Episode 266: Returning T Davies

As nobody else on the internet is talking about it, Martyn, Sam and their friend Antoni felt duty-bound to tell that world that legendary screenwriter Russell T. Davies, who was was responsible for reviving Doctor Who in 2005. Has announced that he will be returning to helm the show once again.

Davies was the showrunner for the first five years and oversaw the ninth and tenth iterations of the Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. During his tenure, he also launched two spin-offs ‘Torchwood’ and ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures.’

He will be coming back to the series for the 60th anniversary and beyond. He’ll be taking over from current showrunner, Chris Chibnall, who is leaving the series. Chibnall has been showrunner since 2016 when he took over from Steven Moffat and has been a very divisive showrunner amongst Doctor Who fans. He and Jodie Whittaker announced that they will be leaving the show together.

Russell T Davies said in a statement, “I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite show. But we’re time-travelling too fast, there’s a whole series of Jodie Whittaker’s brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm – I’m still a viewer for now.”

Chris Chibnall added, “It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that ‘Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home. Russell built the baton that is about to be handed back to him — ‘Doctor Who,’ the BBC, the screen industry in Wales, and let’s be honest everyone in the whole world, have so many reasons to be Very Excited Indeed about what lies ahead.”

BBC director of drama Piers Wenger said, “As the 13th Doctor prepares to embark on new and extraordinary adventures, the winds of change are blowing… bringing with them news to delight ‘Doctor Who’ fans across the globe. We are thrilled that Russell is returning to Doctor Who to build on the huge achievements of Chris and Jodie. Thank you to the two of them and the team in Cardiff for all they continue to do for the show and hello Russell, it’s wonderful to have you back.”

Joining Russell on this new adventure will be Bad Wolf. A production company established by former Doctor Who producer, Julie Gardner.

Personally, I think this is tremendous news. Russell T Davies has written some phenomenal drama post-who, so I’m excited to see what he brings to this new era.

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Artwork by Penny Smallshire.

We sound familiar can be found here.

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Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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Captain Jack removed from Time Fracture event

The creators of Doctor Who: Time Fracture have made the decision to no longer include John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, as part of their immersive experience premiering in London later this month. Barrowman had filmed the cameo a couple of weeks ago.

This decision comes after The Guardian broke news about allegations surrounding Noel Clarke. After the article was published, social media users started sharing videos of Barrowman’s former castmates talking about his on-set antics.

Immersive Everywhere said:

“Immersive Everywhere has taken the decision to remove this pre-record from Doctor Who: Time Fracture. We will continue to include content that pays tribute to this brilliant show that is Torchwood so as not to disappoint its fans, and are working on an exciting storyline to be announced soon.”

After he was contacted by The Guardian journalists, Barrowman said:

“With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously. Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.”

Doctor Who: Time Fracture opens 26 May. Tickets are available for pre-order here.

Episode 251: Paul Clayton interview

Martyn is joined by actor, writer, producer and director, Paul Clayton. Paul is perhaps best known for his work on Peep Show, Him & Her and, Torchwood.

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

We also have a Smartlink.

Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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. We also have a Ko-Fi.

Check out Paul’s website.

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David Tennant to guest on Torchwood audio

Following on from his return in the Doctor Who episode ‘Revolution of the Daleks’  John Barrowman’s Captain Jack will be returning to the Big Finish Torchwood range, to celebrate its fiftieth episode. It will also mark the first time a Doctor has appeared in the spin-off, as David Tennant will be guesting as The Tenth Doctor.  The audio will also feature fan-favourite, Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.

Anyone who has read my reviews will know that I think Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its very best, so I’m ridiculously excited by this news.

John Barrowman said: “Fans have been asking for this for a long time. Now that it’s okay and it’s been cleared, it’s great to have him on board. There’s an interesting dynamic going on here because Jack still wants to follow him but yet wants to impress on him that he’s still the leader.”

David Tennant added: “Because this isn’t a Doctor Who story, the Doctor doesn’t have to be ahead of everything and saving the day. What’s interesting about this story – from the Doctor’s point of view – is he sort of messes up. It’s a story about the Doctor being a bit imperfect which is nice to see now and again actually.”

Torchwood: Absent Friends is now available to pre-order as a collector’s edition CD at £10.99 or on download from the Big Finish website at £8.99.

