Sunday, 8 October 2017

Articles Welcome to Issue 51 - WATNOW? Ghost Machine

Issue 51

WATNOW? Ghost Machine

Contents Guide

Where Are They Now? Ghost Machine Cast

Twisted Showcase – Robin Bell

Who Reviews
Beautiful Chaos
The Doctor Trap

Fans Fiction
Mitchell, Part 7

Big Finish Reviews+
Time Reef
Time In Office
The Thief Who Stole Time
The Silurian Candidate
The Silent Scream
The Night Witches
The Burning Prince
Daleks Among Us
Brotherhood of the Daleks
The New Adventures of
Bernice Summerfield 4 – Ruler of the Universe

Editor’s Note

As you know, having a full-time job, writing in the evening, and juggling family life, is no different from many other people doing this on a regular basis. Sometimes I can manage it, other times…well. The website articles do take a fair bit of time to put together and coming home from work late, preparing meals and relaxing, then relaxing too much and falling asleep on sofas do take their toll after a while.

What I love about you guys, is that you understand this, and so long as you’ve material to read, that we put out, you’re cool with this. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for understanding how much I do try and put out the Issue as close to, if not on the deadline date.

We’ve had the fantastic opportunity of an interview with Twisted Showcase creator – Robin Bell, and in a few weeks’ time, we get to meet another of the Showcase writers - for Series 4, who made his directorial debut in the first episode, Be My Head.

Also, this month, we have an interview to share with you, from an actor who played a small role in Ghost Machine, but we’ll say no more than that for now.

Again, we’re requesting anyone with graphic artistry who would be able to design our front covers to please get in touch, as you can see from my new front cover (designed by moi), that it’s not a patch on those that have gone before. So I apologise in advance. Although, it does look relatively OK, if you squint!

Thanks to Robin Bell, Tony J Fyler, and Ryan Lee Conway and BBC Torchwood.

Croeso i Issue 51, Ghost Machine.


Articles Where Are They Now? Ghost Machine cast by DJ Forrest

Where Are They Now?

Ghost Machine

Ghost Machine, is the episode where Captain Jack Harkness teaches Gwen Cooper, how to arm herself against the enemy, and the shooting range is quite an intense scene to the point, it’s almost foreplay. The rest of the story builds around the Ghost Machine, a two handed alien device that when split, allows you to see a memory and when joined, to see a possible future. When Bernie Harris sees the future, he can’t sleep at night, for fear of the man about to snuff his out.

Ghost Machine introduces us to a cast of many, including a few one scene actors, and those who have come from well-known previous roles. I’m sure everyone cheered when Gareth ‘Roj’ Thomas appeared on the scene as Ed Morgan, and let’s not forget John Normington, in a more sedate role than as Morgus in ‘The Caves of Androzani’

Bernie Harris, a pain in the arse to all that know him, and to Torchwood, the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel of Splott’ is a ‘slippery little bastard’, according to his Mother, and it takes Owen a fair bit of chasing across housing back yards to catch him.

In a local pub, the team discover that Bernie is in possession of the Ghost Machine, and Bernie’s future, if Karma has anything to do with it, will find him dead outside his flat, by one of the people he’s been blackmailing. Gwen, who takes possession of the Ghost Machine sees herself holding the knife, and for much of the episode is left wondering if Owen stabbed someone, given his discovery of the murder of Lizzie Lewis at the hands of the very young Ed Morgan. Owen, persistently seeks the truth, and at the end of the episode is holding the knife, taken from Ed Morgan, outside Bernie’s flat. Of course, the turn of events shows Gwen that, not all is as it seems, and that the future is not set in stone.

Gareth Thomas

‘Ed Morgan, the elder’

Born February 12th, 1945, died April 13th, 2016, age 71.

“I knew you’d find me in the end. I knew you’d come for me.
I’ve been waiting for years.”

Ed Morgan lived at 46, Pryce Avenue, Cardiff. He was plagued by guilt for the rape and murder of Lizzie Lewis, when he was in his late teens. He was paranoid that anyone would link him to it, as he was certain people knew. When Owen confronted him after introducing himself as a gas man, to gain access, Morgan flew into a rage, chasing Owen out of the house. Owen wasn’t aware that Bernie Harris had already tried to blackmail Morgan some time previous.

