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Friday, November 13, 2015

REVIEW - Doctor Who: Jago & Litefoot & Strax: The Haunting



Jago & Litefoot & Strax: The Haunting (Big Finish Audio)
Reviewed By Jesse Kiefer

Written By: Justin Richards

Director: Lisa Bowerman

Sound Design: Howard Carter

Music: Howard Carter. Theme by Jamie Robertson

Cover Art: Tom Webster

Number of Discs: 2

Duration: 120' approx.

Available on BigFinish.com

Listen to the trailer.


“And you will need me for protection as well as for strategic assessment and tactical planning”


November at Big Finish has already seen a new episode of Torchwood, the introduction of the Modern Doctor Who Unit stories, and Jago & Litefoot & Strax... and we still have a Doctor Who Monthly Range story set to drop before the end of the month!

I’ll admit that I was not certain I would pick up Jago & Litefoot & Strax, at first it struck me as kind of gimmicky but then I remembered that this was Big Finish AND these characters actually DO all inhabit the same time and place which begged the question: “Why WOULDN’T they run into each other?” So my willpower caved.

The solicit from Big Finish:

“Strax, the Sontaran butler to Victorian investigator Vastra and her wife Jenny, suffers a disorienting attack and mistakes Jago & Litefoot for Jenny and Vastra and moves into Litefoot’s home. Together, they are on the trail of a creature that is stealing brains, which may or may not be linked to a haunted house in London…”

This story has a fairly simple premise and is basically a vehicle for our main characters to meet, have misunderstandings, have them “resolved”, and ultimately to work together.

I’m not going to lie to you, if you didn’t like Strax on TV then this isn’t the story for you, but if Strax doesn’t annoy you and he does in fact entertain you then I think you’ll find this story does play him well while not taking anything away from the incredible team of Jago & Litefoot.

Speaking of Jago & Litefoot 10 box sets later the dynamic duo has come a long ways since their introductions in Talons of Weng-Chiang. They never fail to deliver at least in any of the stories I’ve heard and this one was no different. Throw in the wonderful Direction of Lisa Bowerman and all my fears of this story being too much of a gimmick are placed at bay.

Since this is a full 120 minute story I’ll give it the full 120 minute review treatment so…

My Favorite Bits
  • Dan Starkey (STRAX)- Starkey is amazing, I’ve said it before but… Dan Starkey is to Sontarans as Nicholas Briggs is to Daleks. He’s got Sontarans down, and he proves that by playing them both serious and silly. He keeps in the Strax character and makes his character fit the story and not the other way around.
  • The Writing/Direction- like I said… when the title is literally billed as a list of characters you begin to worry that this isn’t going to work and that this is just a cash grab. So when the story comes together so easily you know you’ve got some clever writing and direction and in that regard Big Finish has VERY good people at the helm. This story is just another example. Apparently when they sent it in to Cardiff Moffat himself wrote back with a wonderful suggestion. It’s clear this wasn’t a story for the sake of playing in the New Who sandbox. It was clever and well thought through! 
  • Speaking of Direction… Lisa Bowerman!- She pulls double duty on these, she directs AND plays Ellie at the same time. I have to remind myself that’s Bowerman when Ellie speaks because she slips right into that character… and really this title could be Called Jago & Litefoot & Strax & Ellie because they become a their own “gang” and they’re a good team at that!
  • FUN! Holy cow it’s just start to finish fun. I don’t know what to tell you… it’s not piercing tear-jerking Shakespearean tragedy and I doubt it’s going to win any awards but… maybe it should because I can’t think of a moment where I wasn’t entertained or curious. 

So if you like Strax, you’re going to like this series. If you get sick of Strax, then pass this one up because you get heaping helpings of the typical Strax shenanigans (but not retreaded territory, just familiar territory). 

I like Strax, and you can’t go wrong with Jago & Litefoot so I have to give this a surprising out of nowhere dark horse of a delightful 5 out of 5 stars! This was 120 minutes of story that never seemed to drag. The only thing that could have made it more fun would have been a cameo from Vastra and Jenny, but even without it I wasn’t disappointed.

This was only the second Modern Doctor Who release, what did you think of this as a opening offering from the new series? We haven’t gotten a proper Doctor story with New Who yet... Are they doing it right by delaying gratification or are they off to a lackluster start?  Let me know what you think in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.

5 Stars



Doctor Who: Jago & Litefoot & Strax: The Haunting (Big Finish Audio Play)
Reviewed by Jesse Kiefer on Nov 13, 2015
Rating: 5Review of the Doctor Who spin-off 'Jago & Litefoot & Strax: The Haunting' audio drama from Big Finish Productions.

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