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Torchwood Three
Leader: Jack Harkness
Also known as: The Hub
Torchwood Hub

Affiliated with:

Torchwood Institute
Homeland / Bases: Cardiff
Appearances: See: Torchwood Institute - List of Appearances
Notable Members: see members section

Torchwood Three, located in the Hub underneath Cardiff, Wales, was a branch of the Torchwood Institute. It was created mainly to monitor the Rift. Following the Battle of Canary Wharf it was the only major branch of Torchwood.



Over more than a hundred years, Captain Jack Harkness has had a close association with Torchwood Three; he has been its leader since 2000. Though Torchwood Three was significantly smaller than the London branch, with only a handful of employees, after Torchwood 1 was destroyed in the Battle of Canary Wharf, it became the largest surviving branch of the organisation. (Torchwood Two is a single operative in Glasgow.)

Even before the Battle of Canary Wharf, Torchwood Three had severed ties with the rest of the organisation and had become largely autonomous. Captain Jack, who did not share the organisation's low opinion of the Doctor, or its policy of placing priority on obtaining alien technology over helping people and saving lives had by that time vowed to continue Torchwood as the kind of organisation which would have made the Doctor proud. (TW: Fragments)

Mission Profile and Operations

Torchwood Three set out to defend Earth at any cost, even when opposing its own government to do so. (TW: Children of Earth)


Rift Monitoring and Control

The constant inflow of "flotsam and jetsam" from the rift poses many opportunities for the intrepid team, but also a constant danger. Recognising this, Torchwood had by 1913 started to build a Rift Manipulator to better control rift activity. By the 2000s, it was also capable of monitoring rift activity in detail, so that the Torchwood staff was able to predict when and where the danger might strike next.

Caring for Rift Returnees

While it is obvious that the Rift deposited objects, until 2009 it was unknown to even some of its own employees that the rift also takes things, in an event known as a negative rift spike. Some humans taken by the rift were eventually returned to earth, but they were ravaged from falling through the rift and incapable of being reintegrated in Earth society.

Until the year 2000 these returnees were just locked away in the vaults or cryogenically frozen, and ultimately forgotten. When Captain Jack assumed command of Torchwood, he found two such returnees in the vaults and decided these people should be looked after. He set up a remote facility on the island of Flat Holm, telling its employees that the people he left in their care were the result of failed experiments. Over the years more returnees were found, and in 2008 the rate at which people returned increased, "as if the rift is trying to correct its mistakes". By the end of the year the number of people cared for at the facility had reached 17. (TW: Adrift)

Weevil Containment

Weevils were a race of humanoid-aliens, which frequently turn up in Cardiff thanks to the Rift. They were first documented by Torchwood in the 1950s; by the 21st century, a population of hundreds existed in the sewers. Though Weevils will usually keep to the sewers, avoiding human contact, occasionally one will develop a taste for human flesh or otherwise become a nuisance. Weevil control is one of Torchwood's major day-to-day operations, and, at any time several Weevils are found in storage cells in the lower level of the Hub. For the purpose of catching Weevils Torchwood Three has also developed an anti-Weevil spray. (TW: Everything Changes)

Reverse-engineering Technology

True to the Torchwood motto "If it's alien, it's ours", Torchwood Three has through the years collected and reverse-engineered an impressive amount of alien technology, and studying alien artifacts remains central to their operation. Much of the technology they possess finds use in the day-to-day operations of Torchwood. For example, Torchwood has possessed and operated advanced cryogenic technology since at least the 1910s, and in first decade of the 21st century was capable of utilising alien computer technology to "scan" all available information sources for information. Around the turn of the 21st century, the team began experimenting with a Resurrection gauntlet, for questioning deceased crime victims, and a Singularity Scalpel, to easily remove inoperable alien organisms from humans. Other key technologies are Portable prison cells and Retcon, a powerful amnesia inducer.

Keeping a Low Profile

Torchwood must keep not only itself but also the very existence of aliens from the public. Though greatly facilitated by the human tendency to just ignore everything that was too much out of the ordinary, keeping the secret is still no easy job. Torchwood under Jack Harkness' leadership prefers a more diplomatic approach--contacting clueless spaceship pilots and telling them that they were "spooking the locals" (TW: Cyberwoman), for example, instead of simply destroying them--but the perception of Torchwood as a clumsy and overly trigger-happy organisation persists.

Still, many Cardiff residents, even laymen, seemed to be more or less aware of all the strange things that kept happening, again and again, though often they weren't at all impressed. (TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and others, possibly also due to recent events i.e. DW: The Runaway Bride and Army of Ghosts). Many police officers were aware, and quite frustrated, with what they often saw as a "regular" secret ops unit disturbing their operations or taking them over entirely. Under the command of Jack Harkness the team had developed a very relaxed approach to secrecy, ordering pizzas to their top secret underground lair and having a tendency to stamp large Torchwood logos on their field equipment. (TW: Everything Changes)

Human Resources

Under the leadership of Jack Harkness, Torchwood Three personnel are encouraged to treat their work as a job, not an obsession, with Jack often seen encouraging his colleagues to go home and rest. Maintaining personal relationships outside of the Torchwood team is not discouraged (as long as secrecy is maintained) but has proven difficult, with most Torchwood members turning to fellow team members for companionship (i.e. Jack and Ianto, Owen and Tosh). An exception to this is Gwen Cooper, who maintained a relationship with her boyfriend and later fiance Rhys Williams, although ultimately Rhys was made aware of Torchwood's existence prior to their wedding.

It is not known if this is a blanket rule for Torchwood teams, or only specific to Torchwood Three, but certain protocols are in place should a team member die of any cause. His or her body is to be stored permanently (possibly for future study), and his or her worldly possessions are to be confiscated by Torchwood and held in storage permanently. (TW: Everything Changes, They Keep Killing Suzie) This is known to be the case with Suzie Costello. Jack deliberately broke the rules to allow Toshiko Sato to have a proper burial and funeral that her mother attended. It is not known if this also applies to Owen Harper's remains, if any, however these remains would later have been destroyed in the hub explosion. (TW: Day One)

It is possible for Torchwood members to resign, with the understanding that they will be required to take a retcon pill to forget their involvement with the team. (TW: End of Days)

Other Tasks

Torchwood is also responsible for monitoring other potential sources of otherworldly trouble in the vicinity of Cardiff. They monitor the local trade in alien artifacts (such as Dogon sixth eyes (TW:Random Shoes)) and locals known to be involved in aliens or alien artifacts (such as collector Henry Parker, whom they had labeled "mostly harmless", a reference to the novel "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy").


19th century

Torchwood operated in Cardiff from 1885 onwards. (TWN: Slow Decay) Following the death of a male operative (WEB:, Emily Holroyd recruited Alice Guppy in 1897. The Torchwood HQ in Cardiff at that time consisted of little more than a few rooms and a holding cell. They had a policy of executing hostile aliens immediately, as they had no way of returning them home. Over a period of more than a year, the pair monitored Jack Harkness, who made mention of 'the Doctor'. As the Torchwood Institute was founded largely to combat the Doctor (DW:Tooth and Claw), the two women captured Jack, discovered his ability to return from the dead and then recruited him as a field agent. Jack continued to sporadically work for the Institute until 2000, while also undertaking other activities such as fighting in the world wars. Not long after, Torchwood would begin to physically expand into the underground and to build the Hub. (TW: Fragments)

20th century

In 1901, an older version of Jack Harkness was discovered buried alive below Cardiff, having been left there in 27 AD. In order to prevent a paradox, this older Jack, at his request, was cryogenically frozen, his body kept in storage (unbeknownst to his younger self or later Torchwood staff) until 2009.

By 1913 work on a Rift Manipulator had started, in the hopes of minimising the constant danger posed by the rift. During 1913, the Institute noticed increased Rift activity, and considered this more justification to commence work on the Manipulator. The increased activity came from "foreshocks" of the use of the Manipulator itself, traveling backwards in time from the widening of the Rift, causing the fracture of the Rift in the early 21st century. Ironically, the Manipulator itself (in the future) had caused the widening of the Rift.

In 1918 Torchwood Three, under the command of Gerald Carter, already had access to sophisticated cryogenic suspension technology. Gerald Carter and another operative, Harriet Derbyshire investigated supposed hauntings (in fact time shifts from the future) at St Teilo's Military Hospital. Derbyshire shortly afterwards died in action in an unrelated case. (TW: To the Last Man)

For unknown reasons, Jack Harkness didn't pose for the group portrait taken of the team at this time.

21st century

On New Year's Eve 1999, Torchwood operative (and possibly the team leader) Alex Hopkins killed his entire team, bar the immortal Jack Harkness. He claimed that he was killing them to "protect" them from the 21st century. Alex made the grim joke that he had given Jack command and then committed suicide. Jack Harkness was left with the job of recruiting a new team and leading it. (TW: Fragments)

Shortly thereafter, Harkness discovered two Humans whom the rift had returned and had been locked away in the Hub's cells, since Torchwood had deemed them unable to reintegrate into society. He founded a facility on the island of Flat Holm to care for them and others who were later returned. Subsequently, he chose not to inform certain members of his staff. (TW: Adrift) In the 2000s he recruited civilians Toshiko Sato and then Owen Harper in an attempt to reform Torchwood into a more humane organisation, inspired by his admiration of the Doctor. He also employed Suzie Costello. He also, with much persuasion at first, took in Ianto Jones, a survivor of the Battle of Canary Wharf who had worked for Torchwood 1. (TW: Fragments)

During her first years at Torchwood, Toshiko Sato developed Rift equations, which were to be used as guidelines to more safely operate the Rift Manipulator. (TW: Captain Jack Harkness)

2007 was an eventful year for Torchwood Three. Agent Suzie Costello committed a series of murders with an alien artifact, the Life Knife, in order to test out the Resurrection gauntlet. She committed suicide when her activities were discovered. Jack took in Gwen Cooper, a Cardiff Police Constable who had helped him to solve the case. (TW: Everything Changes) As well as internal distrust, at times, of Jack himself, Torchwood Three subsequently braved an attack by Lisa Hallett, a partially converted Cyberman who had survived their defeat at Torchwood 1. (TW: Cyberwoman)

Tosh had meanwhile begun to experiment with using the Rift Manipulator. With Tosh and Jack transported to 1941 Cardiff, Owen and Ianto, out of desperation, used the manipulator and Tosh's Rift equations to return them. (TW: Captain Jack Harkness) This would have wide-ranging consequences, as the use of the Manipulator caused the Rift to splinter and cause temporal shifts to occur all over Earth and Cardiff itself. The team revolted against Jack and shot and killed him and the ancient demon Abaddon was released from the Rift, briefly causing havoc in central Cardiff before Jack defeated him. (TW: End of Days)

Directly after this incident, Jack suddenly and without warning left Torchwood, when the Doctor came to refuel at the rift and Jack chased him off-world. (TW: End of Days, DW: Utopia)

During his absence the team learned to work more independently, though they were unable to help with the takeover of the world by the Master, as he had sent them on a wild goose chase off to the Himalayas. (DW: The Sound of Drums). Jack returned some months later, finding that Gwen had taken over as team leader in the meantime. (TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)

Also around 2008, the Rift started returning more and more humans who had previously been taken away in negative rift spikes. In the words of Jack Harkness, "it is almost as if the rift is trying to correct its mistakes". Victims continued to be transferred to the Flat Holm facility. (TW: Adrift). Another trend in recent years is an increase in Weevil activity.

Other notable events in 2008/9 were Torchwood Three stopping a Weevil fighting ring (TW: Combat) uncovering an alien sleeper cell (TW: Sleeper), unilaterally closing down an official research facility (TW: Reset) and stopping a powerful being, a personification of Death (TW: Dead Man Walking)

In late 2008/ early 2009 UNIT medical officer Dr Martha Jones came in briefly in order to provide support. (TW: Reset). Very shortly after her arrival, Torchwood doctor Owen Harper died (TW: Reset) and came back to partial life via another Resurrection gauntlet. (TW: Dead Man Walking). This lead to Doctor Jones staying with Torchwood somewhat longer than anticipated. Torchwood Three later lost two members of the team in 2009, Owen Harper was trapped in a nuclear meltdown that decomposed his already dead body and Toshiko Sato died of a shot to the stomach. (TW: Exit Wounds).

