Everything Changes

TorchwoodA perfectly normal night on the beat for Cardiff policewoman Gwen Cooper is shattered by the arrival of a black vehicle at a murder scene. Even the police back off in deference, as four people emerge and use a strange metallic gauntlet to momentarily bring the murder victim back to life. Gwen watches in horror as the man realizes he only has two minutes to tell these people what happened to him – but can’t, since he was stabbed from behind. She finds out who they are – a mysterious organization called Torchwood, led by an American man named Captain Jack Harkness. The next day, she spots Jack again at a hospital, moments before she sees a grotesque humanoid figure brutally murder a hospital porter. Again, Jack and his Torchwood team are at the ready, subduing and capturing the inhuman killer, and just as quickly vanishing under a well-planned cover story.

Only Gwen isn’t about to let it go – she trails Torchwood’s vehicle to the Millennium Centre at the heart of Cardiff, and then follows them on foot to the waterfall – where they abruptly disappear from sight. Refusing to drop the trail, Gwen pays Torchwood a visit under the guise of delivering a pizza, but once inside their headquarters, she realizes that this organization is dabbling in something stranger than ordinary police work…and that their base of operations is actually nestled away right beneath the waterfall, where no one would think to look for it. Captain Jack introduces himself and his team: his second-in-command, Suzie Costello, medical expert Owen Harper, computer expert Toshiko Sato, and Ianto Jones, who serves as the team’s driver and organizes most of their cover. As members of Torchwood, they round up alien technology (and alien threats) that fall to Earth – activity which is apparently alarmingly common in Wales, thanks to a transdimensional rift running through Cardiff. They even have the alien killer from the hospital in custody, which inspires Gwen to propose a liaison between Torchwood and the police, rather than Torchwood sweeping in and taking over crime scenes under total secrecy.

Instead, Jack slips her an amnesia-inducing drug so she’ll forget the entire visit. But the next day, Gwen learns that more murders have taken place in Cardiff, committed with the same savage bladed weapon that felled the victim she saw Torchwood revive, and she gradually remembers Jack’s secret group – and seeing the weapon in their base of operations. If the alien is in custody, then who is still doing the killing? And has Torchwood met its match in Gwen…or a future recruit?

Season 1 Regular Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies
directed by Brian Kelly
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Indira Varma (Suzie Costello), Guy Lewis (Young Cop), Tom Price (P.C. Andy), Jason May (Soco), Rhys Swinburn (Body), Olwen Medi (Yvonne), Dion Davies (Officer), Jāms Thomas (Hospital Porter), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Mark Heal (Security Guard), Gary Sheppeard (Pizza Lad), Gwilym Havard Davies (Man), Cathryn Davis (Woman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green
Notes are included below and contain major spoilers. Continue reading

Day One

TorchwoodAs she celebrates the eve of her first day on the job with Torchwood, Gwen and her boyfriend Rhys witness an awesome sight – a meteorite streaks through the night skies over Cardiff and slams into the countryside outside the city. Suddenly it is Gwen’s first day on the job, but through a mishap on her part, a gas is released into the air from the meteorite. Now the team has to track down an alien presence that could have gone anywhere. The gaseous life form finds a host body – a young girl at a club – and Torchwood is called in to investigate her first victim, apparently killed after he had sex with her. Gwen is able to use her police training to track the girl down, but once she’s in Torchwood custody, nobody seems to know what to do with her – or if she can be saved.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Brian Kelly
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Adrian Christopher (Private Moriarty), Ross O’Hennessy (Sgt. Johnson), Sara Lloyd Gregory (Carys), Ceri Mears (Banksy), Justin McDonald (Matt), Tom Price (P.C. Andy), Brendan Charleson (Ivan Fletcher), Rob Storr (Gavin), Lloyd Everitt (Mikey), Alex Parry (Eddie Gwynne), Felicity Rhys (Bethan), Naomi Martell (Receptionist), David Longden (Mr. Weston)

Notes: Though it’s not explicitly stated on screen in this episode, the musical cue heard for the scenes involving the severed hand in the jar would seem to hint that the hand is the one that the Doctor lost to the Sycorax leader’s sword in the Doctor Who episode The Christmas Invasion – which may also explain why Jack prizes it so highly.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Ghost Machine

TorchwoodGwen and Owen are in a foot pursuit of a petty thief who, according to sensors at the Torchwood hub, is making off with some kind of alien technology. Gwen grabs him, but he gets away, leaving her clutching his jacket, but Toshiko insists that Gwen’s snagged the alien tech. The device is found in one of the pockets, and when it activates, it instantly transforms Gwen’s surroundings – she’s still standing in a train station in Cardiff, but no one else is there except a terrified schoolboy, wearing a name tag and wandering alone…and then the experience ends. The name is tracked down to a man who says that the scene Gwen describes did happen to him – as a child, when he was evacuated to Cardiff to escape the Nazi bombing of London in World War II. The next time the device activates, it’s in Owen’s hands, but he witnesses a scene even more terrifying, in which a young man corners a terrified teenage girl. Again, Toshiko is able to narrow down the name of one of the people in Owen’s vision: a girl who was raped and murdered on the very spot where Owen stood. Knowing the identity of the victim, Owen becomes obsessed with finding out who the killer is. Doing so brings him into contact once again with the thief from whom the alien item was recovered, and a curious link between him and a killer who has never been brought to justice for his crime emerges.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Helen Raynor
directed by Colin Teague
music by Murray Gold and Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Gareth Thomas (Ed Morgan), Ben McKay (Bernie), Llinos Daniel (Eleri), John Normington (Tom Flanagan), Emily Evans (Lizzie Lewis), Christopher Elson (young Ed Morgan), Christopher Greene (young Tom Flanagan), Julie Gibbs (Bernie’s mum), Ian Kay (Snooker Player), Ryan Conway (Kid in arcade), Kathryn Howard (Woman in shop)

