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Audio Drama Review


The Lost Files


Starring: John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd
RRP: £30.00, US $49.95
ISBN: 978 1 4458 6095 4
Available 08 September 2011

When Rhys’s Uncle Bryn has a heart attack while listening to the shipping forecast, it seems like another routine death at Ivyday Nursing Home. When Rhys and Gwen go to collect the old man’s effects, however, Gwen’s suspicions are roused by another elderly resident. The conversation is cut short by a fire alarm, one of many consequences of the mysterious power cuts that are sweeping the nation. Gwen has a hunch that something is wrong, and her search leads her to Miss Carew, a suspiciously fit octogenarian who, despite having supposedly terminal heart disease, has left Ivyday and returned to the computer firm she used to run. She has been offered a deal she can’t refuse - but the consequences for Earth are unthinkable...

If you’re missing Torchwood, then this box set of three CDs is for you. It contains three 45-minute radio episodes, which were originally broadcast to coincide with the UK television debut of Miracle Day, but set a couple of years earlier, when Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) was still alive.

Like Miracle Day, all three stories deal with extended life in one way or another, most obviously the first one, The Devil and Miss Carew, in which an old lady called Miss Carew (Juliet Mills) makes a deal... but not with the Devil exactly. She is one of several residents of a nursing home who have miraculously recovered their health and returned to work. I suggest that you don’t read the full synopsis on the back of the individual CD - it is far too revelatory about subsequent plot developments, including the identity of the mysterious “Fitzroy”.

This episode, written by Rupert Laight, starts off promisingly, if rather reminiscent of the Doctor Who episode The Idiot’s Lantern, but it could have done with more time to unfold. We never really learn what Fitzroy’s other recruits have been doing for him (were they working at Miss Carew’s IT company, or elsewhere?), though the being himself is splendidly voiced by the silky tones of Martin Jarvis.

In common with Children of Earth and several episodes of Miracle Day, Kai Owen plays a prominent supporting role as Gwen’s husband, Rhys.



Torchwood are chasing aliens down the M4 when Jack accidentally blows a hole in the Severn Bridge, and the SUV hits the water. While submerged, Jack, Gwen and Ianto hear a strange noise - which, back at the Hub, they realise is a cry for help. They track the cry to its source, which turns out to be the deepest part of the ocean: the Mariana Trench. Ianto rings an old Torchwood flame, Carlie Roberts, who’s an expert in marine geology, and Jack pulls strings with the US government and UNIT to get them on board the USS Calvin, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer that is heading for the Trench. From there they board the Octopus Rock, the only submarine built to withstand the pressure at that depth, and follow the signal...

The medium of audio often enables Torchwood to travel farther afield than television production usually allows, whether it be to visit the Large Hadron Collider in Lost Souls, India in Golden Age, or the Mariana Trench in Submission. Here the team go on a sub mission (geddit?) and there’s a sense of awe as Carlie Roberts (Erin Bennett) shows them the wonders of the ocean depths, including the strange ecosystems that surround black smokers (hydrothermal vents). Through Carlie, writer Ryan Scott reminds us that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about this environment.

Unlike the writers of Miracle Day, Scott doesn’t overlook the fact that Captain Jack (John Barrowman) is omnisexual, not merely homosexual, as is shown when Jack tries to flirt with Carlie (though his charms don’t work on this particular woman). The writer also throws in several crowd-pleasing references to Doctor Who, including name-checking UNIT and the Doctor himself.

Ianto takes a leading role here, as his past involvement with Torchwood One is mentioned. The actor sounds more gruff than usual, though - rather like the comedian Rhod Gilbert. Like Rhod Gilbert, Ianto gets answers - usually by tapping away at a computer!



The brewery has called “time” and it’s the last night at The House of the Dead - the most haunted pub in Wales. Barry the barman has invited the renowned psychic, Mrs Wintergreen, to hold a special séance to mark the occasion, and there’s a large crowd of customers hoping for the chance to see their deceased loved ones for one last time. However, when Captain Jack Harkness arrives on the scene, he’s determined to stop them. Ianto is puzzled by Jack’s behaviour, and Gwen is suspicious. Why is Jack acting so strangely? Then the ghosts start arriving - and all hell breaks loose...

Ianto truly comes to the fore in The House of the Dead, which takes full advantage of the involvement of Gareth David-Lloyd and the listener’s knowledge of the tragic loss of his character during Children of Earth. In a way, this episode is the antithesis of The Devil and Miss Carew, in that it initially appears to be a fairly regular adventure... but writer James Goss has a trick up his sleeve, which is both ingenious and extremely moving.

I can’t say much more about this story without spoiling it, except that David-Lloyd and Barrowman act their socks off, while Goss also ties up a loose end regarding the Rift.

If you’re missing Torchwood - and especially Torchwood as it used to be - then this box set is most definitely for you.


Richard McGinlay

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