Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
When Hywel Roberts (Gareth Pierce) decides to break up his journey home to his ailing father he stops at the Travellers Halt. The problem is, his stay might be for considerably longer than the night and the man who greets him with his room seems somewhat off and calls himself Billis Manger (Murray Melvin).Now if the premise for this story by James Goss seems simple, it’s because it is. Just 3 cast members, completed by Cara Chase as mysterious elderly regular hotel guest Grace, a creepy hotel, a weird hotel worker who will be very familiar to Torchwood aficionados, a stormy night and one man who is sucked into this world. It’s great. It feels like a classic horror story and you could picture easily how one would stage it as a play or an episode of the “Twilight Zone”. It also makes we wonder if Mr Goss is a fan of the Eagles “You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!”
I never would have thought to give Billis Manger his own story to lead, but it makes all the sense in the world to put him in such a tale. Murray Melvin is at his creepy best in the role here. This is the perfect example of how Torchwood in Big Finish form has made use of every aspect of the TV show, managing to magnify one-episode characters into whole new worlds to explore.
Given the small cast as well it must have been nice to really take their time with director Scott Handcock to work on performance and pacing in a way a larger cast might not allow for.
Again I find myself thinking, this is what Big Finish makes possible and Torchwood is riding high in this format in wonderful stories like this. 10/10
Buy this release now on CD or download here: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/deadbeat-escape-1710