Prior to the fateful Battle of Canary Wharf, the indomitable Yvonne Hartman embarked on a captivating escapade in Cardiff, as depicted in Big Finish’s audio spin-off series. As an avid follower of the Whoniverse, I was eagerly anticipating this prequel to both Torchwood and the Doctor Who Series 2 finale ‘Army of Ghosts’/’Doomsday,’ particularly as it delves deeper into the character of Yvonne Hartman, portrayed with gusto by Tracy-Ann Oberman.
While Hartman was a formidable force in her limited appearances, it was refreshing to witness her ideologies explored further in this tale, which sees her venture out of her comfort zone and navigate the quirks and challenges of Cardiff. One particularly irksome obstacle in her path is the boorish and bigoted mayoral candidate, Barry Jackson, whose interactions with Hartman make for entertaining listening.
The narrative is further enriched by its setting on the same day as the broadcast of ‘Rose,’ thereby evoking a wave of nostalgia and poignancy as it references the aftermath of the Auton invasion in the series opener. However, what truly elevates the episode is the exceptional writing of Joseph Lidster, who not only brings a wealth of experience from his contributions to the TV series, but also imbues Yvonne with a multifaceted personality that is both compelling and unnerving.
This feat would not have been accomplished without the impeccable performance of Tracy-Ann Oberman, whose interpretation of Yvonne is so convincing that it feels as though no time has passed since her last appearance in Series 2. With such a commanding portrayal, one cannot help but yearn for a spin-off series that solely focuses on Yvonne’s tenure at Torchwood 1.
Additionally, I must laud Joe Lidster’s superb script, which not only delivers a captivating plot but also delves deep into the psyche of Yvonne Hartman. Lidster’s writing showcases Yvonne’s unwavering commitment to her job, her sharp wit, and her intelligence, while also highlighting the darker aspects of her character that make her a force to be reckoned with. The character development that Lidster brings to the table is truly exceptional, and it is a testament to his skill as a writer. Overall, ‘One Rule’ is a triumph of storytelling that demonstrates the talent of both Lidster and the Torchwood team at Big Finish. This is marvellous addition, that proves Torchwood is one of Big Finish’s most exemplary ranges.