Review-Torchwood: Fortitude

Queen Victoria is stranded with Maharaja Duleep Singh on a mysterious fort in the middle of the ocean.
The fort has been ravaged by storms since it was built. There are ghosts inside and there’s something alien outside. It’ll do anything to get its release.

Fortitude is a very small scale and character-driven piece. It takes place on a fort, just off Portsmouth. Queen Victoria, Dnleep Singh and Colonel Crackenthorpe are trapped as a storm rages outside. This makes the audio incredibly atmospheric, Lee Adams’ soundscape helps convey the tension and isolation the characters are feeling. It’s a relatively small cast, consisting of three leads and a monster. This allows us to truly get to know the characters. One thing Doctor Who has always done well is mixing real historical figures with works of complete fiction. This audio follows suit. Maharajah Duleep Singh is a real historical figure, with an absolutely heartbreaking life and a very interesting, dark and complex relationship with Queen Victoria. It’s amazing his tale hasn’t been turned into a film. Paul Bazely does an incredible job portraying the former maharajah. He perfectly encapsulates the rage and loss he must’ve felt.

After years of seeing Queen Victoria played as a sweet old lady, it’s refreshing to hear her portrayed as a ruthless, cold and calculating character, who is in complete control in any situation. She uses her knowledge to manipulate everything.
All the performances here are excellent. Nobody in this adventure is a good person, but the actors do an excellent job of showing how complicated people are. You empathise with all of them, on some level. The monster is the weakest part of the story, but that’s fine because the story really isn’t about the monster. It’s about the characters and how they develop.

Fortitude has an intriguing script and great performances. If you love the history of Torchwood lore, or just love a pure historical episode of Doctor Who, I think you’ll love this.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Torchwood: Fortitude is available to buy directly from Big Finish.