Category: Torchwood


A few weeks ago I had a burst of inspiration. I was adding to old material and creating new work for what felt like a whole week solid. It was just pouring out of me and I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) stop it. The last few weeks that wave of creativity has truly crashed and become a pathetic dribble of vague ideas, all due to that frustrating mess of distractions – life. In the past, when I’m struggling, I find I can take inspiration from music. I’ve said before that music is a large part of my life and, aside from the stuff I might sing along to in my car, I’ve got a bank of music I turn to if I want to jump-start a story in my head. Below are five of, what I think, are the most inspirational musicians for writing (as well as providing dramatic soundtracks for your day….or am I the only one who does that?)

Murray Gold – I’m a Doctor Who fan and Murray Gold’s soundtrack comes with a whole TARDIS full of inspiration. Tracks such as ‘The Master Tape’, ‘The Majestic Tale of the Madman with a Box’ and ‘The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble’ are awesome kick-starters for a dramatic showdown or fully-charged finale. A lot of Reset was written with Murray Gold’s series 4 soundtrack blasting in the background, particularly tracks from latter episodes. Not only has he composed some deliciously dramatic pieces, but his tracks, such as ‘The Dream of a Normal Death’, ‘Goodbye Pond’ and ‘The Long Song’ can also be beautifully poignant. I’ve used Murray Gold’s music to inspire my own work but I’ve also played it many times in the classroom to inspire creative writing (and the children always love it). It’s also worth noting that Gold has composed some wonderful incidental pieces for Torchwood, such as ‘Death of Toshiko’ which always makes me a bit damp around the eyes.

Scala & the Kolacny Brothers – I first heard their take on U2’s ‘With or Without You’ some years ago on an advert for Downton Abbey. It was such a haunting piece of music that I had to find out more, and I’ve since added their versions of ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Every breath you take’ to my writing playlist. Nothing quite tops ‘With or Without You’ when it comes to sending shivers up your arms, though.

Michael GiacchinoLost was one of my favourite TV shows and, apart from the bonkers characters and quirky mysteries, I loved it for its music. My favourite piece of incidental music from Lost is ‘Moving On’. I love how it rises and falls, from soft and gentle to a breath-taking crescendo that just makes you cry! (It’s also great for calming down rowdy Year 6s, I’ve found). Giacchino is also behind some amazing scores from films such as Up and Jurassic World.

John Williams – Speaking of Jurassic World/Park, I had to include the film’s original composer, who created that iconic theme tune (and, alright, I may have been guilty of playing it at full blast as I’ve driven around Wales). Whether you’re into dinos or not, it’s really difficult not to get excited when the music swells. Of course, Williams is also famous for the Star Wars soundtrack, which is equally as inspiring for dramatic writing.

Alan Menken – Responsible for creating some classic Disney tunes, I had to include Menken’s work. Regardless of the catchy songs, Menken’s back catalogue of instrumental scores alone is worthy of this list. From The Little Mermaid to Tangled , Menken has created many breathtaking pieces of music. One of my favourites is ‘Transformation’ from Beauty and the Beast. (Close your eyes, have a listen and feel happy!)

My countdown continues! Below are my top eight most WTF moments in NuWho. Allonsy!

Number 8 – Oswin Oswald, Asylum of the Daleks, Series 7.

We kneImage result for Oswin Oswald gifw Jenna Coleman was the new companion but didn’t expect her to pop up alongside Amy and Rory in Asylum of the Daleks. OK, she wasn’t playing Clara Oswald but Oswin Oswald, who turned out to be a version of Clara….confused? Well this brings me on to…..

 

Number 7 – Clara’s secret finally revealed, The Name of the Doctor, series 7.

We’d been guessing for months as to who on Earth Clara Oswald was and The Name of the Doctor finally revealed her true identity which was…..Clara Oswald. Not some sinister force sent to destroy the Doctor or a forgotten Timelord, as some speculated, but an ordinary Earth girl. At the end of the episode she rescues the Doctor by stepping into his timeline, scattering herself across his many lives, thus explaining why she kept popping up in previous episodes. Clever! The cold-open of this episode is gasp-inducing enough with the many references to the Doctor’s past faces, but, just to push any fan over the edge, we’re then hit with the arrival of the War Doctor played by John Hurt! Boom! Fangasms all round.

Number 6 – ‘I don’t want to go’, The End of Time, Part 2

The death toll was ringing for the Tenth Doctor for what seemed like years, but on New Year’s Day 2010 the mystic Ood in the snow finally sent him to his maker. After visiting several of his favourite companions, the Tenth Doctor stumbled into the TARDIS and began to regenerate, delivering one final heart-breaking line. As with many of the Doctor’s best moments, this was made extra-special by Murray Gold’s incredible soundtrack.

