Ever since his debut in 2016’s Ghost Mission, Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett) has been a fan-favourite character… and now he’s got his own series! Torchwood Soho: Parasite follows Folgate as he and his very own Torchwood team investigate strange goings-on in 1950s London, coming across strange Nazi packages, a pub that lies outside of time and Cardiff’s very own Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price).
Although this release is comprised of six half-hour episodes, all written by James Goss, I’m not going to go episode-by-episode as I usually do in my reviews. This is because the entire boxset is essentially just one story, with the same plot and characters throughout, much like Torchwood: Believe or Torchwood: Outbreak were. It’s a great change of pace, with the story allowed to unfold in bitesized chunks over the course of three hours rather than being squeezed into just one.
The story itself is pretty simple, but never fails to be entertaining. It begins on a more lighthearted note, with Norton scouring London in search of the aforementioned Nazi packages, before slowly developing into something a little spookier as, joined by Andy, he seeks to stop the spread of an alien parasite which turns people into zombielike fungus creatures. There’s also a couple of great twists in the final episode that turn the story on its head, keeping things interesting right down to the last second.
Aside from Norton and Andy, who are both written and performed as excellently as ever, there are several other major players in Parasite who are new to the Torchwood universe. First up we have Lizbeth Hayhoe, Norton’s colleague in Room 13. Played by Dervla Kirwan, Lizbeth is a fantastic addition to the Torchwood family and is definitely my favourite character in this play. It’s no surprise, then, that my favourite part of the story was The Dead Hand, which focuses almost entirely on Hayhoe as she investigates the mysterious Project Hermod in Berlin.
We’re also introduced to Gideon Lyme (Joe Shire), a new love interest for Norton who gets caught up in events due to Andy’s meddling. He’s similarly compelling, acting as a great foil for Norton’s more sinister side and seemingly joining Torchwood at the story’s close. Finally, we meet Belle Epoque (Franchi Webb), a self-styled Teddy Girl who runs the Stagnant Pond pub. Headstrong and immortal, Belle is such a brilliantly Torchwood character who I hope we hear more of in future releases.
Complete with top-tier music and sound design from Blair Mowat and Steve Foxon, Torchwood Soho: Parasite is a really strong release. With a really unique pulpy, 1950s feel, though still recognisably Torchwood, this world is definitely one I’d love Big Finish to dive into again in the future, so here’s hoping for more of Norton’s adventures in the future! Highly recommended.
Torchwood Soho: Parasite is available now on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com