Review-Torchwood: The Crown

The Ferryman stands in shadow and waits. The Ferryman giggles, hungers and hates. The Ferryman comes to carry away all who behold the crown and disobey.
Christmas Eve. Dr Gideon Parr is summoned to an asylum to check on a patient. A patient who claims to be haunted by a terrible curse. A patient who claims to be Queen Victoria.




The 45th release in the range also happens to be the final Torchwood release of 2020. Following on from “Fortitude” and “Save our souls” we once again follow the adventures of Rowena Cooper’s Queen Victoria.

It’s Christmas Eve and a young doctor (Derek Riddell) has been called away from his alleging wife to diagnose a new arrival at the local asylum, who claims to be the Queen herself.

With The Crown, Johnathan Barnes has crafted another incredibly atmospheric and immersive audio, that makes good use of its Victorian setting. This combined with Rowena Cooper’s outstanding performance as Queen Victoria levitate this above a standard ghost story. The supporting cast is amazing in their respective roles and, used expertly, which allows the story to breathe. This is all backed wonderfully by Joe Meiners flawless sound design and Blair Mowat’s musical score, which all makes for a claustrophobic soundscape. I felt cold and confined whilst listening.

This is a strong character piece that allows the listener to explore the early and darker days of Torchwood and its founder. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but this release feels very at home over the festive period. Maybe it’s because Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has become so entrenched in our DNA, that the Victorian era, spooky stories and Christmas just go hand-in-hand together.

I say this on every review, but Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its best. The Crown is no different, this is a highly recommended morality tale, that would be the perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

Check out our other Big Finish reviews.

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

Torchwood: The Crown is avalible to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Review-Torchwood: The Three Monkeys

November’s Torchwood release was recorded entirely during lockdown. I wonder how long it will be before I stop mentioning things have been recorded during lockdown?

The Three Monkeys once again pairs everyone’s favourite Torchwood odd-couple, Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) and Tom Price (Andy Davidson). Unlike their previous team-ups, this is relatively light in tone.

Andy’s heart-breaking tale about his uncle was bizarrely partly based on a real story Burn Gorman told writer James Goss. In 2009, post offices up and down the country were installed with new computer systems. These systems showed massive discrepancies in the accounts. Even after the system was proved to be at fault, post office owners were wrongfully prosecuted for embezzlement. Goss wondered what would happen if this story was given a Torchwood twist and, The Three Monkeys was born.

Although lighter in tone, this audio brings everything we’ve come to expect from a James Goss release. It’s filled with tragic elements and deep character explorations. All perfectly directed by Scott Handcock, who allows the more serious moments to breathe. Iain Meadows’ sound design is flawless and tugs on the heartstrings, when Andy talks about his Aunt and Uncle. The setting of a car is inspired and makes the story feel confined and intimate. It’s like we’re sat on the back seat listening.

As always, Gorman and Price work insanely well together, Andy’s optimism mixed with Owen’s cynicism makes for an interesting dynamic.

Torchwood: The Three Monkeys once again shows that Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its very best.

 

Torchwood: The Three Monkeys is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Big Finish review-Torchwood: Ex Machina

Ianto Jones is Torchwood. Ianto Jones is the defender of a deserted city, a lone crusader who keeps the empty streets safe.

One day he meets one of the few survivors. She needs his help – because she’s being chased by a darkness. A darkness which says it loves her.


Ex Machina is the debut Torchwood story by writer, Alfie Shaw. Shaw says he came up with the idea, after passing a book shop he used to visit with an ex. He suddenly felt like the shop was off-limits to him. Along with mutual friends etc. That’s something that really resonated with me whilst listening.




This audio focuses on fan-favourite Ianto, as he tries to help Abigail, who can’t understand what’s happened to her parents. In every photograph, she’s impossibly alone. Even in the memory, she has of moving to Cardiff, it’s just her at 6-years-old in the car. Alone.
The only tether she has to her old life is her neighbour Mrs. Evans – and she has problems of her own.

Gareth David-Lloyd and Laura Aickman work extremely well together. This audio was recorded remotely and entirely during lockdown. It’s a testament to the actor’s abilities and Big Finish as a whole, that you’d never guess. Perhaps the remote recording helped the performers feel isolated, like their characters. Jacob Dudman also puts in a fun performance, as a completely unlikeable character.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its very best. This is another top-notch entry in the range.