Gareth Thomas is probably better known to many as Roj Blake, in Blake’s 7, a series that that he starred in for 28 episodes from the late 1970s till 1981. Prior to 2006, and his Torchwood role, Gareth had appeared in many popular television shows, including, Sherlock Holmes, Bergerac, Coronation Street, Z Cars, The Avengers, Sutherland’s Law, Taggart, Casualty and Heartbeat.

Since his role in Torchwood back in 2006 as Ed Morgan, Gareth appeared as Huw Mostyn in Midsomer Murders a year later, in the episode Death and Dust. When he wasn’t appearing on television in small roles, he was on stage in productions such as Twelfth Night, Othello, Henry IV, Part 1 & 2, Educating Rita, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Déjà vu, Equus to name but a few. In 2010, he played the acclaimed performance of Ephraim Cabot in Desire Under the Elms at the New Vic Theatre.   

In 2001, he appeared in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Storm Warning, a Doctor Who story. He’s also played the role of Kalendorf in another BF production – Dalek Empires. He reprised his role of Roj Blake for yet another BF audio – Blake’s 7 – The Liberator Chronicles, which are a series of dramatic readings taking place during Series One before the death of Olag Gan.

Thomas was nominated twice for a BAFTA for his performances in Stocker’s Copper (a BBC Play for Today) in 1972, and as the fated farmer in Morgan’s Boy in 1984 – which is one of my favourite dramas starring Gareth, and one for which I cried so much at the end.

It is said that Gareth Thomas rated Morgan’s Boy his favourite television role, despite Blake’s 7 having the larger audience rating.

Gareth Thomas’ television and film career began in the late 60s, and came to an end in 2011. His stage and audio drama career continued for a few years more before his death in 2016. He died due to heart failure.

Ben McKay

‘Bernie Harris’

‘Don’t hurt me, please. I got asthma!’

Bernie Harris ‘the Scarlet Pimpernel of Splott’ bit off more than he could chew when he stole a biscuit tin of coins and strange rock, and the Ghost Machine from a lock up in Moira Street. Seeing his future come to a sticky end outside of his flat, at the hands of Ed Morgan, drove the young lad almost insane.

Having given up on the IMDB search for character actor roles that Ben has been involved in, I discovered so much more details elsewhere, and found so much more about the young man who played Bernie Harris back in 2006. Such as for instance, realising that he can play many different accents from the Black Country to Geordie, to Chinese, to Danish, and not just Welsh.
That as well as acting, he is also a Musician, Entertainer, Presenter and Artist. He’s worked in films such as Hot Fuzz, Pierrepoint, Wilderness, Brothers of the Head, Kidulthood as just mentioned, Watch Over Me. In television, he’s appeared in Dustbin Baby, a Jacqueline Wilson story for CBBC, Blue Murder, City Lights, as well as Torchwood, Casualty, The Bill and Trollied, a hilarious view of the working life of a supermarket. Prior to Torchwood he also appeared in Holby City.

Ben has worked on stage from 1989 to 2003 in performances such as Hiawatha, Pinocchio, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Romeo and Juliet. In 2003 he played the lead role of Joe Maloney in 12 yrs, Secret Heart at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

On radio, he’s played characters for Radio 4 plays from 2006 – 2007.

Music – Ben wrote the title track for Kidulthood plus numerous DVD extras including the music video for SUPO MUNGAM which he also wrote with Adam Lewis. He has written, produced and performed on two albums with the band Arkane. Written and produced and performed in several collaborations with various artists, including a track that won the 1Extra unsigned artist of the month award in 2006.

As a teaching assistant, he worked as playground patrol co-ordinating football practice. Has worked as an assistant in Drama Workshops and Parties from 2008/2009.

His Artwork has seen collections of paintings sold at Thames Gallery, since 2009. Has continuous commissioned work from private customers since then also.
Has created mural paintings for a play for Three Bird Theatre Company, in 2007. Created the official logo design for Bish Bash Bosh Productions in 2008 and created a shop sign for Into the Fuscia (Flowers) a year before his role in Torchwood.

I think it’s fair to say that Ben is a very versatile young man who can turn his hand to a multitude of creative roles. I’d really love to see his murals! No, no seriously, I would.

