Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Torchwood episode, tonight

Tonight's the night, my Torchwood episode "Sleeper" will be unleashed on an unsuspecting nation, or at least the percentage of the nation who have chosen to watch. I will be getting massively drunk, and obsessively scouring the net for reviews, as you do. Got a few people coming for drinks and crisps, so we can all watch it live on the telly. If *anyone* fails to laugh/gasp in the correct 117 places that I have marked on a timing script, they will be stabbed in the eyes with sporks.

So here's some last minute links and things - I'm sure I'll bombard you with more after today:

Torchwood Declassified will be on tomorrow at 7.50pm, after the pre-watershed edit of Sleeper at 7pm. I'm interviewed in TD, haven't seen it yet, but hopefully I don't come across as mad and starey.

The BBC iPlayer - watch the episode on your computer once it has finished, and/or watch Torchwood Declassified if you missed that too.

On the official BBC Torchwood site, after my episode finishes tonight, there'll be a video interview with me, and a "writer's corner" text interview. Sorry to people outside the UK, I don't think this will be viewable - but will update if I hear any different.

Great preview (but quite spoilery) in the Times here, which is a nice surprise.

Now. My work is done. The episode is ready. Have at it!


lilmissrocker said...

How fantastic for you!
I bet there'll be a huge squee moment when your name comes up at the start, you lucky thing!
I'll be watching, of course. I must say it looks very good from adverts etc so far.
Having read this blog for months, being aware of the build up, I feel quite excited for you!
Bring on 9pm.

Dom Carver said...

I hope your episode turns out to be everything you want it to be. You've worked bloody hard for this so enjoy the moment, you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Massively excited about your episode tonight, sounds like it will be fantastic - and it's sure to be one of the better ones of the series, given that you're writing for Who as well! On a side note, I loved your interview in DWM last month. Can't wait for March!

Joia said...

Just wanted to let you know how excited we all are for you! I've been lurking on your blog for awhile, living vicariously through you. Congrats on this wonderful moment!

James Moran said...

Whee! Thanks everyone, I am now going to sit in a corner and tremble for a while...

Mr. Fu said...

-In a vauge Russian accent with more than a hint of reverb-
"T minus three hours tventy-four minutes and coouuunting..."

Me and th' Snake will be glued to th' toob tonight!

rocky_of_TW said...

Having to leave a comment now as I have to head out the door literally as your episode finishes.

So far it is fantastic though! Great work though! The scary arms are v scary though...i think i might have nightmares!!!

Well done James xxx

james henry said...

Ooh that was great!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely 100% ruddy marvellous! Best Torchwood to date by a long shot! Give yourself a pat on the back.

faldor said...

that was rather good all in all, but why would advance alien sleeper scouts all hang out in the same city =S

Katy said...

Absolutely briliant! Thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

bhercules said...


I'm a student on a TV Scriptwriting MA course at De Montfort Uni in Leicester.

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your episode.

Andrew said...

Really, really enjoyed that. I've been following your blog for ages, and was really, really hoping tonight's episode wouldn't suck :-) One of the best Torchwoods so far, imho. Looking forward to the Doctor Who!

Peter Pan said...

James Moran - I want to have your quintuplets - that was fucking brilliant!
And was that fuckflaps, your naughty didnt think it woudl get by sweary term?? Was a bit quiet in the dub .... probably intentionally!
Now being bombarded with texts from mates saying how much they loved it too - so whatever reviews may come in, you're a hit with the viewers!!
Thank you for the best TW to date. I bow and scrape at your feet sir.
Roll on Pompeii!

Rach said...

Moving vicious pandemonium. Big thanks. It was wonderful. By the way do you a thing against prams? One hit by a car and one blown up. I had to cover my eyes. Is this a subconcious revenge for abused ankles?
Looking forward to your Dr Who one.

Boz said...

Oooooooo that was right good! I think one of the most enjoyable eps of TW I have ever seen. And I've seen them all.

Cor - well done!

buckbeakbabie said...

Wow! Fantastic! I loved it, all of it. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Cracking episode.
Some quality characterisation of the regulars who normally get ignored - I was interested in them for the 1st time!
I hope they invite you to write some more...

