Torchwood gets ready for a hot Launch Date, with Ianto Jones on hand as the universe’s worse wingman in a romcom that’s light and witty… at least until the explosions and screaming start…

With Torchwood Among Us kicking off this month, almost certainly bringing with it much angst, high drama, and heavy death tolls, it’s probably just as well the range is giving the listeners a chance to cleanse their palette with something softer and gentler. Well, softer and gentler by Torchwood standards, anyway. Launch Date brings Big Finish’s loose ‘romance trilogy’ to a close. And following on from Suzie finding love, of a kind, beneath the waves and Andy getting hooked on a killer dating app, it’s Ianto’s turn to play cupid. The result is as close to Richard Curtis territory as the series is likely to get, in a good way.

When random strangers Geraint and Chrissie bump into each other in the pub, there’s a smattering of sparks between them. But Geraint’s mate Ianto seems strangely determined to get them together. A series of classic romcom cute meets follow, with Ianto never far away, nudging fate in the right direction. Meanwhile, Geraint is so distracted by all the ups and downs of his new relationship that he doesn’t know quite what to do about increasingly odd events at the high security research facility where he works.


Given Ianto’s own almost literally apocalyptic dating history, there’s wry fun in him trying so hard to engineer a happy ending for our central couple

In many ways, Launch Date is the lighter, happy go lucky, twin of all those stories where Torchwood throws civilians under the bus in service of the greater good. (Only a metaphor so far, but one of these days probably with an actual bus.) The ones where apologetically, regretfully, the secret organization manipulates someone into being the solution to a major crisis, even though it’s going to cost them. A lot.

Instead, here, much of the fun is in Ianto’s clear delight at the chance to do something nice. Something that, hopefully, hopefully, won’t wind up with too many dead bodies and everybody left standing hating him. And that’s just his own love life, let alone some of the shady things he’s done on Torchwood’s behalf. While there’s a general vague sense of what his real objective is from early on, the climactic scenes revealing just what’s going on form a nice reveal alongside some fun action set pieces. In addition, some of his schemes to use Chrissie and Geraint to his own ends are just delightfully weird. It’s all helped along greatly by a charming performance by Gareth David-Lloyd, whose so happy in his work for once that he remains thoroughly likeable despite all the lies and deceit.


The romcom stylings and the inherent shape of Torchwood stories collide head on in the final scenes, making for an entertainingly chaotic car crash of genres

As with many classic romcoms, a lot of your enjoyment will depend on whether you buy into the central relationship. For Blogtor Who’s money, Chrissie could do better. As played by Gemma Knight Jones, she’s sparky, funny, principled, and knows what she wants. Meanwhile, Jonathan Hawkins’ Gerait is a bit of a loser who mainly needs someone who’ll carry him home from the pub after he gets himself throw-up-in-a-bin drunk again. The script also denies him any real redemption. When chaos inevitably breaks out, he fails to grab the opportunity for a hero moment of his own. Instead, it’s Chrissie who feels right at home in the milieu of Torchwood life, only adding to the sense of a mismatch.

Still, following on from last month’s Thirst Trap, Launch Date is another nice reminder that Big Finish’s Torchwood range can do funny, breezy humour with the best of them when it has a mind too.


Torchwood: Launch Date. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish Ianto Jones Gareth David-Lloyd
Torchwood: Launch Date. Cover by Sean Longmore (c) Big Finish

Torchwood: Launch Date

Geraint fails to notice Chrissie flirting with him. Too late to go back. That’s the story of Geraint’s life. A lot of missed opportunities.

Geraint’s fed up of it all – his dead-end job and his dead-end life. So, he asks his best mate for help. Sort his life out. And Ianto Jones is only too happy to help.

Torchwood: Launch Date is now available to own as a collector’s edition 1-disc CD (+ download for just £10.99) or as a digital download only (for just £8.99), exclusively from Big Finish.



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