Sci-fi series Torchwood is going stateside, with a bigger budget and some top US talent, but it will remain true to its Cardiff roots, says creator Russell T Davies.
“I would never do a Torchwood that didn’t have any links to Wales,” said the writer, speaking at the launch of Torchwood: Miracle Day, a new ten-part story in which people all over the world suddenly stop dying – no matter what happens to them.
Torchwood regulars John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack Harkness, and Eve Myles, aka Gwen Cooper, will star opposite some big-name US actors.
Independence Day’s Bill Pullman plays a convicted child killer turned messiah, while former ER actor Mekhi Phifer is a CIA agent.
The series is a collaboration between BBC Wales, US entertainment network Starz and BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, and is filmed in America, Wales and other locations around the world.
“In a time when budgets are tight, it’s great to have an infusion of cash from America that we can have fun with – and do some big, brave stuff with,” said Davies.
The show’s executive producer, Julie Gardner, said: “We wanted to do a global threat with more than one location and the co-production enables that to be possible.
“[But] the joy of it wasn’t that we sold the format to the Americans and then waved goodbye to it. Of course budgets are shrinking, but it was about working smart. In pooling the money we got a bigger show for a better price.”
Torchwood’s travels abroad are the latest in an itinerant history that has seen the Doctor Who spin-off move from its origins on BBC3 in 2006 to BBC2 and then BBC1.
Torchwood: Miracle Day will air in America early next month and will be shown later in the summer on BBC1.
Davies said the premise of the show – that people stop dying – had its basis in medieval mythology. “I wanted to take that and apply it to the real world,” he said.
“You realise how much the economy and the healthcare system is built around mortality. When people stop dying, very soon it starts to collapse.”
He said of the series, which has previously centred around Cardiff, “It starts in Wales, they go on the run across the United States, but they come back to Wales. I don’t want people to think we’ve abandoned the homeland.”