Zoso said...

Woo! That was brilliant!

Scyther Slitheen said...

Absalutly fantastic!

Loved Beth and Inato was uesed fantasticly!

Well done!

Jusser said...

Most enjoyable episode so far. Very much enjoyed the whole Ianto Jack vibe. Am loving how you have made Ianto into a fantastic character here! Just brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I was directed to this site by a friend - congratulations on what I consider my favourite Torchwood episode.

Excellent work.

Randomme said...

Oh that was really really good
and now i am going to be looking funnily at people in work when the light bulbs flicker.
Found it so scary to think of the real life parallels to these normal nice people going about their lives as time bombs until something triggers all that violence... *goosepimples* ... really one of the best episodes in TW so far.

Peter Breuls said...

Been reading your blog for months, so you got me looking out to this one, and I must say I wasn't disappointed. I liked the hook, the story, the overall appearance. Job well done!

However, maybe the story was resolved a bit too quickly. They shoot a guy, he blows himself up, nuclear threat gone. Beth tricks them into shooting her, she's gone, story over.

But then again, there isn't time for lengthy stories because of the limited time in an episode, so overall: I liked it! :)

When does your DW air? Are any air dates planned yet for Who?

jackharkness said...

On behalf of everybody from, well done me sir! That was an exception piece of Torchwood, and probably one of my favourites so far :)

Anthony Garnon

Anonymous said...

And I'm not talking about a nightclub in Watford.
That's a genuine foothold below which your unlikely to slip for any serious length of time.
Raise a toast to yourself pro writer, you're two worthwhile credits in. You can now stick the occupation on your gravestone without fear of comment. And as such the ultimate pressure is off.
Now enjoy and get better.

Mame Dennis said...


Wonderful. Honestly. The best episode in regards to plot so far. I loved when the sleeper agents got called up and they were all so "normal." The scene with Beth and Michael in the hospital when she was saying good-bye broke my heart.

The TW team dynamic was portrayed fabulously. AND don't even let me get started on the Jack and Ianto banter or I'll just look like a screaming fan girl and I want to appear much more mature about this, because it really was a well crafted story.

I hope you enjoyed your night. It was well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Allright?? How much did Gareth pay you for the wonderful one (or two) liners you wrote coming out of Ianto's mouth?

xx-sorceress-xx said...

Brilliant stuff, I was very impressed. Loved the concept, and some of the lines were pure gold.

Famous Me said...

Awesome episode, James. Seriously, well done. You're the first person to make Gwen manage to do her bleeding heart stuff and STILL be enjoyable to watch! That's no small achievement, considering none of the other writers have EVER managed that. Owen and Tosh were also marvellous.

My only complaint is that, while hilarious, a lot of the stuff Ianto said was completely out of character. But since, like I say, it was very funny, you're forgiven entirely.

Oh and kudos on Beth - great character, I was sorry to see her go.

Anonymous said...

Oh brilliant Mr Moran. I loved Severance and now I may love 'Sleeper' more.
Except... Ianto's mini speach about the telephones being broken made me miss the following 5 minutes from laughing so much. You made me miss a bit!
Please write all of series 3. (please god, let there be a series 3)!
Can't wait for your ep of Dr Who

majicke said...

Well done! That was a great ep!

Lady Muck said...

Really enjoyed it! Although I lost the plot a bit towards the end (I am a dozy cow the best of times).

Lee said...

Good stuff; loved the moment when Beth realised she'd never be able to have little Cylon babies, and all the violent pandemonium was terrific.


evil twinz said...

I see my brother (Mike) has already made a prat of himself on this blog so I'll try and keep it brief.

Great episode, taped and watched this morning. Loved Ianto's telephone speech, about time he got some good lines, could never figure out what he was doing there before... the butler or something? Or Just Jack's fancy piece? Eye candy? If I was a girl I'd fancy him anyway. Maybe. I dunno! Whatever. Better watch Severance now, Lucy said she'd ex-communicate me from her clan otherwise.

Anyway Cheers. And nice one. That wasn't brief at all really, was it?

Darren (the other one)

Simon said...

