Audiobook Review: Torchwood: The Green Life, by Big Finish

The Doctor’s former companion, Jo, returns to the Welsh village of Llanfairfach with Jack Harkness in this sequel to The Green Death TV storyline.

The chutzpah between Jack Harkness and Jo Jones helps brings this fun release up several notches.

The Welsh village of Llanfairfach was once a hub where hippies and industry fought it out. It was where Jo Grant met her future husband, Professor Clifford Jones. It was also where she bid farewell to the Doctor after an adventure involving giant maggots and a mysterious entity known as BOSS.

Many years later, Professor Josephine Jones returns to what is now a thriving community however, all is it as it seems underneath the ground and it is up to Jo and Captain Jack Harkness of Torchwood to get to the bottom of it.

The second release from this current series of Torchwood monthly releases sees John Barrowman and Katy Manning pair up to present a sequel to the classic Doctor Who serial The Green Death. It is a story that distinctly falls into two halves, one much better than the other.

The first half sees Jack Harkness (Barrowman slipping easily as always back into his iconic role) and Jo Jones (Manning relishing another chance to show modern day Jo) in a cavern battling maggots and trading punchlines like veterans. It is sharp, funny and wildly entertaining listening to the two of these great actors spar off each other and making the most of the delicious script given to them. The sound mix by Richard Fox serves its purpose well in keeping the atmosphere suitably creepy. Stewart Bevan is the only other featured actor in this release (as the voice of the Hive) and, whilst he performs his limited dialogue well, his appearance leads into the second, less enjoyable half of the episode.

The spark from David Llewellyn’s exceptional first half almost evaporates in the second half as we go from two people genuinely enjoying each other’s company to arguing non-stop with one another. You can almost feel the energy getting sucked away from proceedings as a clear turning point in the narrative arrives. This is a shame because Llewelyn has a great track record with the audio releases across a number of ranges but, in this instance, the ending of this story feels rushed and in need of another draft.

Director Scott Handcock does a good job of keeping things moving but is ultimately let down by his material.

As with other releases, there is a short interview with the cast included as a bonus. There is also a warning of adult content and so discretion is advised.

This is by no means the worst release in the Torchwood range, but it feels like a missed opportunity nonetheless. Casual listeners however, will no doubt enjoy hearing Jack Harkness and Jo Jones together and their chutzpah alone helps brings this release up several notches.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: April 2019
Approx. RRP: $18 CD, $8 Digital Download

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