John Normington
(Born January 28, 1937 – Died July 26, 2007, aged 70)

‘Thomas Erasmus Flanagan’

When Gwen saw the boy on the station from touching the Ghost Machine, she was under no illusion that the boy was a ghost. When Owen discovers that Thomas Erasmus Flanagan is in the phone book, Gwen has to find out more, and both go for a visit. Thomas tells her all about the journey to Cardiff, how he was lost, and wandered up and down the station until someone found him. He stayed in Cardiff long after the War, especially when it was discovered that his Mum and sister had been killed during the Blitz.

John Normington was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire, and trained as an opera singer before he did his national service. He joined the Repertory Theatre in Oldham in the 1950s, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 60s, playing many Shakespearean roles. He would frequently tread the boards throughout his acting career.
In 1963, he began his career in television, and appeared on the small screen until the year he died. He appeared in many of the popular programmes of the 1970s such as Softly Softly, The Edwardians, Crown Court, Upstairs, Downstairs, Nearest and Dearest and ITV Playhouse. He appeared in many popular films of their time, during the 70s and 80s, such as Stardust, Rollerball, The Medusa Touch, The Thirty Nine Steps (1978), A Private Function, Jack the Ripper and Wilt. In the 1980s his busy career continued, with appearances in Yes, Prime Minister, My Family and Other Animals, Poirot, Peak Practice, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Coronation Street, The Bill and David Copperfield. John perhaps may be remembered for his role as Morgus in the Doctor Who story The Caves of Androzani in 1984, and as Trevor Sigma in The Happiness Patrol in 1988. 

He developed pancreatic cancer in 2004, during his time in the King Lear play in Stratford. When the production moved to the West End he had to step down from the role, in order to recover. He took on further roles including his Torchwood appearance as Thomas Erasmus Flanagan.

On 26th July 2007, John Normington died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 70.

Llinos Daniel


Eleri met Owen and Gwen on her dad’s doorstep. Gwen’s vision of the boy lost at the railway station during the Blitz, was laid to rest, when Eleri, introduced them to her Dad, Thomas Erasmus Flanagan.

Since her Torchwood appearance, Llinos’ career didn’t pick up again until 2012. It may have been due to having a family but we don’t know this for sure. Llinos played Paula for the episode Tale of Two Cities in the television series Stepping Up. Two years later she played Luchina Monleon in The Ends of the Earth episode of Da Vinci’s Demons. In 2015, she played Eluned Roberts for the second episode of the second series of Hinterland, she appeared in the short film All My Happy Friends in 2016, and is currently filming Chariot this year (2017).

Emily Evans

‘Lizzie Lewis’

‘You’re a bad one, Ed Morgan.’

Lizzie Lewis was the victim of a rape and murder on 29th March, 1963, under the bridge on Penfro Street. It’s a crime that still haunts Ed Morgan to this day. She was the only daughter of Mabel Ann Lewis of Hafod Street.

Despite a thorough search of the internet, there are no more listing credits for Emily Evans, other than her appearance in Torchwood as Lizzie Lewis, and prior to that, her appearance in Neighbours, the Australian soap opera.

Chris Elson

‘Ed Morgan’ (youth)

The youthful Ed Morgan seemed to care little for the way he behaved around those too vulnerable to defend themselves, and Lizzie Lewis, despite her bravado under the bridge on Penfro Street, paid the price. Brandishing a knife, meant that there was little the poor girl could do but comply and hope her life was spared.

Chris Elson began his acting career in 2006, the same year as his role in Torchwood. He also appeared in the television movie, Nice Day for a Welsh Wedding as Gareth Morgan in the same year.
Since Torchwood, Chris has appeared in the film Doghouse, as Graham’s Boyfriend – it’s a crazy zombie movie also starring Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith). Aside from his television appearances in High Hopes, Material Girl and Da Vinci’s Demons, Chris is also a fashion model, and you should see him now!!!

Since January 2014 to January 2016, Chris has appeared as a model for Dolce & Gabbana, 2morrow Models and Giorgio Armani.

Christopher Greene

‘Young Thomas Erasmus Flanagan’

When Gwen first sees the young Thomas Flanagan, she’s convinced she’s seen a ghost, but she soon discovers that the elder Mr Flanagan still resides in Cardiff as Owen finds him in the phone book.

