A second outing this season of BF-Torchwood for Gwen beckons, as she’s back in Cardiff (presumably) after the events of Forgotten Lives. Hope her diary is clear though as she’s in for a Manic Morning, not least of which involves arrangements relating to a new Hub. Forget The Committee, Torchwood must now face their greatest threat – a council planning department…
Some of Torchwood‘s best TV episodes were when the story scaled right back to just a couple of characters, and More Than This fits right in as Planning Officer Roger Pugh (Richard Nichols) gets to experience first hand a particularly busy day in the life of Gwen Cooper. There will be speeding, decapifenestration (if that isn’t a word it ought to be!), art criticism and a choice of salad ingredient – but will the right health and safety forms be filled in correctly?
It has to be said, Big Finish have consistently gotten the spirit of Torchwood encapsulated perfectly and More Than This is no exception, and Pugh’s being thrown in at the deep end in a breathlessly paced story really brings the action and responsibility of what is left of the team into stark relief. But that isn’t at the cost of character, and the depth and honesty of emotion are impressive. Scott Handcock’s script expertly integrates those with action and some fantastic humour, and Richard Nichols and Eve Myles are superb in their roles. Great sound design makes it leap in the imagination, and it’s into cliché-land we reach for as an hour of standalone audio excellence More Than This does manage the rare feat of pulling together to be even greater than its already impressive parts.
But, sadly, it isn’t just an hour of standalone audio excellence, it’s also billed as the finale to Torchwood Series 1 – and I’m peeking back into cliché-land to wave at the elephant in the room. For while the stakes do get higher than any of the previous stories so far, their underlying theme is put on hold – especially perplexing after the climax of last month’s Uncanny Valley. It’s a little like if The Almost People had been followed by Night Terrors (minus Amy scenes, of course) and the loss of sight of the arc for the last of the series unfortunately does lessen the overall whole as it stands.
There’s a silver lining though – Series 2 starts next month with no gap so it could well be that they will hang together as a 12-episode extended run. It would be a real shame if not, as the sheer quality of Big Finish Torchwood is irresistable. So forget about The Collective for an hour, and enjoy More Than This as a fantastic story in its own right!
Torchwood: More Than This is available now from BigFinish.com