It seems odd that for as long as Big Finish have been making their Jago and Litefoot spin off series, they’ve only just started to include the investigators of infernal incidents in the continuing adventures of the Doctor.
The Justice of Jalxar however, is more than worth the wait and finally reunites Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot with the Fourth Doctor, where it all began over 30 years ago.
Arriving in Victorian England, the Doctor and Romana are conducting an investigation of their own as they try to track down something that they caught crashing to Earth whilst in the TARDIS, the only problem is that they’ve arrived about a month late, rather than hot on its trail, and require some local knowledge in order to pick up the trail. Luckily, the Doctor knows just the fellows…
To hear Tom Baker reunited with Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter is not only a joy but an utter pleasure. Whilst the actors may be getting on a bit in real life, the energy in their voices really shines here and Tom Baker offers his best performance with Big Finish to date, he’s funny, quirky, deadly earnest, heroic, mad and utterly brilliant. That’s also in part down to Mary Tamm’s performance that sits remarkably well in the period setting that Romana is given. Much like the Doctor, she suits the Victorian era in terms of style and panache while giving just enough sass to dastardly villains to continue to prove her status as a cut above the rest. She also manages to keep the Doctor in line when he starts showing off too much, it was refreshing to have a companion for the Doctor that isn’t wowed by his every action back in the 1970’s and that’s still the same today.
Benjamin and Baxter, old hands at Litefoot and Jago by now, also seem reinvigorated by this punchy script and another solid adventure with the Doctor, there’s a moment in part 1, track 5 at 4 minutes and 40 seconds where the Doctor and Litefoot are so alive in the moment, so happy to be together and so brilliant as adventurers that you just have to smile, there’s no escaping it. Benjamin also makes the most of his part in this story and grabs the bull by both hands to remind us why Henry Gordon Jago is a character that will live on in Doctor Who forever.
Writer John Dorney wastes no time with this story, it’s accessible, hilarious, deadly serious and importantly, most enjoyable. Nods to past adventures are quick and simple, dwelling is not something that the Fourth Doctor ever really does and this script reflects that well. This is a sequel to The Talons of Weng Chiang but not one that need prove anything by being bigger or louder, Dorney creates an excellent blast to the past whilst also moving both The Fourth Doctor Adventures range and the Jago and Litefoot series forward.
Top marks for a top story!
The Justice of Jalxar is available from www.bigfinish.com now.