Finally the greatest Torchwood mystery has been solved. The question we have all been clamouring to know the answer to; Where did Ianto get that coffee mug he handed Jack whilst trying to get hired? Learn that and more from the perspective of local Cardiff café staff in Torchwood: Coffee, the first Torchwood story from Big Finish to be released in 2021.
A cup of coffee is an excellent way to start the day and Torchwood: Coffee is an excellent way to start the year! The entire story really is such a joy to listen to. There are so many laugh out loud moments. Cutting from lines about no one getting hurt, to immediate violent screams and explosion sounds, is a joke that will never get old. At one point I looked down at how much time was left in the story and was so excited to see that I was only halfway through! There would be so many more events for these adorable café people to react to.
Coffee is told from the perspective of David and Kathy from Baps Café (played wonderfully by Shaun Chambers and Sarah Griffin respectively). Both characters feel so real, like genuine people you already know in life. Dave is a lovable grump (even if I am convinced he would have voted for Harold Saxon without any psychic influence). Kathy is a great mixture of very kind and still blunt. It’s so easy to root for them and their café as they deal with all the hardship of constant alien and rift related events. We are shown a lot of strain and the impact that they are forced to deal with over the timeline of the show.
A New Point of View
It was a brilliant idea to have a story that follows the arc of the show, but from outside and an entirely normal perspective. Haven’t you ever wondered what all the normal people get up to, while the special protagonists chase aliens and save the world? It was interesting to see how these characters saw aliens, how they saw Torchwood, and how their views changed over the years. Originally I was confused at how Ianto wasn’t going to retcon these two once they really knew the truth, but then I remembered Torchwood’s name is literally written on their SUV, so they have bigger problems. No time to retcon everyone in Cardiff who has eyes.
While it may be from the perspective of David and Kathy, this really is Ianto’s story as well. It is fascinating and refreshing to see Ianto’s character from this new lens, especially in the timeline of the first season. These two get treated to some sweet (if slightly condescending) speeches about the “nice aliens”, a few awkward attempts to explain why their shop keeps getting destroyed (even though he’s doing his job), and the occasional, enthusiastic demonstrations of coffee and carpentry skills to avoid talking about his emotions. Gareth David-Lloyd comes back with another fantastic performance of Ianto. Whenever there’s an adventure with him, he always brings so much humour, as well. That is definitely the case here. It fits so perfectly into the upbeat tone of this story and keeps it away from darker undertones that are not the focus.
Torchwood: Coffee is honestly an incredibly enjoyable experience. The characters are realistic and fun. Humour runs through almost every interaction, but there are also genuine moments of heart and emotion. The story just refuses to get bogged down by them. It chooses to focus on “business as usual”, and how someone would go about living and thriving in a world that seems to be insane. Something we all feel we have to be doing sometimes. I’m really looking forward to another year of brilliant Torchwood releases from Big Finish. If Coffee is anything to go by it’s going to be fun.
This title was released in January 2021. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until March 31st, 2021, and on general sale after this date.
Baps has long been the best (and only) café in Cardiff Bay. But something’s coming to the Bay – will it be posh coffee or aliens?
David thinks that Cardiff’s under a curse, ever since his Mum went missing. One day, a young man called Ianto Jones walks into David’s café. He’s looking for something. Will he help David learn what’s really going on in the city?
- Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)
- Shaun Chambers (David)
- Sarah Griffin (Kathy)
- Senior Producer: David Richardson
- Additional themes by Ben Foster
- Remote Sound Engineering: Jack Townley
- Cover Art by Lee Binding
- Director: Scott Handcock
- Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
- Music: Blair Mowat
- Producer: James Goss
- Script Editor: Tim Foley
- Sound Design: Joe Meiners
- Written by James Goss
- Theme Music by Murray Gold