Cast:

Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)

Laura Aikman (Abigail Forehill)

Jacob Dudman (Luke)

Misha Malcolm (Fran)

Joshua Manning (The Absence)

Kerry Joy Stewart (Mrs. Evans)

Cover Art: Lee Binding

Music: Blair Mowat and Murray Gold

Writer: Alfie Shaw

Torchwood: Ex Machina is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.

Review-Torchwood Soho Parasite

Since he was first introduced in 2016’s Ghost Mission, Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett) has popped up in several Torchwood audios. His self-serving ways fast cemented him as a fan-favourite. So much so, it’s difficult to imagine the Torchwood cast without him.

In Torchwood Soho: Parasite, we catch up with Norton, as he investigates strange happenings in post-war London. There’re Nazi packages, a man who should be dead, a time-traveling pub and, Torchwood fan-favourite Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price).

Writer James Goss blows me away, with each release. This is no exception. What’s interesting about this box set, is it’s comprised of six half-hour episodes. I loved this format and I hope it stays. It enables the story to be lean and flow at an incredible pace, there’s no filler here.

The story has a non-linear format, but thanks to Scott Handock’s smooth direction, you’re never lost. You know exactly where every character is and their motivations are always clear.



What can be said about Samuel Barnett and Tom Price at this point? They have such great natural chemistry, Norton and Andy are the perfect Big Finish odd-couple. It’s always a joy to hear them interact.

Rounding off the team are Torchwood new-comers, Dervla Kirwan and Joe Shire. Kirwan instantly shines as Lizabeth Hayhoe, she makes the role her own and establishes the character as a force to be reckoned with. Shire is equally charming as Gideon Lyme, a journalist, and love-interest of Norton. There’s also Belle Epoque (Franchi Webb), the immortal landlady of ‘The Stagnant Pond’ pub. All three characters are brilliant for Torchwood, I hope we see them again.

All-in-all, Torchwood Soho: Parasite is a strong release. Highly recommended.

Cast:

 

Torchwood-Soho: Parasite is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Review-Torchwood: Red Base

Mars is the next giant leap for mankind. Starr Base is the first small step. A practice Mars base has been set up in a quarry in Neath, just off the A474. Its aim is to see if humanity can survive on the red planet.

The problem is that the crew are dying. The survivors are terrified, paranoid, and wondering if something alien has got inside Starr Base. Sgt. Andy Davidson has come to find out what’s gone wrong.

Torchwood: Red Base, by the extraordinarily talented James Goss, is a murder mystery. So it’s difficult to review without spoiling.

It’s a whodunnit, loosely based on the channel 4 reality show, Eden. Which saw 23 participants living for a year in a remote part of Scotland, attempting to build a self-sufficient community. Filmed by the participants themselves, production began in March 2016. Unknown to the participants, broadcasting ceased after four episodes due to poor viewer ratings.

The Torchwood range has fast become my favourite. Releases like this just cement my view that Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its absolute best.

Everyone involved is at the top of their game. Once more, James Goss gives us a solid mystery, paying homage to all the greats. Whilst also putting an original twist on the genre. Lisa Bowerman’s direction is as slick as always, she’s truly one of the best directors in the industry.

Blair Mowat’s music is perfectly accompanied and complimented by Joe Meiners sound design.

Tom Price is fantastic as Sgt. Andy Davidson, at this point he could play the role in his sleep. But he continually gives an outstanding performances full of humour, empathy and understanding. Everything that made Andy such a fan-favourite. It’s been a joy to hear the character evolve over the years.

Cast

  • Tom Price (Andy Davidson)
  • Kae Alexander (Mina)
  • Jeremy Ang Jones (Dave)
  • Rakie Ayola (Emma)
  • Ronak Patani (Faisal)

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.

Dalek tells humans to stay home

A Dalek has been spotted ordering people to stay indors.

Most of the UK is currently on a government-ordered lockdown as part of a national effort to save lives, although there are some members of the public who’ve been disregarding the guidelines this weekend, due to unseasonabily warm weather.

A video posted on Twitter has shown a Dalek, roaming the street in a countryside village.

As people have been so blatantly flouting the guidelines, I think we need Nicholas Briggs to redub this video with the official voice of the Daleks.