Review: Torchwood – Empire of Shadows

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Big Finish’s Torchwood Monthly Range is no stranger to taking deep cuts from Whoniverse canon. Within the span of its range, it’s made Tom Price’s PC Andy one of the most developed characters in the series, saw Murray Melvin’s Bilis Manger return to cause more chaos in several creepy adventures, and even threw a weird trilogy of Queen Victorian stories together that turned out to be some of the best of its respective canon. But Empire of Shadows’ is aiming to take the biggest stab of all at time of writing, bringing back a well-liked but not particularly noteworthy character from the biggest (and best) two-parter from ‘Doctor Who Series 2’, Captain Zachary Cross Flane, for a sci-fi conspiracy thriller involving the death of royalty and a potential opportunity for Torchwood to regain its influence on the Earth Empire….

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Big Finish pulls upcoming release due to ongoing John Barrowman scandal

Doctor Who audio producers Big Finish have announced they will not be moving forward with the release of the story Torchwood: Absent Friends.

Originally set for release this month, the story would have reunited John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor.


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Review: Torchwood – Lease of Life

Review by Jacob Licklider


Aaron Lamont got his start with Big Finish Productions with the Dark Shadows audio drama The Haunted Refrain, a story set in a house dealing with the destruction of a once happy marriage as someone wastes away and Quentin Collins is trapped on a gramophone record. Lamont’s script is characterised by character drama as someone wastes away, not taking advantage of the life that they are privileged to have. I bring this up because the first story where Lamont steps away from the Dark Shadows range, Torchwood: Lease of Life, plays with a similar theme in an almost more horrific way. The entire conceit is based on bad roommates, something that every adult has experienced in one way or another at some point. The opening of this audio doesn’t even include Owen, this releases lead, it just takes the necessary time to establish the relationships between Ellie, Seren, and Nye, the three flatmates whose flats is a large fixer-upper. Ellie is stuck home with a hangover, being annoyed by Nye who has been blaring rock music while locked in his room, and Seren is just trying to get to her job. These are people who if not stuck in a living situation would probably be close friends, but the flat just doesn’t allow them to really get along and a surprise inspection from the ‘council’ and Owen Harper makes things worse. There is a dangerous mould encroaching on their living space, the landlord is nowhere to be seen, and Ellie’s hangover is only causing problems. The mould, of course, is an alien coming to consume the house through the Rift and essentially the audio transforms into an hour long horror play in a trapped location. Continue reading

Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 2

Review by Jacob Licklider


Stranding the Eighth Doctor on Earth was by no means a new idea, it had been done in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, but making him a landlord with Liv and Helen made for an interesting change. Stranded 1 was released way back in June 2020 when we were all in lockdown and the future releases were sadly delayed, with Stranded 2 moving from its original November release date to March 2021. Stranded 1 was one of those releases while where I enjoyed it quite a bit, I felt slightly underwhelmed by the premise as it was very much Doctor Who does a soap opera, but sitting down to listen to Stranded 2 made me acutely aware of how I have missed this ensemble cast and their interactions. Like Jon Pertwee’s second season bringing some time travel back, Stranded 2 still contains four earthbound stories, it is the first to actually bring these new companions and residents of Baker Street into the TARDIS and exploring their history and interpersonal relationships. This premise allows it to stand out from the first set and the Pertwee era in a number of ways which makes it incredibly fun. As Stranded 2 is still kind of like Doctor Who does a soap opera, this review may contain minor spoilers for certain plot developments in the characters. This review was also written with each section right after listening, so each section may not reflect how any story arcs happen.

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Review: Torchwood – Drive

Review by Jacob Licklider


When adapting Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet for the modern day, Steven Moffat noticed that everyone trusts a cabbie.  They’re paid to take you from point A to point B, putting up with your terrible drunkenness and your insults.  Torchwood: Drive by David Llewellyn uses the back of a cab as its primary setting with Toshiko Sato on her own with the rest of Torchwood Three off on other missions leaving Tosh in charge of saving the world.

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Review: Torchwood – Coffee

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Near Cardiff Bay, there exists a lone cafe that has been there for quite a long while and headed by a man named David who has been deeply affected by the odd goings-on in the area. One morning, a young man named Ianto Jones wanders in looking for a good Americano whose life is about to change forever. Over time, relationships begin to be formed and with people going missing regularly along with rumours of a secret organisation being spread, things are about to get even weirder for David and the Baps café…… Continue reading

Captain Jack returns to Torchwood for Big Finish

John Barrowman is back as Captain Jack for the 50th monthly Torchwood audio adventure from Big Finish Productions, teaming up with David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor.


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Review: Torchwood – The Crown

Review by Jacob Licklider


When Torchwood was first conceived as an arc for Series 2 of Doctor Who it was established in universe by Queen Victoria, so having Big Finish Productions producing a series of audio dramas based on Torchwood, doing releases with Queen Victoria as a prominent character is a given.  Big Finish Productions cast Rowena Cooper in the role; and several monthly range releases, and an appearance in The Torchwood Archive established her as the definitive Queen Victoria.  The final Torchwood monthly range release for 2020 is The Crown which is promoted with a striking image of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria in a straitjacket and padded cell with a skeleton looming.  This image, combined with a vague product description, can only lead a potential listener to buy this on intrigue.

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Review: Torchwood – Save Our Souls

Review by Michael Goleniewski


On a remote island in the middle of the sea, a strange supernatural presence is being picked up on the radio, a voice that supposedly knows the future from beyond the grave. The superstitiously hungry Queen Victoria (on behalf of Torchwood) has arrived eager to learn more with a seance, some new technology, and a spiritual medium in tow. But when the manipulative voices call out with truths from the past as well as a dark warning, each person on the island from the highest of royalty to the lowest servant is about to be put in the gravest of danger…..

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Review: Torchwood – Dinner and a Show

Review by Jacob Licklider


Mild spoilers

Gareth David-Lloyd contributes this month’s release; implying it is set sometime during Series 2 of the show.  This releases character focus is looking at the ‘sensible’ halves of the relationships on the show, Toshiko Sato in the Tosh/Owen relationship and Ianto in the Ianto/Jack relationship.  A performance of the opera Faust invaded by aliens, many of whom are simply looking to appreciate a different planet’s culture and an alien performer.  It’s also Valentine’s Day and both Owen and Jack have essentially ghosted their significant others.  It is implied that Jack isn’t available and Owen is still being Owen, going off and being unable to grapple with his own emotions.

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