Martha Jones : Jack, I need you.
(Originally broadcast 10 September 2008, as part of Radio 4’s Big Bang day, to celebrate the switching on of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider).
After the “pre-credits” (e.g. “credits” the “and Torchwood is ready” speech from Jack) the first three minutes are effective introduction to Torchwood for a Radio 4 audience who might not know of Torchwood – the team chasing a weevil round a Cardiff nightclub (the very essence of Torchwood), then Martha Jones phones up Jack.
She asks him to come to CERN Switzerland (in much the same way she commanded the Doctor “I’m bringing you back to Earth” in The Sontaran Stratagem.) CERN – Jack explains on the plane to Geneva – is looking for the Higgs particle, “the fundamental particle of human existence” as Jack calls it near the start of the episode.
However, the Higgs boson particle is the only Standard Model particle that hasn’t been observed yet, there are other “fundamental” particles e.g. other guage bosons, quarks and leptons. The way that the Higgs boson is introduced a listener might think it was “the fundamental particle of human existence” (as that is how it is described.)
Martha explain that UNIT are “rushed off their feet” and UNIT security won’t realise what’s happening with Torchwood’s subterfuge to enter CERN.Whether Martha is still with UNIT or has “gone rogue” isn’t clear. (I’m joking, but does the plot make sense if Martha is with UNIT? Maybe this would be all clarified if I listened to the story again.)
The actual story is in the Doctor Who/Tradition tradition of “supernatural” things (vampires, witches) actually being all science-y.
This time the ghosts have a science-y explanation, but there is something about the “ghosts” feeding on neutrons, and the Higgs particle appears as a metaphor as hope or something. This wooly “science” clashes with the intent of Radio 4’s Big Bang day, to clarify what the switching on of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider actually means.
Quite good fun if you try and ignore the “Sci” of this Sci-Fi, but not a very good episode of Torchwood.
Quantity-ratings (click here for guide to rating system):
Episode Quality-rating: 2/5