Here we are again. It’s strange to think that even a few months ago, Torchwood stories weren’t a regular thing. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sometimes question what we’re given.
True, when someone asks you to think of a character from Torchwood, odds are Yvonne Hartman wouldn’t be your first choice, so we applaud Big Finish’s decision to put her front and centre this time around. A murder mystery with an alien at its heart, set in the recent past when Torchwood 1’s leader still ruled the roost, sounds like quite a good idea for a story. It’s just a shame the finished product was, well, a bit ropey. There’s no real mystery to proceedings, as any reader of mysteries will guess more or less what is going on pretty quickly. The blindingly obvious solution is even remarked upon by the characters. This is troubling, though it is consistent with Torchwood’s famously hit-and-miss quality.
There’s a fair bit of ‘I’m describing the world around me’ dialogue, which makes the story feel like it was originally intended for a visual medium and that it has been adapted rather haphazardly. The opening scenes in particular are dripping with this.
It’s also interesting to note that even though they were able to get Gareth David-Lloyd to reprise the role of Ianto earlier in the year, he was unable to contribute anything to a phone conversation that Yvonne has with Ianto. This is such a shame – surely they could have slipped him a line or two for later use?
It was hard to care about the characters much as we haven’t had a chance to form much of a relationship with any of the murder victims, and anything that affects Yvonne personally is a bit hard to swallow given her demeanour through the story so far.
We may be the outlier here, but we found this hour of Torchwood to be pretty forgettable, and even a cameo from some familiar Torchwood voices isn’t enough to save this. Chuck it in the Rift, we say.
TORCHWOOD: ONE RULE / DIRECTOR: BARNABY EDWARDS / AUTHOR: JOSEPH LIDSTER / STARRING: TRACY-ANN OBERMAN, GARETH ARMSTRONG, REBECCA LACEY, DAN STARKEY, CATRIN STEWART / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW