I’ve just finished Paternoster Gang: Heritage 1 and thought I’d capture some observations (review coming). These should be pretty much spoiler free, at least regards content, though you may wish to come back to this if you’ve not heard the boxset yet.
Any new series, even a spin-off, needs to set out its stall. We already know a lot about the general set-up from the TV, and odd audios prior to this. We may also (and we almost certainly should) treat this is being the same world as Jago & Litefoot (and probably Churchill as well), but is it that simple?
We all know why there’s a Jago & Litefoot sized gap in the release schedule, but this new range (called Heritage for no strong reason – the blurb talks about their past, but it’s a bit of a lightweight banner in my view) isn’t just a bunch of stories with the names of the heroes changed.
To my ears it’s more technology heavy (though we’ve only had a single set of stories) and the police are far less prominent. We also don’t have a Ellie the Barmaid character either, with the three gang members enough to allow for exposition and action.
My view is the setting may be more of less identical, but we experience it with very different characters and this is the heart of the range.
It’s Madame Vastra’s Gang, yet if pushed I’d probably say Jenny Flint has more adventure in this set, often doubling-up with Strax and going back to re-connect with Vastra at midpoint, then needing her help at the climax. Vastra and Strax both have moments where they are the lead (Vastra perhaps more so) but often Vastra is in the shadows.
Now I understand the three of them more than I did from TV, I realise the team are:
- Brawn (and comedy)
Not to say they can’t all take more than one role as needed, but the team splits well along these lines. Comparing to Jago & Litefoot once more, that latter pairing was constructed along class lines (and not explored to any depth in the audios, perhaps) so this is very different.
We also have two characters not of this period – Vastra from the deep past and Strax from the Sontaran Empire. They are both very aware of technology and have a vast range of other experiences to draw on, whereas for all their aptitude, Jago and Litefoot were both denizens of Victorian London.
For me then it’s two very different series both spun out of the same show in the same (or very similar) setting. And both rather splendid!