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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Read by Kai Owen (Gwen's husband Rhys in the Torchwood tv series) this is an extremely enjoyable way to pass 2 hours
I can't really give much of the story away apart from the basic premise that it is set in a very traditional department store in Cardiff G.R.Owens (think Grace Bros from Are You Being Served - which will help with a couple of gags as well) where strange goings on are going on. Ianto and Gwen are undercover working in Cosmetics and Tailoring and Jack may or may not have some kind of link to the store himself

Set after the second series of Torchwood but before Children on Earth, this story only features the three above named characters and I have to say that this trio works very well together and makes for very good stories but the two best things about this product are the humour of the writer (James Goss) and the excellent narration.
Very up to date (2011) the story has many funny moments from Lady Gaga to the above mentioned "I'm Free" gag. 1 mention of a saucy encounter at TK Max and a quite rude medical condition which I only know about through watching Tru Blood.

This humour however would fall very flat if it wasn't for the reading style of Kai Owen.
Firstly, having a predominantly Welsh cast of characters needed someone with a genuine Welsh accent.
Secondly, I genuinely feel that Kai (having worked with the actors he is portraying) has definitely been able to pick out the nuances of each character. His Gwen and Ianto are excellent and Jacks drawl isn't too out of place either

This is a good length story (just short of 2 hours) so an excellent commute listen.

I genuinely enjoyed this story and will enjoy it again as well. I'll also keep my eye out for others read by Kai, short of the radio dramatisations which the BBC commissioned just before Children of Earth which are very rarely aired, this was an excellent Torchwood Patch
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It may sound like an old fashioned department store but, right from the start, we know that G R Owen is an emporium with something to hide. Why else would the employees of Torchwood be manning ladies' cosmetics and gent's clothing?

Right from the beginning, we are in no doubt that this is a store where nasty things happen to customers - why else would they be busy cleaning mysterious blood stains off the carpet? There is also the problem over the long missing Department of Curiosities. Anyway, all will soon be revealed because Captain Jack Harkness is on the case.

He has opposition, however, in the form of a company wishing to take over the store and, more importantly, everything in it, including the nasty wriggly bits. Also, the bullet points in their presentations are not of the PowerPoint variety.

The story proceeds at a cracking pace and is, in many parts, something of a black comedy. We have numerous puns and one is greatly reminded of that vintage TV comedy, "Grace Brothers" and, yes, the greeting "I'm free" does pop up. I thought it tremendous fun.

Naturally, I shall not spoil the end but it is fitting and shows that you cannot keep that great shopkeeping spirit down, although once Torchwood and Co have gone through the building there is quite a bit of clearing up to do and much of the stock is ruined. I did wonder about the insurance claim at this point.

I thought it a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and it is a fun bedtime story that should not "frighten the horses". The plot is a tad predictable and the violence a little gratuitous for my taste but this does not detract too much from the fun. It is also ably read by Kai Owen who manages, with the aid of fairly discreet sound effects, to convey the characters and the drama.
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As somebody who really enjoys Torchwood, I found "Torchwood Department X" to be an ok story, but not exceptional (I'm not into "spoilers", so I won't be giving away the plot in this review).

Unfortunately, listening to it on audio CD, I found it disappointing. This was largely because I found Kai Owen's (the actor who plays Rhys in the TV series) inability to do accents really distracting. When audio CDs are read by a single person rather than by the full cast, does the reader need to impersonate the voices that we are used to hearing? Not necessarily. However, when the reader introduces a character and says that the character speaks in something close to Canadian, but then immediately continues in a Welsh accent, it becomes really distracting. I could visualise easily enough what was being described, but I couldn't get "into" the atmosphere because of the reading. Sorry Kai.

So, an ok story, but would have been significantly better either as a full cast recording, or alternatively read perhaps by John Barrowman.
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on 13 May 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a fan of all things Sci-fi, I was willing to give this a go. A friend had listened to another Torchwood offering and recommended it.

This was a fairly solid story, if horribly predictable. It isn't a dramatised production, which I was expecting, but the guy who reads this is very good. My real bug bear with this though is the completely over the top sound effects. It was distracting and I found that I stopped listening to the story and got cross at the noise instead! Without this, I would have scored higher and recommended more.

