Big Finish review-Torchwood: The Red List

The pandemic may have halted plans for the official seventh series of Torchwood, but producers James Goss and Scott Handcock have been anything but idle. In the past 12 months, they have delivered Torchwood tales ranging from mould to coffee shops, featuring the return of Yvonne Hartman, Zachary Cross, Billis Manger, and Adam Smith. While most of us have struggled to take out the trash, these two have continued to give us the best version of Torchwood on any medium.

Their latest release features Mr Colchester teaming up with a modern-day version of Ace, aka Dorothy McShane, for an adventure set in South America. Both are there to investigate a revolution but are stuck in a hotel under quarantine.

The story begins with a brilliant monologue from Paul Clayton, who plays Mr Colchester, conveying information to the audience without feeling forced or unrealistic. Clayton clearly enjoys reprising his role as the fan-favourite Colchester, and Sophie Aldred’s portrayal of an older Ace is great to hear, demonstrating the amount of effort she puts into her performance as a younger version of the character on the main range.

The chemistry between the two leads is great, and their portrayal of the mundanity that comes with lockdown is relatable. They are supported by Manuel Pacific, who plays Xavier, a hotel technician, and does a tremendous job despite having a small role.

Scott Handcock’s direction is fantastic, eliciting genuine and believable performances from the cast members. The sound design by Steve Foxon perfectly captures the Latin ambience and complements Blair Mowat’s music incredibly well.

While it is difficult to provide a complete review without spoilers, the audio is a lot of fun and features the best-written characters from both Torchwood and Doctor Who. The cliffhanger ending leaves listeners wanting more, and I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Colchester and Ace.

Torchwood: The Red List is available to purchase from the Big Finish site and goes on general release on the 31st January 2022.


Big Finish review-Torchwood: Red Base

Mars may be the next giant leap for mankind, but Starr Base is the first small step. This practice Mars base, located in a quarry in Neath just off the A474, is designed to test humanity’s ability to survive on the red planet. Unfortunately, the crew members are dying and the remaining survivors are terrified, paranoid, and questioning whether something alien has infiltrated Starr Base. To investigate, Sgt. Andy Davidson has been dispatched to determine what has gone wrong.

Torchwood: Red Base, a murder mystery by the talented James Goss, is difficult to review without spoilers. It is a whodunit loosely based on the reality show Eden, which followed 23 participants attempting to build a self-sufficient community in a remote part of Scotland for a year. Unknown to them, broadcasting ceased after only four episodes due to poor ratings.

The Torchwood range has become a personal favourite, and releases like Red Base cement my belief that Torchwood on Big Finish is at its best. James Goss delivers a solid mystery that pays homage to classic whodunits while also providing an original twist. Lisa Bowerman’s direction is as polished as ever, and Blair Mowat’s music is perfectly complemented by Joe Meiners’ sound design.

Tom Price delivers an outstanding performance as Sgt. Andy Davidson, brings humour, empathy, and understanding to the character. It’s been a joy to see Andy evolve over the years and continue to be a fan favourite.

Torchwood: Red Base is now available to own as a collector’s edition CD at £10.99 or on download from the Big Finish website for £8.99.


Book review-Doctor Who:Scratchman

Roughly 40 years ago, one Thomas Stewart Baker sat in the pub with his Doctor Who co-star, Ian Marter and started writing a Doctor Who movie, Doctor Who meets the Scratchman.

Ultimately, it never secured the required funding and the un-produced film became the stuff of legend. Tom Baker later had to apologise, after kids started sending their pocket money to the BBC. After he joked that fans could fund it.

Over the years, you’d hear a rumour here and there at fan gatherings and meet ups. Some people even claimed they’d read it. It sounded bonkers, the fourth Doctor going up against the devil and at some point, pinball would be involved..

Now, after years of speculation and “what ifs” Tom Baker- with the help of James Goss, has adapted the screenplay into a novel.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…

Baker and Goss have taken full advantage of the novel medium. There’s a sense of freedom here, that a film probably wouldn’t allow. The story takes its time and feels like the fourth Doctor era, but it’s also clearly influenced by the big sci-fi/horror films from the 70’s. Mostly John Carpenter’s work, but I also got hints of Wicker man and the Omen. This blend makes for an intriguing read.

The first half reads very much like a standard Doctor Who story, it’s the second half that gets whacky, outlandish and high-concept. I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a bit far-out and some may feel it makes the book a bit disjointed. But it worked for me.

This is the most fun I’ve had with a book for years. Tom Baker claims this will be his last time writing a Doctor Who book, if that’s true then he’s left us with an entertaining read. However, I’m hoping he can be talked into another.

Big Finish Review-Torchwood: Deadbeat Escape

On a stormy and ominous evening, Hywel Roberts unwittingly steps into a world of terror and danger at a peculiar hotel, where a familiar foe of Torchwood lurks in wait. As the curtains close on the latest series of Torchwood audios, we are left with a collection of exceptional tales that have kept us on the edge of our seats.

