Torchwood: Night of the Fendahl review

The 2019 Torchwood meets Doctor Who monsters season began with the April release, Night of the Fendahl. Perhaps not the most obvious of classic monsters to revisit, in the hands of writer Tim Foley it’s a superb listen (and let’s not forget the sound work of Mark Hendrick.)

The Night of the Fendahl

The product page synopsis tells us this:

Marco makes films. You wouldn’t like them. The lighting’s shoddy, the sets are cheap and the sound’s appalling. But there’s an audience for them. Because they’re films in which bad things happen to women.

Marco’s latest venture is based on real events. Events which took place in Fetch Priory many years ago. It’s an anthology piece, and Marco needs one final victim. But the last victim is not who anyone is expecting.

Death has returned to Fetch Priory. And Death is no-one’s victim.

What starts a a group making a bad horror film in a deserted priory slowly reveals itself as something worse: a snuff movie is being made and the latest star / sacrifice is would-be actor Gwen Cooper. All through this release Eve Myles gets to flex her acting muscles as Gwen starts as doped-up victim then moves through to a chilling (and rather more English!) Fendahl vessel. She even manages a touch of normal Gwen as well in and ending that is as bleak as the Fendahl themselves.

Gwen to one side, there are no endearing characters among the all-male film crew and as listeners we can’t really be surprised when they get justice served upon them. Unlike a Doctor Who take on the Fendahl, this Torchwood outing is met with gritty determination and centring on Gwen Cooper makes this far more than yet another exploiting alien come to take over for their own sinister purposes.

It does make me wonder what Gwen from Everything Changes would make of herself grown older, wiser, stronger and darker. Perhaps one day Big Finish will bring us that story (and if James Goss or Scott Handcock are reading this, I’ll happily do the honours!)

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