News came today that a four-volume series featuring the Paternoster Gang coming from Big Finish. Starting in June 2019, the ‘Heritage’ series will see all three actors reprising their roles. So what will Vastra, Jenny and Strax get up to next?
We first met the as-yet-unassembled Paternoster Gang in 2011’s ‘A Good Man Goes to War’. First there was Strax, the Sontaran battlefield nurse. Second, we met Madame Vastra, a consulting detective in Victorian London. Vastra’s assistant/housemaid/wife Jenny Flint completed the trifecta as they joined forces with the Doctor to save Amy. Strax was seemingly killed in the battle but revived by Vastra and invited to join their adventures. Thus the Paternoster Gang was born…
After that, the trio became inseparable, recurring over the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor eras. Predictably enough, the characters were soon snapped up by Big Finish with Neve McIntosh and Dan Starkey reprising their roles as Vastra and Strax respectively.
The Paternoster Gang – Heritage is available to pre-order now from the Big Finish website. Each volume can be purchased for £20 on download or £25 on CD. All four volumes can be purchased as a bundle.
But enough history, what about the future? We’ve cooked up some ideas for what we’d like to see the Paternoster Gang face in their ongoing audio adventures.
1. Jago & Litefoot
Strax already met the Infernal Investigators in his Big Finish debut – ‘The Haunting‘ – back in 2015. It’s a hilarious story with the confused Sontaran crashing into Jago and Litefoot’s world and running afoul of Victorian sensibilities. They part ways with a certain bonhomie that’s ideal for follow-up. Not to mention Vastra making an oblique reference to the duo during her cameo in ‘The Churchill Years‘. We know that they’re contemporaries and have a similar line of work. Inevitably they’d have brushed up against each other more than once.
With the ‘Jago & Litefoot’ range winding down after the sad passing of Trevor Baxter, some new ways to keep Jago around as the voice of experience would be a nice touch. Christopher Benjamin is already set to reprise the role in ‘The Diary of River Song: Volume Six‘ so he shows no sign of slowing down. However, explaining the absence of Professor George Litefoot when the character was already given a very touching send-off might be opening old wounds for the cast and crew who worked with Baxter.
2. Inspector Gregson & The Paternoster Irregulars
Whenever we see the Paternoster Gang on an investigation, they’ve hinted at previous adventures and allies. The most prominent is Inspector Gregson of Scotland Yard, twice seen recruiting Vastra and her entourage for a new mystery. Played by Paul Hickey, having the character reappear on audio would strengthen the link to the TV series and add a regular supporting cast to proceedings. Early on, the ‘Jago & Litefoot’ series brought back Conrad Asquith as Quick, who became a mainstay of the audios until the very end. So introducing Gregson as his spiritual successor would seem natural.
Ditto for the Paternoster Irregulars. Mentioned but not-seen in ‘Deep Breath’, Jenny dispatches their network of street urchins to track down the AWOL Doctor. Maybe Big Finish could give the idea a new spin that will set them apart from their clear Holmesian inspiration.
For their appearance in the Twelfth Doctor’s debut story, the gang were given some sonic gizmos courtesy of Blue Peter. The long-running kids magazine show ran a competition in 2013 to design a sonic device for the three members that would be turned into props and appear in the series. The three winning designs included the sonic gauntlet, sonic hairpin and sonic lorgnette.
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) January 16, 2015
With River busting out her sonic trowel on a regular basis, it’d be strange if the Paternoster gang weren’t similarly kitted out. There could even be new gadgets designed and built by Jenny to give her character some extra skills to bring to the team.
4. Vastra’s Morals
From her first appearance, it was clear that Madame Vastra holds a somewhat different moral philosophy to the Doctor. Apparently, the Time Lord taught her a better way than violence and revenge in their first meeting. But, even so, she has no qualms about eating Jack the Ripper. With a regular series in which they’re bound to encounter many nefarious villains, murderers and scoundrels, how will the team’s sense of justice contrast with that of the Doctor?
Not to mention that one of Vastra’s best friends is from a race bred specifically for war. And they’re working with Scotland Yard, who take a dim view of vigilante justice. Will Jenny have to be the moderating influence? The story opportunities for conflict between our three leads is an exciting prospect.
5. War on the Moon
What if Strax was right?