Number 5 – Rose’s death, Doomsday, Series 2.

‘This is the story of how I died.’Image result for rose tyler bad wolf bay gif

Drama queen Rose sets the story off to a happy start, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats, knowing this was Billie Piper’s last episode (or so we thought). The battle of Canary Wharf with Torchwood, Daleks and Cybermen, ensured the second series ended with a bang, but the WTF moment came as Rose was sucked closer to the void opening, only to be rescued at the very last minute by her fake-Dad from a parallel universe. Sealed in Other Earth, Rose gets one last chance to say goodbye to the Doctor in Bad Wolf Bay. No one needs reminding of that beach scene. *sniff* but the Whoniverse did do a great big sigh of relief as Rose survived in another world, but technically dead in this one.

Number 4 – ‘You Are Not Alone’, Gridlock, Series 3. 

Gridlock is an underrated episode. A simple idea – The Doctor and Martha visit New Earth only to find the majority of New New York’s citizens are trapped on an underground motorway and have been for many years. It’s in this episode that the Doctor starts to reveal his past to Martha, explaining how the rest of his species were killed and he is now the last of his kind. Most of the action takes place within various vehicles, but key themes of belief and hope are powerfully conveyed. The scene where drivers take part in the ‘daily contemplation’ is very moving. It all ends with the Doctor over-riding the motorway system, freeing everyone who is trapped and allowing them to rebuild the city. He’s helped by the Face of Boe, who shares his final secret with him before he dies – ‘You Are Not Alone’. Enigmatic, right?

Number 3 – The 50th Anniversary, The Day of the Doctor, Special episode.

Months of teasers and guesswork led to this massive episode. Event television at its finest. The Day of the Doctor had lots of references to the history of the show, as well as setting up the return of Gallifrey for future episodes. Long awaited shots of the time war were spectacular and the returns of David Tennant, Billie Piper, Jemma Redgrave, Tom Baker and the Zygons satisfied viewers around the world. Throw in a secret Doctor (played to perfection by John Hurt) and an impossible choice and you have an emotionally charged celebratory episode. (Note: We also get introduced to Osgood in this episode and she is several kinds of awesomeness.)

Number 2 – Melody Pond, A Good Man Goes to War, Series 6.Image result for a good man goes to war gif

Mid-season cliffhanger alert! Professor River Song’s (AKA The Doctor’s wife) identity was finally revealed during this episode. Showing up just as the Doctor has lost the battle of demon’s run, with Amy and Rory’s new baby, Melody, being kidnapped by the genuinely terrifying Madam Kovarian, River tries to console the grieving parents. Taking a prayer leaf embroidered with Melody’s name, River explains that the name (Melody Pond…with me?) translates as River Song. Thus revealing that through timey-wimey madness she is Amy and Rory’s daughter. Despite looking fifteen years older than them.

Number 1 – Everything, Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, Series 4.

Nothing can top these three episodes. This was Doctor Who at its peak, for me. The end of RTD’s era saw a culmination of plot threats and great big mega-fan-wanky (his words, not mine) finale. Turn Left was a masterpiece, re-visiting events from the last few series from the perspective of Donna Noble (in my opinion, the best companion). We also got a glimpse of the dystopic nightmare world that exists without the Doctor. (Mass-death, concentration camps, segregation…not exactly a light and fluffy episode!) The final few moments where Donna reveals she’s met Rose Tyler (‘She said….two words….Bad Wolf’) still gives me shivers and then there’s the trailer for the next episode! I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled so much over a trailer. Flashes of all the favourite characters from past seasons and spin-off shows (Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures) as well as a Red Dalek! Harriet Jones! Captain Jack! K9! All in one episode?! Christ, I was so excited. I’ve watched The Stolen/Earth and Journey’s End so many times I can almost quote it off by heart. The way all the characters play a part and threads are brought together so neatly is fantastic and a masterclass in storytelling. And then there’s that regeneration shocker! Catherine Tate is also at her peak in these episodes, proving Donna Noble is totally kick ass. By the end, you’ll be in tears.  Whether it’s at the Earth being saved (with that wonderful music), Donna Noble leaving the TARDIS in heart-breaking fashion, or just because you’re so bloody happy that everyone is together!

Image result for journey's end gif

Wales Comic Con 2016

 

Wales Comic Con comes round so quickly, it hardly seems a few weeks since the last one in April, but there are no complaints here, as WCC  never disappoints. On Sunday we joined the crowds for another day in Geek Mode (it’s the new beast mode, by the way) and it’s safe to say this event is going from strength to strength.

Organisers have certainly learned from earlier conventions, when you could queue for hours before getting into the building. The process has got increasingly slicker, with the doors for general entry opening half an hour earlier yesterday. We barely queued at all, for anything, which is a huge achievement considering how many people were there.

