Big Finish bringing back Torchwood on audio is good news. As is the way of things (and the BBC are masters of this) there is a lot we don’t know about what is going on. I thought I’d gather together the few facts we have, point out what we don’t know and speculate (trying to be reasonable) on what it might all mean.
No doubt Big Finish will reveal more around September when the first story is released; as this is when Big Finish Day 7 happens I will be doing some listening and digging there;-)
Do please add anything relevant in the comments and point me to any news sources I haven’t spotted myself. I am most interested in answering my main questions set out in What we don’t know below.
Do, though let me know about anything at all worth mentioning.
What we know
John Barrowman is involved — it is hard to imagine a relaunch without Captain Jack. it is possible to imagine further episodes without him – Eve Myles did perform several of the BBC audios as lead character (as did others) so it is not certain each will have our favourite immortal working beyond the law.
We also know James Goss and Scott Handcock are involved as producer and director, and have already been promoting at a convention (did anyone go? what was said?). James Goss wrote my favourite of the Torchwood stories broadcast on Radio 4, that episode being House of the Dead. He has also written many other Torchwood products, so is a very good choice of producer.
The six episodes will each focus on one character and how they are impacted by something central to the story arc. For the first episode, Conspiracy, that character is Captain Jack.
The regular cast is: John Sessons (as Wilson), Sarah Ovens (as Kate) and Dan Bottomley (as Sam). I find the casting of John Sessions interesting – he appeared in the Big Finish release 100 [note to self, review 100] and on TV recently in Mummy on the Orient Express. Sarah Ovens was excellent in last years Frankenstein, which Scott also had a big hand in creating. Dan Bottomley will be in this years Wizard of Oz (another Scott project) and the next Bernice Summerfield, Sutekh release (and both James and Scott are involved in that).
What we don’t know
The two big unanswered questions are intertwined – when and who. There are lots of periods in Torchwood canon, and depending on when this is set mat determine who is eligible.
For me the main options (there are many sub-options) are:
- Pre-TV Torchwood maybe the Edwardian period. I think this too much of a leap for fans, but would love to be wrong
- Post-Children of Earth (or even post Miracle Day). These choices remove Ianto Jones from the cast options and also the Cardiff base. I can’t see this happening
- Pre-Children of Earth – this allows for the biggest cast of familiar characters, and the granular choices are around what season therefore what detailed cast (if they want to play). So far Eve Myles has strongly suggested she would love to return to Gwen Cooper, and my money would be on this.
We assume these are full cast, but maybe they are more like Companion Chronicles / Liberator Chronicles (Torchwood Chronicles anyone?) and if not I can imagine the Blake’s 7 pattern happening.
I can also imagine a Classic Torchwood range set in parallel to various seasons depending on returning cast. All this I think is in the future.
Who are the six though? If Capt. Jack is first, who are the other five. Even if we speculate on Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams we would need to be talking Owen and Toshiko. Either that or the new characters.
I never see Burn Gorman’s name come up in regards Torchwood returns, and he is busy on Pacific Rim afaik. I think Sgt Andy Davidson (Tom Price) is a reasonable choice – Tom Price has done audio for the BBC releases already, as has Kai Owen.
One thing we can be reasonably sure of is Peter Capaldi will not be reprising his appearance as John Frobisher – it would be good though!
What does it all mean?
My guess is there might be an arc about something taking away the team and a quest to recover them. This would allow someone like Eve Myles to be on board near the end. I imagine the new cast will get a few episodes to become familiar before we find out their secrets. John Sessions might be the Home Office liaison who gives Jack two new members of staff while he goes off to keep Cardiff working. I fully expect Sgt Andy to make an appearance as well. I suspect most fans care about Ianto and the chance for him to return to his coffee drinking ways (see this clip on You Tube – warning, adult content)
If nothing else I can come back to this as we find out more hard facts. Until then, what are your thoughts?