In this monthly range, Big Finish has taken a bold step by focusing on a series antagonist, Bilis Manger, and allowing the character to take centre stage without the interference of the Torchwood team. It’s a testament to the confidence that Big Finish has in the Torchwood range and the writers’ ability to create gripping stories.

In “Deadbeat Escape,” we are treated to a spine-chilling tale that could easily fit into a ghostly anthology or Hammer horror film. It’s a departure from the usual Torchwood fare, as we are transported to a more traditional spooky story that doesn’t rely on jokes or pop culture references.

The story is told from the perspective of Hywel Roberts, a relatable and charming new character who unwittingly checks into the eerie hotel. We know from the start that his fate is sealed, which adds to the tension and elevates the stakes of the story.

Murray Melvin as Bilis Manger is as mysterious, charming, and menacing as ever, and Gareth Pierce delivers a standout performance as Hywel Roberts. Despite the absence of the regular Torchwood team, “Deadbeat Escape” still manages to embody the emotive and eerie narrative that we have come to associate with the series.

Deadbeat Escape is a perfect ending to the latest series of Torchwood audios. The exceptional writing and performances leave a lasting impression and cement the series’ place as a master of horror storytelling.


Review-Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack

Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack is difficult to review, without spoiling. So, I won’t be discussing the storyline.

This is a very ambitious audio, from David Llewellyn who once again proves himself to be one of the greatest writers Torchwood has ever had. He perfectly manages to encapsulate the history of Jack and John and give the Torchwood franchise a fresh new spin, all within an hour-long adventure. It’s an absolute joy. James Marsters absolutely shines as Captain John Hart and, instantly reminds us why he was so popular amongst Torchwood fans. He’s the perfect foil to John Barrowman’s Captain Jack.

There’s also a slight dig at Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Director Scott Handcock and producer James Goss have their awesomely unique style all over this release. Torchwood on Big Finish is the best Torchwood has ever been. They just get it, it’s ambitious, it’s loud, it’s sexy and over the top. Which is just how it should be.


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

Big Finish Review-Aliens among us: Part 1

Torchwood is back, and this time it is on audio with a brand new boxset, Aliens Among Us. The first volume of Aliens Among Us sets the stage for the new Torchwood, introducing us to new characters, and old favourites.

  1. “Changes Everything” by James Goss “Changes Everything” opens up the new Torchwood, introducing us to the new team of Jack, Gwen, Mr Colchester, and Orr. Mr Colchester, played brilliantly by Paul Clayton, is a grumpy civil servant who has been tasked with managing the new Torchwood. Meanwhile, journalist Tyler Steele, played by Jonny Green, is questioning him. Tyler is a great new character, both likeable and unlikeable at the same time. Through his eyes, we meet the new Torchwood, and this is a really well-written story that sets up the future of Aliens Among Us while remaining self-contained.
  2. “Aliens and Sex and Chips and Gravy” by James Goss This episode takes us on a funny, fast-paced romp that tackles murderous aliens who’ve invaded a hen night. It focuses on Gwen and Colchester and hints about where Gwen is headed in future box sets. What distinguishes this episode from TV Torchwood is that it has a more mature approach to mature subject matters. The title will no doubt remind you of the first series, but this episode deals with adult themes throughout. It is another really strong entry for Aliens Among Us.
  3. “Orr” by Juno Dawson “Orr” introduces us to the titular character, an alien sexual psycho-morph. Similar to “Changes Everything”, this episode is focused almost entirely on Orr’s introduction. The character is played excellently by Samantha Béart, who manages to make the character feel believable. This episode also tackles an adult subject matter with a level of maturity that was unfortunately never seen on TV. This is another stellar episode.
  4. “Superiority Complex” by A.K. Benedict The final episode of the first volume of Aliens Among Us gives the new Torchwood team a chance to shine. A new luxury hotel has appeared in Cardiff, with refugees right outside. The script highlights the problem with another script that, apart from the aliens, feels like it could be a true story. Every member of the team gets a chance to shine here, including Tyler, who keeps popping up. This is a brilliant way to end a brilliant box set, and it ends with an excellent cliffhanger for the second volume.

Overall, Aliens Among Us 1 is a great introduction to the new Torchwood. The boxset shows that Torchwood is at its best on audio. The stories are very politically charged, but each of the three writers on this set delivers amazing stories that feel natural and real. The characters are all well-written, and the new Torchwood team is a great mix of old favourites and new characters. With its compelling storytelling and excellent performances, Aliens Among Us is a must-listen for any Torchwood fan.


Big Finish review-Torchwood: The office of never was

Although Ianto Jones is a beloved character among the Torchwood fandom, most would agree that he was often relegated to the background despite his intriguing backstory and secret cyber-girlfriend. However, the audio revival of the show, with full-cast dramas that focus on individual characters. Has given him and others a chance to shine.

