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Gwen Cooper
Gwen Cooper
Also known as:
Race: Human
Home Planet: Earth
Home Era: 2000s
Appearances: List of Appearances
Actor: Eve Myles

Gwen Elizabeth Cooper was a Cardiff Police Constable who was recruited by Torchwood Three, rising to second-in-command (and temporarily commander) of the unit. As of the aftermath of Children of Earth Gwen remains the only surviving or current member of Torchwood Three.



Prior to joining Torchwood

Gwen in her Police Uniform

Gwen's family has been established in Cardiff since the 19th century. This and/or, as the Doctor explained, the influence of the space-time rift located in Cardiff, might explain her physical resemblance to a funeral home employee named Gwyneth, who died in 1869 in one of the earliest known incidents involving the rift. (DW: Journey's End, The Unquiet Dead)

Gwen Cooper was born on 16th August 1978 to Geraint and Mary Cooper. (At the time of Gwen's marriage to Rhys, they lived in Swansea.) (TW: Children of Earth, Something Borrowed) Prior to going out with boyfriend Rhys Williams, whom she met in college, Gwen fought off the romantic attention of police partner Andy Davidson (TW: Adrift) and had a boyfriend named Bruce. Rhys fancied her as soon as he saw her because of her nice personality and her good looks. Rhys often made jokes during the stupidest time, Gwen referred to this as "Rhysing around". (TW: Adam) Rhys and Gwen came to live together, and while Gwen's work in Torchwood brought occasionally alien phenomena to Rhys's attention, Rhys did not believe in aliens, instead concluding terrorists had caused hallucinations by putting psychotropics in the water supply. (TW: Everything Changes)

Gwen was a uniformed police constable when she was called in on a murder scene, only to encounter a mysterious team of individuals known only as "Torchwood". She got involved when she stumbled across the team investigating one of several murders covertly carried out by one of Torchwood's own personnel, the devious Suzie Costello. She also witnessed the killing of a hospital porter by a Weevil, an obviously non-human being. Captain Jack Harkness took her on a tour of the Hub, after which he dosed her with retcon, a drug that induces selective amnesia, but she still managed to make notes on her meeting with the team. Subsequently, she joined Torchwood at the invitation of Captain Jack Harkness, who valued her empathetic nature and ability to see beyond the facts. Having witnesses Costello shooting Jack in the head, but Jack immediately coming back to life, Gwen was, for a time, the only member of Torchwood Three who knew of Jack's immortality. (TW: Everything Changes)

Life in Torchwood

Early career

Gwen was taught to use guns by Jack, due to her being a 'Beat cop' rather than a Firearms officer, and there appeared to be some sexual tension between the two, but any developing feelings were apparently negated when she returned home and the "ghost machine" showed her memories of her relationship with Rhys. (TW: Ghost Machine) She and another team member, Owen Harper kissed passionately whilst hiding from the partially cyber-converted Lisa Hallett. (TW: Cyberwoman) Following his seduction of her (TW: Countrycide), Owen and Gwen embarked upon a brief affair, largely because she couldn't share her supernatural and extraterrestrial experiences with her boyfriend, Rhys.

Gwen was the only one to hear the ghost of Eugene Jones (although she didn't know that it was him at the time). (TW: Random Shoes)

When Gwen received a precognitive vision of Rhys' death by stabbing, she rendered him unconscious with a stun gun and locked him up in the confinement area beneath the Hub, to no avail as Bilis Manger simply teleported in and stabbed him to death there. She took part in a coup with Owen to overthrow Jack and open the Rift, believing it would resurrect Rhys. She was ecstatic when Rhys returned to life, the previous event having apparently "un-happened", but when Jack battled with Abaddon (whom the Rift had also released) and he remained dead for days, Gwen stayed by his side for the entire time, unwavering in her belief in him, before he is finally resurrected after she kissed his dead lips. A few minutes after his recovery, Jack vanished, having left the team behind to chase after the Doctor's TARDIS (TW: End of Days)

Jack's disappearance

After Jack's disappearance she, along with the rest of the team, was dispatched on a "wild goose chase" mission to the Himalayas by Mr. Saxon. (DW: The Sound of Drums)

Gwen's fate during the Year That Never Was remains yet to be revealed. The exact nature of the fake mission is also unknown. It is unclear whether the negation of the Saxon timeline also negated the mission.

With Harkness still missing, and despite being the junior employee, Gwen nonetheless took over as Torchwood Three team leader. Rhys proposed marriage to her and she accepted. (TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)

Cooper continued to operate Torchwood Three as Jack had done, and was at one point seen chasing a blowfish-like alien driving a sports car.

Other Torchwood operations during Jack's absence and under Cooper's leadership have yet to be chronicled.


Just as suddenly as he had vanished, Jack re-appeared and once more took over Torchwood. (TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) Following a case which involved Rhys' hauling company and his attempt to investigate, Gwen came clean about the true nature of her work for Torchwood. (TW: Meat) Although Harkness wanted to retcon Rhys' knowledge of Torchwood, Gwen was successfully able to convince him not to do this and Rhys, for his part, kept the secret.

When Adam Smith arrived at Torchwood, he inserted himself into Gwen's memory and she forgot about Rhys. When she came home, he was in the flat and she called Jack thinking he was a mad man who had broken into her flat. She remembered him after he refreshed her memory of how they met. (TW: Adam)

As Gwen was preparing for her marriage to Rhys, she was bitten by a Nostrovite, which transferred the egg of its young into her body, causing her to wake up pregnant on her wedding day. Rhys eventually saved her by using the Singularity Scalpel to remove the egg from her, while Jack destroyed the mother Nostrovite. She and Rhys were married shortly thereafter, though the guests' memories were retconned to forget the alien involvement. (TW: Something Borrowed) Though she and Rhys were now married, she still went by her maiden name of Gwen Cooper. (TWN: SkyPoint; DW: Journey's End)

She was upset when Andy Davidson, her former police partner, told her she had become distant since she joined Torchwood. Angry at this, she set out trying to unlock the mystery of the Rift despite Jack's opposition. (TW: Adrift)

When signs of an unidentified life-signs were detected from a warehouse, the rest of the team went to investigate, while Gwen got delayed and avoided an explosion that trapped the others. Together with Rhys, who had given her a lift, she managed to rescue the others and discovered that Captain John Hart was responsible. (TW: Fragments)

With Rift activity being detected in three locations in Cardiff, Gwen went to police headquarters, discovering that the Weevils had killed four of the senior police officers. Later, Gwen witnesses the detonation of 15 bombs, planted by John and Jacks brother, Gray, at strategic locations around Cardiff, causing mayhem. She takes command of the confused police officers and helps to subdue the Weevils and makes her way to the Hub, but is trapped in the Weevil cage by Gray. She is rescued by Jack and returns to the control room but is too late to help Tosh, who was shot and killed by Gray. (TW: Exit Wounds)

Gwen and Ianto fight off a Dalek (DW: The Stolen Earth)

After the loss

The deaths of Tosh and Owen had a profound impact on Cooper, to the point where she questioned whether it was worth Torchwood continuing. (TW: Exit Wounds) She was still emotionally unsteady regarding the loss several months later. (BBCR: Lost Souls) Perhaps to help her cope, she took to placing a photograph of Owen and Tosh next to her workstation in the Hub. (TW: Children of Earth: Day One)

During the Medusa Cascade incident

Gwen was present at the Hub when Earth was moved to the Medusa Cascade and invaded by the Daleks and helped out with contacting the Doctor. After Jack left to help the Doctor, Ianto and Gwen tried to hold off a Dalek invading the Hub with conventional weaponry, even though she knew they wouldn't work. As she told Ianto, "I'm going down fighting, like Owen, like Tosh. How about you?" (DW: The Stolen Earth) They survived thanks to Tosh's time lock defense system, which froze the Dalek in time before it could get beyond the threshold of the Hub's entrance, although this also trapped Ianto and Gwen inside. She was able to help the Doctor to use the Rift to return the Earth to it original position, she and Ianto opening up the Rift Manipulator to allow the Doctor to use it as a 'towrope' to move Earth back to its proper place. (DW: Journey's End) During the incident she experienced a moment of puzzlement when the Doctor and Rose Tyler seemed to share an in-joke at her expense; something about her resembling someone from the 19th Century. (DW: Journey's End)

The 456 incident

At the beginning of Day One of the 456 incident Gwen discovered a man in a Psychiatric Hospital that had displayed the same signs as the posessed Children. However on meeting him she was informed that he could smell that she was pregnant, something which was confirmed by the Hub's medical scanner. Jack then ran in and after seeing this placed his hand on her, which was still on the Hub's medical scanner. The picture then switched to reveal the bomb hidden inside Jack's body forcing Ianto and Gwen to abandon the Hub as it was destroyed.

