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Torchwood by stopwatch

Last week I was stuck at home with  no car while dh was out of town.  I decided I needed some light mental exercise and an excuse to re-watch Torchwood so I figured out how much sceentime each main character got per episode.   This is a compilation of the posts I wrote about my experience on OG:

While it might have been more fun, I didn't use an actual stopwatch.  I have Winamp (sorriest blanketty-blank excuse for a viewing program you ever saw -- excuse me, I'm not happy about the "latest innovation"), a pencil, and a piece of paper. The timer is set to count backwards. I pause the screen when someone enters or leaves the stage and write down the number in their column. After it's all over with, I do a bunch of time-table subtracting, then a bunch of time-table adding.

I'm blocking it as if it were a stage play. I start counting when the actor "enters" the "stage" and stop when he or she "exits". If the camera is swinging back and forth between actors but everyone is still present, I count the temporarily out-of-shot actors as still "on stage" unless the camera pauses for a long, significant "close-up" that could be filmed without the other actors present. I also don't bother to take out the music breaks if the show comes back to the same actors. So there's a built-in margin of error, but the proportions should be right.

Everything Changes by RTD

Gwen - 33:03

Jack - 21:35

Suzie - 13:39

Tosh - 12:42

Owen - 11:24

Ianto - 2:21

Gwen had the longest single block, being on screen for a whopping 29:34 at the start.

Tosh is a lot more prominent than I thought. She beat out Owen in the first episode. Granted she's often working in the background, but she's still in the scenes.

Day One by Chris Chibnall.

Gwen - 35:16

Jack - 26:30

Tosh - 22:45

Owen - 19:54

Ianto - 4:34

Once again, Tosh beats out Owen. And Ianto doubles his screen time from 01.

Ghost Machine by Helen Raynor

Gwen - 33:46

Owen - 26:38

Jack - 22:35

Tosh - 13:05

Ianto: 2:44

Owen has more screentime than Jack, but it's Owen's episode. Ianto slips back down to just under 3 minutes. I have a feeling CC is more equal with screentime than the others.

Originally Posted by Twhylight View Post
Three episodes in and Ianto dosen't even have 10 minutes in. Boy, they were keeping him in the background for Ep 4.
Weren't they, though! Before the intro he gets 7:44. That's more than he did in the first two episodes combined!

Cyberwoman by CC

Ianto - 30:03

Gwen - 24:36

Jack - 22:06

Owen - 18:38

Tosh - 15:03

Small Worlds by P. J. Hammond

Jack - 21:38

Gwen - 19:21

Tosh - 7:39

Owen - 5:45

Ianto - 1:33

It's the Jack and Gwen show, now with 2/3rds less Owen and Tosh, and half as much Ianto! The guest stars racked up a lot of time in this episode so everyone's overal time is down. Jack has more time than Gwen for the first time, but it's his episode. Tosh beats out Owen again as she has done in 3 of the 5 episodes. Owen clocks in at one minute over Ianto's time in Day One.

Countrycide by CC

Gwen - 27:14

Tosh - 22:12

Jack - 20:00

Owen - 19:02

Ianto - 18:37

Toshiko comes in second this episode. We could call Countrycide a "Gwen and Tosh" story, instead of a "Gwen" story. This makes 4 out of 6 episodes where Tosh has more time than Owen. Jack comes in third as he did in Cyberwoman, another CC story. Ianto comes in last again, but he's only 30 seconds behind Owen and 90 seconds behind Jack. His time would be respectable for Owen or Tosh in most other episodes. This is the most even the times have ever been, beating out Cyberwoman, another CC story. (I think we're seeing a trend here.) I figured we'd see more of Ianto in CC's stories, but the rest of the variations surprised me.

Greeks Bearing Gifts by Toby Whithouse

Tosh - 41:06

Jack - 10:58

Gwen - 10:46

Owen - 9:32

Ianto - 1:25

Who would have thought quiet little Tosh had it in her to so dominate the screen? She now has the highest overall score for a single episode and the highest score for continuous screen time at 31:37, beating Gwen's record of 29:34 from Everything Changes. Gwen is in third place for the first time, in a tight cluster with Jack and Owen. Ianto reaches a new low.  And for 5 out of 7 episodes Tosh has more time than Owen.