Most striking about WCC is the atmosphere. You’ll be surrounded by people from all walks of life, in varying levels of Geek Mode, but everyone is there for the same reason. You find yourself talking to strangers like they’re good friends and there’s a welcoming atmosphere that immediately makes you feel very comfortable.  WCC is a much needed injection of positivity in a pretty grim era.

As is tradition, we attended the Torchwood Q&A which was, as is tradition, x-rated. It’s good to see Gareth David Lloyd is still refusing to accept the Cardiff shrine is in memorial to nobody but Ianto Jones, and we’re yet to see Naoko Mori without her nibbling on something (food of choice this time was a croissant, for those keeping note.) We also got a bit of closure on a question we’d been wanting to ask Naoko for a while – why wasn’t she in the Ab Fab movie?? Naoko gracefully dodged giving a reason, but did emphasise that she was really disappointed not to be involved. So were we, Naoko, so were we.

WCC always has great guests and this year was no different. Any Torchwood/Doctor Who/Harry Potter star is enough to get me there but It’s odd to think that ten years ago I would have totally freaked out if I’d bumped into Ianto Jones or Toshiko Sato. Now, I’m so used to seeing them, I can casually say ‘Hi’ without having a full on sweaty meltdown. The question still remains, though, where the hell is John Barrowman and why hasn’t he returned to Wales yet to attend the country’s hottest Con? Also, we decided our dream guest for next year would be Annette Badland. She’s just joined twitter and seems like lots of fun, plus she was brilliant in Doctor Who (and is still deliciously evil in EastEnders.)

My favourite stall is still Goblin Dreams. Captain Jack Harkness is the latest addition to my dragon collection. Jack, the Doctor and Harry Potter – what a team, eh?

So, as always, a fun-filled event. I’ve said it before but WCC is an asset to Wrexham and we’re so lucky to have this event on our doorstep. We’re looking forward to next year already!

 

 29TH November 7.30am.

My alarm goes off. Fuzzy from the wine the night before, I burrow deeper into my cocoon of blankets and try to think whether it’s a week day and if I have to get up for school. (FYI, I don’t drink on school nights. Thought I’d better clear that one up).Then I realise – it’s Comic Con day! Suddenly enthused, I’m up, showered and dressed within half an hour.

I have loved Wales Comic Con since my first visit in 2013. This event has something to offer for everyone and we always consider ourselves so lucky that we have something like this so close to home. The entry queue is always enormous – a testimony to just how popular it is – but, weather permitting, the queue is one of the best parts. The buzz as the people begin to arrive is amazing and it’s great to see so many people putting in so much effort to cosplay. This is an event that people really care about. Each year we comment on what a lovely atmosphere the whole event has. There’s never any trouble, everyone is friendly and there to have a good time. People chat to each other in the queue as if they go back years. It’s a refreshing change and a great opportunity to meet some amazing people as well as try to spot Doughnut Guy (selling…not ‘dressed as’) as he mixes with the crowd, selling refreshments and cracking jokes. (OK. This might not be for everyone but it has become a bit of a tradition for us. Doughnut Guy is becoming just as much of a legend as the folks signing autographs….)

Once you’re inside the Con, that’s when things get even more exciting. The main hall is geek-central (doesn’t that sound like the best place?) with stalls and stars galore. The stalls this year were fantastic, as wi12313851_10156337727425381_3106644287043449912_nth every year, offering everything from homemade geeky trinkets (check out my Fourth Doctor Dragon courtesy of Goblin Dreams) to the most fantastic (and under-priced) fudge I’ve had in a long time.  If you’re after something quirky and interesting then this is the place to find it. There are also tons of comics, books, prints and memorabilia to buy – it’s dangerous time to have it so close to Christmas!

Now, I’m a Torchwood fan and the past few WCC’s have given me the chance to talk to (A.K.A., stand awkwardly in front of person whilst staring at the floor and muttering ‘hello’ like some sort of lunatic) the cast. Eve Myles, Naoko Mori and Gareth David Lloyd have all had the pleasure of seeing my most star-struck facial expression. (There was also an embarrassing incident with Shane Richie which I can never repeat. Ever.) Each one of them has been absolutely lovely and completely down to earth. I’m so used to seeing Gareth (first name terms there) now that he was stood right next to me yesterday and I didn’t turn into a gawping, stuttering mess. The teenage-me would never have thought I’d be so calm about standing next to Ianto Jones. Further proof that Comic Con is amazing.

