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This article concerns the television series. For the organization, see Torchwood Institute. For the Cardiff branch of Torchwood, see Torchwood Three.

Torchwood is a Doctor Who television spin-off. An in-house BBC Wales production for digital television station BBC Three, it is the first television spin-off of Doctor Who since the unsuccessful pilot of K-9 and Company in 1981 and the first to be commissioned for a full 13-part series. It features the adventures of the Torchwood branch located in Cardiff, and is set on Earth after the events of DW: Doomsday (and for lead character Jack Harkness the events of DW: The Parting of the Ways.

The spin-off series has not yet featured the Doctor himself, though the sound of the Doctor's TARDIS is heard in the final episode of season one, and other dialogue references have been made, most recently in the Children of Earth arc. Likewise, the appearance of Martha Jones in the second series provides vital continuity between Doctor Whos third and fourth series. Conversely, Jack, as well as his team of Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones featured (and former team members Owen Harper and Toshiko Sato are mentioned) in the last two episodes of the fourth series of Doctor Who.

The team as seen in Series 3. From left to right: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper

Regular characters have included Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Toshiko Sato, and Owen Harper. Martha Jones and Suzie Costello have also been portrayed as part of the Torchwood team led by Harkness. Semi-regulars Rhys Williams and PC Andy Davidson are the only non-Torchwood members who have recurred across all series.




In 2002, before the revival of Doctor Who, Russell T Davies began to develop an idea for a science-fiction/crime drama in the style of American fantasy drama series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series, Angel.

This idea, originally titled Excalibur, was abandoned until 2005, when BBC Three Controller Stuart Murphy invited Davies to develop a post-watershed science fiction series for the channel. During the production of the 2005 series of Doctor Who, the word "Torchwood" (an anagram of "Doctor Who") originated during production of the new Doctor Who series, when television pirates were eager to get their hands on the tapes. Someone in the production office suggested that the tapes be labelled "Torchwood" instead of "Doctor Who" to disguise their contents as they were being sent to London. Davies thought that was a clever idea and remembered the name.

Davies connected the word Torchwood to his earlier Excalibur idea and decided to make the series a Doctor Who spin-off. Subsequently, the word Torchwood was seeded in several Doctor Who episodes and other media which aired in 2005 and 2006.


The series is set in contemporary Cardiff and follows the Welsh branch of a (semi-)covert agency called the Torchwood Institute, which investigates extraterrestrial incidents on Earth and scavenges alien technology for its own use. As established in the Doctor Who episodes Tooth and Claw and Army of Ghosts, the Institute had been formed by Queen Victoria following an incident involving the Tenth Doctor, ostensibly to protect the Empire from aliens and other creatures -- as well as from the Doctor, himself.

To paraphrase Torchwood Three's commander-in-chief, Jack Harkness, the organization is separate from the government, outside the police, and beyond the United Nations (the last reference thereby placing Torchwood in a different realm than UNIT (once known as the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce).

Although a secret organization, the existence of Torchwood is known by the public, and Torchwood operatives make no secret of their identity when on duty (they even drive a vehicle emblazoned with the name). Their public perception is as merely a 'special ops' group, with their true responsibilities kept secret to all but a select few.

The events of the first series take place some time after the Doctor Who Doomsday series two finale, in which Torchwood's London headquarters was destroyed, and just before the series three finale; the final episode of Series 1 leads directly into the Doctor Who episode Utopia.

The initial main writer alongside Davies was Chris Chibnall, creator of the BBC light drama show Born and Bred (who later moved over to work on Law & Order UK). Other writers include P.J. Hammond, Toby Whithouse, Doctor Who script editor Helen Raynor, Catherine Tregenna, and Doctor Who cast member Noel Clarke.

In a 17th October 2005 announcement unveiling the series, BBC Three controller Stuart Murphy described Torchwood as "sinister and psychological...As well as being very British and modern and real." Davies further described it as "a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour. [...] Dark, wild and sexy, it's The X-Files meets This Life." Davies later denied ever making this comparison, instead describing the show as "alleyways, rain, the city".

As Torchwood is a post-watershed show β€” that is, after 9 p.m. β€” it has more mature content than Doctor Who. Davies told SFX: "We can be a bit more visceral, more violent, and more sexual, if we want to. Though bear in mind that it's very teenage to indulge yourself in blood and gore, and Torchwood is going to be smarter than that. But it’s the essential difference between BBC One at 7 pm, and BBC Three at, say, 9 pm. That says it all β€” instinctively, every viewer can see the huge difference there."

Davies also joked to a BBC Radio Wales interviewer that he was "not allowed" to refer to the programme as "Doctor Who for grown-ups". The first series includes content never before seen or heard in the Doctor Who franchise, including lovemaking scenes (in episodes such as Day One and Out of Time), same-sex kissing in a romantic/sexual context, and use of extreme profanity in several episodes. Such content was controversial among aspects of Who fandom, and as the series has progressed such scenes have been minimized, to the point where by Series 3 relatively little of this content remained.


Main Cast

Regular Cast

Gorman and Mori left the series at the end of Series 2 due to their characters being killed off, and David-Lloyd left after Episode 4 of Series 3 following Ianto's death.

List of stories

Series 1 - 2006-2007

Main article: Series 1 (Torchwood)

Series 2 - 2008

Main article: Series 2 (Torchwood)

Series 3 - 2009

Main article: Series 3 (Torchwood)

Series 4 - 2010

Main article: Series 4 (Torchwood)


Torchwood premiered on Sunday 22nd October 2006 on BBC Three. It has the unusual distinction of having been broadcast on three of the BBC's networks, as Series 2 aired on BBC Two, and Series 3 on BBC One.

