With so much Torchwood history to explore, Big Finish have seized the chance to take on it’s pre-Jack era. ‘Before The Fall’ takes us back (as the name suggests) to the days before Torchwood One fell to the Cybermen. Tracy-Ann Oberman and Gareth David-Lloyd reprise their roles in a new take on Torchwood – less ‘The X-Files’, more ‘The Office’.

New Girl by Joseph Lidster

BIG FINISH - Torchwood One - Before the Fall - New Girl
BIG FINISH – Torchwood One – Before the Fall – New Girl

The opening story follows newly-recruited Rachel Allan during her first few weeks at Torchwood’s glamorous Canary Wharf office. There she battles with office politics, sentient lifts and almost starts an interplanetary war over a missing minibar. With a packed cast, Lidster’s talent for characterisation is used to great effect, which was vital to delivering on the themes of the series. It’s definitely a slower story than we’re used to from Torchwood but it does a great job setting up atmosphere. Other than some minor pacing issues – the office-sitcom shtick goes on a little too long – it’s a terrific start.

Through The Ruins by Jenny T Colgan

BIG FINISH - Torchwood One - Before the Fall -Through the Ruins
BIG FINISH – Torchwood One – Before the Fall -Through the Ruins

Reeling from recent events, Yvonne must strike out on her own while the others attend the team-building day from hell. Colgan spends lots of time developing Yvonne, though somewhat at the expense of the other plot, and it pays off. The character becomes more an ambitious anti-hero than the meddling micromanager we met on TV. The self-aware office clichés are still there, but they take on a more sinister nature to match the shifting tone. The new Torchwood regime has been established, but a familiar face won’t let that happen without a fight.


Uprising by Matt Fitton

BIG FINISH - Torchwood One - Before the Fall - Uprising
BIG FINISH – Torchwood One – Before the Fall – Uprising

2005 is when everything changes, and Torchwood…is knackered. The boss believes invasion is imminent so the Canary Wharf office is constantly on edge. The denouement to the box-set does an excellent job paying off elements seeded in the other stories. Alien incursion becomes political capital, unspoken agendas become clear, retcon becomes a dietary staple! The tongue-in-cheek office politics fall away and we see just how ruthless the professional alien-hunting industry can be. The resolution is simple but Fitton has married all the story elements together so well that the climax is a very satisfying end to a terrific series.


I went into this box-set expecting it to be another template for alien invasion stories. A place for scripts that were too dark for the UNIT series. So I was pleasantly surprised at the emphasis on strong characterisation in this release with aliens as a mere backdrop. It’s a terrific change of pace for Torchwood and a credit to the writers for tackling this new direction so well. That said, how well you enjoy this box-set will depend largely on your tastes. If you’re looking for action and aliens, you may find the opening story too slow. But if you want superb characterisation, satirical jabs at office life and espionage power-plays, this is an ideal listen.

Blogtor Rating – 9/10

Torchwood One: Before The Fall is available to buy now on CD and download from the Big Finish website.


London, 2005. Yvonne Hartman is the undisputed head of Torchwood One. Above the government, beyond the police, she has excellent people skills; enjoys regular tea with the Queen; and effortlessly defends the British Empire from alien threats.

Yvonne Hartman is excellent at her job, and inspires devotion in everyone who works with her – until, one day, she makes a terrible mistake. We all make mistakes. But only at Torchwood can a single mistake plunge your world into interstellar war.

Yvonne Hartman’s facing the fight of her life. One she’s going to win.

New Girl by Joseph Lidster

“They’ve been coming to us for years. And we’ve been kept in the dark. My name’s Rachel Allan. And I’m Torchwood”

It’s Rachel Allan’s first day at Torchwood. Torchwood only takes the brightest and the best – and Rachel’s wondering if Yvonne Hartman’s made a terrible mistake in picking her.

Plunged into a world of alien invasions and office politics, Rachel’s desperate to fit in. For one thing, she really wants this job. And, for another, she knows what happens at Torchwood if you fail.

Through The Ruins by Jenny T Colgan

“Ianto, please. It’s all… it’s all gone wrong. I don’t know what to think any more.”

Away Days at Torchwood aren’t what you’d expect. Yes, there’s the forced camaraderie, the team-building exercises, and the chance for long-held rivalries to boil over. But Torchwood Away Days also have the potential to get very lethal very quickly.

Yvonne Hartman’s extremely worried by this year’s Away Day. But she’s got other things on her mind – something’s very wrong with Torchwood.

Uprising by Matt Fitton

“Torchwood. It’s taken the best part of a month, but I’ve finally got things running how they should be. How they should have been all along. ”

Torchwood has experienced some radical changes, but things are finally settling down. Everyone has pulled together and is trying to put the past behind them. Well, except for Yvonne Hartman – she’s out to win the future.

There’s one problem. Someone seems to have started an interstellar war. Someone who knows Torchwood from the inside out.

Written By: Joseph Lidster, Jenny T Colgan, Matt Fitton

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards


Tracy-Ann Oberman (Yvonne Hartman), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Gerard McCarthy (Dean), Sophie Winkleman (Rachel Allan), Robert Daws (Soren), Tim Bentinck (Thomas), Nisha Nayar (Guleraana), Lorelei King (Pippa), Damian Lynch (Kieran), Simon Hickson (Ziggy), Rachid Sabitri (Mehdi), Helen Goldwyn (Receptionist), Philip Childs (Dave). Other Humans, Aliens and Torchwood Agents played by members of the cast.

Produced by James Goss

Script edited by Scott Handcock

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs


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