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Adrift was the eleventh episode of Series 2 of Torchwood. It was written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Everest, and featured prominent Welsh actress Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey fame. It was a Gwen-heavy plot that also featured a larger-than-normal role for PC Andy Davidson.


When a local teenager disappears, Gwen is drawn into an investigation that reveals a darker side of Torchwood. Hundreds of people have disappeared without a trace, but Jack is obstructing attempts to find them. The answer seems to lie in the rift — literally — and as Gwen follows the trail, she makes a shocking discovery.


Jonah Bevan is walking home across the Cardiff Bay Barrage when a bright light appears. Six seconds later he is gone. Seven months later, at the instigation of PC Andy Davidson, Gwen is investigating the disappearance of Jonah. Her research reveals there are more cases resembling Jonah's disappearance. Tosh discovers that these disappearances happened during a negative spike of rift activity, which were previously discarded as aftershock. Gwen then compiles a list of all missing persons and informs Jack. However, Jack tells Gwen that nothing can be done and orders her to stop the investigation, which she refuses to do.

The investigation slowly turns into an obsession and takes a toll on the relationship between Gwen and Rhys. The two have an argument when Rhys wants to discuss having kids and Gwen shuts down the subject, and he warns her that if she starts prioritising Torchwood over their personal lives then their marriage won't last very long. He tells her to deal with her work problems at work and not to bring them home. Returning to the Hub, Gwen interrupts Jack and Ianto during a sexual encounter and, after apologising, tells Jack that she wants to continue the investigation. Jack sternly refuses, but Ianto secretly gives Gwen a GPS device with coordinates to a hidden location, leading Gwen to a facility on Flat Holm. It harbours 17 of the missing people that the rift took and subsequently brought back, including Jonah, the boy she has been looking for. However, he has aged 40 years and is very deformed. Gwen also finds Jack there, and she demands access to Jonah. Jonah tells how he was stuck on a "burning planet" and how he was taken into a building that was actually a rescue craft, from which he witnessed the burning of a solar system. Afterwards, Jack reveals that he set up the facility when he first took command of Torchwood, in order to care for the victims of the rift, who had previously been locked away in the vaults.

Gwen brings Nikki, Jonah's mother, in to see him under the supervision of a facility staff member. At first she is horrified, believing it to be a cruel joke, but Jonah starts telling her things that only he would know. Nikki calms and they hug for a moment, but when Jonah tells the staff member with growing distress that he can feel "it" starting up, she urgently tells Nikki to get away from him. She resists and says that she can take care of him. However Jonah starts screaming, a scream so horrible that everyone flees. Gwen reveals that the scream lasts for 20 hours every day because he looked into the heart of a dark star, which drove him insane.

A week later, Gwen goes to see Nikki, who implores her not to show the island to anyone else. She states that it would have been better for her to have remembered her son as he was, rather than to know of his true fate. Gwen takes down her notes over the missing. Nikki packs up Jonah's room and, knowing he can never return home, breaks down into sobs. At home that night, Gwen prepares a romantic candle-lit dinner for Rhys and promises to talk about whatever he wants to talk about. Rhys however realises that she is shouldering a massive heartbreak and instead lets her cry into his chest. Going back on his earlier stance, he asks her to tell him what happened and she starts to tell him about Jonah.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics


General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


Story notes[]


Filming locations[]

  • The Island seen in this episode is Flat Holm (Ynys Echni), 5 miles off the coast of Cardiff. Although the facility seen in Adrift is, of course, fictional, Flat Holm was for some years in fact the site of a similar "isolation hospital".
  • Llwyn Passat, Penarth Marina


Production errors[]

to be added


If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

Home video releases[]

  • Adrift, along with the rest of series 2, was released in a complete series box set in 2008.
  • It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)


External links[]