel himself, was presented to us. I also didn’t think that the way that Jago and Litefoot would get back home was via the Time Cabinet. I honestly thought that the Doctor would somehow arrive once more and finally bring them back to their proper timeline. However, this way was much better, and it seems as if they did arrive back in Victorian London as the end credits music was the usual Victorian take on the opening title theme sequence.
Godiva was definitely a formidable villain, and Cassidy was great as well, but in the end, it was sort of disappointing to see that she was just another one who would end up getting betrayed by the villain she serves and that she would get her revenge on him as well.
I felt bad as Sacker ended up sacrificing his life in this story, but in a way, I’m glad that Ellie is not immortal anymore.
Throughout the series, I also liked the fact that it was Litefoot who was itching to return home to Victorian London, and that it was he who was reckless enough to actually check up in the public records to see if they did return home or not.
I’m pretty sure that among the two of them, Litefoot would be the one who will be the happiest to return to Victorian London, as Jago ended up having a successful tv show in the 1960s.
In any case, this trip of theirs to the 1960s only cemented their friendship even more, and I cannot wait to hear more adventures set back in Victorian London, if and when I end up purchasing the rest of the series from Big Finish themselves.
What did you think of this particular series? What did you think of “The Case o the Gluttonous Guru”? How did you like the sequel to “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”? Howdid you like the 1960s setting? Let me know what you think in the comments below!