After listening to several of the Doctor Who audiobooks, I fancied something a little bit different. Naturally, a Torchwood audiobook seemed to fulfil the need for variety. And it just so happens that Lost Souls is absolutely terrific stuff.
Lost Souls was a special audio drama broadcast in January 2008. Taking place after the devastating Series 2 finale "Exit Wounds", Lost Souls sees Captain Jack, Gwen and Ianto struggling to deal with the tragic demises of friends/team-mates Owen and Tosh whilst going about their jobs, protecting Cardiff and the rest of the world from hostile alien activity. Before long though, they're summoned to Geneva, Switzerland by old team-mate and friend Martha Jones (former companion to the Tenth Doctor), to investigate strange disappearances. Just as the world-famous Large Hadron Collider is about to be activated for the very first time.
Joseph Lidster has written a very haunting and inventive little drama here, true to the whole theme of the Torchwood series itself (darker and more adult then Doctor Who). Admittedly, I haven't seen as many episodes of the Doctor Who spin-off as I have its parent show, but it doesn't really matter, as Lost Souls is a very accessible radio-episode. Meaning people who have never watched the actual show can just dive straight in and enjoy it without wondering all the time what Torchwood is all about.
Dealing with the aftermath of Owen and Tosh's deaths is beautifully expressed by the cast here. John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd and Freema Agyeman give typical first-class performances, like they do in the TV show. Be it quipping or dramatic, the team just act naturally, doing their characters justice as always. The production values are high-quality also, from the music to the sound effects. You can really believe everything that's happening here, to the point where you can envision it actually being televised.
Tying the events here with the real-life scientific breakthrough of CERN's Large Hadron Collider is inspired too. The accuracy of the facts portrayed about the 2008 experiment provide a realistic touch to Lost Souls and are also tied in nicely with the mystery and threat presented in the episode. The experiment about to be activated, the mystery of the missing people, key conversations amongst the team, and Gwen and Ianto enduring the nightmares of their dead friends coming back to haunt them; these are all the gripping, tense highlights to relish in from listening to Lost Souls.
As a bonus feature, there's a nice little 25-minute "Torchwood: All Access" Bonus Feature featuring interviews with Russell T Davies and various cast members, shining a bit more light for those Torchwood newbies. And it certainly helps round things off nicely.
Torchwood: Lost Souls is easily on a par with the quality range of Doctor Who Audiobooks out there. Obviously, we love Captain Jack and Martha, but this a reminder of how Torchwood is very much its own thing, and should be lauded all the more for it. Seriously worth the pennies.