They Keep Killing Suzie by Tomalin/McCullough (but it looks/sounds/smells/acts like an RTD)

Jack - 32:40

Gwen - 31:25

Owen - 21:22

Tosh - 17:22

Ianto - 14:31

You can tell this is a "Jack" episode because it's only the second time he's got more screentime than Gwen; the other time was Small Worlds. Owen beats out Tosh for the third time out of 8 episodes. Ianto still has the least time, but at 14:31 it's respectable. Sure beats the under-two minute episodes he's had before.

I made some notes about the way Ianto is staged in this episode which I've posted seperately here.

Random Shoes by Jaquetta May

Gwen - 40:35

Owen -- 4:07

Jack -- 2:54

Tosh -- 2:06

Ianto -- 1:02

AKA "The Gwen Show".

Out of Time by Cathy Treganna

Owen - 19:04

Jack - 15:30

Gwen - 11:17

Ianto - 2:48

Tosh - 1:38

Owen takes the lead, followed by Jack. Gwen falls to third place for the second time this series. Tosh falls to last place for the second time. Ianto has his longest scene so far outside of Cyberwoman.  Tosh has a better time than Owen in 5 out of 9 episodes; he's almost caught up with her.

Combat by Noel Clarke

Owen - 23:06

Jack -- 14:13

Gwen - 11:23

Tosh -- 9:13

Ianto -- 6:07

Owen comes in first. Jack in second. Gwen comes in third again. Tosh makes a rare appearance at fourth, and Ianto makes the best time of his single-digit figues so far.  Tosh and Owen tie for best time between them.

Captain Jack Harkness by Cathy Treganna

Jack - 24:11

Tosh - 17:25

Owen - 9:34

Ianto - 7:54

Gwen - 6:10

And now that we no longer need her services as an introductory point, Gwen takes her turn on the bottom of the list.

End of Days by CC

Gwen - 30:24

Jack -- 22:59

Ianto - 19:05

Tosh -- 15:97

Owen - 14:00

Gwen comes in first again with Jack second again. Ianto comes in a very respectable third, claiming the middle for the first time. Owen, in his usual position behind Tosh, comes in last for the first time.

Twhylight on OG totaled them up for me.  Here's her figures:

.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....Gwen.... Jack.... Tosh.... Owen.... Ianto
Everything Changes by RTD.................................| 33:03 | 21:35 | 12:42 | 11:24 | 02:21 |
Day One by Chris Chibnall......................................| 35:16 | 26:30 | 22:45 | 19:54 | 04:34 |
Ghost Machine by Helen Raynor.............................| 33:46 | 22:35 | 13:05 | 26:38 | 02:44 |
Cyberwoman by CC ............................................ | 24:36 | 22:06 | 15:03 | 18:38 | 30:03 |
Small Worlds by P. J. Hammond ........................... | 19:21 | 21:38 | 07:39 | 05:45 | 01:33 |
Countrycide by CC .............................................. | 27:14 | 20:00 | 22:12 | 19:02 | 18:37 |
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Toby Whithouse...............| 10:46 | 10:58 | 41:06 | 09:32 | 01:25 |
They Keep Killing Suzie by Tomalin/McCullough.... | 31:25 | 32:40 | 17:22 | 21:22 | 14:31|
Random Shoes by Jaquetta May............................ | 40:35 | 02:54 | 02:06 | 04:07 | 01:02 |
Out of Time by Cathy Treganna............................. | 11:17 | 15:30 | 01:38 | 19:04 | 02:48 |
Combat by Noel Clarke......................................... | 11:23 | 14:13 | 09:13 | 23:06 | 06:07 |
Captain Jack Harkness by Cathy Treganna .......... | 06:10 | 24:11 | 17:25 | 09:34 | 07:54 |
End of Days by CC............................................... | 30:24 | 22:59 | 16:37| 14:00 | 19:05 |
================================================== ===========
TOTALS............................................ .......... |05:03:43|04:18:00|03:18:53|03:46:10|01.52:44 |

It's way too late at night to work up the actual averages, but here are the weighted rankings. In this chart 5 has the most time and 1 the least:

Actors //Gwen//Jack//Tosh//Owen//Ianto
1 ----//5//////4//////3//////2///////1













Average weighted ranking:

Gwen - 4

Jack - 3.5

Tosh - 2.6

Owen - 2.8

Ianto - 1.6

ETA:  Here's the average minutes/episode based on Twylight's totals:

Gwen - 23.3 minutes/episode

Jack - 19.8 minutes/episode

Owen - 17.4 minutes/episode

Tosh - 15.3 minutes/episode

Ianto -- 8.7 minutes/episode

ETA:  Teaspoon is deleting their entire nonfiction section in 10 minutes.  Boo!  I'm archiving my reviews here.

alienstar072007.12.31 - 07:03PM1: Chapter 1Signed
I read this on OG, but it suprised me that in a lot of eps Tosh had more time than Owen.