TorchwoodNotes: Welsh actor Gareth Thomas holds a legendary place among fans of British SF; he played revolutionary leader Roj Blake in the late 70s/early 80s space opera Blake’s 7. He has also guest-starred in a Big Finish Doctor Who audio play (Storm Warning, which reintroduced Paul McGann as the Doctor) and starred in the first two “seasons” of Big Finish’s spinoff series Dalek Empire. John Normington also has a long history with Doctor Who, with guest appearances in The Happiness Patrol (1988) and especially his turn as the treacherous Morgus in 1984’s Caves Of Androzani.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Cyberwoman

TorchwoodCompletely against standard operating procedure, Ianto admits a visitor to Torchwood – a Japanese doctor he’s called in to help with a special project. That project is Lisa, Ianto’s girlfriend, partially Cyber-converted and salvaged from the wreckage of the Torchwood London headquarters in Canary Wharf. He has kept her hidden away in the basement level, along with a complete Cyberman conversion pod which he’s managed to turn into a life support system. The doctor is able to help Lisa leave the life support system, but once under her own power, she exhibits little of her own personality – she’s a Cyberman seeking to complete her upgrade and then she’ll begin to convert the rest of the human race. Once Ianto’s project is exposed, Jack decides that yet another branch of Torchwood may have to be sacrificed to stop a Cyber invasion…but Ianto’s loyalties lie elsewhere.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by James Strong
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Caroline Chikezie (Lisa), Togo Igawa (Dr. Tanizaki), Bethan Walker (Annie)

Original Title: The Trouble With Lisa

Notes: Ianto apparently worked at the London branch of Torchwood during the Dalek-Cyberman battle (Doctor Who: Doomsday). This marks the first time a female Cyberman has appeared on screen, though much was made of female Cybermen in the Doctor Who audio story Real Time.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Small Worlds

TorchwoodFreak weather conditions, strange sightings and deaths add up to one thing for Jack – a species that most humans would describe as fairies has returned, eliminating anyone who stands between them and their “chosen one.” Jack has seen their work before, when they wiped out an entire squad of men under his command during his time on Earth in World War II. This time, their chosen one is an ordinary, if lonely, child – and anyone who makes her life miserable, from her stepfather to school bullies, is marked for death. When Torchwood steps in to put an end to the killing, they’re marked too – even Gwen’s home is attacked. When it comes to ridding the human race of the fairies’ influence, what lengths will Jack go to and what sacrifices will he make to protect Earth?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Peter J. Hammond
directed by Alice Troughton
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Eve Pearce (Estelle), Lara Phillipart (Jasmine), Adrienne O’Sullivan (Lynn), William Travis (Roy), Roger Barclay (Goodson), Heledd Baskerville (Kate), Ffion Wilkins (WPC), Nathan Sussex (Custody Sergeant), Paul Jones (Man in street), Sophie Davies (Bully), Victoria Gourley (Bully)

Notes: Peter J. Hammond is also the creator of the cult British SF series Sapphire & Steel. Director Alice Troughton is no relation to the late Patrick Troughton, who was the second Doctor Who.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Countrycide

TorchwoodA number of disappearances in a rural area of Wales sends Torchwood on a camping trip – something to which Owen is just a little bit unaccustomed. But a body turns up nearby, and while the team is examining it, someone hijacks their high-tech SUV. They head toward a building on foot, finding an abandoned pub. Ianto and Sato are separated from the others, finding themselves trapped in a cellar, while Jack, Gwen and Owen discover that they’re not alone when someone shoots Gwen at point-blank range. Owen is able to perform emergency surgery under less than ideal conditions, but it gets Gwen back on her feet. Toshiko and Ianto are in the middle of an escape attempt when a woman shows up, pointing a shotgun at them and telling them that they’re being “collected.” When their captors demonstrate an appetite for human meat, Ianto gives Toshiko a chance to escape the human harvest. Has Torchwood discovered a nest of alien-possessed humans, or simply a cannibal cult?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

TorchwoodGuest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Owen Teale (Evan Sherman), Maxine Evans (Helen Sherman), Calum Callaghan (Kieran), Rhys ap Trefor (Huw), Emily Bowker (Ellie), Robert Barton (Martin)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Greeks Bearing Gifts

TorchwoodA chance encounter with a woman in a bar changes Toshiko Sato’s life. Her new friend seems to know too much about her, and then introduces her to a pendant that allows her to hear other people’s thoughts. At first it’s overwhelming, but soon Toshiko finds practical applications for it. But her friend seems to want something more from her – and bets that Toshiko won’t tell the rest of Torchwood about it. And she doesn’t tell them, but she does wear the pendant inside the hub, discovering that Gwen and Owen are carrying on a clandestine relationship, Ianto is still wracked with pain and guilt over the death of his girlfriend, but when she tries to focus on Jack’s thoughts, she finds nothing – at all. But when her friend demands to be brought to Torchwood’s headquarters, where will Toshiko’s loyalties lie?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Toby Whithouse
directed by Colin Teague
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Daniela Denby-Ashe (Mary), Tom Robertson (Soldier), Ravin J. Ganatra (Neil), Eiry Thomas (Carol), Shaheen Jafargholi (Danny), Paul Kasey (Weevil)

Notes: Apparently Torchwood has to submit reports to UNIT, though the nature of those reports is not revealed; also not revealed is which Prime Minister is confronted by Jack over the phone for prying into Torchwood’s business, though it may still be Harriet Jones.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

They Keep Killing Suzie

TorchwoodA grisly murder in a perfectly ordinary Welsh suburb is bad enough, but to make matters worse, two victims’ throats are slashed and “TORCHWOOD” is written on the wall of their home – in their blood. Police find traces of DNA left behind by the killer, including a compound that’s unknown to their crime lab – but it’s a substance that Owen recognizes immediately – the prime ingredient of Torchwood’s “amnesia pills,” including the one that Jack slipped to Gwen when they first met. But over 2,000 doses have been administered during Torchwood’s tenure in Cardiff, and even attempts to use the resurrection gauntlet – an alien artifact whose use had previously been banned by Jack – aren’t producing any results with the murder victims. Then Jack decides that it should be used on the one member of Torchwood who knew how to use it best – one who’s already dead herself. But once brought back to life, how far will Suzy Costello go to stay that way?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Paul Tomalin & Daniel McCulloch
directed by James Strong
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Indira Varma (Suzie), Yasmin Bannerman (Swanson), Daniel Llewellyn-Williams (Alex Arwyn), Gary Pillai (Mark Brisco), Shend (Max), Badi Uzzaman (Suzie’s father)

