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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: why Ianto Jones had to die

Torchwood writer John Fay is helping pen the upcoming made-in-America season “The New World” — and he’s got quite a lot to say about it (spoiler free!) at Scyfi Love. But he also helped write the previous season, “Children of Earth,” and he’s got a lot of stuff to say about why it was necessary for Ianto Jones to die therein. Such as:

“Russell wanted that to happen, although they are my words,” he said. “It was absolutely the right thing to do though from the point of view of the story and what it gave to the last episode.

“The strength of Torchwood and Russell’s vision is that you don’t know the heroes are going to survive. That’s been well established now!

“That adds a sense of jeopardy to the show which leaves everyone wondering what will happen next.”

He added Ianto’s death also allowed him to illustrate one of the costs of immortality for Captain Jack.

“In my mind, I was always aware that Jack had gone through this situation many times before, and that was really interesting to me. How do you have a relationship and fall in love with someone when you know – absolutely know – you will be around to see them die?

“That’s a real tragedy that Jack has to carry around with him, as well as a fascinating weight to hang around a character’s shoulders.”

There’s more at Scyfi Love.

I usually feel that one of the drawbacks of TV shows is that you’re pretty much guaranteed that none of the regular characters are in serious danger of being removed from the story. I was terribly sad to see Ianto go, but I agree with Fay that a willingness to kill off regular characters significantly ups the ante… even if it wreaks havoc on an actor’s paycheck.

(Thanks to reader Keith for the link. If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

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