Author's Response: The difference is that Tosh did not call attention to herself by misbehaving. Owen did.

NavyGiraffes2007.10.17 - 08:39PM1: Chapter 1Signed
I think the really strange thing about this, is that everyone loves Ianto, it seems, and nobody likes Owen, and not a lot of people seem to like Gwen. I sure don't. Compared to the numbers you have here, it really doesn't add up. I'm not saying your numbers are wrong, I'm just saying it's very odd the way it's turned out. You should do one for Doctor Who, comparing Rose and Martha screentime or something. Just a suggestion.

Author's Response: It's not odd when you think about it. Ianto never did anything really objectionable when he was onscreen, unlike Gwen and Owen, who one quite often wanted to slap upside the head.

wmr2007.10.05 - 04:17PM1: Chapter 1Signed
...and this explains why I'm so 'meh' and even 'no, thanks' about Torchwood. I can't stand Gwen or Owen. I only watched it for Jack but, while he gets a respectable amount of screen time, he's only the lead character in two or three episodes. I came to like Tosh, but there are only two episodes where she carries any kind of a decent story. Ianto - the little we saw of him - comes across as underdeveloped (and now I know why!) and whiny, and his sudden switch from wanting to kill Jack to shagging him is never explained (again, due to insufficient screen time).

It's far, far too much the Gwen show for my liking, with occasions when it's the Owen Show or the Gwen 'n' Owen show. No thanks. :(

Author's Response: I wouldn't call Ianto's decision 'sudden". It was built up subtly over several episodes. It never took center stage, but there was a lot going on in the background.

Fire Storm2007.10.05 - 04:14PM1: Chapter 1Signed
I don't watch Torchwood but I read this out of interest.

All I can say is you definately have a lot of time on your hands...
Also, wow. I never knew Ianto was so unpopular!
Very informative :)

Author's Response: LOL Ianto's hardly unpopular! He was just -- sneaky first season.

jekyll2007.10.05 - 03:35PM1: Chapter 1Signed
Very interesting... poor Ianto. Although I have heard he's a bit more a part of the team for the second series.

Author's Response: GDL told Tanerian he's got four times as much script next series.



( 85 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 17th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
*whistles* You really were bored, weren't you? I'm surprised about Tosh - she got more screen time than I'd expected, all told. I still think that Tosh and Ianto were criminally underused, though.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
I can get really creative at avoiding real work. :)

I'm surprised at Tosh as well. I guess we didn't notice her so much because she was saying/doing useful things instead of being a twat. Yes Owen, I'm looking at you.
Jul. 17th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
This is very interesting. (I like stats, *grin*)

It says something for Gareth's screen presence that I would never have said his screen time was quite so much lower than the others, other than in the pre-Cyberwoman episodes.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
He makes the most of what he gets.
Jul. 17th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
How did you time each one? Multiple viewings? Did you get friends to help? This is amazing!

And extremely interesting.

My thought: more Jack. We need more Jack time. Really! Much more!

Second thought: I want more Ianto, but that's no surprise, I've always wanted more Ianto. I want more Tosh, too.

Owen, as it turns out, gets less screen time than I thought he did: I've always thought of him as being onscreen way too much, because I don't like him so much. And he does get too much screen time, in my opinion, but he isn't as far off Tosh's time as I thought he'd be.
Jul. 17th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
I was also surprised that Owen didn't get that much more screentime than Tosh. However I wasn't surprised that Gwen got more screentime than Jack overall. That was just plain wrong!!

More Ianto Pleeeeeeze!!
(no subject) - fajrdrako - Jul. 17th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 17th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
That is still a good excuse for rewatching it all, and a lot can be said for low tech methods (: It'd be nice if it could be more balanced but at least they all got an opportunity to feature lots. We'll have to wait and see what the new series brings (:
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
They don't have the same excuse to give Gwen most of the attention or the same excuse for Ianto to avoid attention anymore.
(no subject) - tiggerbrasilf - Jul. 17th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 17th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Oh God, Gwen's got the most screentime. Unbelievable yet so typical, I always thought that there was too much Gwen in S1, which led me to dislike her. And don't even get me started on Ianto's [lack of] screentime! I really hope Tosh and Ianto are used more in S2, I love them.

