The Conspiracy was the first audio story in the Torchwood audio series by Big Finish Productions, and the first Big Finish audio made with the company's expanded license to feature elements from the new series.
Publisher's summary Edit
Captain Jack Harkness has always had his suspicions about the Committee. And now Wilson is also talking about the Committee. Apparently the world really is under the control of alien lizards. That's what Wilson says. People have died, disasters have been staged, the suspicious have disappeared.
Only Jack knows that Wilson is right. The Committee has arrived.
Captain Jack Harkness's attention is caught by ex-news reporter turned professional conspiracy theorist, George Wilson. Jack recounts Wilson's rise to popularity: he'd quit his job reading the evening news, disgusted by the propagandised horror of war and politics, and then quickly went on to grab the spotlight of the people by purporting the story of "The Committee," an extraterrestrial organisation from the planet Erebus that's playing a significant hand in the movements of mankind. But it's more than just an interesting story or outlandish conspiracy nut's ramblings—it's the truth. And Jack's caught on.
Wilson has been travelling, spreading the story of The Committee. He eventually stops in Cardiff, and Jack decides to attend his talk incognito—Torchwood's presence is best kept a secret. Jack, pretending to be a member of the press with secretly-Torchwood-funded Plexus Magazine, attends the show, where he meets amateur conspiracy theorist Sam Hallett. Jack recognises him as one of the snoops that Torchwood keeps tabs on; Sam, too, thinks that Jack looks familiar. But before any further questioning can be done, Wilson's show starts.
On stage, Wilson speaks to a sold-out theatre. He assures his audience that he speaks only the truth, and that the cynical "herd" that would call them crazy for listening to him ought to be dismissed as nothing more than "drones of The Committee." He says that there are three types of person: the people at the top, The Committee; the enablers, the people who know what The Committee are and serve them out of greed; and the drones who know nothing. He details The Committee as a secret group who have orchestrated every war, famine, and disaster in the history of mankind. Everything, Wilson says, has been crafted by the extraterrestrial Committee.
After the show, Jack approaches Kate, Wilson's daughter. He introduces himself as Jack Harkness, press member for Plexus Magazine, and asks her for an interview with Wilson—with charm and lies, he secures one.
In the parking lot, Sam, the conspiracy theorist, follows Jack, evidently having indeed recognised him. Jack begins to question how Sam could recognise him, but before he can stop and question him directly, Jack gets a call from Gwen about a Weevil attack, and makes his way to the scene post-hate.
The next day, Jack arrives for the interview with Wilson, and meets Kate. She asks him how long he's been writing for Plexus. Jack lies and says he's been writing for a few months.
Kate hints at her scepticism of her father's beliefs. Jack doesn't need a hint: he'd found her on the internet, where she'd voiced, very openly, her disbelief of the alien conspiracy.
Kate tells Jack, before the interview, to avoid any topics regarding his divorce and his alcoholism, which he's apparently recovering from.
Jack meets Wilson and they exchange niceties. Kate leaves them alone for the interview, and Wilson tells Jack of his fondness for Plexus Magazine. Jack then turns on a device that's disguised as a recorder; in actuality it scans the room for alien life. Jack finds no traces. The interview proper begins.
Jack asks outright about The Committee. He asks Wilson how he learned their name. Wilson says that a contact in the CIA informed him. He also tells Jack that many intelligence organisations are aware of The Committee and their movements. Jack continues to ask more questions about The Committee, and Wilson gives standard, logical answers. He goes on to claim that many wars and constructs, including World War II and the Nazi Reich, were devised by The Committee.
Jack asks Wilson about his years as a reporter, and begrudgingly, Wilson answers. Jack implies that Wilson's time covering wars has left his psyche damaged. As Wilson asks Jack where his line of questioning is going, Kate returns and admonishes Jack from bringing up Wilson's past.
Wilson, though, admits that while his time in the field did horrify him, and while he was, subsequently, an alcoholic because of it, the trials that he faced brought the world into a much sharper focus.
Later, Jack views Sam Hallett's website, where Sam's made a vlog wherein he talks about his encounter with Jack, the man whom he had found to be so familiar. Sam talks about how he followed Jack into the parking lot, took photos of him in a Valencia filter and uploaded them to Instagram, and then asks his followers to look at the photos and see if they recognise Jack.
Jack concludes that Wilson was not, in fact, crazy. Upon leaving the interview, he encounters Sam, who approaches him disgruntled at the fact that Jack got an interview and he did not. But he quickly forgets this and starts to question Jack so as to who he is. Sam produces a photo of Jack outside The Brampton Hotel after Torchwood had dealt with a poltergeist. Sam accuses Jack of being the man in the picture, though Jack denies it. Sam, though, persists. Sam produces another photo, but Jack accuses him of being a stalker. Sam then tells Jack that he knows about Torchwood, but Jack leaves and threateningly bluffs to send Sam to a Siberian Zinc Mine if he tells anyone about their encounter.
Jack returns to the Torchwood Hub, which he finds empty. He spends the night watching Wilson's talks, over and over. He finds that Wilson's talks are filled with a mixture of truth and lie, about The Committee, and about the world, but all of it is filled with enough charisma to convince most anyone. Then, Jack listens to his interview with Wilson. Towards the end of their interview, Wilson voices his belief in the reality that The Committee could very well kill him someday. After that, Jack gets a call from Sam, who's been taken hostage. His captors want to talk to Jack—and Jack obliges.
At the under-construction SkyPoint building, Jack sees Sam, sixty feet off the ground, standing on a narrow construction ledge. The captors send a concise message to Jack: they push Sam off of the ledge.
Later, on Sam's website, Jack watches Sam's final testament, where he claims that he's going to commit suicide. Jack can tell that it's a lie.
Jack breaks into Wilson's hotel room in the middle of the night, enraged at Sam's death. He confronts Wilson, questioning him about Sam. Then, he confronts him about Wilson's CIA contact, at gunpoint, but Wilson admits that there is no contact. He admits that he made everything up, but Jack says that that doesn't make sense: Jack knows that The Committee is, in fact, real. Jack presses this fact, but Wilson, believing that there is no Committee, speaks to Jack condescendingly, assuming that the Captain is nothing more than another fanatic conspiracy nut. Wilson grabs a drink from the minibar and tells Jack the entire truth.
Wilson laments the banality of his time as a reporter. He talks about how every story seemed to be fraught with the same, constant themes of war and death. After he left the journalism scene, he wrote a book about his time as a reporter, but no publisher wanted it. They all claimed, according to Wilson, that no one would take what he said seriously. So, Wilson, with his daughter, Kate, devised the story of The Committee. They crafted names and a backstory, and put it out into the public eye.
After recounting his story, Jack tells Wilson that The Committee and the story of The Committee were all true, but Wilson laughs at him. Jack, though, wonders to how Wilson knew the story.
The next morning, Wilson tells Kate that Jack broke in the night before and confronted him. He tells Kate that Jack told him that The Committee was real, and Kate says that she'll take care of the situation.
Jack, later, watched this exchange: he wiped himself from the hotel's security footage, and then saw their conversation. Unable to hear through the security monitor, he studied their expressions, and saw that Kate's countenance flinched from rehearsed sympathy to something darker. And then his phone rang. It was Kate.
Jack asks Kate how she got his number; she tells him to meet her in the hotel room. He arrives, quickly, and bursts into the room, but Kate shatters his spinal cord and he's left disabled. Jack saw that Wilson was tied and gagged in a chair. Kate admits that she's with The Committee, and it's revealed that she was adopted. Then, she calls his mind back to Kepri 5.
Long ago on Kepri 5, in the constellation of Fornax, Jack found himself in the middle of a war. Many planets were engulfed in war and subsequently fell to The Committee. When The Committee started nearing Sol 3, Jack told them that Earth was a barren planet and of no use to them, and he pointed them in another direction.
Presently, Kate confronts Jack about his lie. Kate admits that she fed Wilson details and fragments about The Committee in order to spread a vague message about them, in order to take control of the human love for stories, and the equally-great human tendency to dismiss them. Wilson was, in a sense, a disarming boy-who-cried-wolf, a man whose tall tale would never actually be taken seriously by the masses when the wolf truly did come.
Kate tells Jack that Sam's death would be pinned on Torchwood, as would her father's to-be death. She then kills Wilson. Then, she kills Jack.
When Jack wakes up, he finds himself alone with Wilson, with sirens looming in the distance. Unable to cover his tracks, he leaves a message for the Torchwood Team, recounting the story before he flees. As a final message, he declares his intent to deal with The Committee and to end their reign of terror.
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Wilson - John Sessions
- Kate - Sarah Ovens
- Sam - Dan Bottomley
- During his time as a news reporter, Wilson reported on the continued U.S. bombing of Iraq.
- Plexus is a conspiracy theory magazine founded by Torchwood, established in Patchogue, New York, 1975. Some of the articles focus on Mayan calendars, the Chupacabra, the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa and contrails.
- Sam Hallett hosts the blog and YouTube channel The Eye of Providence. Buzzsaw59 and "Pikachu the Barbarian" follow him on Instagram.
- Wilson tells people that Paul McCartney was replaced between 1967 and 1970 and that the Committee is made of aliens from Erebus who want the hydrogen-3 on the Moon. He also says John F. Kennedy was assassinated by aliens and mentions the Zapruder footage. Another theory suggests that World War II was engineered by the Committee.
- Sam has various pictures of Jack, including one of Jack during a poltergeist sighting the previous June and one in Penarth in November during the mermaid sightings featuring a brunette.
- Jack gets a call from Gwen Cooper about Weevils in a lingerie department.
- George Wilson jokes about going on the TV series I'm a Celebrity.
- Wilson has written a book entitled The Great Conspiracy.
- Wilson compares the Committee to what Hannah Arendt said about Adolf Eichmann: "the banality of evil".
- Wilson refers to Saint Eustace and William Burroughs's book The Naked Lunch.
- Sam compares Torchwood to Project MKUltra and the Bilderberg Group.
- SkyPoint is under construction, and will be the tallest building in Cardiff.
- Wilson does not have any contacts at the CIA, MI6, the SVR, Mossad, ISI, or BND.
- Wilson refers to the conflicts in Biafra in 1968 and Ethiopia in 1984, suggesting that the history of conflict repeats itself.
- Kate suggested "Varangians", 9th century Russian Vikings, as an alien name, as she thought that it sounded like something from Star Trek.
- Kepri 5 in the constellation of Fornax and planets in Signus A, Omega Centauri, and Andromeda all fell to the Committee. Jack recalls visiting Fornax as it was being infiltrated, but avoids saying how he got there. It could have been when he was a Time Agent or during his travels with the Ninth Doctor.
- Kate compares Wilson to The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
- This story was recorded on 30 April 2015 at The Moat Studios.
- This is the first Big Finish audio story to feature characters from the 2005 version of Doctor Who. Prior to this, their license only covered the 1963 version of the program. However, elements have been referenced, such as Torchwood itself in Damaged Goods.
- The synopsis on the Big Finish website was originally redacted to hide story details.
- This story debuted a new theme composed by Blair Mowat. It also incorporates the dialogue "the 21st century is when everything changes" from the TV series.
- In fitting with Torchwood's more adult themes, George Wilson uses bleeped out swear words.
- This is the first new Torchwood story since 2012's Exodus Code.
- John Barrowman recorded his lines in a studio in America and was directed through a Skype call with the studios in the UK.
- As with the Companion Chronicles, the story is recounted as a first person monologue from Jack Harkness, which is interjected with dramatised sections.
- Jack visits SkyPoint. (PROSE: SkyPoint)
- The Zapruder footage depicts the assassination of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy; TV: Rose; AUDIO: 1963: The Space Race)
- Jack became trapped in Omega Centauri after pursuing the Committee. (AUDIO: Forgotten Lives)
- Kate was later considered a suspect in the murder of her father. (AUDIO: Uncanny Valley)