To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Torchwood’s debut later this month BAFTA Cymru hosted an event at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on Wednesday evening.
The event was hosted by Scott Handcock, director of a number of Torchwood audio stories which have reunited the cast in recent years. Premiering at the event was a short, special edition of ‘Torchwood Declassified: Torchwood at 10’. This specially shot episode featured behind the scenes footage at the Big Finish recording studios and interviews with actors John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd and Tom Price, plus writers Emma Reeves and AK Benedict, reminiscing about the show and struggling to believe that it has actually been 10 years. Torchwood, of course, debuted on October 22nd, 2006 with ‘Everything Changes’ and the highlight of the event was a screening of that episode on the big screen.
Following the screening, Scott Handcock hosted a Q&A panel with Producer Richard Stokes, Script Editor Gary Russell, Writer Joseph Lidster, Special Effects Supervisor Danny Hargreaves and actor Gareth David-Lloyd who played Ianto Jones. During the Q&A session, the panel discussed how they came into Torchwood, their favourite episodes and how being commissioned for BBC3 allowed for the creation of this unique programme.
Richard Stokes recalled travelling to Cardiff on a train, convinced he was going to lose his job after the series had gone a little over budget. However, he received a call from Executive Producer Julie Gardner, to tell him that ‘Everything Changes’ had drawn 2.5 million viewers. At the time this was the largest digital channel audience for a non-sport programme. Gary Russell shared the story of how he read the scripts for the first series of Torchwood and knew he wanted to work on the show. He also told the tale of how he and Russell T Davies both agreed that Joseph Lidster would be capable of writing for TV. Lidster also vaguely remembered, having been drunk at Gary’s housewarming party, learning that his script had now been commissioned for production, his first piece for TV.
Although absent from the event John Barrowman came up in conversation with Danny Hargreaves describing how distracting he could be at moments when concentration was required for firing special effects. Of course, Gareth David-Lloyd discussed Ianto’s shrine in Cardiff Bay and how he rarely gets recognised when he actually visits in person. Further memories included the excruciating wait for the final ‘wrap’ on series one, with the crew outside the studio, waiting on a Real SFX explosion on the Hub set. Also, the discomfort of filming on the barn set of ‘Countrycide’, the more graphic and horrific cut of the episode which never made it to air and how a wound on Ianto’s head was so severe and realistic it too was cut.
Thank you, Cardiff
Unanimously, they all declared how Cardiff, it’s people and the wider areas, helped make the show a success and became effectively an additional supporting character to the series.
Well attended, the event highlights the support that the show still enjoys despite being off TV screens for a number of years. Torchwood has since continued in books, audios and comics so is very worthy of celebration. BBC Worldwide will continue those celebrations as the Doctor Who Experience will be installing a special Torchwood exhibit from Saturday 22nd October, the show’s 10th anniversary, including props and costumes from the series. The venue’s Filming Location tours will also be making some special Torchwood stops on their route.
Happy Birthday Torchwood!
BAFTA Cymru has made the first half an hour of the event available to watch below.