In the latest from Big Finish’s second Torchwood audio adventures former PC (now Sergeant) Andy has a chance to join his friend and former Police colleague Gwen Cooper in working for Torchwood. Or does he?
Sgt Andy teams up with Norton Folgate, who is apparently a Torchwood assessor from 1953. But who is Norton really? Is he a projection? A ghost? We don’t know with any certainty, but we do know that he’s a fabulously camp and chipper character from a time when being gay was still a criminal offence in Great Britain.
Big Finish’s Torchwood adventures have given us some brilliant pairings across its two series – Captain Jack and Queen Victoria, Ianto Jones and Zeynep, the call centre agent from India – and with Sgt Andy and Norton Folgate writer James Goss gives us another brilliant alien-busting duo. With some wonderfully squishy sound effects, Andy and Norton set off to find out what links green goop that appears to be making copies of bodies, a rampaging monster, and some ghostly figures in an apparently haunted church. Of course, we all know there’s no such thing as ghosts (don’t we?), and it seems that these things are all linked. But how? This is Andy’s assignment in order to be considered for Torchwood.
The only thing is, nothing is quite what it appears to be. Like a number of BF’s Torchwood stories, though, Ghost Mission is less about the peril and more about the portrayal of the characters involved. Andy, officially a “Nice Guy”, is what Gwen Cooper would possibly be had she not set off ten years ago with a guy from the 21st century with great hair in a greatcoat. Given the chance to take centre stage here, Tom Price steps up in style and does a really great job as an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. He does almost – almost – as good a job as the magnificent Samuel Barnett (soon to play Dirk Gently on TV) as the waggish Norton. James Goss’s dialogue for the pair is snappy and sparking, with Norton getting the lion’s share of best lines (and there’s lots of them).
As Sgt Andy solves the mystery of the goop and the ghosts, he faces the oddly named Torchwood Ruling Committee (Committee? Really?) headed by a dour, smelly old man in a Care Home (David Warner) who may or may not be what he says he is. The ending of this episode leaves far more questions than it answers. Has Andy passed his assessment? Was is really an assessment? Was he really helping Torchwood, or are there more sinister forces at work? And who is Norton Folgate?
Whoever Norton turns out to be, there are signs that he may be back soon. Whether he has assessed Andy or not, Norton certainly develops an affection for our Cardiff copper and we definitely want to see this pair back in action again soon. We just wonder what Gwen will say when she finds out.
Blogtor rating: 8/10
Sergeant Andy Davidson has always wanted to join Torchwood. And now he finally gets his chance.
Under the strict observation of his Torchwood Assessor, Andy sets out to prove he’s got what it takes. When a chemical spill turns out to have serious consequences, when monsters roam the Bay, and when an ancient entity awakes, Andy decides he could do with a helping hand. The problem is his Torchwood Assessor doesn’t have any hands. Norton Folgate is a ghost.
Written By: James Goss
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Tom Price (Sergeant Andy Davidson), Samuel Barnett (Norton Folgate), David Warner (OAP), Lisa Bowerman (Quite Anxious Shopper), Laura Doddington and Aaron Neil (The Graces)
Producer: James Goss
Script Editor: Steve Tribe
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh–Ellery, Nicholas Briggs