Saturday, 11 July 2009


Written by: Russell T. Davies
Directed by: Euros Lyn

Watched on TV Monday 6th July 2009 to Friday 10th July 2009 (5 x 1 Hour Episodes)


Where can I start with this? Probably one of the best written pieces of Sci-Fi the BBC has ever produced. Set in the world of today I found it very atmospheric and I could almost believe that, given similar circumstances, a modern government might react in a similar way. I found it thought provoking, disturbing and utterly brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, it had its faults, but I’m willing to accept it as it is and leave the nit-picking to those who are much better at it than I.

I will not try to go through the plot of the whole thing, it’s very long and involved, and you’ll be reading far into the night/afternoon… or whatever time of day it is you’re reading this.

I will try to summarise. The 456, an alien race, returns to Earth, announcing their arrival by controlling all the children of the world, making them say, “We are coming” over and over again. They have been here before, to the UK in 1965 where some children were taken by them in exchange for the cure to a virilant virus. Captain Jack Harkness was involved in this exchange. Since the 456 are returning, the modern day government want no witnesses to their previous encounter and so order the assassinations of all those involved, including Jack. Now, Jack can’t die, so the attempt on him is unsuccessful, but the Cardiff hub is destroyed.

Relocating to London, the Torchwood team, Jack, Ianto and Gwen, who has just found out she’s pregnant, begin to figure out what is going on with the able help of Lois Habiba, a PA who works for John Frobisher, Permanent Secretary to the Home Office. He is the one the government has chosen to negotiate with the 456. During the negotiations, it emerges that a child is attached to the 456, one of those from 1965, and they are using the child as a kind of narcotic. The 456 demand 10% of all the children of Earth or they will wipe out humanity. Jack and Ianto manage to get into the building where the 456 are. They threaten the 456 but they retaliate and release a deadly toxin into the building, which seals itself. Everyone dies, including Ianto… Jack, of course, survives, but is deeply scared by the loss of is friend and lover.

Taken to a cell and left there, Jack doesn’t see a way to beat the 456. Meanwhile, the government puts into effect plans to collect the 10% of children and take them to places where the 456 can take them away. Unbeknownst to Jack, his daughter (yes, he has a daughter) and grandson have been taken by the team lead by Johnson, the operative who originally tried to assassinate him. Johnson is persuaded that the only person who can help is Jack, and he is rescued from his cell and put to work on a way to destroy the 456. He comes up with a plan to destroy the 456 using a “constructive wave” effectively this will turn the children into a deafening sound fed back to the extra-terrestrial addicts. Unfortunately, for his plan to work, Jack knows he must sacrifice one child to transmit the signal, and the only youngster available to him is his own grandson Steven.

We end with Jack leaving the Earth, hitching a ride on a passing freighter. Is this the end for Jack?

Great performances all round, especially from John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Peter Capaldi (John Frobisher), Lucy Cohu (Alice Carter) and Paul Copley (Clement McDonald). Honourable mentions go to Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Liz May Brice (Johnson), Nick Briggs (Rick Yates), Susan Brown (Bridget Spears), Aimee Davies (Mica Davies), Nicholas Farrell (Brian Green), Deborah Finlay (Denise Riley), Ian Gelder (Mr. Dekker), and Cush Jumbo (Lois Habiba). The production was excellent, as we’ve come to expect from the BBC, and I thought the music was particularly well done and fitted the action perfectly. But I must save the best till last, the writing by Russell T. Davies was nothing short of brilliant, I absolutely loved it, although it was very dark and, at times, difficult to watch, I really enjoyed it.

My score: 9/10

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