Whether you loved it or hated it, ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ has the ability to provoke intense emotions among ‘Torchwood’ fans. It was bad enough when in ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’ fan favorite Ianto met his demise and now with the team out of Wales and placed in America, ‘Miracle Day’ felt that the magic of what made ‘Torchwood’ the show that it was disappeared. Apparently fans weren’t the only ones who felt that way as Chris Chibnall, one of the main writers during the first two seasons of the series, felt that way too.
Whovians are very familiar with Chibnall’s work as he wrote the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes ‘The Power of Three’, ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’, ‘42’, ’Cold Blood’ and ‘The Hungry Earth’, the mini webseries ‘Pond Life’ and the touching ending to what happened to Rory’s dad after the events of ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’.
Chibnall joined the ‘Torchwood’ writing team from the very beginning of its inception and in an interview with Starburst Magazine, he recalls how he became involved with ‘Torchwood,’ an experience he describes as a “once in a lifetime thing”:
“Julie Gardner [executive producer of ‘Doctor Who’ alongside Russell T. Davies] said, “Come and have a drink,” and we went to this Private Members’ Club in London and she said, “We have to sit in the corner because there’s this secret thing.” It was like all executive producers always do: “I have a secret thing to tell you; it’s very important.” And then in this case… She said, “We’re going to do a 9 o’clock spin-off of Doctor Who. Do you want to do it?” and I said, “What?” That was really out of the blue, really unexpected. There was no sense that there were going to be spin-offs. She just said, “We’re going to do a show, a spin-off of Doctor Who, it’s going to be featuring Captain Jack, it’s going to be much more grown-up.” So that was the first I’d heard of it, and that took me really by surprise.”
Chibnall left the series after the second season in order to set up ‘Law and Order: UK,’ and although Davies and Gardner tried to persuade him to return for ‘Children of Earth’, Chibnall had to turn it down:
“When I was setting up ‘Law & Order: UK’, Russell and Julie kept saying, “Just come and do this little five-parter, and write this with Russell.” So no, I had to turn that down a few times. I don’t regret it at all. I mean I think it’s brilliant and I think it’s the best iteration of Torchwood. But it also destroys everything about Torchwood; in order to make it work, you have to destroy the things that we were writing for, for two series: you destroy the Hub, you put them on the run, there’s no real sense of the Rift. So in a way, it’s a totally different format. And that’s what makes it work so brilliantly.”
While Chibnall thought ‘Children of Earth’ was brilliantly done, he’s not as generous with ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day.’ In the early days before the idea of the series was pitched to several networks, Chibnall did do some storyboarding with Davies and states somewhere along the line “it sort of lost a little bit of its Torchwood-ness”:
“Whether you like or dislike Torchwood, it has an essence – of madness and cheekiness and sexiness, and fun and darkness, those sort of polar facets of what it’s about, of putting those things together – and somehow it lost a bit of that somewhere in the process. When we were first talking about it, it was something a bit bolder, a bit cheekier. it may just come back to the fact that one of the great essences of Torchwood was taking those American tropes and doing them in Wales. And in a way, that’s what made Torchwood so brilliantly odd. Once you put it in California, it becomes more like other shows.”
And what does he think of a ‘Torchwood’ return?
“It’s entirely down to Russell. I would expect he will have other things he’ll want to write, to be honest.”
While this may not be the news ‘Torchwood’ fans may have wanted to hear, it’s not anything that hasn’t been said before. Davies himself stated that the series was “not officially” cancelled and that “it’s in a nice limbo where it can stew – those shows can come back in 10, 20 years’ time.”
The full honest and enlightening interview can be read over at Starburst Magazine.
Now we want to hear from you, ‘Torchwood’ fans! While I whole-heartedly agree with Chibnall assessment that ‘Miracle Day’ lost its ‘Torchwood’-ness, do you?