After the TV-series feel and length of Aliens Among Us, the bumper special of Believe and foray into Yvonne Hartman’s Torchwood One with Machines, the most recent set of monthly releases may have been overlooked. So as the summer comes to an end, why not catch up with some of the recent Torchwood releases?
There’s a whole bunch to choose from, and with the school holidays finishing plenty of opportunity for playlists for when the younger listeners aren’t around…
Yes, the official series 5 – and with RTD on board as well! This time round he is in a more advisory role behind the scenes, adding to the wealth of Big Finish talent proven in the past couple of years.
Cardiff is not so much invaded as occupied – these aliens look human enough to avoid mass panic, and have built enough financial and political clout to make them a formidable foe for anyone who should want to shift them. But these newcomers may not be all that’s alien in Cardiff, and things are never straighforward where the freshly-rebuilding Torchwood are involved…
As the finale to Aliens Among Us approaches, it seems a good time to have a look back at some of the recent entries in Big Finish’s monthly range of Torchwood that has helped pave the way in popularity and quality. They all feature members of the team who would be unlikely to appear in that “fifth season” – though stranger things have certainly happened in the series! – and tell very different tales in different ways. But how do they fare as entries to the Torchwood canon?
Sometimes the most terrifying place in the world can be the most normal. When the Doctor, Flip and Constance visit a caravan park in Abbey Marston they are not in for a relaxing holiday. It’s not that people don’t come to Abbey Marston to get away from it; it’s just that people no longer here sometimes come to visit.
Summer is always a good time for a blockbuster – if the promise of warmth comes good then it is a great way to relax, and if rain should encroach then it provides entertainment as respite.
Now it’s time for Big Finish to join the party, with another bombastic entry for Kate Stewart and Osgood taking aim at the holidays in UNIT: Assembled. For the fourth boxset featuring the latest UNIT lineup, Big Finish goes all the way back the 70s (or was it the 80s?) and a Silurian menace threatening humankind.
Good job they’ve got some old friends to call up – but the Silurians aren’t on their own either…
Once a year, Torchwood Cardiff does a different kind of public service – it helps the local police with long-idle cold cases.
Naturally, PC Andy jumps for this opportunity to follow in Gwen’s footsteps, though she isn’t to be his liaison – for what better member of Torchwood for Corpse Day than the currently-rather-dead Owen?
Together, Andy and Owen investigate a trend of missing girls, and soon end up far deeper than they expected. It’s not just The Rift that spirits people away, and sometimes humans can be more vicious and disturbing than anything beyond this planet…
Adrian Poynton’s Dethras is an interesting addition to the Fourth Doctor range. Its plot is something of a staple of Who – and I won’t go into much more detail for fear of giving too much away – but Poynton’s execution is full of, well, the bonkers. And I do love a nice bit of bonkers in my Who.
Bonkers, you ask? Well, yes. A WWII (or thereabouts) submarine that’s literally out of this world leads quickly to a talking chimp and marauding space cockroaches (well, that was my take) – and things don’t get all that much saner from thereon in. But the mark of a well-written play is in the resultant insanity’s consistency, and it has to be said that Poynton’s story really does continue to hang together. The bonkersness is only a backdrop to an exploration of things that, well, it has to be said have been well explored before in Who, but are none the worse for being explored again. A complete bastard who has a reason for being so. A guilty party who feels the guilt 110%. A talking chimp.
Nick Briggs directs, Lalla Ward and Tom Baker star, Jamie Robertson does the sound design and music, and David Banks goes “eek” a fair bit. And they all do it with the customary aplomb. It’s pretty-much flawless, and – apart from the lack of K9, who really should be contractually obliged to be in every Big Finish production (whether Tom Baker’s there or not) – it’s a great addition to the range. More from Poynton soon, please.
Dethras is available from Big Finish
Written By: Adrian Poynton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Alistair Petrie (John), Shelia Ruskin (Flague), Josh Bolt (Philip), Brian Vernel (Robert), John Banks (Franklin), Jane Slavin (Xankari/ Teacher).
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Occasionally, the Big Finish Main Range monthly release is a little different. A four-parter of some ilk, perhaps including work from writers new to the range. Or, as in this month’s release, a two-parter. Alien Heart and Dalek Soul.
And I have to say, it’s not a bad idea. It allows a story – two stories, in fact – to be told at a somewhat sharper pace than most of the monthly releases. Less padding, more action. Now, that will only work if the stories in question benefit from that pace – and, to be fair, many wouldn’t. Or at least, many of the main range work well spread over four episodes. But for the two here, I would say that the decisions to keep them to two episodes each were decisions well made.
Although not necessarily well made for the same reasons… (more…)
Once upon a time – a time of big hair, big attitudes and even bigger stereotypes – there was a corner of an exceedingly American part of the United States that was forever British. And it wasn’t just the provenance that made it a very important corner, but that it was the last line of defence for the West Coast against the alien threat… this was Torchwood, LA style!
Hollywood beckons, but wannabe actresses are disappearing – not into obscurity but actually missing. Can Torchwood’s heavenly heroines uncover and challenge the true nature of the threat, and at what cost?
“Previously on Torchwood…”
The last time we encountered Gwen and Rhys in BF’s ongoing Torchwood series, it was on the belting cliffhanger to Made You Look. So it was with a little trepidation that I saw Big Finish’s third season was opening with a Rhys story that had no credit for Eve Myles – could the worst really have happened?
Well, you may have guessed by the way the series varies its time of settings, but Visiting Hours is set before that story so entirely avoids the question – a certain Sherlock showrunner would be proud 😉
We pick up during the time in between Children of Earth and Miracle Day, and Rhys on a particularly sensitive mission – visiting his mum in hospital as she recuperates from a hip operation. But things aren’t normal in this hospital, and patients are disappearing… Can Rhys find the threat and save his mum? And more importantly, can he keep his language clean while doing it?