Torchwood has been absolutely stellar so far; with both stories from the second series being absolutely amazing. This month we see Sergeant Andy Davidson; the first non-member of Torchwood tackle his own Torchwood story, but will it be under arrest for being just too good; or will it be sent down? (The puns will never end. Never.)
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.
We start Ghost Mission in the middle of a perilous adventure; with Andy and Norton, someone from Torchwood who just happens to be a ghost having a day that they didn’t expect. Like Norton says; it’s typical for a day with Torchwood to not go as planned.
After the intro music, we seem to be sent back in time with Andy sat in a cafe preparing himself to chat up someone who he’s had his eye on for a while. It’s a great comedic scene which showcases Tom Price’s awkwardly funny portrayal of the Sergeant Price I loved in the TV show. Just as Andy musters up the courage to talk to the woman of his dreams; he’s sat back down by Norton, played by Samuel Barnett; who I must say has one of the nicest voices I’ve heard in a while.
Norton is here from 1953 to assess Andy to see if he’s ready to become part of a new Torchwood team; I sense that Ghost Mission might be integral to the future of the Torchwood releases, especially as it’s set after the events of Miracle Day, as it means that there’s be potential for a new team including Jack, Gwen and Andy. Maybe even a full cast story; who knows?
James Goss, writer of Ghost Mission wastes absolutely no time throwing both the listener and Andy into the action which gives Andy the chance to demonstrate how cool, level headed and efficient he can be. As Norton is essentially a ghost, he’s not allowed to interfere too much (remind you of the code of a certain Time Lord?) but he does try and help out when he can. The whole first test is utterly hilarious; from the tentacles in the slime to the people of Cardiff asking in unison ‘What about Torchwood?’ when Andy says he’s contacted the emergency services.
One thing that I didn’t expect at all was how much of a romp Ghost Mission would be; James Goss has perfectly managed to portray just how ridiculous the events of Torchwood actually are if you’re someone from the outside looking in. Norton might well be my favourite secondary character in any Big Finish release; he’s exquisitely written and performed, as if being a ghost is just something that happens all the time. Then again, Norton does work for Torchwood so it probably is…
The chemistry between the two leads, Tom Price and Samuel Barnett is magical as well; I don’t know if they’ve worked together before, it may well be the case, but the way that both actors deliver there lines and respond to one another is so naturalistic and complimentary, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’ve known each other as long as they’ve both been alive.
When Andy and Norton are examining the place of origin of the green goo, they comes across a special photocopier; you thought 3D printing was impressive…
Of course with this being Torchwood; it doesn’t go exactly to plan, and Andy has to try and get past a hulking great monster without swearing. There’s a lot of fudge and sugar in Cardiff it would seem.
Big Finish releases often make me grin and do that weird hard breath through your nose to signal that you find something amusing without laughing (you know exactly what I mean, right?), sometimes a story might get a chuckle; but never before have I ended up really laughing to the point of my sides hurting. Ghost Mission has the title of being the first Big Finish story to ever do that. Once Andy gets stuck in a confined space with no means of escape, the future seems bleak; luckily Norton, being a ghost, manages to pop his head in and check it out. It just got me. I had to pause so I could hear it once I’d stopped laughing. Well done James Goss for something that tickled me pink.
Whilst Andy is using up the last of his available air, Norton asks him why exactly he wants to join Torchwood; myself personally would have asked at a more convenient time, but I suppose there’s no time like the present. The response was one that was incredibly poignant, with Andy outright confessing that for the past ten years, he’s been jealous of Gwen and wondered why she got the job at Torchwood and not him. To have such a personal moment in such a light-hearted story really makes the response hit home, and I genuinely felt sorry for Andy.
Just about halfway in the story we get to understand the context that the pre-title scene was in. All I will say is; poor Andy. I can understand why he was annoyed at Norton.
Norton and Andy find themselves at Saint Greg’s Church (no, they don’t sell sausage rolls (sorry to any overseas readers who have no idea what I’m going on about)) as it’s supposedly the most haunted church in Cardiff. After Norton and Andy have a chat about Norton’s past affiliation with churches, they jokingly start to sing Amazing Grace. But they’re not alone. Even Norton is terrified. Luckily for Norton, Andy is very, very good at his job and at keeping a level head.
Torchwood has always been a celebration of Welshness, and Ghost Mission is absolutely no exception; Andy’s explanation to Norton as to what he thinks is going on is so full of praise for the Welsh mindset, that if this release was given to every man, woman and child around the world, they’d probably want to move to Wales immediately. Dduw bendithia Cymru!
The end of Andy’s test is extremely ominous; with mentions to things that have been building up over the course of the past two series of Torchwood from Big Finish. I have to admit that before I heard Ghost Mission; I thought that it wouldn’t be too significant to the overarching story. Boy, was I wrong. I was so very, very wrong.
Overall, Ghost Mission was as near perfect a story can be, there wasn’t one moment that I didn’t absolutely bloody adore. James Goss has really gone above and beyond in terms of brilliant scriptwriting; with neither of his Torchwood stories, whether it be Fall To Earth or Ghost Mission being less than amazing. Likewise the performances from both Tom Price and Samuel Barnett were exemplary; both actors carried off this story, that was essentially a two-hander brilliantly. I couldn’t ask for a better story from Big Finish.
The rating system on the GallifreyArchive is achieved on a scale of 1-10.
For Ghost Mission, I will give a rating of:
Should you want to purchase Ghost Mission, it’s currently available physically for £9.99 and as a download for just £7.99, which you can purchase by clicking here!