In mid 2009, Torchwood Three is called upon by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones via subwave network along with Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones in an effort to contact the Doctor after Earth is transported into the Medusa Cascade by Davros, during the Dalek invasion of 2009. Jack, Gwen and Ianto use the Rift Manipulator in conjunction with Sarah Jane's supercomputer Mr Smith to amplify the signal of Martha's superphone to break the signal barrier and reach the Doctor. Jack leaves the team behind to assist the Doctor, and Gwen and Ianto are saved from Dalek extermination by the time-lock invented by Tosh before she died. The two are later called upon by the Doctor himself to assist his TARDIS via Rift Manipulator in its attempts to carry the Earth back to its regular orbit. {DW: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)

In September 2009, the entire Torchwood Three Hub is blown up by the government in a ploy to kill the Torchwood team in relation to the 456 crisis. The bomb is inserted into Jack's stomach. When it detonates, Jack is blown apart, Gwen and Ianto luckily escape. The explosion is seen reported on the news and it leaves a gaping hole where the Hub was.

The members however survive and eventually manage to face the 456. Ianto Jones is killed by a virus released in Thames House, and after the 456 are defeated at the cost of Jack's grandson, he leaves Earth. This leaves Gwen Cooper as the last remaining member on Earth. It is currently unknown what happens to the organisation until the 2080s. (TW: Children of Earth)


By the 2080s, Torchwood had become more accepting to aliens, attempting to protect them instead of just stop them. They were also able to control the Rift to an extent. In 2086, when Freda's house was destroyed by anti-alien groups, a member of Torchwood was able to save her and sent her back in time to 2009, trying to cause the development of Torchwood's alien policy. (BBCR: Asylum)

The Hub

The Hub was the main base of affairs for Torchwood Three, analogous to Torchwood One's Torchwood Tower and Torchwood Two's office in Glasgow. The Hub is located directly under Roald Dahl Plass in central Cardiff, also the location of the Cardiff rift. The Hub was connected to the rest of the Torchwood Institute via organic computer.

Incomplete list of features

  • Invisible lift. This lift leads directly from the hub to Roald Dahl Plass above. Torchwood personnel can enter or leave without arousing suspicion, since the exit is still benefitting from the effects of the perception filter of a TARDIS that once stood above it.
  • The main entrance is disguised as a tourist information office by the waterfront.
  • Jack Harkness's office.
  • Main hall (including workstations and entrances to other Hub features)
  • Cryo-chambers. Bodies of deceased Torchwood employees as well as aliens & anomalous humans (dead or placed in suspended animation) can be stored here. Among those so interred: Suzie Costello, Gray, Jack Harkness (a fact not known to the present-day Torchwood Three team -- including Jack Harkness) and, presumably, Toshiko Sato (but not Owen Harper as his body was destroyed).
  • Conference room.
  • Safe containing various alien artefacts.
  • Autopsy room.
  • Interrogation room.
  • Holding cells. (Mainly used to hold captured Weevils).
  • A firing range.
  • A Kitchen (TWN: Another Life)
  • Deep-sea tank (a large water tank deep in the Hub which allows deep-sea animals to survive).
  • Rest & Recreation room (TWN: Another Life).
  • Jack Harkness' sleeping area. A bed located beneath a manhole cover.

After being seriously damaged in an explosion (TW: End of Days), the main area of the Hub underwent some remodelling, but remained basically the same. (TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) It experienced more damage (apparently mostly cosmetic) when the Earth was relocated to the Medusa Cascade. (DW: The Stolen Earth).

The destruction of the Hub during the 456 incident appears to have been substantial, although the true extent of the destruction is unclear, although it would appear the core area of the Hub appears to have been completely destroyed. It is unknown whether any of the creatures in the holding cells survived, or whether individuals kept in suspended animation in the Hub -- particularly Gray -- were also destroyed. Gwen Cooper was able to retrieve Harkness' vortex manipulator from the wreckage, however, suggesting the possible recovery of other items from the Hub. (TW: Children of Earth: Day One, Day Two, Day Five)



  • Gwen Cooper (police liaison/temporary leader in 2008 then 2009-) 2007-


Individuals closely associated with Torchwood Three


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


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