On Torchwood: Children of Earth

Last night’s new Torchwood story got off to an astonshing and powerful start. It’s  the Children of Earth story, a serial in five parts  broadcast every night this week.

I read a preview comparing it with Midwich Cuckoos, but that’s just because both stories have kids.  Children of Earth has a very bold and, in my view, pretty damn original story premise, and is wonderfully written by Russell T. Davies himself, who is in top form. 

It’s a rollercoaster experience, with great digressions, and full of hallmark Russell T. humour. 

I also love the way Russell T. embraces the concept of TV in-joke.  When I first started working in television, I was told in no uncertain terms that TV scripts should never reference other TV shows, because audiences found it ‘weird’.  Russell T. gloriously ignores this rule, and I laughed out loud when Eve Myles called out ‘What’s occurring?’ to an acquaintance, in a broad Barry accent.  This of course is a hommage to Ruth Jones’s charcter in Gavin and Stacey, whose catchphrase is taken from Arthur Daley’s favourite phrase in Minder (‘What’s occuring Tel?’)  Experts call this metatext; I call it bloody great.

I love the 5 part serial structure of this show – The Art of Deception was broadcast on Radio 4 in that format, albeit in shorter 15 minute episodes.  It means that Torchwood: Children of Earth is a bona fide TV event. And in these bleak times for British TV  – when successful and much loved shows are being axed by ITV for financial reasons – it’s great to see the BBC can bounce back with such vividly popular fare.

Will Captain Jack Harkness survive into Episode 2? I can’t wait to find out.

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