Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Captain! Stop that blowfish

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2008-01-17 Times.jpg

  • Publication: The Times
  • Date: 2008-01-17
  • Author: Tim Teeman
  • Page: Times2, p. 23
  • Language: English

It's hard to make the character of a blowfish plausible, let alone villainous, but somehow Torchwood (BBC Two) managed it. First of all he was just a speeding blowfish, who nevertheless let an old lady cross the road safely although her snail's pace made him puff his gills. He took one of the Torchwood gang hostage but, hooray, Captain Jack (John Barrowman) returned, with that pearly-white leer of his. and shot the blowfish in the head. Captain Jack has been away and seen the end of the world, and being immortal disports himself as a man with not much to lose. So when he came face to face with Captain Hart, a former lover in Adam Ant Prince Charming jacket and with a pearly leer all his own, there was only one thing to do — fight, kiss, grope and kiss again. To say Torchwood has gone gay would be an understatement: its straight characters now seem to be a minority.

When he wasn't fighting his feelings for Captain -Hart. Captain Jock was checking out his besuited colleague lanto. Captain Hart, played by James Marsters (Spike from But) is clearly set to be something of an antagonist. He pitched up wanting the team's assistance in finding some radioactive canisters. We knew his intentions weren't entirely honourable. But Captain Jack liked him. They had been partners "in everything".

How long they had actually been together? "Two weeks" became "five years" as they had been stuck in some kind of time loop. As his outfit denoted, Captain Hart was less into law and order and more into bounty hunting. He deployed my favourite poison used on a sci-fi TV series ever — paralysing lip gloss — to disable nice Gwen, who has the civvie boyfriend at home keeping her dinner warm.

That's the brilliant thing about Torchwood: everyday Cardiff hums alongside psychotic blowfish and time loops. In between the dizzying action, there are gorgeous shots of its orange street-lit arteries. Captain Hart tried to tempt Jack into a life of space crime: "We should be up there among the stars," he cooed — and you imagined them in a Philippe Starck-designed space pod.

But Captain Jack was more attracted to Ianto. Captain Hart tried and failed to murder Captain Jack, then Gwen was again in danger. To save her the Torchwooders had to also save Captain Hart, by now with a flashing clamp on his chest, who muttered some dark thing about Captain Jack's past and evaporated.

Even though John Barrowman is somehow utterly annoying —immortal? please no — his relationships with his team (frustrated love with Gwen, crush on Ianto) mean that those of us who don't really understand what they're chasing or fighting at least get all the soppy bits. Fast, funny and daring, Torchwood is also significantly sharper than its prime-time BBC One cousin, Doctor Who.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Teeman, Tim (2008-01-17). Captain! Stop that blowfish. The Times p. Times2, p. 23.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Teeman, Tim. "Captain! Stop that blowfish." The Times [add city] 2008-01-17, Times2, p. 23. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Teeman, Tim. "Captain! Stop that blowfish." The Times, edition, sec., 2008-01-17
  • Turabian: Teeman, Tim. "Captain! Stop that blowfish." The Times, 2008-01-17, section, Times2, p. 23 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Captain! Stop that blowfish | url=!_Stop_that_blowfish | work=The Times | pages=Times2, p. 23 | date=2008-01-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Captain! Stop that blowfish | url=!_Stop_that_blowfish | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024}}</ref>