Torchwood 22: Goodbye Piccadilly review

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This month, Big Finish serves up a sequel of sorts to 2016’s Ghost Mission, which saw Sgt. Andy Davidson paired up with 1950’s Torchwood operative Norton Folgate, played by Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently, Big Finish’s Cicero).

While the first story saw Norton in the present day, ostensibly there to assess Andy’s suitability to join the organisation, Goodbye Piccadilly has Cardiff’s ever-reliable Sergeant make the reverse journey – selected to assist with a rather delicate job, one in which Norton’s loyalties to Torchwood have been called into question.

What follows is a fast moving, ribald and occasionally raucous chase around the streets of 1950s Soho; beginning naked and chained to the bed in a burning hotel room, James Goss’s story takes the pair from dank drinking dens to a life drawing class and eventually Leicester Square – all the while with a Chinese gangster on their trail.

Events surround the custody of an alien artefact, but if we are honest, much of that is secondary to the chemistry between the two leads and the succession of indignities heaped upon Sgt Andy, including a hilarious running theme of him losing his clothes. Director Scott Handcock keeps the banter flowing free and there is a terrific, immersive soundscape provided by Thea Cochrane.

Once again, Samuel Barnett sparkles with charm as Norton, whose loyalties remain gloriously open to question, while Tom Price entertains the put upon everyman who is utterly out of his depth for the most part. Among the guest cast, Lucy Sheen puts in an entertainingly big performance as the enterprising gangster Fat Kim and Wilf Scolding is hilarious as the artist Alejandro.

Wonderfully, the extras reveal that all of the places within the story were real and drawn from James Goss’s research, and in amongst the hijinks, there is a soupçon of historical commentary regarding the challenges of being a gay man in the fifties too.

With the cast clearly up for a further adventure, and a couple of threads left hanging, we can only wonder where this hilariously mismatched couple might end up next!