❉ Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjamin are perfection as Jago and Litefoot. SPOILERS FOLLOW!
For those of a spoiler sensitive nature, it would perhaps be best to stop reading here. No, not after the end of that sentence you just read but after the next one I type (how meta). The long and the short of this is….GO BUY IT, IT’S TERRIFIC!
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40 years ago Jago and Litefoot first popped up on our screens and in our hearts. 40 years on and they’re still a curiously captivating couple.
Make no mistake. Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjamin are perfection as Jago and Litefoot. There isn’t any other interpretation to be had. Which makes them rather brilliant is that if they were completely devoid of any connection to ‘Doctor Who’ you’d still be interested in them. You’d watch them on television or listen to their audio plays. Robert Holmes crafted wonderful characters. Even for only the span of ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’ they lived such a full life. That’s why for my money the J&L audios are the best spin-off Big Finish puts out at the moment.
What brings us here today is a rather special piece of audio magic. A Fortieth Anniversary two-part Short Trip that celebrates Jago & Litefoot and not only includes the vocal presence of another J&L stalwart, but involves two Doctors in the proceedings! Suffice to say, it’s not your usual ‘Short Trip’. It’s actually more in line with the original format of the ‘Companion Chronicles’ (Oh, how I miss you, CC.), but no complaints here. Usually.
It’s been a year since the events of ‘Jago and Litefoot: Series 11’ and since then things have begun to slow down for our delightful duo. So Litefoot goes on a trip to Greece whilst Jago keeps things going on the home front with the ever reliable barmaid/confidant/accomplice Ellie. Naturally things get a bit…dicey when the Gentlemen of the Dice turn up. Thankfully, not one but two Doctors show up! Litefoot ends up meeting the Tenth Doctor who’s doing his farewell visits to all his former companions and friends. Jago on the other hand gets assistance from a Doctor who’s rather young looking and likes to sport bowties and fezzes. Yes, you read that right. The 11th Doctor also appears in this story. A rather cheeky surprise from Big Finish as this incarnation’s involvement was not advertised whatsoever!
All told this is piece of audio drama that relies more on the characterisation of the leads than anything else and it simply excels. It helps that Baxter and Benjamin have their characters down to a ‘T’, and have a beautiful rapport together. Jonathan Barnes does brilliantly for all the character’s here. Especially writing for character’s that have to be recognised by another character’s impression of them. That’s not always an easy thing to do.
If there was one piece of the full hour to highlight it would be the moment where Litefoot realises that he’s met a new incarnation of the Doctor. The scene is beautifully written, performed and scored (by Steve Foxon and a nod to the ever talented Lisa Bowerman who pulls double duty as director and performer.) The lines in that scene would make a perfect epithet for the Doctor any day. You get a real feeling that the Doctor has truly made an impact on these characters. I love it. That there is when you know you’ve created something special.
It’s a tenacious tale of Tennant, taverns, and (bow) ties that’s a ten out of ten!
❉ ‘The Jago & Litefoot Revival’ Acts 1 and 2 are out now from Big Finish Productions, download-only, RRP £2.99 each.