The Battle of Canary Wharf, also known as the Fall of Canary Wharf (AUDIO: Broken) or the Battle of Torchwood, (TV: Fear Her) was a major conflict in Earth's history. It involved four distinct primary forces — Daleks led by Dalek Sec, Cybermen from Pete's World, Torchwood One under the leadership of Yvonne Hartman, and the small band of individuals loyal to the Tenth Doctor and Pete Tyler. Each contingent had different goals, and none were actually complete allies.
It was finally ended when the Doctor sealed all of the Cybermen and Daleks in the void at the cost of being permanently separated from Rose Tyler, who became trapped on Pete's World. It also ended the war against the Cybermen on Pete's world as well. (TV: Doomsday)
However, the presence of the cracks in time led to the public invasions from 2006 to 2009 being erased from N-Space Earth's history, meaning no-one remembered the Cybermen or the Daleks. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) The Eleventh Doctor eventually closed the cracks, allowing for the restoration of things lost to them, (TV: The Big Bang) though various people still were unfamiliar with aliens. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
The objectives of the battle were different for its various combatants:
- For Torchwood One, it was essentially a war for fuel. Mistaking a mysterious source of energy in the air above Canary Wharf as something they could harness, Torchwood One was trying to find a renewable source of energy to fuel a new independent "British Empire" and never depend on outside sources of energy ever again. What they didn't understand was that their greed enabled the arrival of the Daleks and the Cybermen, and created the situation by which the walls between the dimensions of reality could eventually break down. Like all of the groups in the conflict, they had no allies in the conflict. The Daleks were just as willing to kill Torchwood members as the Cybermen were to convert them. Torchwood One was also bound by their charter to oppose the Doctor, on principle alone after the incident at Torchwood House in 1879.
- For the group of Daleks that had escaped the Time War by fleeing into the Void with a Genesis Ark of Time Lord construction, it was mostly an attempt to return to the normal universe and restore the Dalek race, however, this was hindered by the Daleks having to battle the Cybermen for the planet, though the Cybermen were hardly an obstacle, as well as the presence of their old enemy, the Doctor.
- For the Cybermen, who had mostly been contained on the parallel Earth the Doctor called "Pete's World", it was mostly an attempt at survival. The Preachers had begun systematically hunting down the remnants and Cyber-converted victims of John Lumic's initial Cybermen forces that plagued the parallel world. By situating themselves on a new Earth, they hoped they could again prosper. Their attempts at forming an alliance with the Daleks immediately failed and they found themselves unexpectedly fighting against the Daleks, Torchwood, and the Doctor.
- For the Doctor and Pete, the battle was primarily about closing the breaches created between the dimensions, so as to protect the fundamental integrity of reality and shut down Torchwood One's interference with it, but it later expanded to include the defence of Earth against both Dalek and Cybermen invasions.
The Battle of Canary Wharf had its roots in the Last Great Time War. Determined to ensure the Daleks’ survival, the Cult of Skaro fled into the Void in a Void ship, bringing with them the Genesis Ark, a Time Lord prison ship containing millions of Daleks. Their escape created a crack in the universe which permitted travel between dimensions more easily than should have been the case after the demise of the Time Lords. (TV: Doomsday) The Doctor's TARDIS fell through the crack and arrived on a parallel Earth, where the Tenth Doctor, Rose and Mickey became embroiled in the rise of Cybus Industries’ Cybermen. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen) They helped the Preachers shutdown the factory in London, killing the Cyber-Controller, however factories across the world were still operating. Mickey stayed behind to help the Preachers in their war against the Cybermen, with the Doctor and Rose returning to their universe and closing the crack behind them. (TV: The Age of Steel) After a war across the world, the Preachers succeeded in confining the surviving Cybermen to their factories. (GAME: Cyber Assault)
On the Doctor’s Earth, Torchwood One identified a breach in reality as a radar black spot and built the Torchwood Tower to reach it, eventually discovering they could produce energy by firing particle guns at it. Their probing resulted in the emergence of the Cult’s Void Ship. Torchwood kept the Void Ship in the Tower, spending years fruitlessly studying it, and continued probing the breach which they believed could make Britain energy independent. Unknown to them, their experiments were widening the breach and colliding their universe with that of the parallel Earth. (TV: Army of Ghosts) On the parallel Earth, a parallel Torchwood conducted similar experiments on a breach, causing global warming to accelerate on their world. The confined Cybermen infiltrated Torchwood and used their technology to map themselves onto the Doctor’s Earth. From the perspective of the parallel Earth, they simply disappeared. (TV: Doomsday)
The Parallel Earth Cybermen began to manifest across Earth during Torchwood’s experiments with the breach, being assumed to be ghosts of deceased humans. This led to one of the more bizarre episodes in human history, as these "ghosts" came to become integrated into human society during “ghost shifts”, to the point of even being featured in pop culture venues such as TV chat shows and soap operas.
