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A hit, a very palpable hit!

A quick note on the fortunes of this week’s television event - the nightly broadcast of Torchwood: Children of Earth. There was a lot riding on this third run for Captain Jack and his team of alien investigators. Some would even say that the future of intelligent, adult science fiction on British television was at stake here.

And thankfully we can breathe a sigh of relief because the news coming in from the overnight ratings elves is cause for some celebration, and one can imagine that corks have been popping down at BBC Wales.

Children of Earth: Day One fired an opening salvo that brought in 5.9 million viewers and a 25% share across the 9pm hour. The audience rose as the episode progressed, and has proved highly popular on the iPlayer. This rating is more than likely to spill over the 6 million mark when the consolidated figures come in. Chuck in a few thousand viewers watching the BBC HD channel, and it’s looking very respectable indeed. You might not think it’s an amazing figure, but in drama terms these days, that’s paying the rent and then some.

Tuesday’s episode two scored 5.6 million viewers with a 24% share. A drop of 300,000 is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things (despite Broadcast using this as a negative sounding headline for its ratings round up that day). But considering it bounced right back for episode three with another 5.9 million and an impressive 27% share shows that Children of Earth has engaged with a sizable audience enough to keep them watching night after night.

Elsewhere, discussions on the Doctor Who forum gallifreybase.com (sign-up required) are indicating that the Appreciation Index figures are equally impressive, with episode one reportedly gaining an AI figure of 88, with episode 2 an impressive 90. Put in context, the average for a BBC drama is somewhere in the region of the high 70s, with anything over 80 considered to be excellent.

It’s easy to blind with numbers and make the figures work for your argument, but what’s clear from these is that the gamble with Torchwood’s format and telling a longer story over five nights has paid dividends - the audience is staying with it, and enjoying it massively to boot. Is it too early to say that season four is looking more than likely, whatever format it might take?

Elsewhere in TV Land, the BBC today unveiled some of the upcoming drama treats for the autumn schedule, and some fine looking stuff there is too, including the new series of Spooks and the marvellous looking Material Girl. Dervla Kirwan. In a nice frock!

But of interest to Torchwood fans is probably the unveiling of a clip from the forthcoming Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars. And my word, it looks terrifying. Go and find it right here…

14 Comments

Yes, well, that may be true.. but if they really killed off Ianto then they, in essence, just killed the show. Let's hope the writers and producers are smarter than that. I know I'm completely done with it if some sci-fi magic doesn't happen... and I am NOT alone.

yes i agree with the other comment they should not of killed ianto jones of because hes just like jack we need him there and hes become from the boring old tea boy to well a man in the series and i think you should bring him back because you have killed so many characters off and from bebo,facebook,yahoo,twitter people aint happy about it

At the end of ep 4 we have a no win situation, and the Torchwood Institute reduced to two. It does look like there will be no season 5. All the alien tech has been blown to bits, including the rift control, so no fancy going back in time or fancy ray guns. Short of it all being a dream and Ianto doing a Patrick Duffy in the shower, he's gone for good.

The only hope that the earth has now is...

Sarah Jane and K9! If Ep 5 starts with Sarah Jane walking in to the gym, K9 in tow, then we know everything will be OK!

The stunning thing and over-riding theme of this story is that there is no such thing as heroism or nobility - it is all self-interest. Jack's fearlessness to the cabinet's attitude, it is all the same, and the lie of the thing is revealed in Jack's defiant speech, and the 456 response, which called his bluff.

I have no idea how this will be resolved - but I hope it is nothing like the massive let down we have had with previous RTW's previous end of the world stories or his fixation with the the Christ myth.

D'you know the most tiresome thing about all things "Who" being popular with the mainstream audience again? It's the squealings of those who obsessively fixate on one character or relationship and are convinced that that's what the show is all about, and only what it's about. "Torchwood" has never been "The Ianto Jones Show" and it's ridiculous to believe that it can't function perfectly well without him. I'm sorry to see him go too, but his death was a fitting end to the character, immaculately and beautifully written, acted and directed, and will be remembered for decades to come. It was truly powerful television drama, and any fan of the series should be proud of that. Personally I'd be surprised if RTD and co haven't strolled off with a few more BAFTAs after last night.

My take is that the mainstream audience can handle a character's death as part of the rough and tumble of drama. It's a few hundred obsessed fans who are upset because they won't be able to write any more slash fiction based around Jack and Ianto.

I think the BBC will find out it's more than " a few hundred obsessed fans". I believe they have just lost a large part of their original fan base. To kill 3 of the original 5 members of a cast and basically destroy everything (The Hub, the car, the cast) that made the show popular, well, it might be good for ratings this season.........but, no real point in a season 4 now.

