Tuesday, November 17, 2009

4S5 - The Talons of Weng-Chiang 5

Jago and Litefoot have both, in turns, played Watson to The Doctor's Sherlock Holmes during the first four episodes of this story, but the two men finally meet each other in Episode Five. It's easy to see why there were rumblings, even if they were ever so brief, of a spin-off show featuring the two characters, because they are quite possibly the best of all "Holmesian double acts" that the series has been blessed with.

The chemistry between the two characters is, when you think about it, quite remarkable, as Christopher Benjamin, who plays Jago, was a very late addition to the cast. Benjamin and Trevor Baxter, as Litefoot, are simply delightful together, with Litefoot, in the absence of The Doctor, taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes himself, and the bumbling Jago slipping into his by now comfortable role of Watson.

Another double act, of sorts, is provided by the standard Doctor/companion relationship between The Doctor and Leela. This story plays up the Pygmalion angle a great deal, and so Leela spends portions of this episode learning about Victorian manners, morals, and customs, with amusing results.. The story that's being told during The Talons of Weng-Chiang is interesting enough, but it's the repartee between the various characters that raises this epic from fantastic pseudo-historical to essential viewing.


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