Tuesday, 31 May 2016

TORCHWOOD - GHOST MISSION

How are you selected to join Torchwood? Gwen Cooper seemed to just get in via sheer tenacity (and the death of Suzie Costello, remember that name…..) but it didn’t seem to be a job that you applied for, more a job you were selected for, it seemed to need the right sort of person. One of the supporting cast in Torchwood was the ever lovable PC Andy Davidson (Tom Price), he was Gwen’s colleague when she was a Police Officer and her contact in the Police when she joined Torchwood, he crept up from time to time and kept Gwen grounded – he was a lovely audience identification figure and PC Andy, or Sergeant Andy as he is now is the subject of this months Torchwood release – because today is Andy Davidson’s assessment day – the 21st Century is where everything changes and Sgt Andy Davidson has to be ready.
 Ever grounded, ever loyal and a genuine nice guy. Going about his duty to the people and city of Cardiff, stoic, sensible and utterly decent – just the sort of person Torchwood need. Surely…..
We encounter Andy having a cuppa at his favourite cafe and he is about to pluck up the courage to talk to a girl he sees there every day when his world completely changes and he encounters the delightfully camp and wonderfully urbane Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett) a Torchwood assessor sent forward in time from the 1950’s to assess Andy’s suitability for joining the “new Torchwood”. Andy’s mission is to investigate a spill of an alien chemical agent all the while being assessed and commented on by the intangible Norton. This is a story where the audience almost know more than the characters, that is IF you have been following the series from the beginning. References to “the Committee” will be lost on listeners who have not followed the whole range but will bring out the requisite “oohs and ahhs” from long time listeners and get the old grey cells working overtime to try and get one step ahead of Andy & Norton, to work out what is REALLY going on and what Norton Folgate’s role in all this really is. If you are listening as a stand alone this is a great “buddy movie” of the type that is becoming the house style of Cardiff based stories in the Torchwood range – Andy the fish out of water paired with an urbane ghost is a genuine odd couple and throughout the events of the story they really do surprise each other. This is a story that whilst working as a stand alone works better as an ongoing mystery – who are the Committee, what do they want with Torchwood, why are they in Cardiff – all left hanging at the end of the story. The ending actually is very sweet and very low key and warmed the heart of this old romantic.
 As interesting as the story is, the “Cardiff Buddy movie” formula is becoming a little too familiar, maybe Andy’s next outing will see him more involved with the whole Committee Conspiracy as this release does fell like we are building to something. The story is full of Welsh humour and being typically Welsh Andy is not fazed or particularly impressed with the aliens or the “ruling Torchwood Committee” that he meets, treating them all like he treats drunken valley boys & girls early on a Sunday morning initially to Norton’s amazement, latterly impressing him with the technique.
 As a reintroduction of Sgt Andy its a great character piece – his personality is endearing and he really does get the listener rooting for him on his assessment which he CENSORED FOR SPOILERS.
My only slight niggle is that a “house style” seems to have developed, its a very good house style and is a great way to get two disparate characters together in a way that they HAVE to interact to get a job done. Its the 21st century and Sgt Andy is ready – I am not qualified to assess him on his Torchwood application, I will leave that to Norton Folgate, but I assess their adventure as 8/10.