Torchwood returns to Big Finish. The monsters are coming. Monsters from the past. Monsters from another universe. The Whoniverse if you will. After over 40 years a small film crew is at work in Fetch Priory. What can possibly go wrong?
This new audio horror drama from Big Finish serves as a follow up to ‘Image of the Fendahl‘ by Chris Boucher. That Fourth Doctor adventure from 1977 was the epitome of a gothic horror story and proved to be Robert Holmes’ final outing as script editor. The elements were all there. An impossibly ancient skull. A secluded old house, now converted into a location for scientific research. Pentagram imagery. The grotesque monster stalking the hallways. Perfect material to include in a Torchwood story.
Starring Eve Myles
Firstly, the cap must be doffed to the astonishing Eve Myles. Her performance is one of wide variety. Switching at times from one line to the next. Typical feisty Gwen Cooper we all know and love. Vulnerable victim. Immensely powerful god-like being. All delivered brilliantly. The latter exploits the resonance in her voice, assisted by some audio trickery, into something almost hypnotic to listen to. Myles’ closing conversation with real life husband Bradley Freegard is electric. The chilling way in which she wraps everything up and puts his character Phil into place is sublime.
Written by Tim Foley
Writer Tim Foley has taken the original source from Chris Boucher and expanded upon the abusive exploitation of women theme. It is something that can be interpreted from ‘Image of the Fendahl‘ but is far less obvious in that original piece. ‘Night of the Fendahl‘ is typically sci-fi as young women have been discarded and turned into Fendahleen. But equally there is the undercurrent of those who are purchasing and watching these horrible films where bad things happen to women. It’s subtle and only when Gwen highlights it formally does that message come to the forefront. There’s also a bit of humour to balance the darkness in a wonderfully rounded script.
The male characters are all repellent but Gavin Swift is particularly superb as the slimy Derek. His character’s skin-crawling bravado disappears rapidly when faced with the horror of what is unleashed. Comparisons can be drawn to a televised Torchwood story through the quartet of male characters with Gerald Tyler (Marco) and Guy Adams (Ged) alongside Swift and Freegard. Sometimes the real monsters are not necessarily the ones you expected! Some of the sound effects provided by Sound Designer Mark Hendrick are grotesque, working seamlessly with the established sounds from the original television story and Blair Mowat‘s music. ‘Night of the Fendahl‘ is masterfully put together and cannot be recommended highly enough.
So strong are the visuals created by this drama that it is a shame that ‘Night of the Fendahl‘ is not a television production. Watching ‘Image of the Fendahl‘ is not necessary because the story is told so well that the listener will have no difficulty seeing the action unfold in their mind. ‘Night of the Fendahl‘ is simply superbly written and skilfully directed by Scott Handcock with some great performances and characters.
For those who want to enjoy a gritty, sci-fi horror this more than delivers. Alternatively, if you wish to dig a little deeper into the events then you will be richly rewarded. Unfortunately, you’ll probably be repulsed by the evil that men do at the same time. ‘Night of the Fendahl‘ is Torchwood at it’s very best.
Torchwood: Night of the Fendahl is available now from the Big Finish website. This story features adult language and content unsuitable for younger listeners.
This title was released in March 2019. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until May 31st 2019, and on general sale after this date.
Torchwood vs Monsters!
Marco makes films. You wouldn’t like them. The lighting’s shoddy, the sets are cheap and the sound’s appalling. But there’s an audience for them. Because they’re films in which bad things happen to women.
Marco’s latest venture is based on real events. Events which took place in Fetch Priory many years ago. It’s an anthology piece, and Marco needs one final victim. But the last victim is not who anyone is expecting.
Death has returned to Fetch Priory. And Death is no-one’s victim.
Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.
Written By: Tim Foley.
Directed By: Scott Handcock.
Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Bradley Freegard (Phil), Gavin Swift (Derek), Gerald Tyler (Marco), Guy Adams (Ged). Other parts played by members of the cast.