Where do I start with this one? It has all the makings of a bit of a classic. Lets look at the evidence – It has one of my favourite classic era Doctor/Companion combinations in Tom & Lalla, it features those investigators of all things infernal Professor George Litefoot & Henry Gordon Jago AND (and it is a very big AND) if features a victim of an horrific murder who may or may not (lets face it its “may not”) be a Great Grandfather of mine in Theodore Watkinson. Mr Watkinson only appears as a corpse but my imagination was well and truly fired when I heard the name – spitting out of breakfast tea & choking on toast nearly ensued as Mrs W laughed out loud at my nefariously nobbled namesake
And so after that trip down my fictional family tree, I finally come on to the actual story of The Beast Of Kravenos – and not only does it have the makings of a bit of a classic – it actually is a bit of a classic. The Doctor (tom Baker) has been detecting some strange energy readings at Jago (Christopher Benjamin) New Regency Theatre and has loaned K9 (John Leeson) as an act so that he can stay there in deep cover and trace the source of the energy spikes. On top of this a mysterious thief known only as “The Knave” is committing a series of utterly impossible robberies from locked rooms AND (and yes it is another big AND) a medical man called Dr Theodore Watkinson has been found murdered by an unknown and particularly vicious beast – all in a days work for those investigators of infernal incidents Jago & Litefoot, but add the Doctor, Romana & K9 into the mix and you have the makings of a classic caper. Because thats what this is – a great big jolly caper, a runaround with all protagonists acting at crossed purposes whilst all investigating the same thing with often unintentionally hilarious consequences. The dialogue sparkles with the dry wit of Romana 2 (Lalla Ward) & George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) & the more silly comedy of The Doctor & Jago, even Inspector Quick (Conrad Asquith) is in on the caper and his scenes with Tom Baker are laugh out loud funny. In fact the whole cast feels like they all contribute to making this one of the very best Fourth Doctor adventures.
What about the Knave, the villain of the piece? His (or her) identity remains a secret for most of the story, but it wont take a genius to work out who they are and how all the happenings are inked together – in fact it is this tight plotting mixed with the beautiful interplay of the characters that really makes this something special – it doesn’t feel like a Jago & Litefoot adventure with the Doctor as guest of a Doctor Who adventure with JAgo & Litefoot as guests, both ranges contribute to make this story work building on their particular strengths – heck even K9 gets a comedy turn as an act at the new Regency
And while this story is very funny, it is a “Season 18” story so isn’t as silly as the “Season 17” season of last year – Tom hasn’t hit the morose characterisation that dominated the latter part of his last year and retains a lot of the joy of his Williams era persona (albeit with a burgundy outfit) thanks mainly to messers Jago & Litefoot, the actors all seem to love working together and the sense of fun, camaraderie & mischief that these elder statesmen of the Whoniverse bring to the table. Again the bar has been set very very high with this release, sometimes things just work and The Beast of Kravenos is one of those times – I have no hesitation in awarding a this classic Kravenos caper a congratulatory 10/10.
Written by Ed Watkinson
This title was released in January 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until February 28th 2017, and on general sale after this date.
A stunning new star act is wowing the audiences of the New Regency Theatre. The modern mechanical marvel of canny canine charisma – the automated dog that can answer any question – the incomparable – the unbeatable – K9!
The Doctor and Romana have returned to Victorian London and been reunited with their old friends Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago. However this is not merely a social visit. A terrifying crime spree is sweeping the capital, and the burglaries of ‘The Knave’ defy all logic.
Something impossibly dangerous is taking place amid the fog. Only the time travellers and their friends can stop it… but can they be sure they’re all on the same side?
Written By: Justin Richards
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Trevor Baxter (Professor George Litefoot), Conrad Asquith (Inspector Quick), Ed Stoppard (Sir Nicholas Asquin)
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs