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'Torchwood's Day One - The Verdict

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'Torchwood's Day One - The Verdict
An impressive story and appealing performances ensure that Torchwood makes the transition to BBC One in largely impressive style. 'Children Of Earth' effortlessly sets out its stall as an epic tale of global proportions and contains numerous fan-pleasing elements, although languid pacing could sadly mean that new viewers might start channel-hopping (a bit like Torchwood itself) before the incredible climax.

'Day One' hits the ground running, beginning with the mysterious abduction of children in 1965 Scotland before jumping to the present day with every child in the world stopping. The breathtaking and iconic imagery of the motionless children suddenly screaming in unison sends a shiver down the spine and establishes a fascinating premise and intrigue. Torchwood's's trio of surviving regulars - Gwen, Jack and Ianto - are all seamlessly introduced into the story and consequently to the millions of new viewers who would never have seen the show before on BBC Two or BBC Three. In particular, the hospital shenanigans of 'couple' Jack and Ianto are great fun.

As the episode continues one can't help but feel that there is too much padding. Some scenes are overlong, while the footage of the various locations is also excessive. However, Torchwood fans will lap up Captain Jack's visit to his daughter, which is undoubtedly poignant, and devour Ianto's amusing family, what with his sister's "are you bender?" inquisition. After all, Russell T Davies is a master at conjuring up supporting characters full of pathos and credibility. Similarly, our affections are also drawn to Home Office worker Lois, tortured abductee Timothy and the apparently nice NHS doctor Rupesh.

Yet for those new to the show, the Ianto/Jack family scenes only serve to take the focus away from the compelling child-related central plot, which seems in limbo for large chunks of the episode. Cult Spy has even shown it to a non-fan and this proved to be the case. It's too soon for new viewers to spend time gaping at long scenes with the relatives of characters they've barely been introduced to.

Nonetheless, everyone watching should be whipped into a frenzy by the fantastic final 15 minutes. The twist about Rupesh's character is well engineered and executed, while the sudden shift in tone from the happiness of Gwen's pregnancy to the sudden despair of Captain Jack's own 'bomb in the oven' really heightens the drama.

More akin to Doctor Who in narrative concepts and style than before, Torchwood: Children Of Earth quickly builds up a large canvas with Russell T Davies painting a number of fine new characters and setting up a wonderful premise. It would have worked better for new viewers if it was cut down to 45 minutes, but the drama still packs a powerful punch and the brilliant cliffhanger will hopefully ensure a healthy turnout for 'Day Two'.
> What do you think of Day One? Share your views

> Click here for our preview of Day Two

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