I don't think it makes one an obsessive to be sad at the loss of a well-liked character in a story be it in Torchwood, EastEnders or anything else. The characters after all are very much a vital part of a drama - we've all see shows go to the wall after a change of cast that didn't work.

Ianto's been my favourite since the first series (nothing to do with the Jack thing) & it was great to see him given a bigger role in series two. I shall miss him greatly. I feel a bit like when Dumbledore died in Half blood Prince - keep waiting for that magic/sf twist that means it will be OK. But Ianto did look very dead in his body bag.

Otherwise it's been a great week though I found last nights a bit irritating because
- "we want 325,000 children". "You can have 60". Was that meant to be a serious negotiating point ?!
- otherwise they just seemed to capitulate. There seemed to be no consideration that the aliens could be bluffing in their threat to destroy the world.
- Jack's grand plan - just walk in there & tell them they can't have the children - he did rather deserve to be killed.

The government discussion was very remeniscent of that drama about the Nazis discussing the practicalities of the Final Solution - presumably meant to reflect that. I did rather doubt the politician's thoughts that they could survive politically after such an action - I rather suspect they would lose the next election !

Oh, don't get me wrong here - I am sad at the loss of Ianto, for sure. But that's the power of drama, it makes me sad, it makes me laugh, it makes me angry, it makes me cry. It was an incredibly powerful, poignant moment, well acted, written and directed. In short, great drama.

But I think, as some are suggesting across the message boards and here, that Ianto's death has destroyed the magic of Torchwood is really overstating the case. Is it honestly being suggested that by losing Ianto, MILLIONS are going to be switching off?

"millions are going to switch off?".. in a word, YES. Europe, N. America and Australia............they will lose a million viewers...easy.

However vocal they may be on the internet, "the fanbase" is an almost insignificantly small part of the total audience. Furthermore any series which panders to its fanbase and does only what they like is doomed to stagnation and failure - believe me, I've seen it happen several times.
"Torchwood" Season 4 now offers an almost completely clean slate, and it's surely going to be fascinating to see how Jack and Gwen recover from these terrible setbacks and losses and build a new life and, presumably, a new Torchwood. The dramatic possibilities of this situation are terrific, and will keep the show fresh, original and exciting. There should also be new characters who - you never know - may endear themselves to you just as poor Ianto, Owen and Tosh did.
And for what it's worth, Ianto was my favourite character too. I cried like a baby last night. But if he had to go it was a superb farewell, and it won't be forgotten. As fans I really don't think you can ask for much than that.

If they had to kill off Ianto, I would have much preferred to see him go out in a blaze of glory, a heroic self-sacrifice, giving his all to save the day.
But this? He dies for nothing?
He's not going to be in the final battle, probably not in the final episode except flashbacks or in the 'previously on Torchwood' bit.

Ianto and indeed Gareth David Lloyd deserved better, much better.

i don't understand the problem. it's not like ianto was somehow important. they'll get a new character to fill his place pretty soon.
i'm definitely not the one who will switch off during the next series. actually, this series made me look forward to it (i almost gave up after the second: not because of the deaths but because it was more and more boring)

I think the show has been superb, and I was really gripped the 4th episode. I'm still not sure if Ianto's death can/will be reversed: it's perhaps more worrying for fans of the series and the two remaining characters that their base in Cardiff has been blown-up! Are they all about to die in a 'Butch cassidy'-style ending?!

Of course, there is one big plot-hole (given that it is Sci-fi - which has it's own logic anyway which relies on a jump of logic). Seeing as all the 'children of the earth' seem to be under mind-control of the 456, the aliens don't need to ask the governments for their permission to take the children...they could just make a given number of the kids walk straight into the right pick-up point, as in the old 'Pied-piper of Hamlin' folk-myth.

It would spoil the drama of the story, of course....

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I boggle at how anyone calling themselves a "Torchwood fan" can ditch the show so easily after the loss of a character. I would agree that there will never be another Ianto Jones, and I'll miss the character greatly if (when, I hope) the show returns for a fourth season - but there will be something new to get into and enjoy, won't there?

It just strikes me as daft. From a fannish point of view, it's a lack of loyalty ("we're huge fans, but the second you change the line-up, we're outta here"); from a viewer perspective, think of all the bloody marvellous things the guys behind Torchwood can come up with which you'll completely miss if you hang on to the bizarre notion that the show is somehow worthless without the (again, utterly fantastic and much mourned) Ianto.

Think about it - if you were one of those so-called "fans" who stopped watching following the deaths of Tosh and Owen - which going by the ratings couldn't have been that many - you've missed an incredible five hours' telly; don't make the same mistake next time.

(Oh, and I'm not so sure that's a plot hole Michael - the 456 were able to communicate by channelling through the children, but there's no evidence they would actually be able to completely physically control them for long enough to snatch the creepy little buggers. And if they could - they were probably just too high on kid-cocaine to realise...)

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