Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: Torchwood: Lease of Life, by Big Finish

SCI-FI: 3 bed, 1 bath, shared house in a vibrant area with easy access to Cardiff city centre. Has a real lived-in feel. Note to interested parties: There is a small spreading mould issue, and an investigation is being undertaken on site. Those worried are advised to contact the Council’s Mould Expert, Dr Owen Harper.

A weird adventure that seems a little underdone and lacking in likeable characters.

Seren is eagerly biding her time in her three-bedroom, one-bathroom share house in Cardiff until she can save up enough money to leave. She’s sick of her roommates who either obsess over everything or play their music too loud. Then there is the matter of the weird smell and strange mould that appears to be growing on the walls. Fortunately for her, the council has sent their mould expert, Dr. Owen Harper, to help. By the end of the day, though, only some of her problems will be resolved …

The final instalment in this series of monthly Torchwood releases is a bizarre way to end the season. Whilst Burn Gorman’s portrayal of Owen Harper has been the highlight in this season of adventures, he seems misplaced in this one. Like a lot of these scripts, there is a necessity for the listener to be attached to characters they have hardly met. Aaron Lamont has tried very hard to keep the peril level high but is ultimately foiled by giving us characters that we are unlikely to care about—up to and including Dr. Harper.

That being said, it plays on the many archetypes of people who live in shared housing and if you have had the pleasure of sharing an apartment with someone who has these traits then you may find yourself triggered. You have been warned.

It is also fair to say that the small cast does a great job of supporting Gorman throughout. Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo does a great job as the harried Seren while Rosalie Craig (Ellie) and Angus Yellowlees (Nye) play the hapless tenants perfectly. 

As with other releases in this series, Scott Handcock does an outstanding job of keeping things interesting and enjoyable for the listener. The action flows along at a pretty decent pace without feeling too bogged down. Naomi Clark’s sound design is very much on point and there are some pretty gruesome effects she has to deal with throughout the course of this one. The bonus interviews at the end include hilarious stories from the cast about horror shared housing tenants they have known and are certainly well worth a listen.

An enjoyable episode—not Torchwood at its absolute sparkling best but certainly far from its worst.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: March 2021
Approx RRP: $20 CD, $9 Digital Download

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