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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

This article refers to the Torchwood episode. For other uses see Captain Jack Harkness (disambiguation), for the character see Jack Harkness

Captain Jack Harkness
Series: Torchwood - TV Stories
Series Number: Series 1
Story Number: 12
Enemy: Bilis Manger
Setting: Cardiff, 2008

Cardiff, 1941

Writer: Catherine Tregenna
Director: Ashley Way
Producer: Richard Stokes
Broadcast: 1st January 2007
Previous Story: Combat
Following Story: End of Days



Investigating reports of ghostly music, Jack and Toshiko find themselves stranded in a packed dance hall - in 1941. As Gwen, Owen and Ianto work to rescue their colleagues, Jack and Toshiko meet a handsome young American squadron leader by the name of... Captain Jack Harkness.


Captain Jack Harkness and Toshiko Sato investigate a report that music from the 1940s has been drifting out of a derelict dancehall called "The Ritz". They enter the dancehall and are soon transported back to 20th January 1941 through a temporal shift. The dancehall is full of 1940s dressed people dancing to the live music.

In 1941, Jack encounters another American Captain by the name of Captain Jack Harkness. Torchwood's Jack quickly invents the name "Captain James Harper". Upon Toshiko interrogating him, "James Harper" reveals that when he used to be a con-man, he took the real Captain Jack Harkness's name as a disguise. Later, he also explains that the real Captain Jack would die a day later during a routine training exercise. "James Harper" and Toshiko devise a plan to leave the second half of an equation on something that will last through time so that, back in the present day, the Torchwood team can discover it and combine it with the half that they have already. The full equation will be able to open the rift and bring Toshiko and "James Harper" back to the present day. Toshiko discovers that the manager Bilis Manger has a Polaroid camera (which she comments had not yet been invented in 1941 and so is therefore out of its time). While taking the photo, Toshiko misses the first part of the equation and (as Bilis now has the camera) she must find another way to get this first part back to present day. She decides to use her own blood (cutting her hand with a food can) and writes the missing bit of the equation on a card. She puts the card inside the can for the Torchwood team to find. Back in the present day, Ianto and Owen discover that they cannot get through to Toshiko when they try and call her and so they instruct Gwen to go and investigate. Just as Gwen can hear music drifting out from 1941, "James Harper" and Tosiko sometimes hear Gwen's calls drifting the other way. Back at the Torchwood Hub, Ianto and Owen frequently argue over the best way to bring them back from 1941. Owen argues that they should open the rift but Ianto objects commenting that without the full equation, opening the rift could lead to devastation. Ianto also realises that the real reason why Owen wants to open the rift is to bring back Diane (see "Out of Time").

Meanwhile, at The Ritz, Gwen encounters the caretaker called "Bilis Manger" who opens the whole dancehall up for her to have a look around. After Ianto checks with the records, he realises that the Bilis Manger of now is the same Bilis Manger from 1941 and orders her to withdraw from the dancehall. Outside, Gwen finds the hidden photograph left by Toshiko in 1941 and immediately notices the missing part and so continues searching.

At the Hub, Owen is ignoring Ianto protests and contiues to try and open the rift using the rift manipulator. When trying to activate the manipulator, Owen discovers that there is a piece missing and decides to look for it in Bilis's office.

At The Ritz, Owen find the missing piece embedded within a grandfather clock. Gwen also finds the card left by Toshiko in 1941 and informs Ianto. She also informs then that three of the numbers have been scraped out by someone (most likely Bilis) and reads the message that Toshiko has writen below the equation: "Tell my family, I love them."

While all this is happening, "James Harper" gets to know the real Captain Jack and slowly begins to fall in love with him. "James Harper" and Captain Jack are joined by Captain Jack's girlfriend, who wishes to be with her boyfriend before he leaves to fight. After the real Captain Jack shows little interest in her, she begins to leave hoping the real Captain Jack with follow. When he does not, "James Harper" insists that Jack kiss his girlfriend goodbye, hinting at his death tomorrow. The real Jack takes "James Harper's" advice and kisses her goodbye. The real Jack believes that this makes things worst as his girlfriend now believes she is in love with him. After snapping at "James Harper", the real Jack storms off but "James Harper" follows him. On the stairs, the two have an argument with "James Harper" arguing that it is okay to be scared and the real Jack arguing that "A captain has to keep his head." After calming down, the two re-tell their worsts experiences of war. The real Jack tells how he saw a young boy shot through the eyes and heard him yelling for his mother as he was shot to death while "James Harper" tells how he had to watch his best friend (whom "James Harper" had persuaded to sign up to the army) tortured by the enemy and killed in front of him.

Later, during a bomb raid, the real Jack confesses that he is scared and, once the bomb raid is over, the real Jack and "James Harper" decide to have a private conversation away from everyone else. They sit down at a table. The real Jack asks "James Harper" why he ("James Harper) made him (the real Jack) kiss his girlfriend goodbye. "James Harper" hints again, even more so this time, about the real Jack's death tomorrow and that he should "live every moment as if it was [a] last." The real Jack slowly realises that "James Harper" knows something bad is going to happen and under "James's" advice goes to his girlfriend.