And yay, curing boredom with Torchwood is awesome.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
Tosh and Ianto have been seen at every group location shot. Tosh also had a solo shoot, and Jack and Ianto had a Weevil-hunting shoot.
Jul. 17th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
You're kind of insane for doing this but I love you deeply for it
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
Aww, I'm Ten! ;) Thank you.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Wow. For a show supposedly about Captain Jack Harkness, we sure don't see a lot of him as opposed to Gwen. That's kind of... pathetic.

Thank you for doing this, though. It's so interesting to see the numbers in front of you. Ianto is severely underused and I hope the writers take advantage of Gareth for season two since he (er, hopefully) isn't being planned to be killed off. And more Jack! It is, after all, his show. Or so we were sold on that thought.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
It looks like we'll be getting a lot more Jack, in more ways than one! And also a lot more Ianto, hopefully in more ways than one. ;)
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Jul. 17th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
I am thorn between being amazed and creeped out...

That's me, the amazing creepy Goth Geek! :D

I love CC too. In fact he's what got me started on this. I suspected that he and CT were more equitable with the times than the other writers were.
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Jul. 17th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
lol some ones making good use of a stop watch. this just tells me that Ianto needs much more screen time Tosh has more than I thought but this was intresting to read
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jul. 17th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
You are extremely thorough, but this is very interesting **ponders** Let's hope for more Ianto, and hopefully a more even distribution of on-screen time.

Oh, and *obviously* more Jack :)
Jul. 17th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And more Jack and Ianto together wouldn't hurt. With innuendo. And kissing. And lube.
Jul. 17th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
This is exactly the sort of detailed stats I record, when I have time, which I don't any more.

Absolutely fascinating.

And it definitely explains why I felt shortchanged watching Torchwood. I tuned in solely because of Captain Jack - I've been a Barrowman fan for a long time and the prospect of seeing him every week, and as such a wonderful character, is what brought me to Torchwood.

And what did I get? Gwen. I don't hate Gwen, but I did get tired of her, and very frustrated when what I wanted was more Jack!

Thank you for doing this. I know it wasn't just in my head now!
Jul. 17th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
Jul. 17th, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
which just goes to prove that there is entirely TOO MUCH Gwen. Silly me, but I thought it was meant to be Jack's show. He's the alien expert, he's the one stranded on Earth trying to sort his life out.

Besides, if Gwen wasn't such a nosey hypocritical slut she wouldn't have nearly so much screen time. If you took out where she was:

a)sticking her neb somwhere it didn't belong,

b)ranting at someone who had offended her somewhat dubious moral code and

c)snogging, shagging or making eyes at someone other than her fiance, she would probably get less screen time than Ianto, or for that matter, Rhys.
Jul. 18th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC)
I rather liked her fall actually. It's the sort of overestimation of one's abilities you usually see in movies, not in a leading lady on a TV show. It warmed the cockles of my cynical heart.
Jul. 18th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
I found this fascinating! (And can't believe how much work you put into it.) Who wouldda thought Ianto had SO LITTLE screen time?
Jul. 18th, 2007 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you. He did a lot with a little, didn't he?
Jul. 18th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
OMG this is incredible. What a wonderful way to avoid real work! (And you actually sat through 'Random shoes' again on purpose!) I'm shocked Gwen has SO much screen time, she seemed like she was on a lot in the first two episodes, but since we were 'seeing' torchwood through her newbie's eyes it made sense.. the fact it continued doesn't though. Why am I not suprised that Gwen has the least amount of time in my favorite episode?
Kudos and donuts for all your hard work!
Jul. 18th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jul. 18th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
I wonder if people would like Owen more if he was shown doing more doctor-y type things, and undercover work.

Actually, if everyone was shown doing their jobs, and getting similar screen time to Countrycide, it would be better. Plus more Myfanwy.
Jul. 18th, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
Ooh definately more Myfanwy! I love Love LOVE your avatar!!!
But I agree I would have liked to see more of Owen in doctor-mode
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