This would be lovely for a family car journey, and a ten year old wouldn't notice the mad noise in the way someone older would! It doesn't feel too 'children's story' and is a decent length (around 2 hours) without feeling it drags at any point.

A lovely present for a child who is a Doctor Who fan, but maybe not so great for an adult sci-fi geek!
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I can't say that it was the best story I've ever heard, and will not recommend it enthusiastically, but would certainly be a good addition for big fans of the series. The plot is fun, with a sinister organisation to rival Torchwood searching for the lost Department of Curiosities, and segments of Captain Jack's past coming back to haunt him, but it is not riveting. It also falters out towards the climax, with garbled dialogue and a confusing end.

The narrator is excellent, as a reader, but fails drastically on the accents. His native welsh accent does not lend itself well to American and Canadian accents, though this does not detract too much from the overall experience.

All in all an OK Torchwood audiobook. Not much to hate, but not much to love, either. Only one for hardcore fans.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This double BBC CD falls a little between two stalls. It is not a dramatisation of a new Tourchwood play as it 'read' by a single narrator - Kai Owen who has the (limited) role of Rhys in the TV show. Neither, however, is it an audio book as it comes with sound effects, some of them a little over the top. As a fringe Tourchwood fan a found the CDs entertaining and they certainly held my attention. Like the TV series the story is a little more grown up than Doctor Who.

This would be a good buy for a fan or Tourchwood who's missing seeing it on TV. I doubt many who have not seen the it on TV will buy the CDs however.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As the wrapper says exclusive audio and set in a department store this one should certainly entertain Torchwood fans. The narrator delivers the story well and clearly. We seem to delve a bit more and find out info on Torchwood's earlier days. Good value and nicely presented this will make a great gift for the next school holiday and entertain the teens on a day out. The sound and production standards are top of the class. It will also be a must for all Torchwood collectors who must have a vast amount of material thanks to BBC Audio. Another good addition to the catalogue.
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Department X (a nice play on the title of the old tv series Department S) is another in the series of BBC audio Torchwood stories. Set before Children Of Earth Department X sees Captain Jack and the Torchwood team investigating strange goings on in the last of Cardiffs department stores. The story is read by Kai Owen who plays Gwens husband Rhys in the television series. Kai Owen makes a good narrator and captures the characters voices well. The story is spread across two cds and the plot moves at a good pace. All in all an good and entertaining addition to the Torchwood series.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Read by Kai Owen,this spin from the Torchwood TV, is entertaining and well done all round production. The story is about a Department store in decline, possible Aliens and people disappearing.Unlike some Audio CD's that leave the listener thinking 'was that all? The sound effects are not bad and not overwhelming.

This episode is set after the deaths of Toshiko and Owen and precedes the Children of Earth story. I must admit it is not one of the best Torchwood stories, but that said Its worth a listen and the Amazon price is not bad.
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VINE VOICEon 18 December 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With a fifth TV series of Torchwood currently in doubt, fans need some material to sustain them as they wait for news. And this story, set between Series 2 and Children of Earth (Series 3), is a fun addition to any collection.

The plot takes place in an old department store in Cardiff, where people are disappearing in mysterious circumstances. This leads the Torchwood team to take undercover jobs in the store, as make-up assistants, clothes salesmen and the like - plenty of opportunity for comedy! I won't give away any of the plot, but there are the usual sort of Torchwood style mysteries, villians and shenanigans, as well as some developments that would be very difficult to show on TV but are easily described on CD.

The story is reasonably engaging, and Kai Owen (Rhys) reads it so enthusiastically and energetically that it is hard not to get drawn in (though his style can get tiring after a while!) His accents for Jack and Gwen are not especially good but he has Ianto down pretty perfectly.

As Torchwood fans may be accustomed to, the story does not make complete and total sense, but that's not much of a problem - there's fun, peril, intimate encounters in clothes changing rooms, Jack being cocky, some over-the-top violence, and people getting locked in freezers. It's the kind of insanity that the TW team do so well.

For those who enjoy the relationships between the characters, there's not much development here - some light flirting and an implied encounter between Jack and Ianto, and a very small flirtation between Jack and Gwen, with only a passing mention of Rhys. Those wanting a more emotional story should check out the recent radio play House of the Dead for Jack/Ianto action.

All in all, this is not essential listening but it is an enjoyable couple of hours and I will be looking out for more stories read by Kai Owen.
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