I'm reliably informed by blogger.com that this here is the site's 800th post. How cool is that? As the counter has been clocking up over the past few weeks (780...785...790...etc) I've been racking my brain trying to think up some half-decent way to celebrate the milestone, and in the end decided upon a simple question that been's bothering us all since about... ooh, March last year:
Just when will Torchwood's third season air?
Let's look at the evidence. We know that the (shortened) series has already been shot, and that the cast and crew have now gone their seperate ways, following the wrap party. Hell, Gareth David-Lloyd is touring America with his band! So yep, filming = finito.
Benjamin Cook informed the world via Twitter that he's seen the completed first episode - so it's safe to say that the first installment has now concluded its post-production work. In his Torchwood Magazine column Euros Lyn informs us that the edits of the other four episodes have now been locked, and its reasonable to assume that since those comments were made the CGI work on two through to four has been completed. After all, the episodes were *supposed* to be airing on BBC One as early as January 2009, so it's quite likely that production schedules were designed to meet this deadline.
(The trailer launched in February confirms that a lot of CGI work has been completed)
There's also news that as soon as his work on "Children of Earth" has been completed, director Euros Lyn will move across to Doctor Who to begin work on the two part finale to David Tennant's era as the 10th Doctor. With recording on that episode due to commence at the beginning of May, and the usual six weeks of pre-production that most shows go through, is it safe to assume that mid-March (6 weeks before that filming date) that Lyn has now jumped ship?
Then there's the media. SFX Magazine is a very reliable source for launch dates and such. Often they'll preview a series in the issue before or maybe even during the show's broadcast. What with Torchwood: Children of Earth being such a mammoth part of this British sci-fi calender, it's impossible to imagine that SFX weren't granted interviews or set visits. Such behind the scenes items would be useless once the series has ended... and as SFX isn't in the nature of looking at a show post-broadcast such information will have to be included before the serial has aired. However, according to an advert in the latest issue, the next issue - dated 8th April through to the 5th May - doesn't preview the new series. Hmm. It does, however, look at the new series of Ashes to Ashes - expected to return in April. Does this mean that we can't expect to see the new shows until (at least) past that 5th May date?
Ashes to Ashes, if it continues its trend from 2008, will broadcast on BBC One during a week day (most likely Thursday) in the 9pm timeslot - the same time period that "Children of Earth" will be occupying. You see, because of its adult nature Torchwood can't air at 8pm, and traditionally the BBC News runs from 10pm until 10:30pm, after which half hour programmes run. So Torchwood has to air at 9pm (unless cuts were made) and once Ashes to Ashes is up and running the BBC wouldn't dare take that show off air for a week to put in its place another drama. In other words, if the 8 part A2A launches April 9th, the earliest that the 9pm timeslot would become free for Torchwood to air in its place would be June 5th.
Is there a possibility that Torchwood could air before A2A launches? Yes. But as I've predicted above, what with SFX Magazine and other publications quiet on the Torchwood hype front, it's not very likely. It's in both the BBC's and the media's interests to big up the show, as early as they can. The fact we've seen very little media interest isn't a good sign for those that hope the show will be returning shortly!
Of course, DigitalSpy disagrees. On its page on premiere page, it has Torchwood down as returning April 2009. Now, it knows its stuff far better than I do, so the question you should be asking yourself is this: Has DigitalSpy made an error in predicting that particular date, or do they know something we don't know?
Other media suggests that Torchwood returns over the summer, and that makes sense. A couple of months would have passed since "Planet of the Dead", and coming up once summer is over will be the third run of The Sarah Jane Adventures. So a summer debut would quite nicely fill the Doctor Who shaped void in British telelvision, and keep the audience interested until the show's high profile return during Christmas 2009.
I've settled upon the June date because it's the earliest that I can see the BBC now running the show, with plenty of time before then for interviews and behind the scenes articles in newspapers and magazines. If the corporation leaves it any later than this, they'll have to wait until the beginning of the Autumn TV schedule in September - by which point it'd have been almost 18 months since the last new episode aired, and running Torchwood as a high profile TV 'event' would become a much higher risk in the eyes of the schedules (who take the view that audiences have a gold fish memory - if a show is gone too long, it's forgotten).
We'll see if my prediction is right, hey?
Does anybody else want to offer a guestimation..?