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Torchwood on radio: What did you think of Asylum?

Torchwood: Asylum, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play

Torchwood week on TV Today

So the first of three Radio 4 Afternoon Plays featuring Cardiff’s least secret top-secret organisation, Torchwood: Asylum, has just finished. If you missed it, it’ll be available on iPlayer for seven days, and for UK licence fee payers is available as an MP3 download for the same period.

So what did you think?

Caution: if you haven’t heard the play yet, proceeding further may reveal spoilers…

The Stage’s regular radio reviewer, Moira Petty, freely admits that she’s a fan of neither science fiction in general, nor Torchwood in particular. So her review comes from a much more conventional Radio 4 perspective:

The first surprise was how little Captain Jack hogged the limelight, screeching on with an anarchic act or comment before zipping off again. He only exerted his authority when his subordinates (played by Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd and both sounding far more cuddly and less glam than they look in the publicity stills), threatened to turn it into The Gwen and Ianto Show.

The second surprise was how much I liked Anita Sullivan’s story of a desolate half-alien, half-human teenager, Frieda, who was blown in to earth through “The Rift” to face a dislocated future, haunted by the memories of those she has lost. Even the technological bits were infused with a droll wit while director Kate McAll gave us thrills and spills with an adroit use of effects. Erin Richards was touching as Frieda, the ultimate inter-galactic refugee in what became a paean to the lost.

But what did you think? Leave your comments in the box below!

9 Comments

Not nearly enough Jack in this show. He and Ianto took second place to what seemed like The Gwen and Andy Show. Although I like PC Andy, he's supposed to be a secondary character and Gwen is my least favorite character on the show even below the secondary characters. As a fan of John Barrowman, and as someone who would never watch or listen to Torchwood if he wasn't in it, I was disappointed Asylum didn't have more Captain Jack and less Gwen.

I did enjoy the radio play and thought the story was very touching. Although I did feel that there could have been more of jack and ianto. Overall an enjoyable torchwood story!

Not very exciting :( The story wasn't too original either, it was like a super bland mix of Torchwood episodes Sleeper and Out of Time. PC Andy is good as a secondary character but not so much as the lead.

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If Jack's going to continue to be written in Torchwood as a humorless, angry prat without an ounce of compassion - 180 degrees opposite of the character I loved in Doctor Who - then the less of him, the better.

As an advert for the upcoming series I thought it was rather weak. There was far too much of the guest actress whose combination of teen speak and made up vocabulary grated and was at times painful to listen too. Emotionally I also felt that her story fell a little flat and was too deriative of James Moran's episode Sleeper.

There wasn't enough of the team working as a team with John Barrowman and Gareth David Lloyd pretty much reduced to cameo roles. Jack came across as humourless and hard and Ianto was reduced to the odd witty one liner.

Tom Price was fantastic as PC Andy and was the main saving grace of the piece.

Disappointing - here's hoping the other 2 are much stronger.

I did rather enjoy it. Moving funny and to be honest it was refreshing to have Gwen take the lead with PC Andy. All these "Janto" fans will get bored pretty quick if every single thing is all "Janto" and I'm sure regular viewers would find it boring rather quickly as well.

I was really disappointed, the plot was weak and there was nowhere near enough Janto. The conclusion felt tacked on the end and there was far too much Gwen. I was bored after about 10 minutes, but kept listening hoping that it would get better...it didn't.

It could hardly be described as the "Gwen and Ianto Show" when Jack actually seemed to get more than Ianto. Both Jack and Ianto were reduced to quite minor parts, but what was said (especially on Ianto's part) was always worth listening to. I wouldn't like it if there were constant references to their relationship, no matter how hard-core a shipper I may be (and I am), so I liked that they were just portrayed as bickering in the car like any normal relationship, rather than any outright announcement of their relationship.

I actually really liked this. I love the domesticity that Torchwood sometimes portrays, and though for a long time Gwen would have been my least favourite of the trio, I actually really like her in this. Some of Jack's characterisation was much too "Series 1" for me, as it is clear his view of aliens is not so completely harsh in the second series (Meat, Reset et all, with Sleeper as the exception). The girl playing Frieda was wonderful, and I felt quite engaged by the story.

And Tom Price. What else can really be said?

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As a big fan of Audio Dramas I was suitably impressed with "Asylum". I found it more entertaining than "Lost Souls", even though the plot was, as has been said by other reviewers, like a reworked combination of "Sleeper" and "Out of time"! It will be interesting to see if this fits in with the continuity of the TV series, regarding the storyline in the last 5 minutes of the play. Erin Richards was excellent in the part of Frieda as was Eve Myles in her role and, although they featured to a lesser extent, both John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd excelled in their roles. I also liked how "Asylum" was portrayed as a 'Gwen' story. I am still undecided about PC Andy's part in general within the series. He seems to be being used in the same way as Gwen was in the beginning of Series 1; as a link between the Police and Torchwood, and I'm not sure if his character is strong enough to pull this off, as he leans more towards that of the comic relief!

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