Very good overall and many thanks for giving Ianto a personality and a sense of humour.

I don't get the aliens plan though. How does a handful of nuclear warheads allow you to destroy/take over the world? And why was the silo guarded by four people with the launch contols sitting out in the open where anyone could get to them (and with no system to stop one person launching them)?

But like I said, overall way better than most of Series 1.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with Famous Me about some of Ianto's lines, like the phone thing (very funny) but this is the guy who solved their communications problems in They Keep Killing Suzie, that joke made him look rather stupid and useless, instead of the efficient and resourceful guy he usually is. I didn't like the wheelchair gag either.

I think I loved everything else. It was funny and exciting and Beth was a wonderful character, very well written (and convincingly acted). The Team's dynamics worked really well and -SHOCK!- I liked Gwen.

Congratulations on a really good episode.

Matt M said...

One of the best Torchwood episodes so far. Excellent.

(Although I really wanted a "No, not the mind probe!" line from one of the team. Talk of exploding heads almost made up for it's absence.)

hotzappa11 said...

Great episode. Better than most of series one I think. Loved the "it says so on the bottom of the screen," line. *applauds* Keep up the good work.

Stuart Perry said...

Great stuff James, well done.

rocky_of_TW said...

It's now the morning after and I have chance to post a comment after seeing the whole episode.

That was absolutely awesome James!!! Brilliant and bloody and awesome. By far the best Torchwood episdoe to date. I think most of it has already been said by everyone on here but well done! Hopefully people will see you're the next Steven Moffatt and give you loads of stories now! (Coming from me that's huge praise as I never though anyone would come close to Steven in terms of great scripts!!!)

Saskia said...

Hi! I've never commented on your blog before but I had to say a bit about 'Sleeper' - which was such a great episode, well done! I loved Beth and the storyline and... just... wow, yes, it was brilliant! Oh, and thank you *so* much for giving Ianto some absolutely fantastic lines!!!! He's a great character and it was nice to see him actually being used for once!

This episode was funny, touching and dramatic - a perfect mix! You're very talented!

- Saskia :)

Ruth Newman said...

Brilliant, loved it. Creepy, sad, funny. The actors seemed a lot more relaxed in their roles too, and interacted more realistically. Have been reading the blogs, and this guy gave it a glowing review:

Looking forward to reading the non-fanboy responses too. Congratulations!

ladyjulianne said...

Hi, never commented before but I found your blog via Google via some other site and I just wanted to say how fantastic this episode is!

I really enjoyed it, and I particularly loved Ianto's lines. I agree with some of the other commentors that they seemed a bit out of character, but I think you should just write more so that they become part of his character! Haha! Anyway, it was awesome, and I'm going to stop now!

Jaded and Cynical said...

Good work.

How about talking us through the process and choices you made?

Dom Carver said...

Ruddy awesome!!!!!!!

Paul Campbell said...

Nice one, James.

A lot of fun and vision (though the "six warheads to take over the planet" seemed a bit off form!).

Good tension, and it kept raising the stakes. Fun all round.

Have you put in a claim to write future episodes when the other sleepers wake? All good research projects end with recommendations for future areas of research which could, conveniently, be done by the same research team. Likewise, all good Torchwood episodes should seed future storylines for their author!

BTW, I happened to notice that the Sky TV guide descriptions of the two versions were subtly different.

"Adult Torchwood" said "When a burglary turns into a slaughter, Torchwood suspects alien involvement".

"Kiddy Torchwood" was advertised with the line "When a burglary ends in carnage, Torchwood suspects alien involvement".

"slaughter" is obviously not allowed pre-watershed. But a bit of carnage never did the kids any harm.

geordie-star said...

Your episode was AMAZING! I loved all of it... from start to finish. Just random little moments here and there had me giggling and the ending almost had me crying! The lines Ianto had were the best ever!!! And Owen's bit in the beginning was funny. Oh and Jacks!!! The episode really was fantastic. Brilliant even!

Dozeymagz said...

Super Dooper stuff Mr Moran!!!
Totally enjoyed the episode - worth every bit of Squeeeeeeness!

Most smashing!!!!
Thank you!

Martin said...

