Torchwood 1.5 Uncanny Valley reviewed

Torchwood Uncanny ValleyAs the first series of Big Finish Torchwood audios marches on, it’s the return of John Barrowman as Jack Harkness in Uncanny Valley. Written by David Llewelyn (who gave us Conspiracy), there’s a cameo from Emma Reeves (who wrote Forgotten Lives) and directed by Neil Gardner, the centre of this story is Steven Cree who plays billionaire Neil Redmond. Possibly the best of a strong field of releases, this is another great addition to a fantastic series.

The Story

Quote the Big Finish product page:

What has made billionaire Neil Redmond emerge from his long seclusion? Captain Jack knows the answer, and is prepared to go to any lengths to prove it.

A couple of years ago, Neil Redmond was in a terrible accident. His recovery has been long and slow, but now he’s back and looking better than ever. Much better than ever.

Dark forces have been behind Neil’s transformation. Dark forces that Jack has been hunting for a long time. But Captain Jack’s never been able to resist the darkness.

The story starts with Jack confronting Neil Redmond and, in his castle outside Cardiff, the story allows us to explore Neil’s secret before a confrontation that shows how far Jack is prepared to go to get what he wants. This is a difficult story to review without spoiling it — let’s just say the cover image doesn’t happen, but…

The ending is pure Torchwood and as we might have hoped we learn more about the conspiracy forming a vague arc to some of these stories.

The storytelling

[pullquote]a great chemistry[/pullquote]

While the story is good, the performances are phenomenal. Steven Cree (Outlander, 300:Rise of an Empire) has a great chemistry with fellow Scot Barrowman, and between them they create a three-handed performance (yes, three, just listen to it!) of power and poignancy. In some respects (by number of lines if nothing else), Neil Redmond is the central figure of this story with Jack almost relegated to a supporting role. Neil Gardner’s direction gets the best out of the two actors and while the ending is inevitable that detracts nothing from the impact of the performances.

I’ve enjoyed every one of the Torchwood audios so far, each for different reasons, but I have to say this is the best of the bunch, which is not to diminish the others. Anyone sceptical of how well Big Finish might bring Torchwood to audio needs to listen to Uncanny Valley and revise their opinions.

A brilliant piece, well done to all concerned.

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