'Torchwood' boss to angry fans: Go watch 'Supernatural'

Torchwood_lSPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you have yet to see Part Four of Torchwood: Children of Earth. Everyone else, onward and downward… Backlash shmacklash. That’s Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies’ reaction to the outcry over the shocking death of Gareth David-Lloyd’s much-loved Ianto in the BBC America miniseries Children of Earth. “It’s not a backlash really,” he scoffs. “It’s just a few people posting online.” Those few people may want to fasten their seat belts, ’cause the unapologetic Brit behind the original Queer as Folk also has some strong opinions about why Ianto had to die, what TV show pissed off fans should watch instead (hint: see headline above), and where Torchwood goes from here.

Question: Why’d you kill Ianto?

RUSSELL T. DAVIES: The threat to the world was just so great it simply would have been unlikely if everyone had survived. Torchwood is an adult show. We have killed off leading members of the cast before. Those have always been the stakes. Poor Ianto was defeated by a greater evil, I’m afraid.

Question: So this wasn’t something that resulted from Gareth wanting to leave?

DAVIES: No, it was my decision.

Question: What do you make of the fan backlash?

DAVIES: It’s not particularly a backlash. What’s actually happening is, well, nothing really to be honest. It’s a few people posting online and getting fans upset. Which is marvelous. It just goes to prove how much they love the character and the actor. People often say, ‘Fans have got their knives out!’ They haven’t got any knives. I haven’t been stabbed. Nothing’s happened. It’s simply a few people typing. I’m glad they’re typing because they’re that involved. But if you can’t handle drama you shouldn’t watch it. Find something else. Go look at poetry. Poetry’s wonderful.

Question: Can you confirm that Ianto is, in fact, dead?

DAVIES: I’m afraid so. He’s a wonderful actor. I’ve worked with him before. I’m a big fan of his and I [look forward to] watching his career prosper. But death is death in this case. It would devalue the entire plot if we brought him back.

Question: But it’s a risky thing to kill off such a popular character.

DAVIES: Absolutely. There’s a risk that some people won’t come back to watch now that Ianto’s gone. I thank them for watching the show and I recommend they go watch Supernatural, because those boys are beautiful. And don’t tell me they’re brothers. [Laughs] Not in my mind.

Question: One of my readers wondered if you were under pressure to de-gay Torchwood and that’s why you killed him off.

DAVIES: I think you can forget about people picking up gay rights as an issue. It’s rather like children picking up nursery blocks and waving them in the air but having no idea what it entails. We’re talking about issues in my entire life here, not just one small television program. If they did research they’d go and look at the history of gay and lesbian characters that I have put on screen. They should simply grow up, do some research, and stop riding on a bandwagon that they actually don’t know anything about.

Question: What was Gareth’s reaction when you told him you were killing Ianto?

DAVIES: Oh, he’s a lovely, professional man. He completely understood. He’d seen two major characters disappear the year before. It’s a job. It’s a very straightforward process. He loved filming that great big death scene.

Question: With half the cast dead, where does Torchwood go from here?

DAVIES: We don’t yet know about our fourth series, but I’m fairly confident [it will continue] in some shape or form. I will just sit down and invent new stories and characters. That’s what I’ve spent my entire life doing. It’s not difficult at all. I could write the first 10 scenes in an episode right now.

Question: Will Jack continue to be the centerpiece?

DAVIES: Oh, I would think so. I would hope so. He’s absolutely fundamental to Torchwood.

Question: Do you think you’ll stick to the miniseries format?

DAVIES: It’s hard to say. It’s been pretty successful. We were the number one show for five nights running [in the UK], which was amazing. Everything’s looking good, but it’s hard to say. We’re in a recession so no one gets easy money to make television. I like continuous story. I like doing new things. In many ways, Torchwood was designed as a digital weapon. It’s kind of multi-purpose, multi-adaptable, shape-shifting weapon that can become anything. I’m kind of excited what we’ll do next.

Question: What about a feature film?

DAVIES: Oh, God. Raising money for that would be harder than a television show. But anything is possible.

Question: Any hints about where the story will go next?

DAVIES: No, it’s literally too soon. I don’t know yet.


Comments (530 total) Add your comment
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  • Krystal

    I’m not gonna lie, I watched COE online when the Brits got it, and watched it again tonight. I cried for a solid two hours BOTH times. I’m so gonna miss him. :(

  • Bethany

    Well it’s nice to know that RTD doesn’t want fans. You want me to watch something else? Okay, I will! Good riddance.