The real Jack returns later, however, to find "James Harper" who is sitting on a couch on his own. The real Jack joins him. "James" explains that he may have to leave before the night is over to which the real Jack replies that they should then "make the most of now". They hold hands for a few seconds but break contact a few seconds later as they are interrupted by a couple who say they require the "lover's corner". The real Jack tells the couple that he and "James" were just discussing strategies. Jack turns down "James's" offer of them going somewhere else.

Disheartened, "James" returns to the edge of the dance floor where he is joined by Toshiko. Glancing over at the real Jack every now and then, he explains that tomorrow the real Jack will lead his men in a routine training exercise where they are surprised by the Messerschmitts. The real Jack kills three of them before being killed as his plane bursts into flames. The real Jack's men all make it back to safety.

Meanwhile, back in the present day and at the Hub, Owen and Ianto are still arguing about the rift. When Owen goes into "James Harper's" safe to retrieve the rift manipulator's blueprints, Ianto attempts to over power Owen and snatch the blueprints from him. Owen, in fact, overpowers Ianto and kicks him to the ground before heading towards the rift manipulator. Shortly after, Owen is ordered to stop by Ianto (who is now pointing a gun at Owen). After Owen taunts Ianto about his relationship with Jack, Ianto shoots Owen in the shoulder to prevent him from placing the missing piece that Owen retrieved earlier from Bilis's office in into the manipulator. Ianto is too late, however. Owen has already placed the piece and the manipulator begins to activate.

Back in 1941, "James" and Toshiko are now sitting at a table. "James" explains that someone brought him back to life one day and hints (although he does not explicity explain) that he has not been able to die ever since. Getting emotional, "James" apologises to Toshiko for ""dragging" her into "James's" business of which Toshiko reasuringly replies that it was her choice to get involved. "James" promises Toshiko that he will look after her but breaks down when he realises that there is noting that can be done to save the real Jack (whom he now loves).

During the next song (that is sung by the live singer), the real Jack is stood at the other side of the dance floor, thinking about all that "James" has told him. The real Jack decides to take "James's" hand and, to the bewilderment of the surrounding people, they beging to dance to the slow music, holding each other and rotating slowly. After a while, "James" and the real Jack go to kiss one another. They are intrupted by the rift bursting open in the doorway. Toshiko rushes to go through the rift and pleads with "James" to follow her commenting that the Torchwood team need him. Tearfully, "James" explains to the real Jack that it is his duty to go and unwillingly lets go of Jack and heads towards the rift. At the last minute, "James" turns around and heads back to the real Jack. "James" kisses Jack passionately on the lips before tearfully and unwillingly letting him go again. In the rift, "James" turns around to face the real Jack who salutes him before he vanishes.

Back in the present day, Gwen gleefully greets Jack and Toshiko as they leave The Ritz. Jack takes one last look at the dancehall before returning back to the Hub.

At the Hub, Owen is performing self-aid on the bullet wound courtesy of Ianto. Ianto comments that he never meant to kill Owen, he was supposed to hit his shoulder. He also explains that there is no sign of Bilis. Toshiko, who is holding some medical equipment for Owen, explains what her and Jack saw in 1941, while Owen taunts Ianto about opening the rift not having any immediate side-effects (see "End of Days"). Jack walks passed them looking down as he enters his office. Toshiko joins him. They both hold a toast to the real Captain Jack Harkness.



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  • Outside the present day dance hall, there are posters with the text "Vote Saxon".
  • When Jack and Tosh walk up the stairs at the Ritz (present-day), there is graffiti on the wall saying Bad Wolf. There is also a circled P emblem, which was the emblem of the Preachers.
  • Some of the objects Owen removes from the safe include the life knife and quantum transducer.

Story Notes

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  • BBC3 - 1.2 million viewers
  • BBC2 - 2.1 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

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Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

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  • Jack references the events that take place at the end of DW: The Parting of the Ways.
  • If the events of Torchwood and Doctor Who are taken into account there are four Torchwood Jacks in this time period. One is the one from this episode that goes back through the rift with Toshiko, the second is the Jack who first appeared in DW: The Empty Child. It was revealed in DW: Utopia that after The Parting of the Ways Jack attempted to return to the 21st century using his vortex manipulator but accidentally ended up in 1869 and had to wait until present day as his vortex manipulator broke. This would mean that he lived through World War II and would be the third Jack in this era. In TW: Exit Wounds Jack is buried in 27 AD only to be dug up in 1901 by Torchwood and put in a cryo-chamber until 2009 meaning that a fourth Jack is in this time period only frozen.

DVD Releases

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See Also

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External Links

  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Captain Jack Harkness
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Captain Jack Harkness
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Captain Jack Harkness
Torchwood Series 1
Everything Changes  • Day One  • Ghost Machine  • Cyberwoman  • Small Worlds  • Countrycide  • Greeks Bearing Gifts  • They Keep Killing Suzie  • Random Shoes  • Out of Time  • Combat  • Captain Jack Harkness  • End of Days

This article uses material from the "Captain Jack Harkness" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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