Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack is difficult to review, without spoiling. So, I won’t be discussing the storyline.
This is an 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.
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.
Being broadcast during the ITV strike and with there only being three channels at the time, meant that City of death received the highest overnight viewing figures in the history of Doctor Who.
The other side being on strike isn’t the only reason City of death is so well regarded. The iconic shots of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward running through the streets of Paris are beautiful and have resonated throughout the generations, when you include Douglas Adams trademark witty dialogue, you have something that has the right to be called one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever made.
Novelisations are notoriously tricky, but James Goss does far more than just copy and paste the original source, he has added a whole new dimension to the story which enriches the overall experience.
Goss’ characterisations of the Fourth Doctor and Romana II are fantastic, he fully captures the eccentricities of the long scarf wearing, mad uncle Doctor as well as the sarcastic wit of Romana. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward’s voices rang through my head as I read this book.
My only criticism is that on paper, Duggan comes across as a dim wit, however I don’t think that’s the fault of Goss, I just think that Tom Chadbon added a lot of depth to his performance on screen, that can’t be put on to the page.
Goss has also added some great Easter Eggs in the book, which will have die hard Doctor Who fans beaming from ear-to-ear but won’t distract a person who hasn’t seen the original (yes, sadly those people exist).
City Of Death retains the spirit of the Douglas Adams story, but the author is clearly telling his own story. The result is a beautiful collaboration which I highly recommend.
Now, moving on to Department X, This finds the Torchwood team investigating the old Cardiff department store, GR Owen.
The team go undercover to determine why customers are disappearing.
It’s written by James Goss and Kai Owen is on vocal duty again. The style has changed for this audio, it’s no longer a first person narrative, it’s more like a regular audio book.
Now, this isn’t up to the high standard of the previous audio, Ghost Train, but it’s still extremely entertaining. Kai Owen does another brilliant reading, again capturing the essence of all the Torchwood team, as well as new characters, the musical stores and sound effects still work well.
This is a return to the Torchwood of yester-year, it feels like a series 2 story, not as dark as children of Earth, but not as fluffy as series 1.
I imagine it’s the last time the Ianto Jones features in any Torchwood spin-off, as future adventures are more likely to be based, between children of earth and the new US format, or on the US format
You can get this audiobook straight from Audiogo, on cd or download for under a tenner, which is a bargain really.