It's pretty much all been said already.

I've just finished watching it on iPlayer, which I use for most BBC shows now as I can never seem to remember when things are actually on TV.

Good episode, I enjoyed it. :)

lilmissrocker said...

Well done - it didn't disappoint!
Chilling stuff in places. Loved the gags and it was nice to see Ianto speaking up.
Thank you for such entertainment!
I'm now very much looking forward to your Doctor Who episode.

admiratio said...

I loved this episode, it's one of the better Torchwood episodes I've seen so far.

Question: did you write the 'new improved Ianto' with the thought that his renewed love-life game him a bit more confidence and enthusiasm? Personally, I have discovered that getting a little loving helps to rid the angsty-ness and cause people to do and say things they normally would not.

Lioness said...

Excellent work, sir! My review is here

Anonymous said...

OMFG, you are a comic genius! Truly, I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. And yet, in all the funny, it's still a really powerful and deep episode that struck me so much that I dreamed about it afterwards. Well done!

-- Lisa the Riveter

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great hour of television! :D

soru said...

That was fun.

The 3 step process:

1 get warheads
2. ???
3. conquer planet

did bother me a bit, but it makes sense if you think they weren't an actual invasion force, just a scouting party to probe defences. By simulating a real attack, they force hidden defenders like Torchwood to come out in the open.

If that wasn't the actual plan, feel free to claim it was...

immy said...

Hello Mr Moran! :)
I just found my way here, because I wanted to say how much I absolutely adored your episode. It really was the best Torchwood so far - all the regular characters, especially Gwen, were just perfect, and Beth was brilliant...AND it was very gruesome. Having watched it twice, the second time I was just as scared as the first when the sleeper agent goes and kills the family...*shudders*
Oh, and thanks for the Ianto lines :) Fantastic!
Can't wait for Pompeii...:P

soulmining said...

Well done James, I'm really pleased for you! I hope the comments on here are a fair reflection of the wider audience, it's great to see you getting such positive feedback.

Having watched it again this evening (when I was sober) Beth's character - and her fight to remain 'human' - was very moving. Have to echo the comments about Ianto, you gave him some comedy gold to work with, the exploding heads, the phones and the, "You've got to admit, he is dashing," line. And yes, the spiky arm thing did remind me of something... been watching Terminator 2 recently?!

Oh, and flatmate-Steve says, "It was miles better than last week's episode."

Anyway, enjoy the glory!

Btw, shame we didn't get to see much of you in Declassified though... :(

dfledermaus said...

I know nothing about writing scripts or filming them, so some of my comments might actually not be to your credit/blame. I assume the actors' interpretation and the director's ambitions for the episode will impact the way we view your words.

As I said on a friend's blog after finishing watching the episode, I feel like I've stepped into an alternate universe, where I like Gwen and Owen and dislike Jack and Ianto. This is very bizarre, because I haven't liked Gwen in the real universe since about episode 6.

In isolation I loved Ianto's ebullience (he had some fab lines) and the flirting scene with Jack. The trouble is, in the context of the episode it felt like torturers mocking their victim, and left me disliking them. Jack particularly seemed to have less humanity than the alien. His total indifference to how much they hurt another being reminded me of the way he used Janet as bait last series. It was Torchwood 1 all over again. At least Gwen, Owen and Tosh were obviously uncomfortable with what they were doing,

Beth was a great character; her confusion and fear and pain were really plausible. Seeing Ianto joking around with the mind probe chair just before they put her in it gave me the creeps.

I can live with the handwaving about how easy it was to get access to nuclear missles. My WTF moment was when Gwen somehow segues into a comment on Jack's manners in bed. Again, funny lines if they'd all been drinking at the pub, but they're not -- they're about to torture this woman who may or may not be an alien.

I did like that it wasn't just another alien-of-the-week show. Real issues were raised about what being human is, and what it means for Torchwood to be above the law. I just wish that, the questions having been raised, they'd been addressed in some way. I admit, difficult to fit everything in 50 minutes.

I was impressed by all the little interactions between Tosh, Owen, Gwen and Ianto that emphasized that they really are a team this year. Their relationships come across as much more layered and complex, not the simple love or hate of last year. I definitely feel they trust each other now, even if they simultaneously drive each other crazy.

