Torchwood: Red Skies 
by Joseph Lidster
May 1/3 on Download/CD

Back in The Seventies, the then Doctor Who script editor Douglas Adams toyed with the idea of a story featuring the The Doctor turning his back on saving worlds, civilisations and people he’d barely met and having a “day off”; taking a holiday from his hobby of universe~saving. Well, it seems Captain Jack has had the same idea…
Red Skies sees Harkness feeling a little tired of the human race (well, that’s Miracle Day for you*) and finding solitude on the planet of the “fit” (his words), Cotter Paluni’s World – a planet surrounded by deadly scarlet lightning and cut off from the entire universe. It also features a pasty~skinned population that worship Torchwood and those who speak against are punished (comment, much?). And so Jack finds himself at the heart of a mystery, rather than relaxing – just why does the planet know about him and his operation?

It’s an unusual story, for Torchwood, but does the usual tone jumping from Captain Jack in humorous form (“I never miss an opportunity to be naked!”) to some dark imagery from the man’s mind (mainly down to guilt caused by his actions we’ve witnessed over the years).

For fans there’s references to Suzy Costello, Ianto (whatever happened to him?), The 4,5,6 (from Children Of Earth) and The Blessing (Miracle Day) as well as quite a pleasing nod to the 1999 New Year’s Eve flashback from the Series 2 episode, Fragments. There’s also a mention of Gwen, but I shan’t go into that… #spoilers

Author Joseph Lidster, writer of the Torchwood episode A Day in the Death, three top stories from The Sarah Jane Adventures and a number of Big Finish Doctor Who audios, has delivered a very different kind of Torchwood tale. It’s really a Captain Jack story; a story where he comes face to face (well, metaphorically) with his demons. Lidster focuses on his character wonderfully, utilising the show’s history (not just mere references) to become part of the story.

There’s gags as well as demons, and I certainly chuckled at a mention of “Hen Nights in Cardiff” along with television quiz show, Catchphrase.

Special mention must go to John Telfer, the man who voices Red Skies. Usually, these exclusive audio adventures would feature an actor or actress from the world of Doctor Who or Torchwood but here the production team have made a bold move and gone for out and out vocal talent rather than connection (not to say that’s a bad thing). Telfer’s skills as an actor shine through and is a absolute treat to listen to. But, best of all, is his Captain Jack. He perfectly captures Barrowman’s cadence and conjures Jack at every turn.

Red Skies, as I stated, is not your traditional Torchwood; it’s set on another planet, for example (lordy knows how the Cardiff loving fans feel about that). It’s a fascinating character piece that fleshes out a sometimes rather two~dimensional man. A great production and engaging story make this a must buy for fans.

Thanks to AudioGO

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  1. Sounds like it could be great! But regarding the mention of Gwen, I shall wait until I find out it's not "Oh, I love her so" or some other bit of glorification/adoration before I decide to buy. No use nauseating myself.

  2. Joe Lidster said on twitter that Ianto was not in this book. But you say now that he is referrenced. Anyway a mention will not be enough to make me buy it, especially if Gwen is again taking all the space at the end….

  3. Bah humbug…. I stopped reading/listening/watching TW after CoE ended (and barely made it through Day 5). Then came the audios pre-MD. I had such high hopes for a little of the TW I'd fallen in love with.

    As they say, "Fool me once, shame on you" (CoE), "Fool me twice, shame on me" (TW audios). Not gonna give them a chance to fool me a third time.

    This is NOT my TW and I really don't care about how Jack feels in regards to Gwen.

  4. Firstly, don't be anonymous – please leave a name.

    Secondly, at no point did I say, or even hint at, that Gwen's mention is to do with Jack's feelings for her.

    To make this clear – it is not. Her reference also does not "take up all the space at the end" – it was a "mention". Read the review properly.

    Thirdly, and yet again, Torchwood "fans" display just how bloody awful they can be.

    Yeah, you read that last one right.

  5. Seriously, a voice actor doing John Barrowman's voice? He's not dead, you know.

    I don't care how great the story is, I'm not buying if John isn't in it. They've tried making TW with just Jack and Gwen, now they're making TW without even Jack, in my opinion. Jack=John B, always.

    I don't mind a Torchwood with OTHER actors…it's a long-standing organization and there should be NEW & different people. But Jack IS John Barrowman, hands down. Nothing else is acceptable.

  6. Cathy, I don't think you quite understand how these audios work.

    Someone reads the entire story (including all the characters).

    This is not the first time it has happened, and it won't be the last.

  7. I loved the story; however I did not think that the actor reading captured Captain Jack's voice and was distracting so much so that I would have preferred to read it on my Kindle and let my imagination recreate the voices. John Barrowman's American accent has Scottish undertones and cadences that are hard to duplicate. Its part of the character's witty charm. I have all the Torchwood audiobooks and noticed the struggle actors have with his dialect. As an American, I think that if you are going to do a book mostly about Captain Jack, bring back the original.


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