Still killing SuzieNotes: In pre-broadcast publicity, this episode’s title was listed as They Keep Killing, in order to preserve the surprise elements of the plot (in much the same way as Cyberwoman was referred to by the working title The Trouble With Lisa). The title switcheroo is a bit of a Doctor Who tradition, with Invasion Of The Dinosaurs part 1 having been aired only as Invasion part 1 – which created problems during a 1970s purge of the BBC archives intended to destroy another story with the same name.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Random Shoes

TorchwoodYoung UFO enthusiast Eugene Jones is found dead in the road, his life snuffed out in what seems to be a perfectly normal, if tragic, accident. As her colleagues shrug it off as a random event, Gwen can’t help but feel there’s more to it than that. Eugene had encountered Torchwood a few times before, his own natural fascination with the unexplained bringing him to the scene of the same incidents they were investigating, and he found a receptive ear in Gwen – and still does, as apparently only she can still see him as his walks invisibly among the living. Eugene had also found an unusual eye some time before, apparently his own little alien artifact, and as Gwen continues to pry into the circumstances surrounding his death, she discovers that Eugene’s fate and the eye are intertwined – and perhaps the eye could even bring him back, even as his family mourns.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Jacquetta May
directed by James Erskine
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Paul Chequer (Eugene), Luke Bromley (young Eugene), Nicola Duffett (Bronwen Jones), Roger Ashton-Griffiths (Mr. Garrett), Steven Meo (Josh), Celyn Jones (Gary), Robyn Isaac (Linda), Gareth Potter (Shaun Jones), Joshua Hughes (Terry Jones), Amy Starling (Waitress), Leroy Liburd (Cafe Owner), Ryan Chappell (Pete)

Original title: Invisible Eugene

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Out Of Time

TorchwoodCaptain Jack is waiting on the tarmac as a plane comes in to land; its three passengers left just half an hour ago – in the year 1953. He takes them back to the Torchwood Hub, where it falls to him to break it to them that over 50 years have passed, and they can’t go back. Slowly but surely, the team tries to help the trio of temporal castaways adjust to 21st century life, but naturally some have more trouble than others. Owen covers up his feelings for Gwen and embarks on a fling with freewheeling pilot Diane Holmes, only to find that he’s terrified to fall in love with her. Gwen takes in the youngest of the two women and tries to help her adjust to modern life, but also finds out a few things about herself in the process. And Jack may have the toughest assignment of all, dealing with a man who, if he can’t live in 1953, doesn’t want to live at all.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Catherine Tregenna
directed by Alice Troughton
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Louise Delamere (Diane), Mark Lewis Jones (John Ellis), Olivia Hallinan (Emma), Sam Beezely (Alan Ellis), Marion Fenner (Nurse), Janine Carrington (Alesha), Rhea Bailey (Jade), Andrew MacBean (Flying Instructor), Ciaran Dowd (Barman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Combat

TorchwoodA series of deaths corresponding to Weevil attacks may be an indication that the rift is widening. Based on the evidence at hand, Jack thinks that Weevils are coming through the rift, being captured and then used as untraceable murder weapons. Even an attempt to use the one Weevil that Torchwood has in captivity fails, and so Owen is assigned to go undercover to find out more about a warehouse where the latest victim’s body was found. Posing as a businessman seeking warehouse space on the wharf, Owen meets Mark Lynch, an enigmatic but successful entrepreneur who complains that even wealth and power don’t satisfy him. He introduces Owen to a secret organization in which men who feel emasculated by modern life try to regain their manhood – by surviving a cage match with a captured Weevil. When Lynch discovers that there’s more to Owen than meets the eye, he decides that Owen will be the next gladiator.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Noel Clarke
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Alex Hassell (Mark Lynch), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Alexandra Dunn (Barmaid), Matthew Raymond (Boyfriend), David Gyasi (Hospital Patient)

Notes: Writer and actor Noel Clarke, who was also behind the screenplay of the acclaimed (and somewhat controversial) film Kidulthood, is better known to Doctor Who fans in the role of Mickey Smith, Rose’s boyfriend during the first two seasons of that series’ revival. Elements of the story strongly resemble the novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk, upon which the popular movie of the same name was based.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Captain Jack Harkness

TorchwoodReports of music from an abandoned dance hall get Jack’s attention; when he and Toshiko go to investigate, something strange happens and they slip through time to 1941. Jack quickly finds that he has to shield Toshiko from the locals’ suspicions of the Japanese at the height of World War II, and in the meantime, he’s introduced to a dashingly handsome American captain…named Jack Harkness. When Toshiko insists, Jack explains that this is the man whose identity he took after tumbling through time into Earth’s past. Worse yet, Jack is torn between falling for his namesake and trying to urge the real Captain Harkness to live his life to the fullest, for history records that tomorrow is the day he dies, heroically saving his men from a German ambush. Hovering about the dance hall at all times is Mr. Bilis Manger, the proprietor of the establishment – and curiously, Gwen sees him in the present day as well, completely untouched by the passage of time, and completely uncooperative in her search for evidence that could help to retrieve Jack and Toshiko. Owen has his own ideas on getting them back: open the temporal rift that runs through Cardiff.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Catherine Tregenna
directed by Ashley Way
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Matt Rippy (The Captain), Murray Melvin (Bilis Manger), Elen Rhys (Nancy), Nadine Beaton (Audrey), Gavin Brocker (George), Peter Sandys-Clark (Tim), Ciaran Joyce (Smiler), Melissa Moore (Singer)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

