Monday 30 November 2015

Torchwood - Forgotten Lives

Made in Wales, set in Wales, with a cast including many Welsh actors. As a Welshman I was over the moon. A Welsh genre fantasy show?  This sort of thing neverhappened. But in 2006 Russell T Davies made it so (to paraphrase some other sci-fi show or other). However – and it is a big however – it didn’t seem to stray too far from Cardiff, and we up here in the North, (the Gogs), didn’t have any encounters with Jack and rest of the Torchwood team.  Until now.
You see in Forgotten Lives we are introduced to the previously unknown Torchwood – Wrexham. Oh yes! I literally cheered on my drive to work whilst listening. In my mind, if there is a Torchwood Wrexham, then surely in some part of the Torchwood Universe there is a Torchwood Trefriw…
But I digress, as always – and force myself away from my usual flights of fancy (Torchwood Trefriw – come on Big Finish, you know you want to do it – and bring myself back to this months release.
As with the previous two months, this release deals with particular character from Torchwood and in this one it is Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) who take centre stage. It is four years since the events of Miracle Day – Gwen and Rhys have settled down and Torchwood is a thing of the past.  They are parents to a four year old girl called Anwen. Life is – well, normal. And then they get a phone call. A strange call in Welsh from an old lady – and the mention of a name from the past: Jack Harkness. This is a phone call that will change their lives and take them to the promised land of North Wales (yay!) in fact the phone call takes them to the Bryn Offa Nursing Home (not far from Llangollen) and there they meet an old man who claims to be Captain Jack Harkness…
Kai Owen and Eve Myles slip right back into the characters of Rhys and Gwen, it’s like they have never been away – the interplay is just so natural and realistic – yes, they save the world, but they need to worry about baby-sitter too.
This is a very interesting story, and in fact will keep you guessing for the first half or so as to whether “Mr Griffith” really is an ancient version of Jack Harkness or just a poor old man suffering from dementia who happens to think he may have been someone else.
Tonally this is a story of two halves – the mysterious investigation in the first half leads to a shocking confrontation, a terrible mistake and an unforgivable act. The tension is almost unbearable and Gwen is seen to really be someone you do not mess with. Rhys Williams continues to be the heart of Torchwood – the us, the in, the voice of common sense and real world – he utterly grounds the show and makes it believable – his talk of being a driver in North Wales, of a burger van called “Hot Buns” that always parked in the same lay-by as a contrast to the world which Gwen and Jack inhabit.
This story works as a standalone; there are a few lines of dialogue that hark back to Miracle Day and the previous audios, but this shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment one little bit. Another worthy addition to the Torchwood range, a great big Welcome back! to Gwen and Rhys and a Big Hello Torchwood! from North Wales.
Definitely not one to forget. 9/10.

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