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Angry Torchwood fans threaten writers with bodily harm

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Aug 3rd 2009 8:57PM
Torchwood: Children of EarthIf you're a regular viewer of the BBC sci-fi series Torchwood, you're more than aware of the recent dust up between fans and writers over a major character death in this past season's finale. Angry fans immediately ran to message boards to express their displeasure with the direction the show has taken, but now, that angry fan reaction seems to have taken a sudden and serious turn for the worse.

Before we get too far into this, I'm putting a spoiler warning on this post, even though the episode in question has already aired in the U.S. For anyone still saving it on their DVR, beware. It's a biggie.

It wouldn't be the first time furious fans have taken to the Internet to vent, but now, those angry over the death of Ianto Jones, main character Jack Harkness' main squeeze, have started to send death threats to show's writers.

Trust me, I understand the impulse that makes fans want to threaten bodily harm to writers for screwing with their favorite shows, but this is taking it too far. The comments posted on a UK fan board and reported by WalesOnline are not just over the top, but go a long way towards giving cult fans, in general, a bad wrap.

One user wrote that she planned to track down the writer responsible for killing off her favorite 'ship and "murder them in a horrific way. In an incredible horrific and painful way. They will never be able to walk again or move any part of their body. They will be a vegetable." Another irate fan wrote: "Kill them painfully! With ties and coffee machines!!"

Wow. To be fair, and as far as I can tell, while there has been much rending of garments over Ianto's death, the majority of fan responses have been of shock and sadness, not extreme violence. But, it's this kind of reaction that reflects badly on all fans, not just the ones in this particular fandom. Cult fans already have a reputation (deserved or not) for over-the-top, obsessive behavior that lacks any and all perspective. Reactions as violent as the one posted above make me want to distance myself from that "fan" label, as well.

For what it's worth, Gareth David-Lloyd, who plays Ianto, was "appalled" by the online comments and basically advised that fans get a grip. Emotional involvement is one thing, but it really is just a TV show.

We can all agree that this is a bit messed up, but come clean now, has there been a TV death or sudden and swift plot change that's made you even one iota as upset as Torchwood fans are over the recent death of Ianto? Spill in the comments!

Update: So, as some fans have noted in the comments, there seems to be a debate about the original intent of the comments posted by the users above. I'm not going to jump into the fray about who meant what, but every savvy internet user knows that comments posted in the heat of the moment, jokingly or not, can back fire, as this seems to have done.

Update 2: Ok, as previously noted above, not all fans have reacted with such misdirected fervor. Other Torchwood fans have set up a memorial for the character here http://www.justgiving.com/iantojones.

[Source: Walesonline.co.uk]

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Yea can I just say that i am sad about the death of ianto but i think us as the fans kind need to get a grip i mean death threats ????? if we're so upset about the threat of death then Y would we want to make more fuss k

lets all take a deep breath :D:):D:):D and remember our secret weapon ... US we're the veiwers and without our support to the show then........ it can carry on and if you need more ppl that r taking THE PEACEFUL route



August 16 2009 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sometimes, actors want to leave the series, and for some reason the writer kills the complete character. I became a Dr. Who fan all over again about a year ago. I will admit that I was really into David Tennent and his characterization of Dr. Who. He has those really big eyes, and the character came alive with his characterization. I also liked Freema Agyeman and all of season four main characters. I think all three actors have left the series. You get over it and move on....: ).

August 08 2009 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am not neccessarily in support of angry fans, however, often we see our favorite characters written off of television shows. Not only are characters written off, complete series are cancelled, and then the execs put something crappy in the slot. People shouldn't make death threats because many people take those kind of statements seriously.

August 08 2009 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the writter is totally right. If the story goes on as what
readers and fans want, there would be no more surprise and debate.
Accordingly, fans will forget this story just as those in the past.

August 07 2009 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the writter is totally right. If the story goes on as what readers and fans want, there would be no more surprise and debate. Accordingly, fans will forget this story just as those in the past.

August 07 2009 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike MacDonald

Not to rain on everyones parade, but I for one was glad when they killed off Ianto Jones. I never thought he clicked very well with the rest of the cast. Now don't go all crazy on me for not agreeing with you all. Well, if you really feel you have to, go ahead.

August 05 2009 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This story has me more concerned about what supposed credible news sources will print than what "Torchwood" fans will do about the death of a fictional character. The fact that this is a story at all shows incredible irresponsibility on the part of both WalesOnline and this site.

August 04 2009 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to PerfectAnomaly's comment
Tron Liebman

Yeah, what PerfectAnomaly said.

I really enjoyed the third round of Torchwood, and I think each season has gotten dramatically better after a fairly shaky start. I honestly don't see the fuss about Ianto though, TBH I felt worse about Owen and Tosh. I guess maybe for many fans it comes down to an identification with what his relationship with Jack symbolises. Anyhow, this is all pretty good publicity for RTD, keeps the show in the news, I suppose, whether he decides/intends to bring Ianto back or not.

But I would like to know how on earth a "savvy internet user" (as Hemal Jhaveri seems to believe he is) could possibly interpret a comment like "Kill them painfully! With ties and coffee machines!!" as a serious threat by an "irate" fan directed at the show's producer(s). I haven't even bothered with the Wales online piece, but reproducing hyperbolic blog entries or forum posts as evidence of tenuous claims is a worrying trend in the media in general, IMO. Not that the writer of this blog entry makes any pretensions of being any kind of credible reporter, mind. And nor should he/she.

August 05 2009 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

whoever it was that wrote the article on wales-online is honestly pretty stupid.."janto" is not a spelling mistake, and a fanatic that is making death threats obviously wouldn't misspell ianto.. janto=jack+ianto

well, in my opinion, the death threats are pretty appalling but they only came from a few over obsessed fans. Despite that, many people including me myself, are truly very dissapointed at how children of earth had ended. It is extremely upsetting to have such a widely-liked character killed off the show. Therefore I think it should be understandable that so many people are furious with the writers as nobody, nobody would like to stare at the tv with a devastated feeling in them. Call me "over the top" or "exagerrated" but killing off the main character's love interest has in fact been widely unpopular, so while making death threats is considered stupid, by upsetting fans all over the world with the death of ianto jones is simply brainless.

August 04 2009 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey guys, there's a much better and more effective way to send a message to the writers and voice your displeasure in the story lines.....STOP WATCHING THE SHOW. They'll get the message real quick!

August 04 2009 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, I admit, I cried when Ianto died. He was a favorite of mine. But Brits are NOTED for offing characters on shows. Nick on Primeval, as well as Stephen. Hex, oh, you name it. And on Torchwood...Susie, Tosh, and Owen. And I think the pteradactyl. (spelling on that one?) I really LIKED that dino. But to offer death threats? Oh come on. It is okay to cry and be sad, but after all, everyone dies, sooner or later. At least we can be happy knowing that Gareth is alive and well. I'll miss Ianto, just as I miss Tosh. Torchwood has drawn us into that world, and made it so believable, that we DO cry and grieve over them. And drool a little over Capt. Jack.

August 04 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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