Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Are You Talking to the Doctor?

Did you ever wonder what would happen if the Doctor and Romana met Travis Bickle and Iris in Edwardian London? Well, I more or less found out yesterday when I listened to the Fourth Doctor audio play "The Justice of Jalxar". One of the best Doctor Who audio plays I've heard so far, the story takes the opportunity to show how the Doctor's philosophy conflicts with a vigilante killer's.

It isn't actually Travis and Iris from Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, of course, but the references are pretty obvious. A character named Bobby (Mark Goldthorp) is a hansom cab driver into whose cab a young prostitute named Mary (Rosanna Miles) hops one night, begging him to take her away from her life before her pimp, Harvey (Adrian Lukis), shows up and forcibly coaxes her away. Afterwards, the cab driver, who has a very severe idea of justice, takes a special interest in the girl and gives her some money on the side.

When the Doctor encounters him, Bobby even has a line about the rain wiping the scum off the streets. Of course, sex can't be referred to at all on the show, much less prostitution, so Mary is referred to by Harvey as "the best pick-pocket in the East End" and there are references to a "house of ill repute."

The audio adventure also features the return of Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, portrayed by Trevor Baxtor and Christopher Benjamin, respectively, who portrayed the characters originally in the 1977 serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang. It was nice to hear them again--though I gather they have their own series of spin off audio adventures.

This is the fourth audio adventure I've listened to featuring Mary Tamm as the Doctor's companion Romana and definitely the best. A two part serial about a war between humanity and an invading race of time travelling pregnant worms that preceded it was excruciatingly bad.

Well, to-morrow's the first day of Comic-Con. I can't believe it's already here, it feels like it ought to still be months away. As usual, my posts may be brief or infrequent during the Con, but I will post here and there. Expect lengthier reports beginning Monday.

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