Big Finish’s finest Torchwood creation, Mr. Colchester, stands up for the Earth in a new free minisode
It’s a good time to be a Torchwood fan. This month sees the release of both a new episode in Big Finish’s monthly range, Torchwood: SUV, and a new Torchwood Soho boxset. But the tail end of September also brought two Torchwood stories. We got our regular dose of shenanigans alongside Ace and Colchester shenanigans in Death in Venice. But we also got a free minisode in the form of A Postcard from Mr. Colchester. How can we say no to that?
A Postcard from Mr. Colchester, like the name implies, provides only the briefest sketch of Torchwood’s latest mission. Narrated directly to the viewer by Colchester actor Paul Clayton, it’s conversational style belies the simmering anger powering it. Briefly put, its ten minute duration sees the vanguard of an alien invasion arriving on a Welsh motorway. Only one disgruntled Torchwood agent, armed with nothing more than an ordinary phone, stands between them and the opening of a door to let their horde to conquer the Earth. But the jaded and worn out Mr. Colchester isn’t even sure if it’s worth bothering.
Paul Clayton brings the perfect formula of weariness, vexation and resolve
If Doctor Who is passionate about fighting for justice and decency by nature, Torchwood was supposed to be its cynical, edgy, teenage sibling. But in Big Finish’s hands, some of its most powerful stories have been fired by a righteous fury. An anger often more specifically aimed at real world events than Who would ever dare. A Postcard from Mr. Colchester follows in the footsteps of The Five People You Kill in Middlesbrough of sticking its head out the window and articulately screaming at the sheer state of the world. Everything from climate change and pollution, to government corruption and fake news falls into Colchester’s crosshairs.
Unlike Tracy Ann-Oberman’s covid response fuelled revenge fantasy, James Goss’ viginette feels a little like a scene in search of a story, an idea that perhaps never quite found the right script to slot into. But that’s the nature of its status as a free download. With recording taking place in April of this year, it’s sobering to think just how much worse (and stranger) life has gotten even since then. Yet, it also contains a nugget of optimism for those who fight on. And Paul Clayton provides the perfect formula of weariness, vexation, and resolve to make a convincing case for keeping on standing out on that drizzly motorway for as long as it takes. Or until the end of the world, whichever comes first.
Torchwood: A Postcard from Mr. Colchester
Torchwood: A Postcard from Mr. Colchester is available for free from the Big Finish website now.