The final volume of this spin-off series is one of the more entertaining releases this year.
The Torchwood One series features the original Torchwood that was briefly seen in Doctor Who before being destroyed by a combination of Daleks and Cybermen. It features the recurring characters of Ianto Jones and Yvonne Hartmann who, as with previous volumes, show a tremendous rapport with one another. This final volume is set just prior to these events and serves as a coda of sorts to this small, but quite wonderful spin-off series.
As befitting the final instalment, this set uses the theme of retirement as a prominent focus. Gareth David-Lloyd (who also reprises his role as Ianto Jones superbly) is the writer of the first story, Retirement Plan, involving Ianto helping the retiring head of alien acquisitions, Tommy (played wonderfully by Timothy Bentinck), to properly retire without the usual round of mind wipes from Torchwood. It is quite the comedic farce with some very dark angles throughout.
Matt Fitton’s Locker 15 is a poignant tale about Torchwood desperately needing to find a key to a locker and the only person who knows is a cleaner with dementia called Dave (played with much finesse by Derek Griffiths). The traumatic ending is both powerful and moving, yet it is also totally Torchwood.
The final story (The Rockery, by Tim Foley) is a brilliant character piece featuring the wonderful Tracy-Ann Oberman as Torchwood One leader Yvonne Hartmann dealing with her mother Anne (played with the right amount of upper-crust by Barbara Flynn) retiring to the country and looking after a plant that has a predilection for eating cats amongst other things.
All of these stories are well crafted by their respective authors with enough characters in each episode to keep the story interesting without it feeling overcrowded or empty. Director Barnaby Edwards keeps the pulse strong throughout whilst allowing certain moments to breathe effectively. The sound mix by Steve Foxon and Iain Meadows as well as the music by Blair Mowat are, as usual, top drawer.
Whilst the Torchwood monthly range has had more misses than hits recently, this set is well worth exploring as it shows what can happen when the scripts, as well as the production and cast, are on point throughout. It may not be perfect Torchwood but it is certainly entertaining and enjoyable for long-time fans of the series.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: September 2019
Approx RRP: $48 CD, $20 Digital Download