Finding information about actors who are no longer listed as actors, is a hard task and I’m afraid to say, that after 2008 when Christopher Greene appeared in Miracle at St. Anna, as a Buffalo Soldier, there is nothing else written about him. He is also nowhere on social media. The name Christopher Greene refers to another actor these days, from America, and not the same as the boy walking along the railway station in Torchwood. So, if you’re out there Christopher, it would be great to catch up.

Julie Gibbs

‘Bernie’s Mum’

Bernie’s Mum seems a little annoyed at having anyone knocking on her door enquiring after her wayward son, Bernie.

Julie’s career seems shortlived, with small roles from 1985 in Bowen A’I Bartner, to Torchwood, with a film short as Partygoer #2 in the middle. Looking up Julie Gibbs, brings nothing to the table online, nor on social media.

Ian Kay

‘Snwcer Player’

‘He’s banned.’

In one small scene, the snwcer player, just as Bernie’s Mum, has nothing good to say about Bernie Harris.

Ian Kay, began his acting career in 2006 playing Edward Evans in See No Evil: The Moors Murders. After his Torchwood appearance, he played Noisy Boy 4 in the episode Saving Grace of Demons, a mini series in 2009, since then, absolutely nothing is mentioned. There are several Ian Kay’s on social media, none of which look anything like the Ian Kay from Torchwood. There is nothing online about his career outside of acting. If we do locate more info in the future, we will be sure to update this portion of the article.

Ryan Conway

‘Kid in the Arcade’

‘Said he’d get me an iPod and
he never…and he nicked me fags!’

Another one of Bernie’s ‘fans’, the Kid in the Arcade has little good to say about young Harris.

Ryan Lee Conway, born 22nd February 1992 has always had a love of acting and theatre. Ryan has been involved in theatre and film acting since the age of nine.He grew up in Tremorfa, Cardiff, from a less than fortunate background, but his love of the arts kept him driven to succeed in his acting career. He went to school at St Illtyds, where he learnt drama, music and art, taking them to GCSE level.

Ryan got involved in the musical productions of Annie, and High School Musical. After completing Level 2 he went on to study Level 3 extended Diploma in Performing Arts in Cardiff and Vale College, where he studied for two years.
For the Final Major Project, he played Clogger in their own adapted version of the Children's historical novel Machine Gunners by Robert Westall, and Jack's Dad, although he found Clogger to be a challenge as he had to adapt to playing a character far removed from himself.

In 2007, he played Mugsey in the film Summer Scars which also starred Ciaran Joyce (Tracy Beaker, Torchwood) and a few other familiar faces. It's a coming of age film about a group of youngsters and the events that unfold when a vagrant joins the group. The trailer available on YouTube is quite shocking.
In the documentary you can learn a little more about Ryan from 4:37 onwards.

In the same year, Ryan played The Kid in the Arcade, in Torchwood Ghost Machine.

 Kathryn Howard

‘Woman in Shop’

‘I wouldn’t piss on him if he were on fire.’

Kathryn has the best quote to come from the group of ‘Bernie fans’ and the look on her face sums up that sentiment – she means it.

You know, it’s very difficult to find more research on Kathryn when you’re staring at the search engine results ‘Kathryn Howard, wife to Henry VIII’ so obviously, and the images bar some creepy ass clown from IT (why that’s there, I have no clue), information regarding the actress are extremely thin on the ground. I’m also a little unsure about the role as Specialty Dancer in The Hellfire Club from 1961, on her IMDB listing which would make her a lot older than she looks in this photo. Hmmm! Unless she was a wee bairn at the time!!!

Deo Simcox

‘Voice of lost boy at railway station’

Interesting how you think that Christopher Greene provided his own voice over, when in fact it came from someone else.

Deo Simcox has been providing voices for characters since Torchwood in 2006, but has appeared in television shows, dramas and television movies since 2005 when he appeared as a Mini Paul Daniels for The Xtra Factor in 2005 and in Children In Need’s Great Big Bid as a Judge of a Shopping Spree. In 2008 – 2010 he played Chris D’Amato in the Inbetweeners series for two episodes, was Jasper the Wasp in the tv series The Hive from 2010 – 2011, and appeared in two episodes of Casualty from 2008 – 2011 as two separate characters. Much of his voices have been provided for children’s programmes such as Wibbly Pig and The Hive, but has also lent his voice to Video Games such as Dragon Age: Origins as Oren Cousland, Little Boy and Redcliffe Child, and the voice of Children for Fable II.