So basically, I loved individual lines or pieces of scenes, and I appreciated that it dealt with some tough concepts that have been glossed over so far. But it left me feeling very uneasy - like finding out that your best friend has just drowned a kitten.

Priest said...

Try checking out

With people saying things like:
"I seriously hope James Moran takes over as head writer because he made Torchwood feel fresh and fun."

I'm sure it should keep you and your ego entertained for quite a while.

Priest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shihaf said...

That was a fantastic episode! By far the best! It was nice to see Ianto with... a personality :)
Looking forward to your DW episode (Whoisode?)!

erika said...

It was really quite lovely. . . in a scary, gory, yet funny sort of way. . . I thought I could wait until it aired stateside but with all this talk, I could not. I broke the law for you James Moran. . . I hope you're happy! If I get hauled away, I promise not to speak your name.

Oli said...

Well, I was going to say I liked it, but you've already had a lot of that, and I don't want you to get conceited... so instead I'll say I liked the expression on Colin Teague's face when the explosion went off in Declassified. Priceless.

adnams said...

Great episode James. I have reviewed it on my own blog at

One question did Ianto, Owen and Tosh have sex before Jack and Gwen dispatched the other sleeper agent?

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find it's a Foon.

Anonymous said...

The episode was fantastic. You are a brilliant writer. I appreciate the plot,humor, and true sci-fi nature of the story. What you did with this episode was very challenging. You managed to make me care about each member of TW team (love the humor and characterizations), and at the same time truly feel for Beth. I actually was feeling sorry for an alien whose purpose was to destroy the earth. Excellent job! This episode fulfilled my hopes for the type of show Torchwood can become every week. I loved the interactions between TW members, you made them feel like a team, while each having their own unique personalities. I look forward to seeing what work you produce in the future. Bravo!

Priest said...

We don't blow on the aetheric resonator...

Pure Genius. I think i love you :D

Bring on Pompeii

Piers said...

Ooh, well done you. That was fab.

xerif said...

Oi! A bloody complaint Moran. My kids couldn't sleep after your episode and kept waking up believing the aliens were on the steps. They wont accept that Mum's not a robot.

wshaffer said...

Saw your episode last night at the local Doctor Who fan club meeting, and thought it was great. Looking forward to the rest of Torchwood season 2, and to your Doctor Who episode in season 4.

Anonymous said...

Hey James.
Long time reader - first time commentator...
Just wanted to say that I thought 'Sleeper' was excellent. Exciting, emotional and very funny. Thanks for a great episode. Looking forward very much to your take on Doctor Who.
Keep up the great work - the blog is by far my fave on the net.

estelofimladris said...

Baby killer XP

You did fantastic, as was expected, of course. I have a review around here somewhere, but I think it may have already made its way to you C.O. our mutual friend.


Evamaria said...

Hiya - here via friendsfriends (ie. Cindy, aka siobhan gave me the url), because I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed 'Sleeper'. I must especially thank you for giving Ianto all the good lines, it's been a joy (and great satisfaction) to me to see how many people have now embraced the Ianto!love... :)

Great Silence said...

I liked the way the super intelligent aliens decide to invade earth by way of Cardiff. Amazing. Can you write another where they invade Bognor Regis with Airfix model effects and Christmas tree lights?

I also was in awe of the fact that they are a super secret organisation and drive around in a big car with Torchwood written down the side of it. Brilliant. It's like the A-Team but much worse. Slightly annoyed in your moment of genius when I did not see the chaep CGI dinosaurs.

Can you do Airwolf and Manimal?

I think you are the future. Can I see your old chap?

pillock said...

Just want to add my voice to the praisefest.

It was fantastic! Alien/human tradgedy with sparky, wisecracking dialogue.


[SharQ] said...

Mr Ralphy Kay! You're a bona fide hero, and I'm well proud of you.

Rock on, and thanks for keeping this blog, it's a rare and wonderful insight into a sick and twisted mind. In a good way. The sick and twisted bit, that is. And the insight bit, for that matter.

- [SharQ]