Thursday, 14 April 2016


Like the Time War before The Day of The Doctor, Torchwood before the 2000s could be compared to that dark legend you hear about something and want to know more about, but at the same time you can’t help but believe that like magic tricks, knowing what makes the legend so daunting and dark in the first place will spoil the ‘magic’ so to speak. Big Finish chooses to take a gamble on this philosophy and give us a look into Torchwood in its early days with The Victorian Age.

The first noticeable thing you’ll discover in this story is a more toned down Jack Harkness. While he is still the same flirtatious ex-time agent with shades of his famous charismatic charm and finesse, The Victorian Age does make him feel more relatable in how careful he is when he speaks, especially to people higher up in authority. This is important as he is not in charge of Torchwood. He can’t afford to have that regular boss attitude he had in the TV series. He is simply an agent of Torchwood and in many ways he is just a drone or a simple employee. A number on a page if you will. Though in this case, a number with quite the reputation as Queen Victoria finds out.

While the beard is a little too on the nose, I do believe showing us this side of Harkness was a good move. While the story doesn’t really dive into his life simply being an agent of Torchwood, it does feel like you’re listening to a different sort of Jack Harkness, but not one that is so different that it alienates you from the character. Different in a good way.

Tooth and Claw was my first proper Doctor Who story. The only other thing I watched of Doctor Who was The End of The World, which I thought was rubbish and didn’t finish, so I didn’t bother with the series until I happened to tune in to Series Two. However, I have never liked the portrayal of Queen Victoria in Doctor Who. I am not a historian so I only know as much as I am shown, but I thought Victoria’s behaviour in banishing the Doctor and setting him up as the enemy of the crown was such a disgusting and disrespectful thing to do after he helped save her life.

The Victorian Age unfortunately not only reminds me why I dislike Victoria, it actually worsens my opinion of her as her behaviour is so hypocritical here that I actually started to wonder if AK Benedict has ever actually seen Tooth and Claw before writing this story. She is so out of character and guilty beyond comprehension of the very things she called once berated Ten and Rose that for her NOT to lift the Doctor’s status as Public Enemy Number One severely dampened my enjoyment of the story as it really felt like she was evolving as a character in this.

The plot for this piece feels very reminiscent of More Than This, except with a character switch and a different time period, but Jack and Victoria’s conversations and cheeky snarks at one another feels much more organic and enjoyable than Gwen and whatshisname.

There are quite a few emotion moments, not only between Jack and Victoria, but some of the side cast as well and several twists that only make this episode stronger. The Victorian Age is easy to listen to and like it or not, you can listen to this story without having to listen to any of the first six stories. For the most part, its filler, but it is still a great way to open series two of Big Finish Torchwood.

I highly recommend this title!

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