Harvey Edwards reviews this very special Torchwood release: The Black Knight!
We have a beginning and an ending this month from the Torchwood Monthly Range, with Lizbeth Myles‘ first contribution to the series – The Black Knight. This release is also Scott Handcock‘s final Monthly Range story as director. This story serves as the replacement for last year’s intended 50th Torchwood monthly release, Absent Friends.
And a great replacement it is. From the get-go, it’s clear that this is going to be a different Torchwood story than usual, as we’re introduced to a set of new characters – Professor Lynne Sharman (played by Safiyya Ingar) is working for the British Space Programme in the 1950s, but is facing a number of setbacks from Russell Bentley‘s Christopher Grey, a misogynistic aristocrat, keen on reducing the role of women like Lynne in the Programme. When 50s Torchwood agent Norton Folgate shows up, though, the story takes a different turn. It’s up to Norton, Lynne, and Freddie Talbot (played by Jacob Dudman) to man a rocket into space, to get a closer look at the mysterious ‘Black Knight’ – an asteroid in orbit of Earth.
What follows is an excellent exploration of humanity, our need to travel to the stars, and why that may not be such a good idea. The cast are all brilliant as their characters, and Lynne and Norton especially have a really good chemistry. Simon Power‘s sound design and Steve Wright & Blair Mowat‘s music work really well to enhance the story, capturing the retro-futuristic space setting perfectly. While the ending may be a little unsurprising for fans of Norton-focussed stories, the build-up and sleight of hand in its execution works very well.
On the whole, this was a great debut from Myles, and I hope she writes some more Torchwood in the future. She clearly researched the era and the various sci-fi plot elements extensively, as everything within The Black Knight feels very authentic.
Torchwood: The Black Knight is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com