By DJ Forrest
No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century... oh wait, wrong script. Hang on.... No one not even myself would have believed just how popular Torchwood still is amongst the fans. It’s been three years since Miracle Day was first broadcast according to Digital Spy, so surely that means Torchwood is no more. But far from it. From the moment we put the idea together, drawn from sketches in the house, chatters amongst close friends on the social networking sites, an idea formulated, and testing the waters, we launched Project: Torchwood on the Twitter and Facebook Page on the 17th March 2013. The website itself was still being created, work on articles and interviews, reviews, anything and everything we could think of was being put together in the first Issue.
With John Bond and Mickie Newton and the encouragement of some good friends including Karina Longman and my son Calum, the idea spiralled, and I had not only the Editor, proof reader, boss of Torchwood 3 as I like to refer to myself as, but I had my technical gizmo friend who was ace with the background designs and the cover arts that you see on nearly all of the articles within the website, my wiz of computer knowledge where mine is sadly lacking. My Toshiko – Mickie who even designed the banner and background for Twitter and Facebook. She also operates as my PR, linking us to more sites and finding us more areas to promote ourselves. Mickie Newton is dedicated to Project: Torchwood and we love her for it. During the summer we brought in another writer, Echo Fain who has a wonderful way with words and has us all asking for more. Echo who is currently putting together her own novel has delighted us with her Heaven and Nature Sings episodes about her favourite character to date Lyn, a character you think you know but probably don’t. A fascinating person, and whose description you can picture in your mind. Echo not only writes fictional pieces, but has written several articles for us and interviewed Robert Shearman, writer of Dalek, and 8th Doctor stories.
John Bond is our Locations Writer, our 9th Doctor. He even looks like him! John’s incredible Locations articles have a more personal touch as he covers how to get to places using public transport, and offers his own insight into the places we’ve come to know through Torchwood. He’s our man in Wales. He’s an invaluable asset to the writing team and he crews at events so it’s always possible you will see John somewhere at a Convention. And this year he’s getting married!
Our first ever Expo report came from FedCon and was covered by another member of our team, roving reporter Doreen Freitag who is also the writer of the Viva Torchwood saga. Doreen is a great friend and we share one thing in common, well two things actually. One our love of Torchwood and sci fi, and two, being born on the same day, years apart, but same day.
We were surprised in the first week when we reached over 100 fans on Twitter and Facebook, the love for all things Torchwood was still there. When the first Issue was launched we were surprised on 1 May 2013, by the amount of readers and hits on the site. If we ever had any doubts about the loyalty of fans, we aren’t any more. The love for Torchwood was as strong as ever. We gained followers from all over the world, as far as Belarus, Turkey, Poland, USA, we even gained followers from the cast of Torchwood, with Justin Walters, Maxine Evans and Rhys ap Trefor, our three Countrycide actors who we have had many enjoyable chats with online. Then as the Torchwood cast grew on Twitter we also gained follows from Eve Myles and quite recently Dichen Lachman.
In our first year on the website we have interviewed nearly 60 guests from the world of Who and Torchwood and those linked by association. I am still rather impressed with my first BIG interview over Skype with Dillon Casey. I was so nervous I didn’t dare drink my coffee in case I a) choked on it, or b) dribbled it down my chin. The interview with Dillon Casey was such an awesome opportunity and I learnt an awful lot of invaluable information about film making and smiled at our love for one of the most incredible heroes of the screen – Indiana Jones. I look forward to the day when Dillon possibly takes that hat for perhaps a younger role of Indy, the bit in between Harrison Ford and River Phoenix, I think there is a story there that needs to be told and I think that role should go to Dillon, but preferably without the involvement of alien life forms. What do you say Mr Casey?
Last year I went to my first ever Convention up at Braehead in Glasgow – my sole mission was to meet and interview Gwen Cooper herself, Eve Myles. She is such a lovely woman, so giving and has such a great rapport with the fans. My voice sounds terrible on the voice recorder and so in one respect I was happy that the interview audio was never published, but the interview itself was one of joy and I’m so glad I plucked up the courage and so glad Eve agreed.
At FedCon during Doreen’s report, both Eve and John had signed our banner which you see at the top of our website – that I have to say secures our endorsement of Torchwood by the two main cast from the 4th Season. It’s such an accolade for us and we haven’t stopped thanking John and Eve since.
We also received a great response from both Eve and Kai during their Comic Con event in Cardiff, which has been posted up on our FB Page as well as somewhere on Twitter down our tweets.
In our collection of Birthday Wishes that will feature on the wall this Issue, we received a cracking one from both Eve and Kai Owen. The one from Eve makes me laugh every time I read it, and I punch the air when I see that ‘Joshua Weevil’ has landed.
That’s what I like about what we do online, the camaraderie that we have on Twitter and often Facebook with Joshua the weevil, who has more than the average scrapes for a Torchwood alien. His discoveries in Ann Summers and his involvement over in Germany and his new friends Grayham the Gremlin who is no longer with us, but crated up and sent onto the fan who named him, and Willy the Blowfish owned by Betty Dee in Germany, that received a tweet from Burn Gorman. I love how you guys really get involved in Joshua’s life. It means a lot, it really does. Thank you!
