Mandeville Walk is the most haunted street in Soho. When Norton brings Lizbeth and Andy there to confront a face from his past, he ends up dragging them into a government conspiracy and a plot to resurrect an ancient, powerful force. As demons, ghosts and long-buried secrets rise to the surface, will the Torchwood team manage to escape the past and escape Mandeville Walk with their lives? And is it possible for anyone’s story to have a happy ending?
Written by James Goss, The Unbegotten is a collection of six, half-hour episodes all telling a single story. It is this structure which I feel is the weakest part of this release, because I think the plot isn’t quite big enough to last three hours, nor are there enough natural breaking points for five cliffhangers. It’s an interesting tale, with a couple of nice twists and some really very Torchwood ideas, but it’s not quite as expansive or as intriguing as the other Torchwood Soho boxsets, and definitely suffers as a result.
As always, it’s a delight to hear the main cast back together, with the catty-but-loving interplay between Samuel Barnett‘s Norton Folgate and Dervla Kirwan‘s Lizbeth Hayhoe being a particular highlight and putting a smile on my face from the get go. Tom Price‘s Andy (whose presence in the 50s isn’t explained this time, he just sort of seems to be living there now?) is slightly underused, as is Joe Shire‘s Gideon Lyme, but their performances are as strong as ever, and it’s nice to return to their characters, who have both become integral parts of the Torchwood Soho world.
The set has quite a large guest cast, all of whom are on top form, but there are, of course, some particular standouts. Greg Austin is excellent as government official Armitage, who serves as a really interesting foil for Norton throughout the piece, threatening and flirtatious in equal measure. There’s also Norah Lopez Holden, who puts in a strong performance as Tilly, the girl who has been resurrecting the sinister Man Who Wasn’t (Richard Clifford), and Saffron Coomber as Mia, a love interest for Lizbeth.
Overall, this is an enjoyable release from start to finish, though it doesn’t quite hit the heights of the rest of the Torchwood Soho range. Recommended.
Torchwood Soho: The Unbegotten is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com