Season 2 of the Jago and Litefoot series opens with Litefoot and Sanders, taking its name from the very last line of the previous adventure with Litefoot wanting to keep Jago out of the next adventure. The episode is written by Justin Richards, and if you’re unfamiliar with Richards, you don’t realize how much he’s written for Doctor Who in one form or another over the years. Most notably, for our purposes, he brought us the first episode of Jago and Litefoot season 1, The Bloodless Soldier. What marked both stories is that they are pretty straight forward and they offer us a classic monster. I’m not talking classic Doctor Who monster, but classic in the sense that first he gave us a werewolf and now he brings us a vampire.
Litefoot and Sanders was a tough story for me. Oh, it’s nothing against the story, that’s perfectly well-written. It’s certainly not the acting, because that can’t be beat!! It’s that I didn’t put something together that I should have. I fell for the oldest trick in the book! You see, the entire story has Litefoot working with another fellow named Sanders and he’s constantly ignoring, and even being rude to, his friend Jago. Jago has nothing but the best things to say about Litefoot and after all they’d been through together, I can’t see why Litefoot would not reciprocate these sentiments. Frankly, it’s hard to stomach. I was bothered by it, but I’d be remiss in my discussion if I said anything ill about the writing because Justin Richards knows his product. A little faith would have gone a long way for me, but the acting is so good and the way Jago insinuates himself into the situation makes Litefoot’s comments believable. But damn it, Richards, I should have picked up on your plan sooner!
Meanwhile, we are treated to another series of murders that leave the victims bloodless. A vampire is on the loose and it’s down to Litefoot and his new partner to figure it out. This leads to another shocker that I didn’t see coming. You know, when you’re dealing with Doctor Who, you sort of know who can be written out and who will survive to tell another tale. It’s sort of the Redshirt Syndrome from Star Trek: the landing party will survive unless you’re an unknown redshirt. Then you’re screwed! When dealing with an audio series that’s still relatively young, it’s hard to guess who is expendable and who will survive and Richards pulls the rug out from under me with some of his writing prowess.
The cast is wonderful again. Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter are a treat to listen to, but this has another cast member that ironically helped bring the whole story to life in my mind’s eye that much stronger: Mags, the blind match girl, played by Chloe Howman. She was a wonderful character and helped create the sense that this is a fully developed London; the same London we know and love from so many Sherlock Holmes stories. I can see the streets we were traveling down in this story. And I can see Jago in his disguise fooling even his closest friends. (Yes, he learned something from reading Sherlock Holmes; shame Litefoot didn’t read the same stories!)
Coming in at an hour, this story flows remarkably well. It’s an easy listen and makes for a great drive. And this is new territory for me. I’d listened to season 1 before I wrote about it and enjoyed it enough to give it a second listen. From here out, it’s all new and I’ll be sharing these thoughts as I experience them. If episode one is anything to go by, I’m in for a treat. Suffice to say, Jago and Litefoot are back on the case by the end of this adventure and it’s a rousing yarn with a lot of heart. I love the realization that you just can’t keep two good friends apart. And with that, I’m ready for their next adventure! ML