Big Finish review-Torchwood: The Red List

The pandemic may have stalled plans for the official seventh series of Torchwood, but producers James Goss and Scott Handcock haven’t just rested on their laurels this year, like the rest of us. In the past 12 months, they’ve given us Torchwood tales about mould, coffee shops and Sontarans. We’ve also seen the return of Yvonne Hartman, Zachary Cross, Billis Manger and, Adam Smith. I’ve barely managed to take the bins out and these guys have continued giving us the best version of Torchwood on any medium.

This month’s release teams up Mr Colchester with a modern-day version of Ace AKA Dorothy McShane, for an adventure set in South America. The duo is both independently there to investigate a revolution but are stuck in a hotel under quarantine.

Mr Colchester, who is played as brilliantly as ever by Paul Clayton, begins the storey with a monologue.
This works as a great way to convey information to the audience, without feeling unrealistic or forced. I think we’ve all probably spoken to ourselves this year. Clayton is clearly having a great time, reprising his role as fan-favourite Colchester and it’s great to hear Sophie Aldred play an older version of Ace, it just goes to show how much work she puts into her performance as a younger version of the character on the main range. As the two versions are so clearly different.

The two leads have great chemistry and play on the mundanity that comes with a lockdown.
They’re supported in this adventure, by Xavier, a hotel technician played by Manuel Pacific. Xavier is there to receive the brunt of Colchester’s complaints and Pacific does a tremendous job, with such a small role.

Scott Handcock, as always, is a fantastic director who is able to get real genuine and believable performances from the three cast members. Steve Foxon’s sound design is flawless and perfectly encapsulates the Latin ambience and compliments Blair Mowat’s music incredibly well.

It’s difficult to review this audio fully, as it’s impossible to do so without spoiling. So I will say, it’s a lot of fun and features the best-written characters from both Torchwood and Doctor Who. It ends on a cliffhanger and I for one, hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard 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: 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: 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.


  • 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.

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.

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-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.

Book review-City of death

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.