Do you ever wonder as you get older where the time has gone, that it just seems to accelerate so that what seemed like just a few weeks ago was in fact much longer? Well, since last month’s Fall to Earth it seems that several years has passed to when we pick up with Gwen and Rhys in Forgotten Lives.
It’s been half a decade since the Miracle, and Torchwood’s surviving couple seem to be comparatively settled – such as they can be – raising their daughter and quietly avoiding attention. But a strange phonecall draws them northwards to the isolation of the Bryn Offa Nursing Home, and before you can say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch it’s clear that there’s something unnatural going on – that laundry is going to have to wait…
There’s some amusing and clever surprises in Forgotten Lives, and it’s three for three for the new series with writer Emma Reeves bringing out the best in a Gwen/Rhys dynamic that improved throughout the TV seasons. Eve Myles and Kai Owen are on top form and bounce off each other brilliantly, with the parenthood aspects fitting into their banter perfectly too.
As the mystery deepens, there’s some meaty roles for Philip Bond (Ganatus from The Daleks) and Seán Carlsen (Gallifrey and the Torchwood episode Sleeper), and the atmosphere is spot on once again. Being Torchwood, there’s no happy endings guaranteed, and the strength of the cast helps add punch to the more disturbing aspects of the story. The notes on age and dementia are thoughtfully handled (if not quite as considered or poignant as in the Unbound story Deadline) and the soundscape is used effectively to support the atmosphere.
If there’s any niggles, there is a bit of accent drift in the southerly direction in a couple of cases, and there’s a hint of disappointment that the idea of isolated North Wales is actually quite close to Wrexham! Torchwood Talsarnau would have been wonderful… though Jack may prefer Aberllynfi 😉 The links to the Committee come late on, and while they give an interesting angle that this is set significantly later does lessen the immediacy of their threat from the first two stories in this series a little.
That said, Forgotten Lives is a strong story in its own right, and the quality of this series continues to be excellent. Next installment, it looks like it’s a jump backward in time, hearken to Hartman!
Torchwood: Forgotten Lives is available now from BigFinish.com