In one Issue we interviewed five writers for their involvement in one Torchwood novel – Consequences. Joseph Lidster we interviewed twice mostly as at the time I hadn’t realised he’d been involved in the novel until I read the book. Joseph Lidster was one of the first writers I ever spoke to on the Doctor Who forum regarding fan writers, between him and Victor Pemberton I gained a real insight into the world of writing back then.
From this involvement with the writers I now follow them all on the social networking sites, learning more of the art of writing and this year I’m working on my very first novel for publication.
Another of my favourite interviews of last year was with Caitlin Blackwood aka Amelia Pond, who is also in the Cops and Monsters web series. The interview was fantastic because it was LIVE, through DM on Twitter. Caitlin is often on Twitter, she’s really pleasant and her witty banter with her brother has me chuckling, and you HAVE to visit her Etsy store, she makes the most wonderful jewellery.
A lot of the interviews we’ve had have been extremely hilarious, the responses from the guests have had me holding my sides, laughing out loud and quite often punching the air, those hold a special place in my heart, that even after all this time, I can go back and read them and still laugh, it never grows old. Ross O’Hennessy who appeared as the army sergeant in Day One, when Gwen Cooper stumbled into their tent at the arrival of the gas alien that crashed in the pit, now that man has a heck of a sense of humour. I hope to one day meet Ross, perhaps he will still be entertaining people around the historic town in full dress, as that would be so cool. Mind you I’d probably not be able to keep a straight face, especially if his humour is the same in real as it is on paper.
Another with a wicked sense of humour is Tom Price. I had tears streaming down my face as I read back through the interview before I posted it up on the site. I’m still waiting on a response by John Barrowman and Eve Myles for the replies to Tom’s comments regarding that interview. Oh so funny!
Last year the fans of Eve Myles and Torchwood were glued to the television screens watching ‘Frankie’ and what a programme that was, and it is such a pity that a 2nd series wasn’t taken onboard by the BBC as this would have been brilliant. Such a fantastic cast brilliant music and of course Ken Bruce. We interviewed Lucy Gannon writer and creator of the series ‘Frankie’. It’s a wonderful insight into another brilliant writer.
We were also touched by Lucy’s comment below the article – Tribute to Richard Briers.
In our first year our family began to grow. We introduced The Mothership Page which involved Doctor Who, which we felt was as important to write about, given that Torchwood was a spin off from the series. Most of the team had grown up watching Doctor Who many years before Torchwood was even thought of.
With the growth of our Pages, came the addition to our team and we gained 3 regular Who writers. Steve Taylor-Bryant, Reece Morris Jones and Jeffrey Zyra who all write for The Cult Den and this month to celebrate our full year, we added another writer to our family. Simon Mallinson writes The Target Zone book reviews He owns the full set! Simon also knows his onions, or is that Time Lords and we fully welcome him to the team.
I have always admired the creatures and aliens that have come from Who and it gave me the excuse to air the interview I had with Marnix Van Den Broeke who had played more characters in films I’d seen than I actually thought, and he plays two of the most remarkable creatures ever in both Who and Harry Potter.
Having The Mothership allowed us the opportunity to review endless episodes of Who which I have to say has re-ignited my passion for Classic Who and I’m also kicking myself for selling off a number of old Classic DVDs, grr! As now I want them back!!!
One of my favourite aliens in Doctor Who is without a doubt The Daleks so it goes without saying that landing an interview with Barnaby Edwards was an absolute treat. I learnt from that interview that Barnaby’s Dalek was responsible for two major ‘hits’ on Who. I wonder if you can guess who they were.
To be honest all the interviews we’ve had over the first year have been memorable and fantastic. Some have been quite long, I’m still remembering the Gary Russell interview that Mickie had. There were so many questions to ask and at one point I considered breaking the interview up for a part 1 and part 2 issue. But that’s how it is sometimes, there are sometimes a lot of questions you want to ask a person about their role, their character, or characters, that often you’ve covered several pages, before you have to look back and edit, removing at least 3 pages of rambling. Mickie and I are good at rambling, often considering joining an association!!!
Year One has been a fantastic year. On the social networking sites in total we’ve reached over 1500 followers which also include our website. We would love more people to follow us on the website as that would be cool, and it’s FREE and simple to join, there’s no logging in and you receive the updates quicker than we can hightail it over to the social networking sites to post the links – even if we do try to be sneaky and post them all really quickly.
So how do we top our first year? Well it just so happens that we have interviews with both Dichen Lachman and Naoko Mori to prepare for, as well as several interviews already waiting on and several more to hear back from. I think we’re going to do really well, and with the opportunity of another Miracle Day event next year, that both Mickie and I are hoping to get to, I think Year 2 will be MAGNIFICENT!
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone, to all our writers and to all our followers, and to all of our guests, you have all been absolutely FANTASTIC, and I can’t wait to celebrate another year with you all!
Now before I get too schmaltzy with the celebrations, a toast.
To TORCHWOOD long may the flame continue to burn!
partial quote – War of the Worlds (2005)
Cover art by Nikki Forrest