End Of Days

TorchwoodThough he and Toshiko have returned safely to the present, Jack is furious with Owen for opening the rift, especially when people from throughout Earth’s history begin appearing, resulting in, among other things, a revival of the bubonic plague in the heart of Cardiff. Jack and Gwen go to pay Bilis Manger another visit, but he proves to be full of cryptic, less-than-helpful advice – until he shows Gwen a vision of what he claims is the future, in which she sees Rhys murdered. Gwen brings Rhys to the Torchwood Hub for his own safety, but another appearance by Bilis proves that no one is safe even there – and it is Bilis himself who fulfills the prophecy and kills Rhys just before vanishing again. One by one, the other members of Torchwood experience visions of long-lost loved ones, each urging them to open the rift again to save the world. Jack is the only one who doesn’t have an unsettling vision, but it’s already too late: the rest of his team is convinced that opening the rift will set things right, and Owen is willing to kill Jack to keep him from interfering. But when all hell breaks loose through the rift, who will save Torchwood – and the world – now?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Ashley Way
music by Murray Gold & Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Murray Melvin (Bilis), Tom Price (PC Andy), Caroline Chikezie (Lisa), Louise Delamere (Diane), Matthew Gravelle (Doctor), Noriko Aida (Toshiko’s Mother), Jamie Belton (Roman Soldier), Carrie Grace (Newsreader), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Rhian Wyn Jones (Religious Woman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

TorchwoodSome time after Captain Jack’s mysterious disappearance, Torchwood has continued to track down aliens and their artifacts as they seep through the interdimensional rift running through Cardiff. Gwen has assumed command, but she’s left at a bit of a loose end when Jack suddenly returns, and a new mystery conveniently prevents him from explaining where he’s been. That mystery arrives in the form of Captain John Hart, who introduces himself as a former time agent – like Jack – though no one’s quite sure what that means. He’s on Earth to seek Torchwood’s help, but Jack has grave misgivings about his former fellow con man’s mission. But when he picks up on how little Jack’s team know about him, Captain John takes the opportunity to stir their vague mistrust of their leader.

Season 2 Regular Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Ashley Way
music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), James Marsters (Captain John Hart), Menna Trussler (Old Woman), Paul Kasey (Blowfish), Crispin Layfield (Mugger), Nathan Ryan (Victim), Inika Leigh Wright (Hologram Woman), Sarah Whyte (Teenage Girl)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Sleeper

TorchwoodAn attempted robbery in urban Cardiff ends with one of the criminals dead with a vicious wound left by some kind of blade, and the other in a coma – and a traumatized couple who seem to know nothing about what happened. Torchwood takes over the investigation from the police, and their interest quickly homes in on Beth, one of the couple who was attacked. Her statements don’t seem to add up, but her reactions to being in Torchwood custody seem perfectly normal for a scared civilian. When Jack insists on scanning her with a mind probe, only then does Beth’s true nature emerge – she’s not human at all, but an alien sleeper agent in human form, gathering intelligence and preparing to clear the way for an invasion. When the probe is discontinued, Beth’s seemingly human personality reasserts itself, but her alien physiology makes it impossible to isolate her by something as mundane as stasis or cryogenic freezing. She escapes the Torchwood hub with Jack and Gwen on her trail, but massive explosions, brutal murders and other incidents in and around Cardiff reveal that Beth isn’t the only sleeper agent there. The entire cell has reverted to a single-minded drive to complete the mission – and begin the invasion ahead of schedule.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by James Moran
directed by Colin Teague
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Beth), Dyfed Potter (Mike), Doug Rollins (David), Claire Cage (David’s Wife), Sean Carlson (Mr. Grainger), Victoria Pugh (Mrs. Grainger), Luke Rutherford (Burglar 1), Alex Harries (Burglar 2), Dominic Coleman (Police Officer), Paul Kasey (Weevil), William Hughes (Boy), Millie Philippart (Girl), Matthew Arwel Pegram (Driver), Derek Lea (Paramedic)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

To The Last Man

Torchwood1918: A young soldier, trying to recover from shellshock experienced on the front in the war, is brought to a hospital in Cardiff – a hospital where the nurses claim to be seeing ghosts. Two people approach him, identifying themselves as members of Torchwood, and secure his immediate release, insisting that he come back to their base of operations with them.

2008: The soldier from 1918 is unfrozen and revived from suspended animation, as Torchwood’s modern-day counterparts try to figure out what connection he has to a series of disturbances in time, centered around the hospital from which he was taken. Toshiko is particularly taken with him, and is appalled to learn that the solution that will stitch the timelines back together in their natural order will require him to return to 1918 permanently. But worse, he won’t return only to be patched up and sent to the frontlines again – he’ll resume his shellshocked state and be executed by firing squad for “cowardice”. Knowing that this fate awaits him, can he muster the courage to return – or will Toshiko let him return – to his own time?

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Helen Raynor
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Anthony Lewis (Thomas), Roderic Culver (Gerald), Siobahn Hewlett (Harriet), Lizzie Rogan (Nurse), Ricky Fearon (Foreman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Meat

TorchwoodTorchwood responds to an accident involving a shipment of meat – from the packing plant where Rhys, Gwen’s fiance, works. The truck has wrecked, the driver is dead, and Jack and the team arrive to take a sample of the meat. Rhys has also gotten as call about the aaccident, and sees Gwen on the scene, assuming it’s part of her police work…but she later denies having been there. Owen identifies the meat, and as the team expected, it’s a creature that’s slipped through the rift. Suspicious, Rhys trails Gwen the next day, as she and the rest of her team converge on the slaughterhouse. But before he can confront her, he’s accosted by the men running the operation, and bluffs his way in…where he discovers that they’ve captured a huge, whale-like alien, still alive, which keeps growing and regenerating itself after meat is cut out of its body. Rhys tells Gwen about what he’s seen, and she brings him to the Hub, where it’s decided – very much against Gwen’s wishes – that Rhys is now Torchwood’s best chance to shut down the alien meat operation. Gwen feels that Rhys is taking on the assignment to impress her, trying to compete with her life of secrets and danger, but he temporarily joins the team anyway – even if this mission sends him to the abattoir.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Cahterine Tregenna
directed by Colin Teague
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Colin Baxter (Policeman), Patti Clare (Ruth), Garry Lake (Vic), Gerard Carey (Greg), Matt Ryan (Dale)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Adam

