Review: Torchwood: 13 – Visiting Hours

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: David Llewellyn

RRP: £9.99 (CD) / £7.99 (Download)

Release Date: March 2017

Reviewed by: Dan Peters for Doctor Who Online


"Everyone’s a little worried about St Helen’s Hospital. In many ways it is a miracle of the modern NHS. It has plenty to offer its patients. The problem is that a lot of them keep dying of natural causes in the night. And no-one can find the bodies.

People are beginning to notice. Questions are being asked. And there are rumours – the strange whispering figures seen at the end of the corridors, the electrical buzzing, the screams.

Also, Rhys Williams has come to visit his mother. Brenda’s had her hip done and is looking forward to a bit of rest and regular crumble. Rhys and his mam are in for a night they’ll never forget."

Last year the double dozen Torchwood stories that Big Finish realised were met with great acclaim, with some even stating this is the best form of the spin-off yet.

Torchwood is back and we’re all ready. The new audio series starts this month with ‘Visiting Hours’, when a hospital’s dodgy menu is the least of a visitor’s worries...

It’s often the case that secondary characters get largely overshadowed in television series, even one of the calibre of Torchwood. The structure of these releases, focusing on individuals, allows for personalities and backgrounds to be effectively fleshed out. Although Rhys is more than a spare part throughout the TV episodes, it’s clear that other half Gwen wears the trousers in the relationship.

Here, the attention is pointed at Rhys (played by Kai Owen) and he’s given an opportunity to shine. It would have been easy for writer David Llewellyn to have him acting the clown, blundering his way through proceedings, but after his brushes with previous alien incursions, Rhys has learnt quite a bit. 

Torchwood, like Doctor Who, seems to flourish in circumstances where the extra-terrestrial meets the mundane. For all its spaceships, aliens and megalomaniacs bent on invasion, the ‘brand’ (especially since its reboot) is very strongly grounded. It cleverly  focuses on individuals and their everyday lives. Most of this tale is set within the walls of a Hospital. With Rhys visiting his mam, but it’s not long before things turn eerie.

The brilliant Nerys Hughes returns as (the comparatively less fanged-up) Brenda from ‘Torchwood: Something Borrowed’. She portrays the older mother vibe perfectly. Nerys and Kai have a believable ‘’mam’ and son relationship. Essentially this story is about family, exploring  how far people will go in protecting them.

Ironically, stars of ITV2’s Plebs, Karl Theobald and Ryan Sampson, play foreboding henchmen, pursuing our heroes. Uniquely, they have strong motives for their actions over and above that of their ‘employers’ After the climax of last year’s series, which brought to an end the villainous committee’s escapades, mutterings of a similarly mysterious force suggests a running plot. 

The one element of the story that for me unfortunately let it down, was that the plot’s resolution didn’t do it’s lead up justice. It felt a bit like a sonic screwdriver solution, and would have really benefited from a little more time to establish.

On the whole, this is an excellent release, which rattles along at pace. It expands the background of a much loved character, containing some heart-warming moments, against an eerie impending threat.

The writers seem to be keen to push the boundaries and dynamics further at this point in it’s audio run. Next month’s release: ’The Dollhouse’ centres itself around the institute’s branch of female fighters in LA.



+  ORDER 
this CD via Amazon.co.uk!

ABC to present “Whovians” panel show

Australian broadcaster ABC have announced a new half-hour panel show to tie in with the forthcoming tenth series of Doctor Who. Based around fans of the show, Whovians will be shown on Sunday evenings from 16th April at around 8:30pm on ABC2/iview, straight after the latest episode has been broadcast on ABC.

Whovians, with Rove McManus (Credit: ABC)Sunday nights are about to get a whole lot more galactic as Rove McManus and his team of superfans present a brand new half hour panel show to dissect, delve into and delight in the world of Doctor Who. Airing straight after the weekly premiere of the much anticipated Doctor Who series 10 on ABC, Whovians will be filmed in front of a live studio audience, and air on Sundays at 8.30pm on ABC2 and iview.

As well as unpacking the most recent episode, Rove and the team will open the doors of the TARDIS and go back through the annals of time to lovingly analyze, critique, and unravel the mysteries of this much loved globally renowned series.

Rove is a long time Doctor Who enthusiast and will be joined by other self-confessed Doctor Who superfans, Tegan Higginbotham, Adam Richard and Steven ‘Bajo’ O’Donnell, as well as a roster of celebrity guests.

This is a show by Whovians but one that won’t exclude the rest of humanity.

Rove McManus said:
I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for as long as I can remember so you can imagine how pleased I am to be hosting a show about it. Whether it be the classic era that dates back over fifty years or the modern series that has created its own decade-long legacy, it’ll be nice to have the opportunity to talk about my favourite TV show with like-minded individuals and be paid to completely geek out. You might say I’m so excited that I too feel like I have two hearts beating in my chest - and yes, it’s references like that which prove I’m the right guy for the job.
Brian Minchin, Executive Producer of Doctor Who added:
Whovians will be the perfect companion piece for the thrilling new series of Doctor Who on ABC. It’s fantastic to have this exciting new program to delight Australian fans.
Rebecca Heap, ABC Head of Programming and Digital, said:
As the home of Doctor Who in Australia we are thrilled to offer our audiences another way to engage with the popular program, as well as welcoming Rove back to our screens.

So get ready to get on board. #WhoviansAU

Fans who wish to be part of the audience are invited to register their interest via drwho.audience@abc.net.au.

Breakfast with Seven Doctors

Comic Relief is offering the first opportunity ever created to enjoy a Full English Breakfast in the company of Seven Doctors.

The Wolseley on Piccadilly will be hosting this landmark meal where, for the first time in the show's 54 year history, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi will meet to break bread and talk Tardis.

Here, inside its hallowed hall, the meal of meals will take place. An epic event, a world first, and a legendary opportunity to witness history in the making. To win the chance to join them on this remarkable morning, you need to enter the prize draw. Five pounds enters your name into the pot for a chance to join the seven Doctors for what is being described as the most historic breakfast in the history of television.

The meet and greet will take place between September 2017 and May 2018. Comic Relief will give you as much noticed as possible once the date is confirmed.

This prize has been kindly donated by the actors and The Wolseley.

To enter follow the link