Series 1 and 2 were full 13-episode seasons. For Series 3 the BBC decided to change the format of the series, producing a five-episode mini-series that aired over consecutive evenings. Although a Series 4 is currently (August 2009) under consideration, it is not known if the series will return to its 13-episode format or remain as a mini-series.

As of 2009, Torchwood has not yet produced a holiday special (although Series 1 did include an episode set during the Christmas season), or a mini-episode for charity.

Initial rumours/media reports

Following the announcement of Torchwood, media outlets covered the show extensively.

Interviewed on ITV1's afternoon chat show Loose Women on 18th October 2005, Barrowman suggested that the series might be repeated on BBC One sometime after its initial BBC Three airing. He also stated that it would not be revealed in the series how Jack Harkness has arrived in the early 21st century. This is technically true -- the revelation actually occurs in the Doctor Who episode, Utopia.

Among casting rumours, the tabloid The Daily Star wrote that singer and chat show host Charlotte Church would appear as a Satan-worshipping villain in the series. This never occurred.

Story arcs

Various lines of dialogue of Series 1 makes reference to "something in the darkness", which might refer to either Abaddon or possibly either Durac from the following season. Series 2 has the dual arcs of the return of Jack's brother Gray (foreshadowed in the episodes Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Adam) and the death and resurrection of Owen Harper. Series 3 consists of a single storyline, Children of Earth.

The stories



BBC Books have released a series of novels based on the series.

Comics and short fiction

Torchwood Magazine, published by Titan Books, has published comics by several different artists and writers, as well as short stories. Titan has to date also issued one graphic novel compiling the comic strips.


BBC Radio Dramas

Original audiobooks

Cross-continuity with the Doctor Who Universe

In "Torchwood" Series 1, the episodes Everything Changes and Cyberwoman make direct reference to the Cybus Cybermen in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday as well as the Battle of Canary Wharf.

The presence of the Doctor's hand in the Hub alludes to his losing it in The Christmas Invasion.

Graffiti seen in the Ritz in Captain Jack Harkness continues the presence Bad Wolf meme and Harold Saxon posters are seen on the walls.

Utopia continues directly from the closing moments of the "Torchwood" Series 1 finale End of Days, in which both Jack Harkness and the audience hear the sound of the TARDIS.

Abaddon from "End of Days" is referred to as the son of The Beast from the Doctor Who episodes The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit.

Jack Harkness explains in the Doctor Who story The Sound of Drums that he made Torchwood Three in honour of the Doctor, and Harold Saxon explains he has sent Torchwood Three on a "wild goose chase" to the Himalayas.

In "Torchwood" Series 2, Freema Agyeman reprised her role of Martha Jones in the episode Reset. Her alias Samantha Jones references a companion of the Eighth Doctor.

UNIT, an organization closely associated with the Third Doctor in particular, appears in a flashback in Fragments.

Toshiko Sato explains her appearance as the nurse in "Doctor Who" Series 1 Aliens of London as her filling in for Owen, who had a hangover.

A Hoix makes a small appearance in Exit Wounds.The Hoix first appeared in DW: Love & Monsters.

The Doctor Who Series 4 episode Turn Left presents an alternate timeline, nicknamed Donna's World, where, by saving the Earth from a Sontaran invasion (an event shown in the usual timeline in The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky), Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones die, while Jack Harkness is captured and taken to Sontar. (In this alternate timeline, as in the normal one, Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper have already died.)

In The Stolen Earth and Journey's End, the surviving Torchwood team and the Hub appear. While Jack goes off to save the Doctor, Gwen and Ianto remain in the Hub to fight off a Dalek. Journey's End concludes with Jack offering Martha a job with Torchwood.

Captain Jack holds a bolt gun in Random Shoes which was first seen in The Satan Pit.

In the episode Adam at the start, Jack Harkness and Adam Smith are seen holding Dalek tommy guns which were first seen in Evolution of the Daleks.

After leaving Earth in TW: Children of Earth: Day Five Jack Harkness is seen at a bar (DW: The End of Time) where he appears to be depressed about the loss of Ianto Jones . The Tenth Doctor arrives and introduces Jack to Alonso Frame from "Voyage of the Damned". The beginning of a romantic relationship is implied but it is unknown (as of January 2010) if this will be pursued in future story lines.


Series 4

Russell T Davies revealed to the TV listings magazine TV Guide that work on Series Four is expected to begin in January 2010. It is currently unknown whether Jack, Gwen and Rhys will return in the fourth series, but Davies previously told Torchwood Magazine in an interview in August 2009: "I know where you'd find Gwen and Rhys, and their baby, and Jack, and I know how you'd go forward with a new form of Torchwood."

In a late-November 2009 radio interview, Barrowman indicated that he has been signed to return as Jack Harkness for a fourth series, but a production date has not yet been set.[1] The earliest a fourth season could be broadcast is the summer or fall of 2010, assuming production begins early in 2010.

Proposed American series

In January 2010 US media reported that Davies, Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter were planning a US version of Torchwood for the Fox network (which had previously aired the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie). According to the reports, Barrowman and other original cast members might appear. The media coverage does not indicate whether or not the series is expected to be a remake/standalone, or if it will tie in with existing Whoniverse continuity. As of 18 January the idea is only at the proposal stage, with Fox having yet to commit to producing a pilot which, in turn, may or may not result in a series. [2]

Aborted Musical

According to Russell T Davies in The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter, ABBA had a desire to create a Torchwood musical. However, it was turned down.[3]

See also

External links

  • Official BBC website

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

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