REVIEW | Torchwood: Restricted Items Archive Entries 031-049

George Hewitt reviews July’s Torchwood release, which sees Ianto delve into the Restricted Items Archive.

Check out our interview with star Gareth David-Lloyd here!


We have two debuts in this Torchwood release – it’s Maddie Wilson‘s first entry to the range as writer, and Steven Kavuma‘s first as director. And what a great story for the two to cut their teeth with. For the second time in the Torchwood range, this release features only one cast member. Unlike 2020’s Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4, however, this story focuses on just one member of Torchwood Three – Gareth David-Lloyd‘s Ianto Jones.

The story introduces us to the Restricted Items Archive, a storage room in Torchwood Cardiff where all the alien artefacts that have been deemed too dangerous to use or that the team can’t understand are kept. We follow Ianto as he documents each of the items 031 to 049. What unfolds is a character piece that looks at who Ianto is when he’s not around the others, why he enjoys the time alone in the archive, and features some lovely (and heart-breaking) callbacks and Easter eggs to TV Torchwood episodes throughout.

David-Lloyd is on top form throughout as Ianto. He inhabits the role effortlessly and understands every small nuance of Ianto’s character. Steven Kavuma‘s direction – coupled with Toby Hyrcek-Robinson and Blair Mowat‘s sound design and music respectively – comes together with David-Lloyd’s performance to create a real sense of place with this story – never once do you doubt that this is taking place in an underground warehouse.

The villain in this story isn’t amazingly well fleshed-out, but it doesn’t really need to be – the story is a character study, and as a character study it succeeds. I look forward to Kavuma’s next Torchwood project: the upcoming reunion of Ace and Mr Colchester, Death in Venice, and I hope Wilson gets to write more for this range.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Torchwood: Restricted Items Archive Entries 031-049 is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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