We bring you a review of two recent Torchwood releases from Big Finish:
Torchwood: Red Base
James Goss pens this Sgt. Andy (Tom Price) tale, which sees him heading to Mars … well, ok, Neath, but a Mars simulation in Neath. Andy has been sent there by Torchwood to investigate some mysterious deaths in this sealed environment. As more of the crew get picked off, Andy must battle with a rogue AI to save the day.
How perfectly Torchwood. You get sent to a space station and you end up in the valleys. This is such a fun story, but tinged nicely with some suspense and intrigue. Within the story the fake space station and experiment is meant to have been streamed on TV, only to have it’s show canned early on. This is something I found reminiscent of a real unscripted reality show, the Eden project which saw folks live in an artificial environment for a year broadcast live on TV, only when the contestants got out a year later they found out the show was axed within the first month. Little surprise, Goss reveals in the extra’s it is indeed inspired by that show.
The writing in this story really highlights Andy’s smarts. Yes, he isn’t as cool and stylish as the rest of Torchwood, he’s more like us (or at least me). He’s a little geeky, uncool, but has street smarts from years on the force and the kindness not always recognized.
The guest cast (which includes Rakie Ayola from Midnight in the Tennant era) all show the many shades of what this isolation matched with your team mates being taken down one by one would cause.
Torchwood: Save our Souls
Matt Handcock takes on writing duties this time, for a more atmospheric spooky, murder mystery style caper.
When Queen Victoria (Rowena Cooper) arrives on a remote island to oversee testing of Torchwood’s latest radio equipment, she gets more than she bargained for as her voice comes through the radio waves with a prophecy of doom for her and the other four on the Island. The familiar voice says that by then end of the night only one will be alive to leave. Her Majesty isn’t easily a-feared, but as deaths start to happen, is this a self for-filling prophecy or are there other powers at work? Either way, who will live to make it home?
This is a gripping listen. There is some scene setting up top of the drama, but where Red Base has more of the Torchwood comedy to it, this story hits the tense drama of this range. Cooper is always great as Victoria, reprising her role from prior Big Finish audios, but in this one she plays against herself and the rest of the cast throughout in quite the tour-de-force.
This audio calls to mind all of your favourite Agatha Christie “who done its” with a supernatural twist. The guest characters all feel like they leapt out of one of her books, all with their own secrets and motivations.
With direction on both these stories from the ever busy and talented Lisa Bowerman, great wirting and a great cast, it’s hard to pick much fault. I am as ever impressed how they can set Torchwood in any time, seemingly with any character that ever got so much as mentioned in the same breath as Torchwood and still make it feel of a piece. But these two stories again demonstrate they can do just that.
Buy these adventures on CD or download respectively at: