Torchwood: Miracle Day
BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network Starz Entertainment have today announced a three-way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will also distribute the series to broadcasters globally.
The 10-episode instalment will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator Russell T Davies and produced by BBC Worldwide productions.
Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions' SVP Scripted, Julie Gardner, return as executive producers with BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Controller BBC One, Jay Hunt, Controller BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson and Starz President and CEO, Chris Albrecht.
While previous series were based on location in Cardiff, Wales, this new instalment will see storylines widen to include locations in the US and around the world.
John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with new faces.
Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: "We have a long history of working with many US networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie.
"Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever."
Jane Tranter, EVP, BBC Worldwide Productions, added: "Torchwood has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and US, and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive instalment yet.
"We're committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for Torchwood fits that mandate."
Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht, said: "I've been part of successful partnerships with Jane Tranter and the BBC previously, and I'm very much looking forward to working with them again."
Torchwood is a drama that puts extraterrestrial threats into a very real world, and asks how humanity deals with the danger – while fighting mankind's darkest instincts. The series was originally commissioned and produced in 2006 by BBC Cymru Wales, with the latest high octane series capturing UK audiences of more than 6million.
BBC Worldwide has distributed previous Torchwood series around the world to territories such as Korea, Japan, Italy, Spain, Israel, Russia and across Latin America.
Starz Entertainment has acquired U.S. television rights to the next installment of the BBC's audience sensation Torchwood, developed and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Starz will debut the 10-episode series exclusively in the U.S., and BBC One will debut it in the U.K., both in summer, 2011. This is a co-production between Starz, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide, and BBC Worldwide will distribute the show outside the U.S. The deal was jointly announced today by Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht and BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter.
The stars of the previous versions of "Torchwood," notably John Barrowman (Capt. Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), will return for the new version. Additional key cast, reflecting the more international scope of the series, will be announced soon.
Torchwood is a drama that puts extraterrestrial threats into a very real world, and asks how humanity deals with the danger - while fighting mankind’s darkest instincts. The series' previous three seasons aired on BBC America in the U.S. and garnered record-breaking ratings for the network. Created by visionary writer/producer Russell T Davies, Torchwood has to date been located primarily in Cardiff, Wales. The new series will allow Davies and his writing team to tell a more explosive and global story, one that takes advantage of the unlimited narrative opportunities of a premium television service like Starz. Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions' SVP Scripted Julie Gardner return as executive producers, with Davies also serving as show-runner for the new Torchwood.
"We're committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for Torchwood fits that mandate," Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht said. "I've been part of successful partnerships with Jane Tranter and the BBC previously, and I'm very much looking forward to working with them again."
"Torchwood has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and U.S., and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive installment yet," said Jane Tranter, EVP, BBC Worldwide Productions. "Chris Albrecht and his team are committed to delivering quality premium programming to their subscribers, also a core attribute of the BBC, and we are excited to be working with them as the ‘Torchwood’ adventure continues."
"Russell, Jane and Julie came to us with a compelling vision for the evolution of the Torchwood saga that really takes the story into whole new areas," added Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz Media – the production and development division of Starz. "The compelling story and characters this trio created provide a strong template for driving this narrative in exciting ways."
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning said: "We have a long history of working with many U.S. networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie. Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever."
Torchwood is the latest piece of notable programming from Starz. It follows on the heels of the recently concluded first season of the epic "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," this summer's highly anticipated event series "The Pillars of the Earth," based on author Ken Follett's international bestseller, and the recently announced series "Camelot," which Starz is co-producing with GK-TV and will air early in 2011.
Torchwood originally debuted in the UK on BBC One in 2006. All five episodes of "Torchwood: Children of Earth" reached the Top 10 list in TV Episodes across the entire iTunes TV Store, with episode 1 of the series reaching the top spot the week of launch in August, 2009.
John Barrowman and Bill Pullman will be heading to Cannes to promote the new series of hit sci-fi drama Torchwood at MIPTV 2011.
The fourth instalment, titled Torchwood: Miracle Day, is distributed by BBC Worldwide, and will be launched to buyers on Monday 4th April with the two stars attending the event alongside executive producer Julie Gardner.
Barrowman returns to lead the cast in his iconic role as Captain Jack Harkness, and is joined in the new series by film star Pullman, whose credits include Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping and Lost Highway.
Julie Gardner, Senior Vice President, Scripted, BBC Worldwide Productions, has worked on all four series of Torchwood, and her other credits include Life on Mars, Doctor Who and Casanova.
Her producing partner is Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies, who has scripted Miracle Day with an A-list team of writers including John Shiban (Breaking Bad, The X-Files), Doris Egan (House) and Jane Espenson (Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer).
Torchwood: Miracle Day is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for Starz Entertainment, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide.
Featuring locations in the US and around the world, the plot sees a C.I.A operative (played by ER’s Mekhi Phifer) join forces with the team to investigate a global conspiracy that has put an end to human death, causing a population boom and resource crisis.
Pullman plays Oswald Danes, a convicted child killer who survives his own execution, and Eve Myles reprises her role as Gwen Cooper.
Steve Macallister, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution, commented, "We’re thrilled to have John Barrowman and Bill Pullman with us at MIPTV.
The fact that Torchwood: Miracle Day is able to attract such a high-calibre, international cast reflects the quality of the production – so it’s sure to prove popular with buyers again, along with the rest of our exciting drama slate."
In addition to Torchwood: Miracle Day, BBC Worldwide will also be presenting popular returning series Doctor Who (S6), the critically-acclaimed Luther (S2), series three of Being Erica, Primeval (S4 &5), and the second series of the BAFTA winning Misfits.
New dramas on this year’s MIPTV slate include ratings hit Upstairs Downstairs, which has already been re-commissioned for an extended second series; South Riding, starring David Morrissey and Anna Maxwell Martin; an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ best-selling novel, The Night Watch; star-studded sci-fi series Outcasts; and the Will Young-starring supernatural thriller Bedlam.
BBC Worldwide MIPCOM Stand G3.4
Premiering Friday, July 8th at 10 PM ET/PT, The Series Will Feature Series Alums John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Kai Owen; New Cast Members Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman, Alexa Havins, Arlene Tur; and Recurring Guest Star Lauren Ambrose
Imagine a day when nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging. They get hurt and sick but they never die. This is the extraordinary premise of the highly-anticipated STARZ original drama series, "Torchwood: Miracle Day," produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for STARZ, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide. The series will premiere on STARZ July 8 at 10 pm ET/PT.
Today, the network announced that in addition to Torchwood alumni, John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Kai Owen and new headliners, Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman and Alexa Havins, that the 10-episode, hour-long series will also feature an impressive list of guest stars: Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld,” Jurassic Park), C. Thomas Howell (“Southland,” The Outsiders), Ernie Hudson (“OZ,” Ghostbusters), Nana Visitor (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), John DeLancie (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Mare Winningham (Mildred Pierce, George Wallace) and Frances Fisher (Titanic, The Lincoln Lawyer).
Additional actors starring in the cult sensation include: Arlene Tur (“Crash,” Eat Pray Love) and Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under,” The Other Woman) who join the cast in an extended guest role. The show's original creator, writer/producer Russell T Davies, serves as executive producer along with BBC Worldwide Productions' SVP Julie Gardner, with Davies also serving as show-runner for "Torchwood: Miracle Day."
"Torchwood: Miracle Day" begins with a day when nobody dies. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It's said that in four month's time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can't be a natural occurrence - someone's got to be behind it. It's a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking "What is Torchwood?," he's drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.
The highly anticipated series of Torchwood – Miracle Day, starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles, starts on Thursday 14 July on BBC One. The new series created by Russell T Davies welcomes Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman and Alexa Havins, plus recurring guest stars Arlene Tur and Lauren Ambrose.
One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging – they get hurt and sick – but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight.
With all the extra people, resources are finite. It's said that in four months' time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can't be a natural event – someone's got to be behind it. It's a race against time as CIA. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking "What is Torchwood?" he's drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.
Torchwood: Miracle Day is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC Cymru Wales, Starz and BBC Worldwide.
What is Torchwood?
Torchwood was a team of people whose job was to investigate the unusual, the strange and the extraterrestrial. However, they were destroyed – so that team is no more. This series shows a whole new team and a whole new dynamic coming together. It's an old religion that's brought back to life.
As "Miracle Day" begins, the Torchwood team has two surviving members. The first one is Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), who was once upon a time an ordinary policewoman who became one of Torchwood's greatest fighters and defenders – a defender of planet Earth.
She's living in retirement, so she's like a spy living in retirement, and she's got a husband and a baby. Her days in Torchwood were dangerous and fraught with powerful secrets that she's hiding. She actually knows, or she fears, that one day, people will come looking for her. People with guns and people with agendas. She's living in seclusion with her husband and her baby, hoping all of that is behind her. Of course, she turns out to be wrong, and everything she feared comes true. And they do come looking for her. She's back on the run and back fighting again.
The other character is Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman. He is formerly the leader of Torchwood. He's a buccaneer from the 51st century, and you can't say that about many people. Captain Jack is gone at the beginning of the show – he left planet Earth and is missing. As usual, something very strange happens and the situation calls for a hero.
And there he is, on a jeep with a machine gun running from explosions, diving into fountains. He's back and at his best.
Overview of Torchwood: Miracle Day
One day on planet Earth, no one dies. Like a coincidence, no deaths, no one reported dead – apparently, everyone got lucky. The next day no one dies … and the next … and the next … and the next. People are still sick, accidents are happening and people are getting old. They've got diseases, but the body won't die. They just stay alive. Nothing can kill them. Overnight, in the blink of an eye, somehow, something happened to the human race and everyone has become immortal. Not invulnerable, but immortal, which is much worse. Invulnerable would be lovely. Forever young, that would be lovely. Just to be immortal with none of the benefits – not so good. So suddenly you've got a world that goes into a panic.
We're going to live for hundreds of years, but the human life is still built around having 70 or 80 years and then moving on. Suddenly in about three days, all the hospitals are full, as the people who are sick pile up. Within weeks, that leads to the outbreak of different diseases. The health services in countries snap. What starts happening to human beings when we become this strange new race of humans? The panic and hysteria sets in with the crazies and the mobs. In every episode there's a new theory.
How do you investigate something completely intangible? No one's dying – that's like investigating nothing. Where on Earth do you begin? How do we cope with what human beings are doing with this new age, with this new era? Fighting the human race is just as bad as any aliens they ever fought. As people seek to capitalise and undermine the situation, you reveal human nature at its best and at its worst.
The series has a broad international feel, when you realise the dynamics of the plot, and what's happening to the world. It starts in Wales and Washington simultaneously. You have Rex (Mekhi Phifer), a CIA agent in Washington, and Gwen (Eve Myles) in Wales. Those two worlds first start to collide and it becomes a very big picture. We travel to Montana, Utah, Atlanta and Dallas. We spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and in Washington. Deliberately, it's actually all part of the story that all these places become important. It's got a nice epic sweep to it.
The Torchwood team comes out of retirement partly because it has no choice. The situation draws them out of hiding. Gwen is hidden and Jack has disappeared. The world changes and heroes rise. And then you have new people joining Torchwood. We begin with Rex investigating in Washington, uncovering the secrets of Torchwood. His assistant at the CIA, Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins), joins in. Slowly you have this new Torchwood team taking shape. The old and the new fighting for the future.
About coming to America with the series
Coming to the US for Torchwood (the organisation) is like another case. They've dealt with galaxies and universes, so another country is not that big of a deal. It is, however, a big deal for Gwen. She's separated from her husband and from her child. She's arrested and taken to America, so it's heartbreaking on that level. But for Jack, he hits the ground running. For many years Torchwood (the series) has had an American actor in the lead role, so in that sense it feels entirely natural. For the show to hit America, I think it's a new start without being a reboot. That's what's exciting about it. This is simply a new horizon. We have different producing partners, and it has added a new influx of imagination, and frankly, a bigger budget as well.
For the series coming to America, it's just an infusion of energy. Whole new questions and things emerge that we've never thought about before. And it's a new audience. We're very, very proud of the Torchwood fan base, but I never believe these programmes should be cult or small. I think everyone in the world should be watching them. Starz, the writers, and the new cast, came on board because of the Torchwood of old. There's no doubt about that. And that's the greatest compliment of the show.
About the cast
It is brilliant working with John Barrowman. He's mad and marvellous and he takes me by surprise after all these years. I love working with this extraordinary project we're on. Way back in 2004, we started creating this character for a few episodes of Doctor Who. There was a swaggering buccaneer from the 51st century who I then made immortal. To see people loving John like they have done, to see that growing, has been a real joy. The best part of my job is working with actors, because I just sit there and type and then they are the faces on the camera and they bring it to life. He's just the best, he's extraordinary.
Eve Myles – she's marvellous, because I think she's a limitless actor. She's what you want in every actor, which is that you feel you can simply write anything for them. You can take the character of Gwen anywhere and have her do anything. You can hate her, you can love her. You can do anything and she does that great. The thing of truly great actors is that they never ask for sympathy on the screen. I think that's such a magnificent attribute, because most of us want sympathy all the time. Most of us just want to be liked. We get through the day just hoping to be liked, and Eve will take that extraordinary deep breath and not care. She presents that on camera and that is so bold and electrifying.
Mekhi Phifer has been extraordinary for the show. Because I think when you've got lead actors like John and Eve, it's hard to match them. There's big John with his Broadway reputation, and there is Eve, who is Welsh and bold and distinctive. It's hard to find a space to fit in and Mekhi just swaggers in there. I can't think of many men who could have found a space in between those two. But he's made Rex so unequivocal, so arrogant, so bold and brave. He's just right at the same time. He's arrogant, but he's always right. I think that's a great attribute. You cannot miss the fact that Rex Matheson is there being a match for the Torchwood team and I think it's a perfect partnership.
Bill Pullman is a blessing. It was a Godsend the day that man arrived. People told us we'd never get him for the role of Oswald. They actually looked us in the eye and said, you haven't got a chance. But we sent him the script and in two days he said yes. That was very, very exciting. I didn't expect that coming to America I would get to work with stars of that stature and he's an absolutely lovely man. He's so committed to it, to a very bold and contentious part. That could perhaps cause a lot of controversy and it's certainly not an easy part to play (that of a child killer). He just takes it and grabs it and runs with it and makes it a thousand times better than you ever could have imagined.
Lauren Ambrose is just gorgeous and amazing. And I think one of my great regrets is her Jilly Kitzinger character isn't in Episode 1. You have to wait until the second episode for her to blaze onto the screen in her red coat, red hair, her red lipstick and red nails. She's so controlled and knows what she's doing. It's a brave performance with what I think is a brave character as well.
Completing the Torchwood team is Alexa Havins as Esther Drummond. I love working with Alexa because in theory, Esther is the one who gets the story going. She sits at the desk and reads blogs. She's the desk bound member of the team. And I think Alexa's done the opposite on the screen. She's filled the role with life. Yes, she's beautiful, but she's far more than that. She's sparky, lively and vivid. She just gets in and carves out a space for herself – in a part that I think with any other actor, they would have found that very hard to do.
About the new season
I want to convey that this is a high concept show that is tackled intelligently with a lot of drama and with a lot of imagination – with some love and thrills. We set up this high concept which asks, what if no one died? What happens? And then you have 10 hours to literally watch this ripple out. And I think it's very well researched and imagined.
This season stands completely on its own. If you've never seen Torchwood before, you can join in at Episode 1. It's written that way. The lead character of Rex in Episode 1 is also that viewer. He has never heard of Torchwood – he doesn't know what they are. He barely knows where Wales is – he's never heard of Gwen or Jack and that's the point. A brand new viewer starts there and uncovers everything with him. And for the faithful – and I am one of the faithful – there are references to Torchwood of old. And psychologically, everyone from the old Torchwood is following the same character, the same path they were on before. But it's laid out as a brand new start. Which I think is the point.
What is Miracle Day?
Miracle Day is the day when for planet Earth, no one dies. And it sounds fantastic when you first hear it, aside from the fact that you can still get sick, get hurt, and still suffer the pain. You still age, so it's not the perfect, dream-like, living forever and being immortal, super powerful. All the problems that we have in everyday life continue, but it just means your life span goes on – and on.
I think the best type of sci-fi drama is about shining a light on how we live now. And posing big moral questions about what we would do in particular circumstances. When people have stopped dying, you're looking at a world where society as we know it is crumbling. So, at a very basic level – what does your pension and life insurance mean? What kind of savings do you have? What's your healthcare cover? What's your local hospital able to sustain and help you with? The world and all those props that we have around us as a society have gone. We like to think that we're a very civilised and caring society. But Russell T Davies, the creator of the show, would look at places like Kosovo or Rwanda and say that terrible atrocity could happen very readily in a so-called civilised democracy. And with Miracle Day, as you see the threat on resources and society as we know it crumbling, it starts examining how people deal in that situation. Not just governments, but everyday people. What would your neighbour be like – your doctor?
I think the most important thing about the series is its examination of how we all live, and what we are like as a society. When the rules are taken away, when everything is stripped bare, what are we like as a people? What becomes important and where is your humanity? I think it's asking that question. In a time of crisis, some people rise as heroes, while others become collaborators and others become killers. It should, at its very best, ask the audience, in that context, what would you become? That's why I work in drama. Those are the big important questions that a show can ask. At the same time, it should be an entertaining, action-packed thriller adventure that we take the audience on.
About the cast
Aside from the story, it's the cast that keeps Torchwood going. John Barrowman brings so much life to the part of Captain Jack. I mean he's so swaggering, sexy and funny. And he's absolutely gorgeous. And Eve as Gwen Cooper has always been the heart of the show. When you look at the journey of Gwen, starting as a policewoman, who goes on this extraordinary journey where she realises aliens can exist. She realises that the world is so much bigger, darker and complicated than she ever thought. She's really the anchor of the show. She's the audience's way in.
Mekhi Phifer as Rex Matheson goes on an enormous journey. When we first meet him in Episode 1, he's a character who has worked very hard, been very ambitious and is rising up the ranks of the CIA. I think he's very certain of the world and his place in it. He's the American elite – intelligent and well paid. The world is his proverbial oyster, and very quickly, you see how Miracle Day puts all of that under pressure. He is seeing a bit like what Gwen Cooper saw in the beginning – how much richer the world is. How much more complicated it is. He has to go on the run and he has to work with people that on the surface seem a bit strange. They're the Welsh and what do they know about anything? And besides, there's a guy who wears a Second World War coat. And I think across the journey, he becomes a hero because he's tested. He's asking questions about what his life is now.
Bill Pullman as Oswald Danes is clearly our most controversial character. It's an intriguing role of a genuinely guilty man who has raped and killed a 12-year-old girl. And the journey for him is a journey about modern society. You see Oswald on Miracle Day facing lethal injection. He is about to die, and because of the new state of the world, he survives the execution. He becomes for part of the story a modern-day messiah – the mouthpiece of this new society, through YouTube and the internet. And when footage of Oswald's execution is leaked onto websites, he becomes this flare for the world. He becomes this infamous, controversial character, whose story becomes irrevocably tied up to Torchwood's investigation.
What's wonderful about the show is it's uncompromising. I think Russell T Davies is one of the best producers I've worked with in my life. He's an extremely practical, clever man and very savvy about television production.
If you haven't watched Torchwood before, the first important thing to say is – don't be afraid. You don't have to know anything about the show or its history. Everything is explained from the beginning. In that way, it's a completely welcoming new show for a brand new audience. And you should watch because it should be a lot of fun. It's a thriller that is properly answered in 10 episodes. It's not the type of show where you have to hang on for five years and at the end of that you're weeping trying to understand who everyone is and how stories have properly been tied together.
About Captain Jack Harkness
I speak like Captain Jack because I've known him for a long time. And it's great to do new things with him because then I'm learning something new about him every single day we film. Jack is a time agent, who in his past, started out as a guy who was very self-centered and very egocentric. And he developed, through a relationship with two other people, how to become a team member. Jack's been to the future and to the past – he's very old, yet he never ages. He knows a lot about the solar system and a lot about the world. He is knowledgeable in everything. With Torchwood, he was the leader of the pack. He was the one who was the muscle of the group, while Gwen was the heart. They both kept the team together and they're searching for a new team.
Don't ask me to tell you how old Jack is, like any true person who is a little bit vain about themselves – as Jack is a little bit. One important thing about Jack is that he will do anything to save humanity or save the planet, and that means sacrificing anything. So if they are in a situation where one person must die in order to save the planet, or in the group, Jack will sacrifice. It's a harsh reality, but it's got to be done.
The thing that Russell and the team of writers want to do this season is to take Jack into territories he hasn't been taken to before. Discover those darker areas, discover the more emotional areas because Jack has been very reserved with his emotions in the past. With Miracle Day, I think we're going to delve into things where he's more exposed, raw, and there is more emotional pins and needles with what's happening to him.
Jack's relationship with Gwen is – he is very fond of her, but it's more than that. He is very protective of her. Gwen was always the heart of the group, but she has evolved herself. She's still the heart, but now is a bit of the muscle. And Jack, through the process of them being together, has taught her the art of fighting, gun slinging and all that stuff. She has come a very long way. But their relationship is funny, because it's almost like a brother and sister relationship and it's almost like a husband and wife relationship. But there's nothing sexual between them, it's the type of thing where she might finish one of his sentences or vice versa because they know each other so well. And, between Jack and Gwen, if they're in a sticky situation, all it needs is a look from one of them and then they know exactly what they're thinking.
Working with Eve for so long – we always have a good time, yet we get the work done. We do have a laugh, and as a result, Jack and Gwen have a laugh sometimes with what they do, yet they get the work done. And it's very interesting because for me the characters of Jack and Gwen are not so far from the real people of myself and Eve, because we put a lot of our own personalities into them.
The one thing that makes Torchwood work so brilliantly and makes it a little bit above the rest of all other sci-fi dramas out there is that we have a sense of humour. The story can be heavy, there can be the worst thing going on, the world is going to be destroyed, but there's always a little joke right at the end. Or there's always a sense of humor within that drama and that's real life. We laugh at things when they happen. If they're terrible things, there's always a humorous aspect to it. And that's why this show works, because we actually reflect real life.
Bringing the show to the US has an effect on Torchwood the agency, because we can be in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. We can be anywhere and that's one of the beauties of filming in the States
In this day and age, you can't put drama or a sci-fi show on television without having any action in it, and we have tons of action. We are oozing with action and overflowing with the stunts. That's why I say it's going to be bigger and better. It's just an action-packed sci-fi, fun-filled, roller coaster of a drama.
At the end of Children Of Earth, both Jack and Gwen went their separate ways. Jack went off somewhere and Gwen moved to a very quiet part of the country into hiding because she was being hunted. She's been wanted because she's the last remaining member of Torchwood. She goes away and has a baby and lives there with her husband, and they've got quite a perfect, chocolate box kind of cottage, and it's idyllic.
But she is so bored. She's in limbo land and she never switches off. She's constantly in Torchwood mode and always on alert. So when this particular event happens and Captain Jack turns up, he couldn't have turned up at a better time for her, because she was lost.
Gwen's house is pretty and idyllic – postcard perfect. But when you start going into the drawers and the cupboards and behind the couches, there are machetes and grenades, the rocket launchers – you name it. She's armed constantly.
About her relationship with Jack Harkness
It's a very unique relationship Gwen has with Jack. It's a very special relationship, because, I mean, come on, the guy is beautiful and he can't die. He's traveled universes and he's done extraordinary things. He's not of this earth – that's attractive, isn't it? He's not your usual chap. So there's obviously a huge attraction between them, but an awful lot of respect for one another. They bounce off one another.
What one can do the other can't and vice versa. So I've started to describe their relationship and their characters as being a part of a jigsaw, and if one part is missing, the jigsaw isn't filled. They fit together perfectly like a jigsaw and they need each other. They have a relationship like a married couple. They have a relationship like a brother and sister. They have a relationship like enemies, but it's all through deep love and respect for one another.
About her fellow cast members
John Barrowman? He's my buddy. We have a lot of fun. We share exactly the same sense of humour. We're like seven year olds being let loose in a playground.
As for the new cast, we've done our very best to make everybody who comes onboard to Torchwood very welcome. And we love new faces and new characters. We're here to do the same project, and hopefully make a few friends on the way.
At the end of the day, it's the quality of the writing of the show that really gets me excited – to come back again for another season. It's Russell T Davies. And whatever happens under the pen of Russell, I will go with and I will never question, because he knows these characters inside out and so do John and I. And Russell has got this endless energy for these characters and for this programme. And as long as he does, I have also. He just keeps surprising you with the character. He dropped in with Children Of Earth that Gwen falls pregnant. So the next season I come back, I'm not just Gwen Cooper, I'm a mum. He keeps challenging me as an actor.
As much heartbreak and sadness that he puts into his characters and into their situations, there's always something that will make it real, and then there's humour. It's like when you go to a funeral, you're not supposed to laugh, but you find yourself doing it.
I think that Russell has done a fantastic mix of domestic drama with a lovely ingredient of sci-fi, and a lovely ingredient of thriller and horror. The production is much bigger. It's on a much larger scale.
About his character
I wouldn't describe Rex as arrogant but I think he's certainly set in his ways. There's a certain amount of edge to him. I think he's determined and strong and focused. And I think once he has it set in his mind that he wants to do something, that's what he goes out and does. He just goes out and makes it happen, He's very much a black or white person – he's not a grey area guy.
Rex has this accident where he should be dead. That drives him to find out what the hell is going on in the world. Through his assistant's (Esther) research at the CIA, we start to break down and find all these clues. And Torchwood keeps popping up, so we find out that they're in Wales and I book my flight immediately. And I extract them from the UK and bring them to the US thinking that I'm going to bring them back to interrogate them. But it turns out that on the way back the government turns on me. I guess they want to get rid of Torchwood and get rid of me – anybody who knows anything. So that's how we wind up joining forces. And then we're on this mission together. People are trying to kill Rex. He's getting shot at, stabbed, chased, betrayed – he's all over the place.
Now that this miracle has happened, it makes Rex question life and what he's been brought up to think. So through this, he has definitely learned to be more in the grey area of thinking – a little bit more obtuse.
I think as time goes on, he fears the Miracle less. But I know in the beginning he feared that if it was gone, he'd just be dead.
When Rex first meets Captain Jack, they just flat out don't like each other. John's a great guy in person – really funny – loves life. And he's always singing and dancing around and saying crazy things, so I just love the guy. But our characters, definitely in the beginning, clash, there's no question about that. We definitely have different approaches to things. And I haven't figured him out yet.
About the cast
Eve is great, she's the motherly type. And as far as on the show, she's more of the protective aunt or something. Gwen and Rex don't have many issues, except in the beginning, there are a few issues. I take her away from her family – her new baby and husband, so she has a lot disdain for me.
Being on the set on the first day was like the first day of school. You know what I mean about being the new kid on the block? You have a well oiled machine that you're jumping on and the train is already in motion. But they were very welcoming and very supportive. They're genuinely nice people, generous. And so it makes for an easy environment to jump on board too. Then you add having really wonderful producers like Russell and Julie, who have great spirits and great energy. They're supportive as well – an open door policy. It makes for a great work environment. You look forward to coming to work.
Before I joined the show I met with Russell and Julie. I had never seen the show before. They gave me some DVDs and I loved the show. I thought it was really great where they were trying to take it. I thought that it was going to be special – so I was really excited about that.
Our story really begins in a very precarious moment for the earth and my character in particular. He is getting three lethal injections, because he has been convicted as a murderer/paedophile. And the surprise is that he doesn't die. He survive a very horrendous experience, but his body is still alive.
And then everyone in the hospital realises that other people haven't died in that hospital and in that city, in the country, in the world for 24 hours or so. They realise this is a new paradigm of how and what it is to be human. For Oswald, it begins a journey of beginning to realise that he is going to survive and that he's going to be free because they haven't been able to kill him.
Oswald is prepared for a negative reaction, which he'll get from most of the world. His crimes have been very prominent and everyone I think was probably looking forward to his death, so at first he feels quite a bit of rejection. And then he begins a strange journey in which things start to change and morph and he goes in a very surprising direction.
Oswald begins to do some news appearances and in a critical moment, suddenly people begin to realise that he's human and that he seems to be an object in need of compassion towards him. It begins to be clear that some people are curious for what he has to say.
Oswald realises that he has some people who are supporters and he comes into contact with a woman who is in public relations who may have her own agenda. We form this tentative alliance as we recognise how we can help each other.
Power comes from celebrity, and I think that curious theme is what Russell is playing with – whether it's earned or not earned. It's a very useful thing that can be manipulated in a lot of different ways. Oswald's riding the wave and he becomes a tool, but he's also his own instrument and finding a way to control that type of environment.
Oswald understands the power of words, and forgiveness is a powerful word. And sometimes, people have a lot of conflicting feelings whether they are being forgiven and whether they actually feel forgiven. Sometimes they aren't in mesh and it's probably people like Oswald who aren't always aware of what exactly it is.
I'm always curious every time I get a call from the agent saying you have an offer. I don't know who the hell Bill Pullman is really. And I'm ready for almost anything and it's been a very diverse journey I've had. And so when I got the scripts and we got to watch the episodes, I was clearly intrigued. The writing had a voice – it had distinctiveness, a sense of this world, and reminded me of all the things that I've liked about the science fiction I've enjoyed doing before.
It's got a big message. It's got a little Ray Bradbury about it in terms of themes and then it's got a little popcorn in it too. It's got a little sense of wow in the middle of all this crisis and catastrophe; it's alive and fun. And so I was impressed by that, and it was one of the fastest yeses in agreeing to do this project.
I think with good science fiction, it's those things that are intimated in your dreams and nightmares. People live a long time now and they live a specific type of life for a long time. They can be wounded by wars and then be resuscitated, and we have a lot of ways in which we embrace them. They are heroes, but there's also a lot of conflict because of that.
It causes families to get conflicted. Someone didn't die. They're living 10 years with Alzheimer's longer than they thought and that's a gift, but is it? And these are the issues that get scratched by this premise, even though it definitely seems in our story that there's something out beyond our world that is playing with the dial.
Russell T Davies is a very tall man, so he's brought a lot of height to it. And definitely that makes the story a bigger story. And I think he often wears boots that have a big sole and height. So he's even bigger, but he is a good, big soul too, and he's a lot of the spirit of the set. It comes from him and Julie Gardner. They've worked together a long time. They're very focused, but they're very comfortable in their own skins. They're not insecure people, so anybody in any workplace enjoys that kind of leadership.
I think both John Barrowman and Eve Myles are very engaging people. They're having a good ride with this new expansion of possibilities of the story and they love meeting new characters and they are very welcoming to everybody and not possessive of the torch.
Jilly Kitzinger works in public relations. She's a sleek, slick, clever PR person who works for the potentially evil corporation PhiCorp, a giant pharmaceutical company. She's always on the move, seems to always be traveling on a different airplane going to a different city.
Bill Pullman plays a death row prisoner who's about to be executed and he doesn't die, so he becomes a media star and I want him for my company. We want him – we want to use him. I find him and I convince him that he needs me. He of course doesn't need me, but I have other plans for him.
I thought the story was incredibly smart and interesting and as Russell told it to me, his plan for this season is so clever and really about something, about big ideas. My character is just fascinating, I mean, I'm wearing these incredibly fancy clothes. Every handbag matches the shoes, matches the gloves, matches the belt, so I'm wearing very fancy clothes.
I get to play a glamorous PR person. Come on, who wouldn't want to do that?
Shawna, the costumer, is amazing and I think having fun with this character. Each costume for me is more beautiful than the next and I guess Jilly Kitzinger spends her money well and at Barney's.
Russell's been around every day that we're shooting. In addition to writing, he certainly seems involved in every aspect and I love talking to him about the show. I love hearing his experience with it and he definitely lured me in because he had a reason for everything. Every detail is thought out and thought through.
This show has this massive cult following, so I'm sure it will just catch on and everyone will be watching it and talking about Torchwood. And more importantly, talking about Jilly Kitzinger and what she was wearing.
I play Esther Drummond, a bright young mind in the CIA and up and coming in the ranks. A little fresh to the business, so she hasn't been part of the CIA long enough to be jaded. She's a strong optimist. I laugh because Gwen has her guns – that's her weapon. Esther's weapon is her computer.
In the first episode, Esther sees Torchwood on her computer and I think she's intrigued by it. Because, what is it? And it's there on the computer and so from there it's just a chase – she's wanting more and she just can't help herself. She's just following where the trail leads her.
Pretty soon, Esther's life is changed drastically from the moment that the audience meets her. She takes a journey throughout the entire season. It's a literal journey with the team – and then, there's an emotional journey. We see her finding herself, finding who she is. She starts out behind the desk, nothing more than a desk jockey – working on computers. She sees Rex out in the field and I think she has a really romantic view of life in the field and field work. And Torchwood quickly launches her into that path.
Torchwood as we all know changes life drastically, and Esther gets a firsthand knowledge of that. There's intrigue and her curiosity pretty much gets the best of her. We start with Esther's very safe, comfortable 9-5 job. But all of a sudden, once she steps into the world of Torchwood, she's launched into a whole different path. Quickly we find her on the run. She's trying to survive, but her instincts kick in. So it's interesting watching this person that doesn't have the experience and training as Jack or Gwen or Rex would. I love watching her as a character and playing her and reading the scripts. She's trying to get out of life and death situations and she stumbles a little because she's still a newbie
Esther has a strong faith in humanity. I think she sees the good in people and what we can be and what we should be. And this big event shakes everyone to the core. It tests people – it takes us to our breaking point. So, I think her biggest concern is just restoring her faith in humanity. She has a trust and a faith that good will prevail.
About the characters
Esther has a little bit of a crush on Rex, her boss. They have a great working relationship, a good banter and history together. And she's like his right hand woman. He's out in the field and he has this success as an agent, but he didn't get there without her help. So she slowly, over time, has developed this little crush on him. And I think it leads to something a little bit more serious, because she wants more. She's invested in him. She cares for him deeply. It's not just a childlike crush. She wants a future with him.
Working with Mekhi is a dream. We had an instant connection right out of the gate. He comes off as this tough guy, but you strip that away, he's just a real gentle soul. He's kind and he's fun to work with.
Working with John is a treat. If you get the opportunity to meet him take it, because it's life changing. He's so full of life and energy and he brings this infectious spirit to the set that I haven't quite experienced before. Between Eve and John, both of them together, they're quite the dynamo. It's a fun day at work. We have such a nice time together, and you spend so much time on set, they are your mini family. And they didn't skip a beat with welcoming us to their show.
Eve, I love Miss Eve. Eve and I have fun together. We both have daughters, so right away we have this common bond. So we're mammas and we have that. And she has that warmth and that motherly spirit. But then she's a firecracker. She is so funny. I'm blessed to be a part of Torchwood for sure.
The writing is what first enticed me. My husband watched the show, so I had previously seen some of it. When I had the opportunity to read and audition for the role of Esther, her character was already so well defined and thought out. Russell knew exactly who he wanted her to be. So it was a matter of me taking his vision and bringing Esther to life.
You know, it's interesting that we borrow from British television quite often. As we all know, they make great television, and that's what's appealing about this show. It won't be alienating the original viewers and fans. They can pick up the remote and tune in, turn on Starz, turn on BBC One and know that they're getting the same great quality project with top notch writing, the same vision from both Russell and Julie.
The writing is so detailed and smart, you have to listen and pay attention. So there's always something, whether it's the action or the dialogue.
My character, Dr. Juarez, starts off having a pretty normal day, and all of a sudden, everybody starts coming in to the hospital and staying there – they're not dying. Rex comes in, after he's impaled in his accident, and because of the miracle, I am able to work on him and save his life. I'm Rex's liaison to keep him pain free.
So the miracle saved his life, and as the show goes on, you see all the troubles that come with over-population and everything that we have to deal with – from the government to lack of medication and how we're going to deal with that.
Vera plays a major role in the decision making in Torchwood. What is going to happen to all these people, how do we handle over-population?
I think she's fighting, along with everybody else, to learn how we deal with the situation. She's also fighting for her sanity, because as a doctor, you are taught exactly how to deal with the body and how it works, and what you know, all of a sudden, goes out the window when the body's not working how you were taught. So you're a professional, but all the information that you had no longer holds true.
You have to really deal with "what do we do now?" in a most professional manner. That's where Vera could lose her sanity, along with everybody else. That's why you see such chaos, with the government and everybody trying to get involved, and actually trying to get a piece of the pie and making some money off the chaos.
In the beginning, I'm his liaison to keep him pain free. Later, I confide in him, and he confides in me in a way we expose our vulnerability to each other, and that starts a relationship between the two. It's really in the midst of the chaos, so there's not too much foundation that this relationship is built on. There's not enough time spent together, but there is something there that has flourished despite all the chaos.
It's my first role as a surgeon, so it's very exciting for me as well, such as learning all the exciting medical terms that I have to say. The production has helped me get into an ER and shadow a doctor, so I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot, and I love it.
This is my first science fiction project, so that's exciting for me as well. And it has a lot of facets to it. Because there's a lot of cop, medical, law and sci-fi shows, I feel like this combines them all.
We received complaints from viewers unhappy that the new series of Torchwood will be broadcast in America before the UK.
The BBC's Response
We are pleased to announce that Torchwood will return to BBC One at 21.00 on Thursday 14 July.
Starz in the US have the contractual right to the World Premiere, that relates to the deal that was done and ultimately this has created better value for licence fee payers.
Contractually, the broadcasters in other territories can transmit from the next day onwards but being as close to the transmission in the US is not the only factor in the scheduling decision. We have identified what we think is the best slot for BBC One viewers and have also ensured that it's within a week of transmission in the US.
Credit: Radio Times