At Her Majesty’s Pleasure

Posted in Audio by - July 01, 2023
At Her Majesty’s Pleasure

Released June 2023


With Yvonne arrested by Andy during the events of God Among Us, Tim Foley picks up that narrative in “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” with the once and would-be leader of Torchwood convinced she has escaped from the inescapable.

While every leading character in Big Finish’s Torchwood has been written and developed exceptionally well, few characters are as implicitly dynamic and mercurial as Yvonne Hartman. She is more than willing to cross morally dubious boundaries to uphold her steadfast principles, and even while imprisoned and isolated from anyone else due to the threat she implicitly poses, she never seems helpless or hopeless in any regard. Indeed, she remains utterly calm and collected throughout, and with Andy somehow receiving a message from her just as this prison is due to be inspected, everyone is on edge that she just might be up to something despite the known impossibility of her actually succeeding with any sort of scheme. Foley clearly has a firm grasp on this character and just how utterly manipulative she can be, and with financial transfers to her directly correlating with strange and dangerous events within this prison, it certainly seems as though she is somehow working with an outside force to influence events around her for some unknown cause.

By itself, these means by which she is achieving this pervasive influence would be an immensely engaging foundation for a story, but Yvonne hardly ever works in such a one-dimensional and predictable pattern, and this fact is exploited wonderfully as the true scope and scale of Yvonne’s manipulation comes into focus. Brilliantly, Andy’s level of involvement in Yvonne’s scheme remains somewhat shrouded for the majority of this story as he struggles to remember a certain date at a French restaurant while his prior history with Yvonne as well as the contents of an eaten baguette in the prison are questioned. Andy is perhaps the purest and most overtly honourable character in Torchwood, and his desire to join or at least be affiliated with this organization that is often anything but has always been an intriguing contrast to study;with Yvonne and Andy having been through so much previously that has led to a fairly deep and resonant relationship between the two, Andy possibly subverting the law after so resolutely following the requirements of his job when a warrant for Yvonne’s arrest came out once again provides a strong avenue by which to explore this character. Together, Tom Price and Tracy-Ann Oberman are utterly superb as this leading duo, and Hartman has never seemed quite so heartless and comprehensively forward-thinking as when her plan that has been in motion for so long comes to fruition with Tyler Steele and Andy both being integral components in this far-reaching affair.

As with any great story, the supporting characters in “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” are much more than simple plot devices and become exceedingly well-rounded and believable in all of their thoughts and actions. Natalie Grady, Avita Jay, Andrew Wincott, and Naomi McDonald expertly exhibit the tension involved in maintaining the dangerous Yvonne as a prisoner in this already-heightened environment that is so ripe for further exploration, and the importance of the presence of the so-called Prisoner One takes a rather frightening turn once Yvonne asserts her cunning and conniving prowess to help herself and affect those in any position around her. As has been the theme to this point, no grand gestures have been made with significantly advancing the overall plot of Among Us, but this is a stunning character piece for Yvonne and- at least indirectly- Andy as well as a necessary piece of narrative progression to bring Yvonne from God Among Us to Among Us as Andy’s desire to be with Torchwood appears to have finally met its breaking point.

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