In two recent releases from Torchwood, Gareth David-Lloyd and Naoko Mori battle aliens in the Theatre and Burn Gorman teams up with an old colleague to find out why people are dropping into comas.

Dinner and a Show by Gareth David-Lloyd

You know it’s Gareth David-Lloyd writing for Ianto when he ends up in a tux. This time, not to look like James Bond, but to go to the Opera.

Tosh (Mori) settles down to watch an opera on Valentine’s Day, waiting for her “friend date” Owen. However when Ianto (David-Lloyd) turns up (finding her drunk on cheep pressco) they must find out why and which aliens are catching the show with them.

At this point, it’s clear Gareth David-Lloyd knows how to write a great story and is very good at picking out good pairings and playing the comedy angle amongst the gore and terror that we get in the Torchwood world. Putting together Tosh and Ianto is a master stroke and hard to believe it never happened in the two series of Torchwood they shared. They are both the ones who do the heavy lifting and keep focused on the job when all around them want to go off for a pint and a shag. Having them being able to share that pain, whilst also having Ianto deal with a drunken Tosh sets the stage for a great listen. For me I wish Tosh especially was given more chances to spread her wings like this in TV Torchwood.

Iceberg by Grace Knight

When Owen (Gorman) gets the call to help out an old colleague, Amira (Maya Saroya), he comes right away, but things from the get go don’t seem right. She had coma patients and asks Owen to perform tests he knows Amira is more than capable of. Then the amount of coma patients seems high, that’s also strange. Finally there is the Lucy (Lowri Walton), who isn’t in a coma yet, but is seeing her dead sister as an imaginary friend. How does this all fit together and what is really going on? Owen is looking for answers. Amira seems more interested in why he didn’t keep in touch, something Owen would much rather not think about.

Where Dinner and a Show highlighted the comedic side of Torchwood, Iceberg deals with the grit and regret this series is just as known for. We get a mystery of what is happening on a medical front and emotional turmoil for Owen going some way to explaining his harsh exterior and his transitory attitude to relationships.

The guest cast and characters really bring out the best in Owen’s character. Showing his medical know how, his inquisitive nature and his want not to talk about personal things. Saroya plays a very driven character leading you to wonder why and Walton tugs on our heart strings as she just wants to be with the sister she lost again, played perfectly by both.

Scott Handcock holds directing duties for both stories and does his usual great job. These two releases really highlight for me why Torchwood is now one of Big Finish’s most versatile ranges. It pairs up characters differently (or sets a character with people we haven’t met yet) and tells different types of stories by doing this. These tales both play to the strengths provided by that freedom.

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