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BBC Writer Explains How Torchwood Lost It With Miracle Day
by Jill Pantozzi | 12:33 pm, February 19th, 2013
Your mileage may vary but I really hated Torchwood: Miracle Day. It took what was once a really unique sci-fi show with interesting characters and turned it into a bland U.S. extension with awful character development. If you found yourself thinking the same, you’re not alone. Doctor Who and Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall thinks he knows why it didn’t work.
Chibnall did an interview with Starburst Magazine in which they discussed his new series Broadchurch (starring David Tennant and Arthur Darvill) as well as the most recent Torchwood installment.
I did a bit of very early storylining with Russell on Miracle Day, right at the start, before they pitched it to Fox, before they pitched it to Starz. I think somewhere along the way 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.
But they didn’t forget Torchwood was criticized by Doctor Who fans when it was first announced. “That’s why you can’t go on the internet, that’s why you can’t get involved, because you have to be writing for another reason, you have to be writing because you want to,” Chibnall said. “Literally the first dinner I had with Russell [T. Davies], and I hadn’t agreed to do the job, the first thing he said to me was, ‘If you come and do this, you must never go on-line ever again. It doesn’t matter whether you write brilliant stuff or shit stuff or whatever, it will destroy you.’ I think he gave that piece of advice to everyone.”
As for a return of the show, Chibnall wasn’t optimistic. “It’s entirely down to Russell,” he said. “I would expect he will have other things he’ll want to write, to be honest.” Davies is busy with Wizards vs. Aliens at the moment.
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