TorchwoodRhys helps make Gwen just a little bit late for work, and when she arrives, there’s an unfamiliar face at Torchwood – a man named Adam who everyone else already seems to know. When he puts his hand on her shoulder, however, Gwen remembers him instantly – of course, it’s Adam, a longtime member of the Torchwood team. But when Gwen gets home, she suddenly can’t remember Rhys and thinks he’s an intruder (despite everyone else in Torchwood knowing who he is). Everyone confides in Adam, and more importantly, everyone’s got nothing but good memories of working with Adam. But by chance, Ianto encounters evidence that Adam isn’t a part of Torchwood and never has been – and when he confronts Adam with this discovery, Adam threatens to reveal Ianto’s dark secret.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Catherine Tregenna
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Bryan Dick (Adam), Demetri Goritsas (Jack’s Father), Lauren Ward (Jack’s Mother), Jack Montgomery (young Jack), Ethan Brooke (Gray), Rhys Myers (young Ethan), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Jo McLaren (Murdered Woman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Reset

TorchwoodA series of unexplained deaths attracts the attention of both Torchwood and UNIT, resulting in a rare collaboration. UNIT loans out its new medical officer, Dr. Martha Jones, to Torchwood – and the rest of Torchwood seems terribly surprised when Martha and Jack seem to go back a long way. But even more troubling is the evidence Martha finds during the autopsy of the latest victim – a needle mark in his eye, and a substance in his bloodstream that she thinks is erasing medical evidence. Another victim turns up, alive, but shortly before she dies, she tells Martha and Owen that she had previously had HIV, but that it was miraculously cured by a drug called Reset that she took as part of a clinical trial. When she dies, insects erupt from her open mouth, and then die just as suddenly. They turn out to be of alien origin, but the organization conducting human trials of Reset is keeping everything very hush-hush – and they’re aware of Torchwood’s investigation. Martha volunteers to pass herself off as a new clinical test subject, but even with Jack and his team backing her up, she may be in over her head – and getting her out of danger turns out to be a deadlier endeavour than usual.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by J.C. Wilsher
directed by Ashley Way
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones), Alan Dale (Copley), Jacqueline Boatswain (Plummer), Jan Anderson (Marie), Rhodri Miles (Billy), Michael Sewell (Mike), John Samuel Worsey (Policeman)

Notes: The “mayfly”‘s method of incubating its larvae inside the human body have led some fans to draw the conclusion that the enormous insects are, or are related to, the Wirrn fought by the fourth Doctor in The Ark In Space, though there’s nothing in this episode to confirm that. Martha’s boyfriend is presumably Thomas Milligan, seen in Last Of The Time Lords. The Doctor apparently put in a good word for Martha after she left his company in that episode, leading to her UNIT recruitment.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dead Man Walking

TorchwoodAs the team struggles to come to terms with Owen’s death after the Reset incident, Jack insists on using the other resurrection gauntlet – the opposite number of the one used by Suzie Costello – but unlike the first glove, it brings Owen back for two minutes – and then some. Even when Jack removes the glove, Owen is still walking around and talking, but he has no pulse. Martha determines that something is bringing about drastic changes to Owen’s biochemistry: he’s already only 40% human. What the other 60% is, no one knows – until Owen’s eyes change completely to black and he begins speaking in an alien language in a voice that isn’t his. Even the Weevils fear him. With time running out, and an alien presence apparently using him as its foothold on Earth, Owen comes up with an option that horrifies his teammates: having himself enbalmed while still alive to rob the presence of its host.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Matt Jones
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Skye Bennett (Little Girl), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Joanna Griffiths (Nurse), Ben Walker (Jamie Burton), Lauren Phillips (Hen Night Girl), Golda Rosheuvel (Doctor), Janie Booth (Hospital Patient), Rhys Ap William (Police Officer)

Notes: The first resurrection gauntlet was last seen in the first season’s They Keep Killing Suzie, another instance in which it didn’t exactly behave as advertised.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

A Day In The Death

TorchwoodHaving survived thus far, Owen is driven to the brink of insanity with the knowledge that he simply can’t die – but with his body hovering between life and complete death, he can’t eat, sleep or have sex either, which rules out most of his favorite activities. Relieved of his duties at Torchwood and replaced by Martha, Owen is reduced to making the coffee until an assignment arises that requires a way to get someone in past heat sensors. Since Owen’s body generates no heat, he’s perfect for the mission, but he also has to make sure not to take any physical damage since his body doesn’t heal either, which may make this a suicide mission – and this, too, may suit Owen just fine.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Joseph Lidster
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Richard Briers (Parker), Christine Bottomley (Maggie), Louis Decosta Johnson (Farrington), Brett Allen (Taylor), Gil Kolirin (Webb)

Notes: Joseph Lidster got his start as a professional writer by sending in a spec script for Big Finish Productions’ Doctor Who audio adventures, which – after a few revisions – became 2003’s experimental and somewhat controversial story The Rapture. He’s become one of the most prolific and popular writers in the Big Finish stable, and has also written print fiction for official Doctor Who annuals and short story collections. A Day In The Death was his first professional TV script. Guest star Richard Briers appeared as the evil Chief Caretaker in Sylvester McCoy’s second story as the Doctor, Paradise Towers, in 1987; at least here he didn’t have to act next to any enormous neon eyeballs.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Something Borrowed

