Classic Capitology makes one final push to get something in before Series 8 sweeps our collective attention away with the submission of a new set of caps from The Talons of Weng-Chiang, and in hindsight, it’s an obvious choice. Not only was it #2 in our own 50 for 50 List, it was also #6 in the most recent DWM poll of the best Doctor Who stories of all-time. Add to that the decidedly gothic setting in Victorian London, very near or even adjacent to where we presume Deep Breath will be taking place and it all becomes a very apt selection.
While it’s hard and perhaps needlessly difficult to claim any single Doctor Who story as required viewing, even for relatively new converts to the show, Talons certainly comes close. Tom Baker in a deerstalker, Christopher Benjamin as Henry Gordon Jago, Leela at least partially as a proper English lady, magic and mysticism. This is a dark story from the pen of the absolute master of the craft Robert Holmes, and it all works amazingly well.
Thanks in part to Big Finish one of the lingering impressions from Talons is the combination of Jago and Litefoot as Victorian Adventurers. They’re certainly in the pantheon of great Holmesian double-acts no question about it, but at least in Talons it’s worth remembering that the characters didn’t actually meet until midway through episode 5. Jago had much more interplay with his stage manager Casey than Litefoot, but after that they carried much of episodes 5 and 6.
Classic Capitology will return but for now new Doctor Who beckons. Can’t wait!