Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood is, at last, returning, though not in the expected manner. It was last seen on our TV screens during the less-than-stellar, largely American-based series “Miracle Day”. Since then the future has been up in the air. Now, however, Big Finish Productions, who have had a license for Doctor Who audio stories for over fifteen years, have announced via their website that the series is returning in audio form.
Torchwood, the intrepid team of alien investigators, returns in a series of six audio productions, as part of a licensing deal with BBC Worldwide.
Once again, the Torchwood team will be led by the irrepressible Captain Jack, as played byJohn Barrowman – who broke the news of the series return on his radio show on Sunday evening.
Conceived as a spin-off from Doctor Who, Torchwood was created by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Cucumber, Banana, Queer as Folk) and made its debut on television in 2006. The top secret organisation Torchwood saved Cardiff (and often the world) from alien menaces and terrifying forces, trying to keep the city safe from the inter-dimensional rift that ran through it. In charge of Torchwood was Captain Jack, a man who has been called: “A companion to the Doctor, a rogue Time Agent, an immortal, a dangerous con-man, and very good at parties.” Captain Jack can’t be exterminated or trusted, and there’s just no stopping him.
This is pleasant news all around. The “Miracle Day” series left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans, and was generally regarded as a financial and critical failure. Fans have waited several years for the series to retunr, and it looks like they’re finally getting their wish.
But in what form? Listeners to Big Finish know that the company prefers to do full cast audio stories. Indeed, that’s what most of the Doctor Who range, as well as other ranges, like The Avengers, Blake’s 7, and the upcoming series, The Prisoner, tend to be. But in this case, it looks like, for now, they’re going to take a different track.
The new series of audio dramas will each focus on different members of the Torchwood team, exploring the impact that a mysterious event has on them. Starting off the range will be John Barrowman, who stars in The Conspiracy, a deadly thriller by David Llewellyn, which is released September 2015.
This sounds like something similar to the Companion Chronicles series that Big Finish have done with Doctor Who. In those stories, you have one main cast member acting and narrating alongside one or two other actors. It’s a somewhat limiting format, but not without its merits. It is also hopefully a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
To fans of Torchwood, this is extremely welcome news. It’s also something that Doctor Who fans can be cautiously optimistic about. Big Finish is, in addition to Torchwood, also releasing a series focusing on the new Who version of UNIT, complete with Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart. Can a full-on new series range be on the horizon? One can but hope.