    • WWP

      You’re such a child. It’s like you’re holding your breath until you turn blue because you didn’t get your way. Grow up or stick to sesame street fare.

      • Irina

        The biggest child is actually RTD himself who plays the characters like the toys imaging he is a God! Without giving even a little respect to his fans. It’s so easy to kill “with the click of a finger” when you just can’t find other way to get more attraction…So let’s make it clear: is TW a sci-fi or a real life drama? If it is the last one there should have been some warning because personally I just wouldn’t watch it at all.

      • Tay

        If she’s a child, does that make you the teacher’s pet? You win no points for maturity. If she doesn’t want to watch because she doesn’t like what’s been done with the show, then that’s her perogative. And if someone told me they didn’t give a crap about my opinion and to go watch something else (oh wait – RTD just did that!) I don’t think I’d stick around either. He does give good advice, though. I’m off to watch the Winchester boys – happily!

    • tim

      the beauty of torchwood is that it doesn’t respect the “happily ever after” BS. it is realistic in that people die. even important people. even jack had to make a sacrifice at the end. besides, if all you have is the same characters, over and over again, it would get boring very quickly. now he’s able to bring in new characters and new adventures. i hope its not over.

      • Jensilaedi

        I totally agree! I want RTD to keep going with his creativity though not sure if he should with Torchwood.
        If he does I’ll happily watch it.

      • JJ

        While it was devastating to have Ianto die, I can understand why it happened – why it needed to happen:

        Jack has been so stoic and removed from the human race for so long, making life/death decisions that did not affect him.

        In COE, Jack became human again – in the end. He had to sacrifice his own grandson and lost Ianto, whom he obviously truly loved more than he realized.

        Great storytelling!

  • Bethany

    Well, it’s obvious RTD doesn’t want any fans. You want me to go watch something else? Okay! Good riddance, you jerk.

  • Deion

    Death scene happy much RTD? ugh!

  • Minh

    Don’t you think your headline was misleading? It makes it sound like RTD was dissing Supernatural when he’s just telling people to watch it if they’re sad about losing their favourite character.

  • Mary Beth

    RTD may sit down and create new characters and new stories, but why should I bother watching and investing in them when I know he’ll just kill them off on a whim when he’s bored one day? Thanks, but no thanks.

    • WWP

      I don’t understand this AT ALL. Seriously. If you actually read the interview or watched any of the footage from Comic Con you would know that RTD simply wrote the story the way he saw it. That’s what writers do. It’s called Drama. It’s absolutely insane and unreasonable to think that a dramatic writer shouldn’t write complex drama. If you’re upset the character croaked it’s because the writer made you care about him — that’s what dramatists DO, they make you care. But just as crap happens in real life, it should also happen in drama. it’s not like you can will someone back to life in real life just because you want it to be so. Drama is a reflection of real life, it’s full of tough choices and not everything will always go the way we planned. If people only want a happy ending and all their favorite characters wxactly the same all the time, they need to stick to Hannah Montana reruns.

      • Tay

        The ACTOR made me care about Ianto Jones. The writing isn’t all that wonderful – too many plot holes for my taste, thanks. Gareth David Jones, Toshiko Sato, Burn Gorman gave me reason to watch. Now all their characters have been killed off, back to back. RTD doesn’t service the story, he services his ego and whatever he thinks will get the most shock value. He’s a glorified tabloid writer. And FYI – this is not supposed to be a Real Life Drama. Sure it’s a more “mature” spin-off of Dr. Who, but it’s still part of the Who-verse. You don’t build your fan base around a certain type of story telling, flip the switch in the middle of things, and then go “Well gosh, I don’t know why they’re mad! They must have no taste.” Bait and switch.

        RTD: Your fanbase feels betrayed because you betrayed them.

        Is it too much to ask that he give the fans the respect of at least listening to their grief and allowing that some of their anger has validity? It’s clear to me that this man is arrogant to the point of stupidity. Maybe I will go watch some Hannah Montana re-runs. At least the writers there don’t take themselves so seriously or their fanbase for granted.

      • WWP

        You need to amend that to “some” of the fanbase feels betrayed. Others, do not. Other’s totally got the big picture, even if you did not.

        And as a matter of fact, yeah, actually Torchwood is a real life drama. It’s dealing with the trials and tribulations of real living beings, both human and alien. If you care about a living being, it’s real life. And if you’ve watched Doctor Who at all you already knos that they kill off living beings with amazing regularity in the Doctor Who universe — a so called kid’s show — so there was certain no reason whatsoever to ever believe it was going to be different in adult version, Torchwood. And I don’t buy that you only cared about Ianto because of the admittedly gifted actor, that actor is speaking the writer’s lines — Many different writer’s lines, certainly not just RTD’s. So unless you just watched the visuals with the sound off, that claim that the writing of the character didn’t matter to you just has holes when you shine light on it. I understand that there were some fans that wanted a happy ending with Jack and Ianto getting married and setting up house with cats an adopted baby like some bad fanfic. But there was nothing whatsoever in any moment at any point of this series that a reasonable person actually thought that was a possibility.

    • schick

      what do you mean “investing in them” you did not put in any money to pay any actors.
      Sitting on your (probably fat) butt watching a TV show in not investing in anything.
      It is so absurd that people expect all the characters in an action TV drama to always escape every horrible situation alive and unscathed. You make such a fuss about a character dying you would think they were real people.
      It’s a play people ! Get a life! make real friends!
      It’s not like RTD killed Gareth. I’m sure you will be able to see Gareth again in some other series.

      • Tay

        Time is an investment. Emotions is an investment. Money paid for DVD, books, audio-books, audio plays, conventions, and such = investments. Energy expended in forums talking about the show and promoting it to people who haven’t watched and helping to grow the fandom also adds up to an investment.
        I don’t recall anyone accusing him of the murder of Gareth David-Lloyd (who’s name I messed up in an earlier comment -oops! Oh Ianto, how you infiltrate everything.) He did kill off 2/5 of the cast in the season finale of series 2 and we were still watching, so assuming that we somehow can’t handle character death is presumptious and ridiculous. What RTD did do, however, was butcher the trust of many fans. And he killed CoE for me when he so carelessly and uselessly got rid of one (and only remaining) of my favorite character. So guess what? My investments will now go elsewhere. So far both Supernatural and Hannah Montana have been suggested and those are fine by me.

  • Lisa

    RTD is right. The entire 5 ep series was brilliant – best writing they’ve done. Ianto’s death was sad, yes, but fit in perfectly with plot and character development.
    And yes, it’s a compliment to the writing and acting when people get that invested in a character.

    • Leah

      I completely agree! The 5 episode series was more than brilliant. It was phenomenal. I think it’s a little disappointing that some people are going to stop watching the series just because their favorite character died. It happens. I believe that people should give TW a second chance when it airs again. If they still believe it to be….unworthy then they can at least say they tried.

  • Paul Bushnell

    That was naughty, Ausiello. Very naughty.
    The headline really makes it sound like an angry RTD told any fans who didn’t like what he did to get lost and go and watch a stupid show like Supernatural instead. Obviously, it was nothing of the sort: he likes Supernatural, and wasn’t angry in the slightest.

  • M. A.

    The arrogance and condescension you spew towards your fans has me fed up. How dare you say that if I can’t ‘handle’ drama, then I should read poetry?
    Ianto’s death did not serve the plot. It just destroyed the best character on the show, the reason that many people watched.
    Jack is devastated, Ianto is dead, and Gwen doesn’t sacrifice anything yet again. I don’t see how there can be another series.
    As per your advice, I will not be watching Torchwood should it go to another series. It’s clear that it is not entertainment any longer, it’s simply weighty oh so serious “drama.”

  • Chelsea

    Ugg that interview does not make me like the man. Sometimes his writing is fantastic but other times he tries too hard to be “adult” with sex and death scenes. I want to go up to him and say no matter how hard you try and emmulate him, you aren’t Joss Whedon so give it a rest!
    I love Ianto and I could understand if they killed him or another character a bit further down the line. It’s the fact that they’ve killed half the cast in such a short amount of time. In that case why even bother? You can’t get attached to anyone because he’s just going to kill them half a series later! I thought it was a hugely unnecessary scene used to provoke a response and it felt cheap to me.

    • Maggie

      I agree with you. I really enjoy the show. I do think it’s a bit excessive to kill 3 out of 5 regular characters, over half the cast, now come on. But I like the show enough that I’ll keep watching should it continue. I accept what the writers do and the death scene was very well done. But reading this interview I have to say I feel he really doesn’t appreciate his fans. I can’t say that he seemed very likable.

  • Carrie

    What I get from that interview is that RTD plans to write more Torchwood or more something else… he will do a great job of making us admire his characters and then he will kill them. I don’t want to care about his new characters, especially if they will have the same fate as Owen, Tosh and the lovely Ianto Jones. I think he is a brilliant writer who may have forgotten that it is the fans of the show that get ratings, that the ratings get budgets approved. There are hundreds of other ways of showing us how dangerous working for Torchwood can be. I was in suspense and fear during each and every episode of COE, the cliffhangers were amazing and the cost to Jack, undeniably heartbreaking.
    Well if he wants me to spend my money on other networks, other shows dvds, books, audio books and merchandise… he will get his wish.
    Ausiello- thanks for making COE and Torchwood a bigger part of your blog recently. I appreciate it!

  • Paul Bushnell

    M.A. – I’m not sure how you can decide that his death didn’t serve the plot. It’s not your show to decide what the plot entails, but even so (SPOILER ALERT) it was quite clear that Ianto’s death drove Captain Jack away from Earth. That’s a pretty big fallout from something that “didn’t serve the plot”.
    I wish people would stop deciding what other people should and shouldn’t do with their own creations. When you’re creating something, whatever you feel is best for the story is what “serves the plot”. Remember, Russell CREATED this plot that you – in your infinite wisdom – decided would be better served by Ianto’s survival.
    Seriously, try devising your own propery and write your own stories. Then everything that you want to happen CAN happen – problem solved!

    • Maggie

      It’s actually a compliment to the writer that people have such strong opinions. There’s nothing wrong with someone stating an opinion that it added to the plot, as you just did, or that it did not. Let people have their opinions and comment on them, which is why it says “ADD YOUR COMMENT”.

    • Mike

      I’m not too sure that it was Ianto’s death that drove Jack away but the fact that he had to sacrifice his own grandson and thus alienate his daughter, perhaps Ianto was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the hard choice HE had to make was the killer I believe.

      Either way, I think it is an excellent series and shall continue to watch, however few characters remain. People continue to watch Doctor Who, despite the central character regularly being effectively killed off on a regular basis. I’m confident that all the nay-sayers will watch the next Torchwood, despite what they say.

    • Torchwood Fan

      You are guilty of the same sin you accuse others of committing. You say fans have no right to decide whether an action furthers the plot. That is exactly what fans can and should do. A negative decision on that affects whether fans continue to watch a show, read a book, or recommend a movie or play. I discovered Torchwood long after all this happened, but CoE seemed a good way to end a show and not the prelude to a new beginning. I like Jack’s character and Gwen has never interested me. I don’t think she added anything good to the show and with all the more interesting characters now dead, I decided after CoE that I wouldn’t watch any new iteration of Torchwood. The writing was on seasons 1 and 2 wasn’t that great and only good acting and the admittedly quirky situation made any of it work. Cardiff, as a character was a draw for me also. So, I’m not watching and what I’m reading in the reviews tells me I made the right decision. I’m not watching Supernatural, but I’ve got Netflix and access to many other BBC gems. And, I’ve got Torchwood fanfiction that is often better than anything the paid writers ever produced. And best of all, Ianto lives!!!!!!

  • Miriam

    I for one appreciate RTD’s candor and loved Children of Earth, Ianto’s death and all. I’ll miss the character for sure and really liked Gareth David-Lloyd. The thing is, that if a show moves me this much and makes me think about the social and political implications of this sort of situation in such a strong dramatic fashion, I’m in for the long haul. Can’t wait to see what RTD brews up next for Jack!

    • Red

      There is a difference between candor and being a…ahem. Moving on.

  • Kathy

    I cried when Ianto died, and my teenage daughter was devastated! That said, I had commented to her at the beginning of COE that Ianto’s relationship with Jack held back the character of Jack Harkness. I loved them together, but I do see how Ianto’s death serves the story (both this season and future seasons.) And for the poster who said that Gwen has sacrificed nothing…are you nuts? She’s lost three dear friends! I haven’t seen episode 5 here in the States yet, but can only imagine how a distraught Jack will act out and handle the alien crisis. I can’t wait, but I hate that the series will be over in only five episodes. PLEASE continue this great show, Mr. Davies!

  • alayna

    I’m not angry. I’m sad, like last year when Owen and Tosh died, but not angry. I figured one of them was going to die. Especially after last season. I was kinda hoping it was someone more minor but still would carry an emotional impact like Rhys. Especially after they discovered Gwen was pregnant.

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