TorchwoodThe day before Gwen’s wedding is typical Torchwood – a desperate chase to track down a shapeshifting alien vampire from the rift, followed by a bachelorette party. But as the big day dawns, Gwen has more than jitters or the strange bite on her arm to deal with: she awakens to find that she’s not just pregnant, but very pregnant – almost to full term. Despite the reactions of everyone around her, from Rhys to his parents to her own parents, Gwen is determined to go ahead with the wedding. Owen discovers that the baby isn’t Rhys’s – nor is it that of any other human. The male of this vampire species reproduces by infesting a host body through a bite, and the egg grows in that body until the vampire female arrives to harvest it and give birth. Immediately the hunt is on for the female vampire among Gwen’s wedding guests, but even if she can be found and dealt with, the wedding might be derailed just a little bit – and then there’s the small matter of the rest of the wedding party witnessing a hunt for an alien creature.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Phil Ford
directed by Ashley Way
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Nerys Hughes (Brenda), Sharon Morgan (Mary), William Thomas (Geraint), Robin Griffith (Barry), Collette Brown (Carrie), Danielle Henry (Megan), Ceri Ann Gregory (Trina), Jonathan Lewis Owen (Banana Boat), Morgan Hopkins (Mervyn), Valerie Murray (Registrar), Pethrow Gooden (Shop Assistant)

Notes: Nerys Hughes guest starred as Todd in the 1982 Doctor Who story Kinda alongside Peter Davison.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

From Out Of The Rain

TorchwoodOne of Cardiff’s oldest movie houses reopens its doors and celebrates by showing reels of nostalgic silent film discovered in the basement. Gwen, Ianto and Owen visit the first showing, but when the projector won’t shut off – and they see Jack in the film, billed as “the man who can’t die” at a traveling carnival and shooting himself – the silent movie quickly becomes a Torchwood matter. Soon after the film is shown, people begin turning up in a catatonic state near the theater, no longer breathing but still alive. One of the film reels is confiscated and taken back to the Torchwood hub, where Ianto notices that there are people missing from scenes – namely the carnival barker and his main attraction, the mermaid woman. But when the team returns to the theater, they find that not only are these two people there in the flesh, but they’re helping the rest of their carnival emerge from film and into reality – to help them claim more victims.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by P.J. Hammond
directed by Jonathan Fox Bassett
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Julian Bleach (The Ghostmaker), Camilla Power (Pearl), Craig Gallivan (Jonathan), Gerard Carey (Greg), Steven Marzella (Dave Penn), Hazel Wyn Williams (Faith Penn), Lowri Sian Jones (Nettie), Eileen Essell (Christina), Anwen Carlisle (Restaurant Owner), Yasmin Wilde (Senior Nurse), Caroline Sheen (A&E Nurse), Alastair Sill (Young Dad), Catherine Olding (Young Mum)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Adrift

TorchwoodOne of Gwen’s old friends in the Cardiff Police asks her to help with a missing persons case, and is disappointed by her apparent lack of interest – until she sees the surveillance video of the disappearance, which has two extraordinary features – a bright light, just out of the camera’s range, at the moment of the disappearance…and the presence of Jack Harkness in the very next frame. Gwen immediately confronts Jack about his whereabouts at the time, and finds his answer evasive. Despite a direct order from Jack to not waste Torchwood’s time with a missing persons case better suited to the police, Gwen pursues the investigation in her spare time, discovering that many more people have gone missing under similar circumstances – and she risks everything to confirm her gut feeling that Jack is involved.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Mark Everest
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Tom Price (PC Andy), Ruth Jones (Nikki), Robert Pugh (Jonah), Lorna Gayle (Helen), Oliver Ferriman (young Jonah)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fragments

TorchwoodThe late 1800s: After his death and miraculous resurrection are witnessed numerous times in Cardiff, Captain Jack Harkness – laying low in the city after his return from the 51st century, as he waits for the TARDIS to appear and refuel from the rift – is captured by Torchwood. They experiment on him, killing him numerous times, and decide that, like the Doctor, he is an unnatural threat that Torchwood must deal with – unless he pledges his allegiance to them and works for them. Distrustful at first, Jack decides to take Torchwood up on its offer, and begins working to evolve the alien-hunting agency beyond its original mandate.

2002: Toshiko Sato, an IT expert with high security clearances, uses her position to obtain classified plans for a top-secret weapon, which she builds and hands over to the people who are holding her mother hostage. But she hasn’t covered her tracks well enough, because UNIT troops mount a raid during the handover. Toshiko is arrested and held in close confinement with no contact with the outside world, until Captain Jack Harkness arrives, offering her a job with a top-secret agency…

2005: Dr. Owen Harper is baffled when his fiancee begins experiencing the earliest onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in recorded medical history. Owen insists on new MRI scans, which detect an unusual, fast-growing tumor. But Owen’s future bride dies in the operating room, and Owen witnesses the arrival of a man named Captain Jack, who claims that his fiancee has been the victim of an alien parasite. Jack later offers Owen a job with his top-secret agency, saying he needs a medical expert.

2006: While hunting a Weevil solo, Jack is cornered until a young man comes to his aid, clubbing the Weevil and allowing Jack to subdue him. When the stranger casually remarks that the creature looks like a Weevil, Jack rushes away. Jack finds this young man, one Ianto Jones, waiting for him outside of Torchwood’s Cardiff headquarters the next day. Ianto, jobless after the destruction of Torchwood One at Canary Wharf, is looking for a job – and he looks good in a suit. After he proves his worth, Jack may just have one for him.

2008: Minus Gwen, who has overslept, Jack and the rest of the Torchwood team investigate odd readings indicating alien activity. But instead they find bombs mere seconds away from detonating. An old enemy of Jack’s has returned, and the rest of Jack’s team may regret the day they signed up.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Jonathan Fox Bassett
music by Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Amy Manson (Alice Guppy), Heather Carney (Emily Holroyd), Paul Kasey (Blowfish / Weevil), Skye Bennett (Little Girl), Julian Lewis Jones (Alex), Simon Shackleton (Bob), Gareth Jones (Security Guard), Claire Clifford (Milton), Noriko Aida (Toshiko’s Mother), Andrea Lowe (Katie), Richard Lloyd-King (Doctor), Catherine Morris (Nurse), Selva Rasalingam (Psychiatrist), James Marsters (Captain John Hart), Lachlan Nieboer (Gray)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Exit Wounds