Interviews Interview with Robin Bell - Twisted Showcase

Interview with Twisted Showcase
writer Robin Bell
(2nd October 2017)

I don’t know what it is with me and technology. I spent the first 30 seconds searching for the speakers on the laptop, so that I could rest the voice recorder against it.

Robin’s dog, a cute little Shih Tzu, busily played with a squeaky toy during the interview, what a cute little dog it is.

Twisted Showcase is something I’ve only seen a few episodes of, mostly of which were the episodes Gareth appeared in, but from a writing point of view, I wanted to know more about the web series, and the ideas behind the show and indeed the creator of the series – Robin Bell.

So, naturally I started the questions off with Payback, the episode which saw Gareth as a ‘head in a box’ which goes a little further than Captain Jack with his head in a jar!!!

What was the story idea behind Payback, as I didn’t understand why Chris’ ‘friend’ had gone to such extremes - what had Gareth’s character done to annoy him?

Robin: There’s something there in the background isn’t there, but we just wanted to play it out as the story about those pay day loans that you see and how horrible they are, but then it turns out that it’s a friend getting some sort of payback or taking over this guy’s life.

It did run a little bit longer initially, taking his feet then his arms and then his head, but we went for feet, then going straight to his head. We didn’t know if we were going to pull off the special effect or not. I thought it looked pretty good. Gareth’s dead head in a box!!!

Where did the ideas come from when you first started writing for Twisted Showcase?

Robin: I think initially we were a lot freer with the ideas, and as we kind of made the show, we thought, let’s make things that have meaning to us and then have this kind of factoring like a normal idea of someone being in debt, and strapped about paying back that debt, then let’s take it to the next level and see how far we can take that idea to make it kind of scary. Some people have found Payback quite funny, the loan that you pay back with your body.

Like we had an episode with Norman Lovett, where recently he was getting annoyed with internet trolls, and the opinions online, so we had the character starts paying back these people with feeding them, (he laughs), his own kind of, he calls it toilet soup? But it’s made from…(well, I'm sure you can guess). 

So yeah, we kind of thought we wanted to have ideas that had meanings to us but push them to that level where they could either seem tremendously scary or tremendously silly or a mixture of the two really. They kind of tread that fine wire between the two, like Be My Head.

Why was it a reason to make Twisted Showcase a web series and not mainstream? Was it the level of material you were using?

Robin: Yeah, when we started out, just basically me and a few mates thinking ‘Let’s make some stuff,’ really. We wrote the episode Peter and Paul, and we realised it had two characters that needed to be played by the same actor, and thought Oh my God we need someone really good to play this. So, I was at a ComicCon and Gareth was in attendance and someone said,

‘Why don’t you ask Gareth?’ I thought, that’s a ridiculous idea, he’d never do this.

But we asked him, and he said, ‘Send us the script.’ So, we sent him the script, and we still never thought we’d hear from him again, and then he got in touch within a week or two said this is a really interesting idea, I want to be a part of it, so it all started from there really. Then we got named in the Guardian. We decided to carry on making them and Gareth’s come back again as being Payback, and he’s come back to being Be My Head which he’s directing as well so it’s quite exciting.

I think Twisted Showcase can be quite scary but it’s more about being – odd, I think.

What have been the most challenging of episodes for Twisted Showcase?

Robin: I think Payback was quite challenging and then we had a couple of special effects in there which we tried a couple in Series Three. They all come with different sorts of challenges really. Be My Head was, because we always try and shoot the films within a day and Be My Head is 15 minutes long which is the longest film we’ve done. So, we have to shoot an awful lot within the day to get that done so that was quite challenging.

It’s always odd when you’re on set, it’s so exhilarating and exciting to get through it and see your words be changed by the actors and brought to life. It’s quite exciting when you’re there. I think challenging is getting everything together so you’ve got the director and the crew and the cast altogether on the same day. You’ve got hotels booked and because I’m not a very organised person anyway, getting all that organised, is a difficult thing. And so when you’re on a set, right, this is the exciting bit now.