Finally there’s the Q&A sessions. In the past we’ve only visited the Torchwood Q&A which never fails to be totally hilarious as well as totally X-rated. Yesterday was no exception with Gareth, Naoko and Kai Owen answering questions on everything from the best kisser to Ianto’s shrine. We also got chance to see the first WCC Doctor Who panel featuring Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and Terry Molloy. Watching them discuss google glass was like watching your grandads discuss technology and it was interesting to hear their thoughts on the new series (12 year old Doctors, CGI, Jennifer Lawrence and sonic sunglasses featuring heavily).

In recent years, WCC has become a bi-annual event, which is bloody brilliant as it means we don’t have to wait as long until the next one. I would recommend this event to anyone. It’s a fun-filled day run by people who genuinely care about your experience and, again, it’s incredible that we have something like this in Wrexham.

5.30pm

As the kettle boils, I look out of the window and spot a bunch of cosplayers heading from the direction of the Uni. They are huddled together against the rain but still have excited grins across their faces. The weather hasn’t ruined their fun. I admire my new dragon which is perched on the top of my bookcase. He’s looking pretty cool. As I settle down with a mug of tea, I look forward to April, when I can buy him some little friends.

‘Torchwood. Outside the government, beyond the police…’

Just when I thought nothing would top my Doctor Who obsession, everything changed in 2006.

I’d returned from a trip to London to see Wicked (I know….when obsessions collide!) when BBC3 introduced me to Torchwood. I loved it from episode one. As a 16 year old, I was able to look past the clichés and faux-adultness of the first series (something which is easier to pick up on when I re-watch as a 25 year old). For me it was fresh and brooding and totally exhilarating. Not only was it brand new, but it had the familiarity of my favourite TV programme. I loved them all – Jack, Owen, Gwen, Ianto, Susie and Tosh. Each in their own way.

Toshiko Sato was my favourite. Sensible and understated, she was a complete contrast to the rest of the team. Unlike Gwen, Jack and Owen, she wasn’t brash and bold. Toshiko was modest and quietly calculating. Toshiko was often the one to come up with a conclusion without getting the recognition within the team that she deserved. She was wonderfully flawed, with her insecurities and moral deviations explored in Greeks Bearing Gifts. Naoko Mori had created a classic character for me. I thought she was brilliant and quietly (and sometimes noisily) cheered every time Toshiko delivered a stinging one liner.

The second series saw a spikier Toshiko. She’d clearly had enough of Jack’s swaggering charm as Toshiko got ballsy – airing her disagreement with Jack many times. It also brought some of my favourite Toshiko moments. From subtle comedy (‘All. Telephone lines. Are. Down!’) to high emotion (Walking through the bay at the end of To the Last Man. *wipes tear*). Naoko certainly flexes her acting muscles in this series. I will never…NEVER…get over Exit Wounds. The fact Naoko did that scene in one take just proves her ability and what an asset she was to the series, and of course, Toshiko left doing what she does best; saving the world. Toshiko doesn’t do this with dazzling flare or swaggering arrogance. She does it quietly without any expectation of credit. She’s just doing her job. I need to go away and weep about this for a moment…. 

So anyway, having been such a Tosh-fan for so long, you can imagine my excitement when Naoko was announced as a guest at Wales Comic Con. I never miss WCC but this year I had no excuse – I had to be there. I’d already met Gareth David Lloyd and embarrassed myself in front of Eve Myles (and Shane Richie….but that’s another story) and this year I was given a fresh Torchwood member to meet. And by ‘meet’ I obviously mean ‘stare at with a terrified expression on my face as my best friend tries to force me to make cringey small talk’. It was Naoko Mori’s turn to get the full starstruck-me experience. What a lucky lady. The excitement I had harboured for weeks dissipated as I entered the main hall and turned to an anxious, stomach twisting panic. I could see her through the crowd, no queue at her desk. A normal person would have seized the opportunity and rushed straight over. Not me. I circled the room several times, building up the courage to go and speak to Naoko. Eventually my friend encouraged/bullied me to bite the bullet. Naoko was, of course, lovely and I had no reason to be such a mumbling idiot. She shook my hand (she touched my hand! That means we’re engaged, right?) and even rubbed my hand through her hair to prove she was ‘just normal’ (and obviously the photos look like I’m awkwardly trying to slam her head into the table. Classic.) The Q&A with Naoko and Eve Myles was hilarious. Like, actually cheek-hurting hilarious. I bet they had lots of fun making Torchwood.

So anyway, now that I’ve confessed my love for a fictional character (again) and her non-fictional actor, I suppose what I’m really trying to say is:

Torchwood writers, stop messing about.  Just bring it back.  You know it makes sense. You’d make a lot of people happy. Oh…and, even though it had its perks, we’re all willing to forget Miracle Day if you just bring back Tosh, Owen and Ianto. Just bring them back, no questions asked. It’s fine. We will forgive the lack of plausible explanation just for the chance to have another series with the full team. We miss them.

Oh and Naoko, call me.