TorchwoodAfter escaping the bomb blast, Torchwood is helpless in the face of a promise of revenge from Captain John Hart. And Captain John has another ace up his sleeve: he’s found Jack’s brother Grey, alive and grown up. When Jack returns to the Torchwood hub, John kidnaps him and forces him to watch as he sets off a devastating series of huge explosions throughout Cardiff…and then John takes Jack back in time through the rift to Cardiff in 27 A.D., where Grey is waiting. Driven mad by the torment he endured after his older brother lost track of him, Grey is now seeking revenge, and buries Jack alive. Gwen mobilizes the rest of Torchwood and finds herself having to tell the city’s police what to do – as best she can. One of the explosions has cut off external power to the Turnmill nuclear power station, and Owen races to prevent a meltdown as the rest of the team returns to the hub. They find Captain John there, who explains that he was forced to do Grey’s bidding, and claims that he can locate Jack for them. But Grey isn’t finished with the rest of the team: he shoots Toshiko at point blank range and traps Gwen, Ianto and John in the underground cells normally reserved for Weevils. Without Toshiko’s technical advice, Owen finds himself trapped at the nuclear station with a radioactive disaster imminent. Whether or not Jack can be found and can save the day, his team will never be the same – nor will his relationship with his brother.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by Chris Chibnall
directed by Ashley Way
music by Murray Gold and Ben Foster

Guest Cast: Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), James Marsters (Captain John Hart), Tom Price (PC Andy), Lachlan Nieboer (Gray), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Golda Rosheuvel (Dr. Angela Connolly), Syreeta Kumar (Nira Docherty), Cornelius Macarthy (Charles Gaskell), Amy Manson (Alice Guppy)

Notes: At last, Toshiko’s presence alongside the ninth Doctor in Aliens Of London is explained – apparently, Owen was to have been sent to investigate the “space pig,” but was hungover and didn’t answer his phone. Toshiko was sent to pose as a medic instead – not exactly her forte – which explains her jumpiness when the Doctor arrived on the scene.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Lost Souls

Torchwood: Lost SoulsTorchwood leaves Cardiff behind for a flight to Switzerland after a call from Martha Jones. Serving as part of the UNIT contingent at the soon-to-be-activated Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, Martha says that strange occurrences and even unexplained disappearances among personnel are taking place – followed by a cover-up which UNIT doesn’t seem to be able to penetrate. Torchwood gains access to the collider by passing Ianto off as the Welsh ambassador, and Martha gives them a first-hand look at what’s been happening to some of the people who enter the colliider tunnel. But when Gwen and Ianto enter the tunnel for themselves, Ianto’s certain he can hear the voices of the dead – even voices claiming to be Owen, Toshiko and Lisa – while Gwen tries to fight off the same sensation. Unknown to them, however, someone else on site has already been hearing those same “voices of the dead” – and is doing their bidding, regardless of the consequences to the collider experiment or its personnel.

Order the CDwritten by Joseph Lidster
directed by Kate McAll
music by Ben Foster and Murray Gold

Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Lucy Montgomery (Professor Johnson), Stephen Crichlow (Dr. Oliver Harrington), Mark Meadows (Leon Foiret)

Notes: This first made-for-audio Torchwood adventure was produced by BBC Radio 4 for broadcast on September 10th, 2008, to mark the occasion of the real-life CERN Large Hadron Collider being fully switched on for the first time. Writer Joseph Lidster, who also penned the Torchwood TV episode A Day In The Death, got his started writing audio dramas based on the series from which Torchwood spun off, Doctor Who. In a way, Lost Souls brings Doctor Who-related audio drama back to its very beginnings – the first Doctor Who audio story, Exploration Earth: The Time Machine, was an educational program starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen during their TV heyday.

Timeline: As the funerals of Owen and Toshiko (both of whom died in the second season finale Exit Wounds) are mentioned as a recent event, and they’re also the last time that the surviving Torchwood members saw Martha, presumably Lost Souls takes place between Exit Wounds and the Doctor Who fourth season finale The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End, which saw Torchwood and Martha working together again.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Devised as a semi-educational part of BBC Radio 4’s “Big Bang Day,” celebrating the inauguration of the Large Hadron Collider operating beneath the border of France and Switzerland, Lost Souls actually falls just a little bit short in both its educational remit and as a Torchwood adventure.

Though the story, via dialogue, gets across the basic news soundbite explanation of the LHC, oversimplifying things a bit, but it gets what information is needed for the purposes of the plot across – that’s okay. What I’m not too crazy about is that we then get, by way of Captain Jack, a more mystified version of that information, with Jack claiming at one point that the Higgs Boson particle is “life” itself. (In fact, the theoretical Higgs Boson particle is related to mass, i.e. why everything in the universe has mass.) To characterize the Higgs Boson as “life” is misleading at best, and normally I wouldn’t begrudge anyone in the Doctor Who universe for taking a little bit of dramatic license, except that Lost Souls was commissioned specially for the occasion of a day of talk radio programming aimed at demystifying the LHC.

As far as the Torchwood end of things goes, perhaps due to its afternoon timeslot, the characterizations and script are perhaps a bit watered down from what we’d normally expect from Torchwood – there are a couple of “what the hell”s uttered, and Jack makes one reference to someone’s good looks. Otherwise, it might as well be audio Doctor Who. But then again, I’m not sure that the middle of the afternoon is a reasonable time to expect the usual saucy Torchwood fare. I did, however, find the frequent mentions of Owen and Toshiko’s deaths as a recent event to be interesting. This is an aftermath that we didn’t get to see played out on TV, and it’s interesting – and not completely incidental to the plot either.

It’s not bad – it at least feels like TV Torchwood – but when the thing was conceived as a part of a day meant to enlighten the public about the LHC, I’m not sure it helps to slot real explanations in alongside something that really straddled the fence between science fiction and science fantasy.

Asylum

Torchwood: AsylumA young woman appears out of thin air and plummets into the river; not long afterward, Gwen’s old friend Andy arrests the same young woman for shoplifting, and discovers a strange, futuristic weapon in her possession. Andy calls Gwen and Torchwood in to inspect both the weapon and its bearer. The girl can barely remember her own name, but when her blood tests and other facts come to light, Andy is alarmed that Torchwood wants to take her into custody, despite Gwen’s assurances. Jack and Ianto discover the true use of the “gun” – a device which can jam vehicles, communications and electronics – and Jack is certain that Earth won’t see technology like this for decades at the very least. The girl’s memory gradually returns, and she recovers enough from her ordeal to tell Gwen and Andy about a dystopian future that she barely survived…or perhaps she didn’t survive it after all.