Even if you are organised, there’s always something you forget though, isn’t there?

Robin: Yeah, like launching the first episode tomorrow,(3rd October 2017), I’ve got to get all the Press releases out and I’ve got to make sure I’ve told all these people that …. and you don’t want to kind of offend anyone as well.

You’ve answered one of my other questions with regards to the length of each episode.

Robin: Yeah, we normally aim for the script to be between 5 and 7 pages, so yeah usually about 5 and 8 minutes long. With Be My Head, me and Gareth sent it back and forth co-writing so it would start with 9 pages and it ended up being round about 11, and there was a bit of improvisation on set so, then being a little bit longer than it was. You’ll probably see the improvised bits with Mark’s character who’s a kind of two hander with Gareth, and you can sort of see where his hands are a little bit unhinged and he’s off on a tangent and it’s really brilliant in the episode but it was like ‘Oh my God where is he going now?’ Do we have to draw this back, and we did every time?

Is that the Mark that’s in CBBC Wolfblood?

Robin: Yes, he’s in Wolfblood, and he’s in Being Human. (Both of us then tried to think of the actor who played the vampire in the first series before Aidan Turner – both of us failed – if anyone knows this – please put us out of our misery!)

We’ve got the creator of Wolfblood – Debbie Moon in the second episode for Twisted Showcase.

I read or heard it on your SoundCloud interview that Twisted Showcase is a platform for new writers and actors?

Robin: Yeah, we’ve had a bit of both really. A Script call outs for Series One, Two, I don’t think we did one for Series Three but we did a spin off series of One Off horror films so we put a call out for those as well. So, we’ve found a lot of new writers on there. When we’ve been using new actors, it’s usually been local actors, or we did use kind of new actors and we’ve paid for travel for Series One. We’ve recently used a new actor who has gone onto a big Netflix film with Henry Cavill and someone big who’s in there. It’s quite interesting to find that someone you worked with years ago now has gone on to some big stuff. So, wow, brilliant!

We try and use new talent when we can and get a mixture of names that will attract people in – Gareth and Norman Lovett, and people like that and Sarah Louise Madison and as well and people we haven’t seen before as well. It’s good to have them both really, because when you have actors that you don’t know from anywhere else, it’s like I don’t have any preconception of whether these actors are going to be kind of good guys or bad guys, or have a shady side to them, so it’s quite interesting to have new people on board.

Have you ever had ideas for stories that have worked better on paper than in practice?

Robin: Yeah, a few of those, and we did do two eBooks of Twisted Showcase short stories which I think they’re both on Amazon for about £2 each. They’re about eight stories in both of those. I take back half of those stories and we’ll do these in Twisted Showcase, but they had just too many locations or demanded too many special effects or there were certain kind of elements that just…There was one of my stories called Repeat where this character just uses the same bit, like Groundhog Day and does the same thing over and over again, and getting that little bit darker each time, and as a script it was just really boring, starting over and over again, but with the language in the story you could change it slightly and oh, something’s changed there and made it a little bit scary, so yeah, there’s quite a lot we couldn’t do and some that were too stupid to do as well.

When we co-wrote them they’ve been really good and then when we looked back at them the next day it’s like, Oh my God what were we thinking?

I saw up on Twitter that a fan had posted up the boxset of Twisted Showcase, where can you get these, is it online only?

Robin: Yes, it’s online only. There’s a link on our website to purchase it, but be quick as there’s only about 5 left and we’d limited it to 50. They’re £15, so £5 per series.

Thank you so much for an awesome interview, Robin.

We’d reached the end of the interview, which was sad for me, because I was certain there were more questions I could have asked, but I think personally, I need to watch more Twisted Showcase, which will then arm me with more questions. We then discussed our warped minds and what possessed us to write something so absolutely terrifying.

I’m looking forward to watching the beginning of Series 4, Gareth’s directorial debut, and arm me with more questions for one hell of a big interview, yet to come.
I also look forward to chatting more with Robin in the coming months, a catch up of questions as I’m sure I’ll have many more to put to him.

Thank you, Robin again for a brilliant interview – I must revisit Wrecsam some day!