In “The Office of Never Was,” Ianto takes the lead as he investigates a haunted building, displaying impressive deduction skills and carrying the drama with ease.

This is an extremely well-crafted and engaging story. James Goss, the producer and scriptwriter, delivers a dark tale that cleverly addresses one of Torchwood’s central conceits and provides some hard-edged, real-world consequences. The limited cast is used to great effect, allowing for strong character development and building tension as the story progresses. Goss’s nods to “The Avengers” add an extra layer of entertainment value, while his use of humour helps to balance out the story’s darker moments. The script for is a testament to Goss’s talent as a writer and his understanding of Torchwood and its wider universe.

Gareth David-Lloyd, is a skilled voice actor and brings his A-game to this audio. He effortlessly carries the drama on his own for the first few minutes of “The Office of Never Was,” showcasing his talent for conveying Ianto’s internal struggles and thought processes. His performance is nuanced and engaging, capturing the character’s dry humor and emotional complexity.

Overall, “The Office of Never Was” is another smartly directed, strong and entertaining outing for Cardiff’s favourite member of Torchwood.


Now, this looks interesting. BBC Books Publishing Director Albert DePetrillo has acquired Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred, the very first collection of Time Lord verse. BBC Books have world rights, with North American rights sold to HarperCollins.

A gentle and humorous riff on the classic Now We Are Six, this is a collection of charming, funny and whimsical poems that celebrate the joys, sorrows, and wonders of Time Lord life.

Written by author James Goss, the book features illustrations by former Doctor Who Executive Producer Russell T Davies – his first role as an illustrator, using the comic artist skills he developed in his youth.

James Goss said:

“BBC Books have carefully baited an irresistible trap to lure people into reading poetry. Russell’s beautiful illustrations make this the most charming Doctor Who book there’s ever been (and I’m including that magical first Doctor Who book you discovered as a child). The poems have been a delight to work on. Who could resist retelling the fiendish Daleks’ Masterplan in verse, or finding bizarre and ludicrous rhymes for monster names?”

Russell T Davies added:

“I’ve been drawing for Doctor Who long before I was writing it, so it was like time-travel for me, voyaging back to that young scribbler who used to cover his school desk with Daleks!”

Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred will publish in hardback on 14th September, two weeks before National Poetry Day on 28th September.

It can be ordered here.

Episode 168: The Pirate Planet (James Goss interview).

James Goss shares his journey through rare Doctor Who documents and his commitment to letting Douglas Adams shine through his latest book, adapting Adams’ Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.



Pete – @BeeblePete

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind



Big Finish review-Torchwood: Fall to Earth

The first episode of Big Finish’s new Torchwood series, ‘The Conspiracy,’ got off to a really great start. It was a nice mix of drama and narration, and set the scene up for Torchwood’s latest arc really nicely.

‘Fall to Earth’ is a very different type of story. While it only has two cast members for the whole episode – namely Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones, and Lisa Zahra as Zeynep – there’s no narration for this one. In fact, the entire story is focused on one telephone conversation, and it’s both the most random and most mundane of telephone conversations, at that: a cold caller trying to sell Ianto some insurance.

What makes this cold call interesting to listen to, however, is that Ianto’s been called while he’s on a crashing spaceship and there’s no one else who can help him…

Despite being a two-hander and, even on audio, mostly taking place in one setting, this is a very fast-paced episode. It unfolds over real time as Ianto does his best to convince this insurance seller to help him, even if he has to actually buy insurance to do it.

Along the way, we gradually learn more about both Zeynep, the person whom Ianto is talking to the entire time, and how and why Ianto ended up on the spaceship in the first place.

There’s heaps of drama in the story, as Ianto and Zeynep get to know each other better and form a really close bond over the course of the episode. It’s actually the kind of story you’d expect from Torchwood – something that’s a lot more focused on the ordinary humans than on spaceships, aliens, and conspiracies. Those things are just the catalyst that allow the emotional drama to happen, and we get a lot of it with this story.

Towards the end, it gives its listeners a massive gut-punch, and the fact that it’s delivered so well after only an hour of build-up is a testament to the writing of James Goss.

Gareth David-Lloyd carries the weight of this story entirely on his shoulders, and he does so with remarkable skill and emotional range. His portrayal of Ianto’s desperation, fear, and eventual resignation is truly captivating and serves to draw the listener in even further.

Gareth’s performance is the standout aspect of the episode, and it’s clear that he has a deep understanding of the character he’s been playing for over a decade.

I struggle with audio dramas, my mind drifts a lot. However ‘Fall to Earth’ grabbed my attention from start to finish. It’s a beautiful two-hander and shows exactly what Big Finish and Torchwood can really do at their best. With a few more releases like this, Torchwood on Big Finish may become the definitive version.