The Torchwood One team return for a third series of adventures with Torchwood One: Latter Days. Revolving around the theme of retirement, this set follows three key characters as they navigate their lives post-Torchwood. Read on for my reviews of each story.
1. “Retirement Plan” by Gareth David-Lloyd
The set opens with Retirement Plan, a story which follows Ianto as he helps Tommy Pierce (Tim Bentinck) with his plan to retire from Torchwood. Of course, as this is Torchwood we’re talking about, things don’t go to plan, with the two finding themselves thrust into an artificial world populated by a group of most interesting characters.
Gareth David-Lloyd not only stars as Ianto in this story, but is also its writer, and he’s done a fantastic job. There are some touching character moments- particularly for the character of Tommy, who Tim Bentinck gives remarkable nuance- but equally some hilarious comedy.
This story sees Tracy Ann Oberman take on a slightly different role to usual (and when I say slightly, I mean massively), and she’s absolutely fantastic. I won’t spoil anything here, but a lot of Retirement Plan‘s comedy comes from her character, and as soon as you hear her first line, you’ll understand why.
Blair Mowat‘s music is particularly good here, putting a James Bond-esque twist on several recognisable Torchwood motifs.
Overall, a great start to the set, and a fine script from Gareth David-Lloyd.
2. “Locker 15” by Matt Fitton
The second story, written by Matt Fitton, sees Torchwood track down an ex-employee as they attempt to learn the truth behind the titular Locker 15.
This is another standout story for Tracy Ann Oberman, with Fitton writing Yvonne at her most ruthless, and Oberman playing this with relish. From her manipulation of an old man with dementia to her brutal actions in the final scene of the play (which I’ll leave unspoiled), Yvonne is by no means a pleasant character in this story, and this makes it all the more gripping.
The main guest actor in Locker 15 is Derek Griffiths, who plays Dave: an ex-Torchwood cleaner. Griffiths is excellent in the role, bringing cutting pathos where necessary, and proving a great foil for Yvonne.
All in all, this is a rather dark, but still very strong Torchwood One story.
3. “The Rockery” by Tim Foley
The final story in the set is The Rockery, written by Tim Foley. And what a story this is! Seeing Yvonne reunite with her mother, Anne, this script explores themes of loss, depression and family, and does so marvellously, with Tim Foley once again proving himself as one of the strongest writers Big Finish employ.
Yet again, Tracy Ann Oberman steals the show as Yvonne, reminding me once more how happy I am that the character has an afterlife (two, in fact) at Big Finish. It’s great to hear about her life outside of Torchwood, as it really helps to fully round out an already-vivid character.
Anne Hartman, Yvonne’s mother, is played by Barbara Flynn, who plays the role just perfectly. Through her performance and rapport with Tracy Ann Oberman, and through Tim Foley’s writing, the mother-daughter relationship between the two character is completely and utterly believable.
Michael Maloney also stars in this story, playing kindly gardener William. He brings incredible warmth to his performance, which is understatedly elegant, and his interactions with Anne and Yvonne are wonderful.
Not only is The Rockery the star of this set, but it’s also one of my favourite Torchwood stories altogether. Poignant, tragic and emotional, but with great warmth, this is truly a sublime story, packed with fantastic performances. Unreservedly, I award The Rockery the highest score possible:
The best Torchwood One set yet, and possibly the best Torchwood set overall, Latter Days is a magnificent release. Director Barnaby Edwards delivers a tight production, with great sound design from Steve Foxon and Iain Meadows, and every single performer in the set is on top form. From comedy, to drama, to emotion, this set has it all, and is highly, highly recommended.
Torchwood One: Latter Days is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
If you enjoy these reviews, follow us on Twitter @who__review