It’s a tried and test storytelling adage to dump the audience in the middle of the action to kick things off. Sergeant Andy Davidson wakes up next to another man…in a burning building…in the 1950s…naked. And we’re off!
Having been pulled through time to the 1950s, Andy is once again partnered up with Norton Folgate. ‘Goodbye Piccadilly’ proves to be a non-stop roller-coaster for Torchwood’s favourite double-act. With chases down alleyways, dingy nightspots, police raids and Soho gangsters on their tail.
Past & Present
Torchwood’s monthly range has the freedom to tell smaller, character-focused stories from all over the series’ timeline. It’s most interesting outings tend to be either post-Miracle Day, where the future is uncertain, or deep into Torchwood’s past to add texture to the team we know. ‘Goodbye Piccadilly’ deliver us both at once!
Samuel Barnett reprises his role of Norton Folgate with infectious enthusiasm. Norton debuted in ‘Ghost Mission‘ where his timehopping bromance with Andy was established. He’s popped up in several other Big Finish Torchwood audios as well, most recently ‘The Death of Captain Jack’. That said, you don’t need to have heard any of those other stories (not even his introduction) to follow the thread of this release. Producer James Goss has taken up writing duties and efficiently recaps their backstory without clunky exposition or even spoiling their first adventure.
Andy & Norton
To say that Barnett and Tom Price as Andy have chemistry is an understatement. Price’s understated, resigned performance in the face of impending peril adds to his charm. It also hints at the incredible lengths the character has come in the 12 years since Andy’s debut. Barnett counterpoints this with a kind of dubious extroversion that blends together well.
Homophobia & Harmonies
As we’ve come to expect for Torchwood, this story doesn’t shy away from addressing the era’s casual homophobia. Which seems particularly important for the free-spirited role of Norton. This lends the script an authenticity that other stories in this era tend to lack and lets the story confront social issues without diverting from the main plot. The seedy world of Fifties Soho, and Andy’s reactions, keeps up the humour in what’s otherwise a rather dark story for Andy. Goss seems to enjoy torturing Andy, as we saw in last year’s stunning ‘Corpse Day’ and has also used up his double entendre supply for the decade. Of course, a superb soundtrack that permeates the story lends it a very fitting film noir tone courtesy of Blair Mowat.
‘Goodbye Piccadilly’ is darkly comedic romp through a period of Torchwood’s past. Having been given the long-awaited sequel for Andy and Norton together, this definitely has us ready for a third outing.
Sgt Andy Davidson wakes up in the 1950s. He’s chained to a bed, his clothes are missing and the building’s on fire. Norton Folgate needs his help.
The streets of Soho are swarming with gangsters, rumours and betrayals. Somewhere out there is a mysterious alien artefact, and Andy and Norton have to get to it first. Because tonight they’re going to save Torchwood.
Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners
Written By: James Goss
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Tom Price (Sgt Andy Davidson), Samuel Barnett (Norton Folgate), Lucy Sheen (Fat Kim), Liam Hourican (The Vicar), Wilf Scolding (Alejandro), Rachel Atkins (Margot). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer James Goss
Script Editor David Llewellyn
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs