‘Torchwood – The Lives of Captain Jack’ reviewed

❉ Here’s the one that all the fans have been waiting for!

It’s easy to forget, but Captain Jack Harkness’ long life didn’t always revolve around Torchwood. In fact, his life before and after Torchwood is probably the most unexamined parts of it. Thankfully, that’s not the case now as Big Finish has released a new box set detailing some of Jack’s solo adventures. These four stories written by James Goss and Guy Adams finally answer some of the Captain’s long standing mysteries, but it’s not all fan service…

The Year After I Died by Guy Adams

Naturally taking place after ‘The Parting of the Ways’, this story presents a quieter and more reluctant Captain Jack than we are used to. Here he once again has to save the Earth from people oppressing humanity. When will those humans ever learn? Barrowman is very good here and his limited presence in this story really drives home the effects the events of ‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’ has had on him. Oh, and this deals with the little matter of when Captain Jack first discovered his immortality…

Sarah Douglas seems to be having fun here as the lead villain, Vortia Trear.

Wednesdays for Beginners by James Goss

Camille Codouri has been spoiled by Big Finish’s scripts for her. This story, ‘Retail Therapy’ (from the Ninth Doctor Chronicles set) and ‘Love and Monsters’ form such a lovely trilogy that really digs deep into Jackie Tyler and who she is and why she does what she does.  For the first 10-15 minutes it’s just a Jackie Tyler monologue which is worth the admission price alone (Someone get Camille to record some ‘Short Trips’ stat!). After that, Jackie’s handsome stalker (Captain Jack) and the weird incident at the Powell Estate take over the narrative. Surprisingly, Jackie and Jack get along just fine and make a formidable (and camp) duo. Underlining it all is a story about isolation and loneliness (literally and metaphorically) and it shows how much the leads have in common. It’s refreshing to see the two, rather outré characters show their more sensitive sides. Of course, it’s all wrapped in an extremely fun story that has quite a few lines that will make you laugh out loud.

One Enchanted Evening by James Goss

Picking up from the events of ‘Miracle Day’ for Jack and ‘Voyage of the Damned’ for Alonso Frame, this story takes place right after their matching by the 10th Doctor in ‘The End of Time’. (Did you get all that?) From a story that starts like it’s going to play out like some rather naughty fan fiction ends up exploring more than just the lead’s bedroom escapades. It seems the Doctor had his reasons to pair those two up, and it wasn’t because the TARDIS was working in Grindr mode that night. They make a cute couple that compliments each other. Not too unlike him and Ianto…*weeps at the Ianto shine* (Not really.)

Definitely wouldn’t mind seeing them paired up in the future. They seem to have some…ahem…unfinished business.

There’s also a rather large chunk of the plot concerning a tentacled beetle called Mother Nothing played by Katy Manning (who’s having the time of her life.) Out of all of the stories here, this is Jack at his most standard cheeky-sex machine. Its good stuff this.

Just remember: Diamonds are a large beetle gal’s best friend.

Month 25 by Guy Adams

Here’s the one that all the fans have been waiting for! ‘Month 25’ is the story that not only tells you about Jack’s time with the Time Agency, but also reveals his real name and the origin of his missing two years of memory. And….that’s all I’m saying. I’d prefer to let you listen to this untainted.

‘The Lives of Captain Jack’ is a remarkable set that delivers some stunning performances by John Barrowman. It also finally answers the most pressing mysteries behind the character after 12 years. (God, has it been that long?) James Goss and Guy Adams take such a well-known character at this point and bring him into new areas for him to grow and explore. It’s a must have box set for Captain Jack fans and its great nostalgia for the RTD era. Camille Codouri and Russell Tovey should also get applause for coming back and adding so much more to their characters.  Ultimately what could’ve been just simple fan service tuned into some great stories. Yet again, BF weaves its magic and gives old characters new life.

Bring on Volume Two: The Face of Boe!

❉ This title was released in June 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until August 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date.

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