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“Torchwood Cardiff and Torchwood London don’t really get along.”

Before reverse engineering parallel universe-spanning void ships and getting upgraded to a cyber(wo)man in the misguided name of British NSA-style “security”, walking nastygram Yvonne Hartman (Tracy-Ann Oberman) was a corporate ladder-climbing agent for Torchwood’s London branch.

On a routine snatch and grab mission in Cardiff, she finds herself caught in the midst of a possible conspiracy relating to the local mayoral run…and a murderous blue alien.

Hotel fires, murders and drunken Welshmen on a Friday night…can the prim and driven Hartman possibly survive?

“Nobody takes me seriously because I’m drunk and I swear and I don’t behave like a respectable young lady or any of that.  But that means they underestimate me.  You’re high up in your job, aren’t you?  Didn’t you ever do anything like that?”

“Not really, I was more of a…I pretend to like people, work with them…and then I stab them in the back.”

With crusty, racist locals and the flaming uber-b*tch queen of the century as the only real points of identification, this is a rough one to become involved in on an emotional, intuitive level.  But on more of a comic, camp level…it’s often pure gold.

“I’ve met people like you before.  D’you have any friends?  Real friends?”

“Does anyone?

I realized a long time ago that you can’t trust anyone.  Friends…work colleagues…family.”

While it’s obvious that political contender Helen Evans (Rebecca Lacey) is the more human of the trio and likely the best choice for the mayorship, that’s wholly by dint of comparison to the blustery, comic yet distinctly parochial Barry Jackson (Gareth Armstrong) and the perfectly shite Hartman herself.

This is the sort of situation…not to mention local leadership contention where no one can possibly “win”.

“You mean extra security measures?”
“I know, I know, people will blather on about civil liberties and all that…”

All that being said, Joseph Lidster manages to work up the characterization end that our trio of thespians flesh out with gusto, leaving us with some very believable, sadly all too realistic people.

“You’ve really done all this just because you want to be the mayor…of Cardiff?

Taken at face value…sheesh.  What a bunch of right sods!

“Well, but it was a bit of a giggle, really.”

But viewed with the aim of taking the piss out of a trio of unlikeable, manipulative clowns…it’s not only atmospheric, well written and well acted, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.