Order the CDwritten by Anita Sullivan
directed by Kate McAll
music by Murray Gold

Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Tom Price (PC Andy Davidson), Eric Richards (Freda), Dick Bradnum (Dog owner / Radio ad actor), Matthew Gravelle (Security guard), Sara McGaughey (WPC / Cyclist), Isabel Lewis (Girl)

Notes: This made-for-audio Torchwood adventure was produced by BBC Radio 4 for broadcast on July 1st, 2009, days before the premiere of Children Of Earth on BBC TV.

Timeline: After the audio story Lost Souls, but before the Torchwood: Children Of Earth TV miniseries.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

Golden Age

Torchwood: Golden AgeJack, Gwen and Ianto leave the confines of Cardiff to investigate the disappearance of thousands of people in India. The trail leads to Delhi, where they witness one of the disappearances first-hand, as hapless dockworkers are consumed by some kind of energy net. But even more suspicious is some of the cargo that was being moved – cargo addressed to Captain Jack Harkness. It turns out that Delhi is one of Jack’s old stomping grounds, and the home of Torchwood India, which Jack shut down nearly a century ago. Jack pays a visit to the colonial gentlemen’s club which was once home to the local Torchwood group, and is stunned to find that it’s still in operation – and his old cohort the Duchess is still in charge and hasn’t aged a day. Despite that oddity, nothing immediately links Torchwood India to the mass disappearances in Delhi. But clearly the presence of the team from Cardiff has the Duchess’ staff and servants on edge – their answers are evasive at best. When Gwen and Ianto disappear without a trace, Jack discovers the terrifying truth: the Duchess is so obsessed with clinging to the British Empire’s past that she’ll sacrifice humanity’s future to preserve it.

Order the CDwritten by James Goss
directed by Kate McAll
music by Murray Gold

Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Jasmine Hyde (The Duchess), Amerjit Dew (Mr. Daz), Ravin J. Ganatra (Mahajan), Richard Mitchley (Gissing)

Notes: This made-for-audio Torchwood adventure was produced by BBC Radio 4 for broadcast on July 2nd, 2009, days before the premiere of Children Of Earth on BBC TV. Writer James Goss was previously in charge of bbc.co.uk’s FictionLab project, and one of his duties in that job was coordinating with Big Finish for the production of the animated webcast Real Time starring Colin Baker as the sixth Doctor. Torchwood India is said to have retrieved a Yeti sphere from the Himalayas (possibly left over from, or related to, the 1968 Doctor Who story The Abominable Snowmen). At the end of Golden Age, after Torchwood India vanishes, Ianto comments that there’s “nothing at the end of the lane” – an in-joke on the earliest working title for the very first episode of Doctor Who, which was eventually broadcast under the title An Unearthly Child.

Timeline: After the audio story Asylum, and before both the audio story The Dead Line and the Torchwood: Children Of Earth TV miniseries.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: A rock-solid Torchwood adventure that would’ve done the TV series proud, Golden Age is a rare Torchwood gem: it exposes some of Jack’s past and actually pays it off within the same story in a way that’s integral to the narrative. It returns to the idea of Torchwood as a corrupted organization, long before the fall of the arrogant modern-day Torchwood at Canary Wharf (or, indeed, in Children Of Earth), and at the same time comments – uncompromisingly – on the subject of British imperial colonialism.

The guest cast is great across the board. At first I was a bit put off at the slightly dizzy reading of the Duchess character, until I finally realized that it was perfectly appropriate – the woman has completely flipped. Despite the fact that this is clearly Jack’s story, Golden Age has interesting moments for both Gwen and Ianto as well; the supporting characters are well fleshed-out too.

If there’s one gigantic glaring flaw to Golden Age, it’s this: the moment you realize the nature of the story’s big threat, you know exactly how it can be, if not defeated, then at least slowed down enough for a solution to be found. The story is resolved in a manner very similar to season 1’s End Of Days; the moment that anything that feeds on life itself is revealed to be the big bad, it’s a given that Captain Jack’s inexhaustible supply of life force will save the day. But aside from the painfully obvious resolution, Golden Age is one of the better Torchwood radio adventures.

The Dead Line

Torchwood: The Dead LineA growing number of people are ending up in Cardiff’s hospitals, trapped in a trancelike comatose state. These victims all have one thing in common: they answered a random phone call on a vintage business phone. While Jack can understand retro chic, he doesn’t understand how the outdated phones could be having this effect. A trace reveals that the same number was responsible for all of the victims to date. Jack calls the number and gets no answer, but when he gets a call back from that number and answers the phone, he joins the ranks of the victims. Ianto and Gwen call on the expertise of an old flame of Jack’s, neurologist Stella Courtney. She’s familiar with Jack and with Torchwood, but hasn’t been involved with either since the 1970s. With Rhys helping out, Gwen tries to track down more information on the phones responsible for the wave of incidents. Ianto stays at Jack’s bedside while Dr. Courtney tries to learn more by watching Jack’s brainwaves. Torchwood needs to work fast, because the effects are soon no longer limited to a specific set of 30-year-old telephones…

Order the CDwritten by Phil Ford
directed by Kate McAll
music by Murray Gold

Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Kai Owen (Rhys), Dona Croll (Stella), Eiry Thomas (Jan), Matthew Gravelle (Bob), Brendan Charleson (Tyler)

Notes: This made-for-audio Torchwood adventure was produced by BBC Radio 4 for broadcast on July 3rd, 2009, days before the premiere of Children Of Earth on BBC TV. The Dead Line was written specifically to accomodate an extremely tight recording schedule for John Barrowman, hence Jack’s absence from much of the story. Phil Ford has scripted TV adventures for both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Timeline: After the audio story Golden Age, and before the Torchwood: Children Of Earth TV miniseries.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

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