Ah, this is more like it. After a lacklustre first outing for Big Finish’s new Torchwood range, this two-hander is a real return to form – well, it’s technically a three-hander but the other person’s appearance is so brief we didn’t remember it until we started writing this sentence.
In places Fall to Earth will remind Doctor Who viewers of Voyage of the Damned, but that’s no bad thing. It’s different enough and the premise (Ianto Jones trying to stop a new spaceship from crashing with him aboard) is one that is fantastically well realised in an audio format (there are a few minor niggles but nothing that majorly stands out).
The noir-style narration that was all over The Conspiracy is practically all gone, replaced by a long mobile phone conversation with a strong contender for the unluckiest insurance agent to ever walk the planet. It reminds the listener of black box tapes, which was no doubt the idea. Part of the appeal of this is that it’s so easy to put yourself in her shoes; it’s fair to say that most people would be out of their depth in a situation like that, and the way that she develops as a person over the course of the story is something out of the very best Doctor Who episodes.
But the major surprise of this release is how genuinely funny it is. Goss’ dialogue is witty and sharp while maintaining an air of black comedy throughout. We never thought we’d say a glorified black box recording could be laugh-a-minute, but here we are.
Where was Goss years ago when the TV incarnation of Torchwood was in dire need of quality episodes? It’s hard to see how the series could get any better, but by god we hope they manage it when Forgotten Lives rolls around. Recommend this to all your Ianto-loving friends.
TORCHWOOD: FALL TO EARTH / DIRECTOR: SCOTT HANDCOCK / AUTHOR: JAMES GOSS / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: GARETH DAVID-LLOYD, LISA ZAHRA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW