Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

This would probably be the episode when Torchwood finally found its feet. The series has always tried to be a more adult version of Doctor Who (Jack=the Doctor, Gwen=the companion, the Hub=the TARDIS etc.), though so far it’s generally just been a student version, which is ironic as that's heading towards a younger average audience than 'family' telly.

One of Doctor Who’s key ingredients though, has always been its flexibility, and the way that each new story could have an entirely different style, cast and subject matter to the previous.

To that end, Out Of Time is about 75% charming.

Your licence fee funded that jet Three airborne travellers from 1953 accidentally wash-up in the present-day, where their reintegration into society inadvertently becomes the moral responsibility of Jack, Gwen and Owen.

The scenes in which John meets his aged son with Alzheimer’s disease are just harrowing.

Emma’s culture-shock, particularly the group-sequence at the supermarket, works well too.

Diane’s sex scenes with Owen on the other hand, are out of place and have nothing to do with culture-clashes, time-travel or original fiction.

And Rhys finally voices his building mistrust of Gwen, noting not just her lie to him, but the practiced ease with which she did it.

Unfortunately this only draws further attention to the show's now almost weekly rewriting of its own premise. This week Jack can survive death without the usual suffering, while "top secret" Torchwood happily opens its doors to the newcomers before letting them loose in public, and cannot now even fake a driving/flying licence.

However like so many moving episodes of Quantum Leap, the characterisation in this one is so strong that it actually overcomes this.

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