In Review: Big Finish: Torchwood One: Machines

When humanity's threatened, Yvonne Hartman is required.

Synopsis: Torchwood One – we defend the British Empire. We keep everyone safe. For your own good.

Something’s happened. Something’s twisted its way into Torchwood One. Something old. Something which should have been forgotten, wiped, abandoned. Something which has been waiting. Something which knows how the world should be ruled, how people should be used.

When humanity’s threatened, Yvonne Hartman is required.

Review: Torchwood One: Machines is a near perfect blend of Classic Doctor Who and the more modern Torchwood. I use the term modern knowing that a story taking place in 2006 is already dated in terms of the technology portrayed. Indeed, writers Matt Fitton and Tim Foley have some fun crafting retro-futuristic WOTAN’s arc, having it return and evolve in what is also a retro-future.

Instead of the standard box set format with several separate stories, this outing is one long narrative, consisting of one track or file, with three distinct parts…

“The Law Machines” by Matt Fitton starts things of with no build up. Listeners get an awesome Robocop style re-boot of The War Machines that puts Yvonne Hartman and Torchwood on their back feet, due to a series of very human miscalculations. I particularly love the context of WOTAN’s resurrection and the black humor in its learning curve. Throughout, Fitton demonstrates his love of the source material.

“Blind Summit” by Gareth David-Lloyd is a transition tale that serves a dual purpose. David-Lloyd sets up WOTAN’s larger plan and gives us the origin of Ianto Jones. He even throws in some semi-autobiographical character beats to flesh the story out.

Finally, “9 to 5” by Tim Foley is the epic, yet intimate, conclusion. WOTAN’s vision is given form in a frighteningly logical way. Moreover, Yvonne is confronted with an even darker version of herself. My favorite element, though, was WOTAN’s end, which was as ironic as his return.

Tracy-Ann Oberman and Gareth David-Lloyd are as spot on and superb as ever, leading an equally marvelous supporting cast. Within that supporting cast, I must mention Nicholas Pegg and the Big Finish sound engineers. They came up with exactly what WOTAN would sound like and tied the whole experience together. Big Finish is required.

Written By: Matt Fitton, Gareth David-Lloyd, Tim Foley

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards


Tracy-Ann Oberman (Yvonne Hartman), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Jane Asher (Elaine), Paterson Joseph (Matthew), James Wilby (Pascal), Adjoa Andoh (Fiona), Niky Wardley (Stacey), Daniel Anthony (Julian), Tim Bentinck (Tommy), Trevor Neal (Jason), Claire Wyatt (Tanya), Helen Goldwyn (Receptionist), Nicholas Pegg (Law Machines) and WOTAN. Other parts played by members of the cast.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners


Produced by James Goss

Script edited by Scott Handcock

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: Torchwood One: Machines
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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