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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Justice of Jalxar


Starring: Tom Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 057 2
Available 31 March 2013

It is the dawn of a new century and a vigilante is on the loose. They call him the Pugilist. The police are baffled, the public enamoured... but Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago are on the case. Or at least they will be when they’ve finished their beer. What is the source of the Pugilist’s spectacular supernatural powers? Is he alone in his noble quest? And what is his connection to the spate of corpses discovered around London? As they descend further into a nefarious netherworld, the infernal investigators may be out of their depth. They’re going to need help if they’re to get out of this alive. The help of an old friend and his new assistant – the Doctor and Romana...

It had to happen. Plans were put in place to bring back Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter), in their own TV spin-off, not long after their well-received appearance in the Tom Baker serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang... though ultimately it would be Big Finish that reunited them, in a series of audio adventures, starting with The Mahogany Murderers in 2009. Three years later, the company began working with Tom Baker. It would have been a criminal act of the highest order (worthy of retribution by the Pugilist) not to have had the Fourth Doctor crossing paths with Jago and Litefoot once again.

Make no mistake, The Justice of Jalxar is not an epic tale like Talons. Writer John Dorney does not attempt to compete with that serial, as he freely admits in his sleeve notes. Instead, it’s a smaller scale get-together, but no less welcome for that. Indeed, the single-disc duration feels just right on this occasion, since it coincides with the typical format of Jago and Litefoot’s audio adventures. The Doctor Who signature tune aside, it feels as though it is the Time Lord who is crossing over into their series, rather than the other way around.

Having said that, there is no need to worry if you have not encountered the Victorian investigators outside of Talons. Neither has the Fourth Doctor, until now. The writer deftly sidesteps any continuity issues by means of vague comments about the Doctor appearing exactly the same as he did during the Weng-Chiang affair. If you have been following Big Finish’s Jago & Litefoot series, you will know that this refers to an encounter with another incarnation of the Time Lord, but if you have not, then it matters not a jot. It could just as well be a simple reference to the passage of time (ten years for Henry and George), which is how the Doctor seems to interpret the remark.

This time, of course, the Doctor is accompanied by Romana (Mary Tamm), whose elegance provides a fine contrast to the savage Leela and thus defies the Victorian gentlemen’s expectations. Her light sarcasm and calm demeanour make her an excellent foil for the verbose and easily startled Henry Gordon “Oh corks” Jago.

The plot goes off the boil during the second half, which is ironic given the steam-powered nature of some of the technology encountered here. However, the joys of The Justice of Jalxar lie in the characters – and Dorney and the actors certainly do them justice.


Richard McGinlay

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