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Feature: Torchwood - Season 2

A new character for Season 2

The producer gives Starburst an exclusive insight into the production of the latest season…

Torchwood producer Richard Stokes readily admits that the series’ second run has been a smoother ride to produce than its first, which he joined after original producer James Hawes opted to return to direction early in the production process. “This year we knew what we were doing,” he says, frankly. “Last year, it was quite difficult and actually there wasn’t that much sorted out by the time I joined. The design of the Hub was done, Eve and John were both cast, and Russell [T Davies] had written the first script and Chris [Chibnall] had just come on board to do the second one, but actually everything else was up for grabs. We were still casting, still writing scripts, still commissioning and stuff. But this year, I think it was much more calm for the first three-and-a-half months of filming, and then what happens, inevitably, is you get to the end of filming, and there’s all those days that you have to do pick-up shots at the end, and you just come against a brick wall which is the end of the shoot, and you have to finish by that time. So the last few weeks were a bit manic, but they always will be on a show this size.”

One complication was that star John Barrowman had to finish early so that he could work on other projects, though only by a week or so. “A couple of days actually,” says Stokes of working round his star’s schedule. “He’s a very, very busy guy. When we started doing the show this year we knew that he was going to be doing Joseph, so we worked around that, we knew that he was doing his autobiography, we knew that he was doing an album, so we basically just kept in regular touch with his agent and we knew that there would be certain days down the line where we would have to work around his availability. He was always very good and his agent was very good at saying, ‘Torchwood has first call, let us know if we can do it’, so between us, we worked it all out so he got to do everything and do Torchwood, which is great. I think he wrapped only a couple of days before everybody else did, so he was there at the wrap party.”

Team spirit shining through, on set and onscreen, then? “I think one of the things we wanted to do this year was just make the team a bit warmer,” Stokes explains. “At the very end of the last series they’re united over… it’s this dysfunctional family that’s ripped apart over Bilis Manger, the character that gets them to open the rift, and then at the end of the series Captain Jack comes back, he forgives Owen, they’re all united as a team – and then he disappears off! When we come back into them in this episode they are a united team, so once they’ve embraced Jack back in they’re much warmer. We wanted them to be the bridge team on the Enterprise – they’d all put their necks on the line for each other, and we’ve done that, and I think we said, ‘Let’s have a bit more fun with them’, so that’s what we’ve done.”

One conclusion all of the production staff drew from the first run was the success of its more character-driven stories, particularly Catherine Tregenna’s episodes Out of Time and Captain Jack Harkness. “Yes, and I think that just goes with the experience of knowing what the show is this year.”

by Anthony Brown

Read the full interview and much more from the cast of Torchwood in
Starburst Special #85

Photo © BBCtv
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Starburst Special #85, see below for ordering options
Starburst Special #85
Torchwood 2008
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