After escaping the explosion Gwen was attacked by two government agents masquerading as paramedics but managed to fight them off with a fire extinguisher, steal their weapons and then flee the scene. She returned home in order to collect Rhys, recognizing that if someone was trying to kill her then her husband was next on the list. The two were able to escape with Gwen delaying the government hit squad after them by
shooting their tyres down. (TW: Children of Earth: Day One)

The two fled to London where they made contact with Lois Habiba, who would inform them of the governments plans and eventually becom a spy for them, who told them the location of Jack, who has been captured, as well as the method they will use to gain access - disguise themselves as funeral workers. Gwen and Rhys sneaked into the base but were cornered by Johnson outside Jack's cell; they were saved by Ianto who created a path using a forklift and the group, Jack included, escaped. (TW: Children of Earth: Day Two)

The team relocated to an old Torchwood One storage facilty and witnessed the return of the 456; Gwen then went to visit Lois again and convinced her to take a pair of contact lenses that would allow Torchwood to monitor the situation inside Thames House. Later on, Gwen convinced Andy Davidson to allow Clem MacDonald to be released from prison and takes him back to the storage base for his safety. (TW: Children of Earth: Day Three)

She later witnessed the 456 demand ten percent of the Earth's children and convinced Lois to stand up to the government, who were planning to give them the children, and blackmail them to allow Jack and Ianto access to talk to the 456.

With Rhys in a hidden location with the recordings that could destroy the government, Gwen purposefully led Johnson and her team to the base and revealed to them what the government was doing, gaining their support.

While talking with Johnson, the 456 became angry while dealing with Jack and killed Clem along with many MI5 staff when it flooded the building with a virus, leading to Ianto's death. Gwen rushed to the building once it was safe and was brought to tears by the body of her friend while Jack was reborn again. (TW: Children of Earth: Day Four)

Having failed to stop the government from activating the plan to take the bottom ten percent of school children Gwen, along with Rhys and Andy, went to fufill a promise to Jack - protect Iantos niece and nephew. En route, Gwen, upset over Ianto's death, strongly implied to Rhys that she was considering aborting the pregnancy, due to the dangerous world they now lived in; she later recanted her statement and told Rhys she never seriously considered the option.

Arriving just as the army did to take the children, the group gathered as many children as they could and ran, along with Ianto's sister and her husband, to a nearby disused building but were soon discovered.

Running from the army proved fruitless and soon only Gwen and a single child were left uncaptured and running but she was saved when Jack destroyed the 456 and she happily embraced the children.


It is assumed that when The Master activated the Immortality Gate on Christmas and turned every human on Earth into a replica of himself, Gwen and Rhys were affected too. After Rassilon reversed the effect of the gate, they would've returned back to normal, and continued their life as it was. (DW: The End of Time)

Six months after the 456 incident, she and Rhys went to meet Jack up on a hill, seeing him for the first time since he left to travel the world in the wake of the death of his grandson. Now heavily pregnant, Gwen tried to convince Jack not to leave her and Torchwood; but she failed and he left. Gwen was left sobbing in Rhys's arms.

With Jack gone, the other members dead and Gwen heavily pregnant, the future of Torchwood Three was left in limbo (TW: Children of Earth: Day Five).

Alternate Realities

Donna's World

If Donna Noble had turned right, instead of left, stopping herself from ever meeting and saving the Doctor, Gwen would have still joined Torchwood; she and Ianto Jones would have sacrificed their lives to save the Earth from the Sontarans' plan involving ATMOS. (DW: Turn Left)


As a Torchwood operative she provided an essential foil to Captain Jack, although her personal agendas sometimes interfered with her duties. Her actions and decisions can be guided by her desire to protect her live-in boyfriend (and later husband), Rhys. She had a brief, disruptive affair with another operative, Owen Harper, and also shared sexual tension with Jack, but in the end remained true to Rhys.

Gwen Figure.

Key Life Events

Behind the Scenes

  • Eve Myles initially appeared on Doctor Who as Gwyneth in the 2005 episode The Unquiet Dead. When she was later cast as Gwen Cooper, Russell T Davies denied that the two characters were related, just that they had similar names and the same actress - in fact, he didn't consider the names Gwen and Gwyneth similar. In the fourth season finale, Journey's End The Doctor and Rose Tyler notice the resemblance between Gwen and Gwyneth and Gwen states her family ties dating back to the 19th century. Russell T Davies explains it as "It's not familial as we understand it. There's no blood tie. Spatial genetic multiplicity means an echo and repetition of physical traits across a Time Rift." This means that although Gwen may be a 'copy' of Gwyneth, she isn't the same person.
  • Gwen did not take a married name and continues to be identified as Gwen Cooper on both Torchwood and Doctor Who, reportedly at the request of Myles.
Torchwood 3 Staff
Gwen Cooper

Martha Jones  • Rhys Williams  • Lois Habiba  • The Doctor  • Andy Davidson  • Vivien Rook  • Tommy Brockless

Emily Holroyd  • Alice Guppy  • Charles Gaskell  • Gerald Carter  • Harriet Derbyshire  • Douglas Caldwell  • Lydia Childs  • Charles Quinn  • Lucia Moretti  • Alex Hopkins  • Suzie Costello  • Adam Smith  • Owen Harper  • Toshiko Sato  • Ianto Jones  • Jack Harkness

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

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