Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) have experienced a much welcome and long overdue resurgence, thanks to the audio adventures of Jago & Litefoot from Big Finish. They have had many adventures over a number of box-sets, and they’ve straddled forth to meet and journey with everyone from the 6th Doctor to the Sontaran Strax. The only thing they hadn’t done, was to meet up again with the Fourth Doctor.
Remedied in The Justice of Jalxar, the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), travelling with Romana (Mary Tamm), arrive in Victorian London some ten years after The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Expecting the Doctor to be travelling with Leela, Jago in particular is delighted to be introduced to his new companion.
The adventure involves a steampunk style robot, more of an alien pilot of a crashed spacecraft repaired with Victorian technology, dispensing justice to those who find themselves guilty. Some of the technology is used by a vigilante hero (dubbed “the pugilist”).
The foundation of the plot for The Justice of Jalxar isn’t all that special. It reminded me quite a bit of “The Inquisitor” on Red Dwarf – an entity that decides whether you’re guilty of a crime based on whether you believe you’re guilty of a crime. As a judgement, it’s a massively flawed one. Those who commit crimes without conscience would believe that they’re not guilty of the crime they committed. Those who go apple-scrumping might believe they’re guilty of the most heinous of crimes. Also, you may grow up believing that something you’ve done is a crime and so feel guilty about it, but the law might later change to say that it’s not a crime after all, which may not necessarily stop you from feeling that ingrained guilt.. How does a “judgement machine” that dispenses summary justice tell the difference? None of that is addressed here.
That said, the reason for listening to this audio is the 4th Doctor back with his old pals Jago and Litefoot at last. This is something that should have happened in a TV series, but was never to be. Tom Baker is clearly revelling in working with Benjamin and Baxter, probably helped by them being in the same age bracket. And, of course, Mary Tamm is her usual excellent Romana.
K9 is kept out of the adventure, and there’s mention of the randomiser from the TV show.
This is a two-part story, approximately one hour long, and is followed up by some behind-the-scenes chat. Despite editing intended to make it seem otherwise, it’s fairly obvious that not all of the key actors are present at the same time of the interviewing.