Review: Torchwood: Big Finish Audio 1.3: Forgotten Lives

TWAB0103_forgottenlives_1417Gwen Cooper rushes to Jack Harkness’ rescue. No change there – except that the man who says he’s Jack is a nonagenarian in a North Wales nursing home…

Emma Reeves’ debut Big Finish and Torchwood script continues the strong run of stories so far in this reinvigoration of the wildly variable TV series. The first story to be set after the events of Miracle Day and the Barrowmans’ novel Exodus Code, it sees Gwen and Rhys keeping off the radar and trying to maintain some sort of family life with young Anwen. That’s all thrown up in the air by the return of Captain Jack – although it’s not a conventional return (if such a thing would be possible for the former Time Agent). And of course because he’s Jack, he’s brought trouble with him; as Rhys points out, he only needs to be back in their lives for a few hours, and everything goes mad!

Reeves is the co-creator of CBBC series Eve and brings the combination of plotting and emotional beats that’s a hallmark of that show to the more adult realm of Torchwood, providing the sort of script that stands up there with the work of Joe Lidster or series producer James Goss. She gets one of the essential elements of Torchwood – two steps forward, one step back, and it’s usually a personal one – as well as showing that the characters can develop. At least one of the key personnel here has learned from the harsh decisions that were made at the end of Children of Earth as to who and what are important to save.

It’s good to hear Eve Myles and Kai Owen back as Gwen and Rhys (scripted rather more true to the characters than some of the material in Miracle Day), with Philip Bond, Valmai Jones, Sean Carlsen (a universe away from the slippery Coordinator Narvin) and Reeves herself all providing staunch backup. It’s a story where some characters are approaching events with a great deal of tension while others seem less affected, and director Scott Handcock does an admirable job maintaining the different energy levels, with some subtle sound design from Neil Handcock aiding the storytelling.

Verdict: A strong story that derives from and develops the relationship between the characters of Gwen, Rhys and Jack. 9/10

Paul Simpson

 

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