Review: Torchwood: The Radio Adventures



The Radio Adventures

BBC Audio




The Torchwood team kept rather busy between the end of the second TV series and the start of ‘Children of Earth.’  Here we have three new adventures, joining the previously reviewed ‘Lost Souls,’ about that time period in which a newly broken team tried to mend itself.

Jack is used to loss, of course.  Being immortal, he’s seen many loved ones come and go.  It doesn’t help that he’s chosen a profession where his colleagues are virtually guaranteed to die early and violently.  The three episodes in the box set deal, at least tacitly, with the inherent transientness of Jack’s extended lifespan.

The first, ‘Asylum,’ is about a mysterious girl who arrives in Cardiff by way of the rift.  As it turns out, she may have a connection to Jack’s future.  This episode brings back the character of PC Andy, who is more or less the hero of the story and is finally able to play the active role in Torchwood investigation he was never able to do during the series.  The plot has shades of the second series episode, ‘Adrift,’ about Jack’s secret project to deal with innocent rift victims, though the girl in ‘Asylum’ isn’t as hopeless a case as the others were.

The second episode, ‘Golden Age,’ is about Torchwood India, which was closed in 1924.  It’s surprising then, that when Jack and company arrive they find it still in operation, and its staff looking exactly as they did 90 years ago.  This episodes delves into the consequences of Jack’s immortality.  To Jack, Torchwood India was just one of many chapters in his life; one that, once closed, was put on a shelf and forgotten.  But to mortals, it was something special, a ‘golden age,’ a time in their lives that they knew could never be bested.  Jack’s endless life has left him numb to its temporary pleasures.

In the third episode, ‘The Dead Line,’ people all over Cardiff are falling into comas after receiving phone calls from a supposedly out-of-service number.  Jack soon falls victim, leaving Gwen and Ianto to solve the case with the help of Rhys and Stella, a doctor whom Jack had dated in the ’70s.  Meeting someone whom Jack had dated, and then left once she grew old, causes Ianto to question how important he is to Jack, a man who will live a million more life-times after he is gone.

These three episodes worked better than ‘Lost Souls.’  With that previous episode, it felt like they didn’t quite know how to do Torchwood on the radio, and ended up with a thin plot padded out with a lot of repetitive conversations.  The episodes in this set feel more like genuine Torchwood.  I could easily imagine these being episodes of the TV series.  The writing just about at the level of the stand-alone episodes from the TV series, though they don’t quite make it.  That could just be the nature of radio vs. video, that it lacks the visual impact.

The full cast, including the actors for Rhys and Andy, return to voice their characters, and all do a fine job.  John Barrowman, who I thought sounded a little forced in ‘Lost Souls,’ sounds perfectly natural this time around.

The Radio Adventures offer some fun and well produced new Torchwood stories to tide you over as you patiently wait for future installments.



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