Two months into the ghost shifts, the Doctor investigated with Rose and Jackie. His interference in a shift drew Torchwood’s attention, just as he traced the source of the shifts to them. Upon arrival he and Jackie were captured and enthusiastically escorted around the Tower by Torchwood One’s Director, Yvonne Hartman. He recognised the sphere as a Void Ship and warning against the Institute’s experiments with the breach. At the same time Rose infiltrated the sphere chamber with psychic paper and met Mickey, though her cover was quickly exposed by Dr Rajesh Singh.
The advance guard of Cybermen, having secretly arrived and established conversion facilities in the Tower, took over three Torchwood employees, Adeola Oshodi, Gareth Evans and Matt Crane, via EarPods. They used them to initiate a ghost shift against Yvonne’s orders, as she’d ordered their halting after the Doctor’s warnings. The Doctor disabled their Pods with his sonic screwdriver and traced the signal controlling them to the Cybermen in the Tower. The Cybermen seized control of breach controls and used them to open the breach fully, enabling the Cybermen across the world to fully manifest, occupying every landmass on the planet, breaking into houses. (TV: Army of Ghosts) The Cyber-Leader used Torchwood’s resources to broadcast across the world, demanding surrender and promising to upgrade humanity. In response to the Cybermen’s occupation and promises of what was pretty much a fate worse than death, human militaries began a resistance campaign. While hampered by Cybermen armour being "bulletproof", heavier weapons, such as rocket launchers, were effective against them. Fighting across London was visible from the Tower. The refusal to capitulate was met by confusion from the Cyber-Leader, the fact that humanity were hardly going to willingly surrender what made them human in the first place being completely lost on it.
Simultaneously, the Cult of Skaro had exited the Void Ship, whose activation sequence had been triggered by the breach opening, with the Genesis Ark in tow. Rose’s recognition of them and mention of the Time War led to them staying the humans’ execution. The Cult, led by Dalek Sec, extracted brainwaves from Rajesh for information, alerting the Cybermen to their presence after they detected alien technology active in the chamber. Learning about the “ghosts” from Rajesh, Sec ordered Dalek Thay to investigate outside whilst simultaneously the Cyber-Leader dispatched two units to the chamber. Thay and the Cybermen proceeded to communicate, with their leaders watching via visual link. After a short round of commands and insults from both ends, Daleks and Cybermen identified their adversaries (the Cybermen through a faux pas on Dalek Thay's part and the Daleks through records of their universe's Cybermen). The Cybermen proposed an alliance between the two races, as their technologies were compatible and together the two could "upgrade the universe". Thay rejected the proposal and was immediately fired upon by the Cybermen as a hostile element. Their weapons failed to even scratch Thay, however, whilst his proved far more effective and killed both Cybermen in seconds. The Cyber-Leader promptly opened a visual link to the sphere chamber and declared war on the Daleks. Sec disregarded his threats, bragging that a war with the Cybermen would be “pest control” for the Daleks despite the vast numerical disadvantage before terminating the communication. In the background, one of the Cult spotted the Doctor who had wandered onto the screen, and Rose revealed his identity which caused the Daleks to physically recoil, unable to hide their terror at the presence of their ancient enemy. (TV: Doomsday)
Following contact with the Daleks, the Cybermen began to convert Torchwood personnel, including Yvonne and Lisa Hallett into Cybermen in order to counter the Daleks' threat. (TV: Doomsday, Cyberwoman) These were, at least in some cases, not full conversions with the brain removed and put in a Cyber-shell, but partial conversions in which the Cybermen were built over the human body beneath. (TV: Cyberwoman) The Doctor was left untouched as the Cybermen inferred from his increased adrenalin that he was familiar with the Daleks.
Torchwood was invaded by the Preachers from Pete's World, who rescued the Doctor, destroying the initial Cyber-Leader One in the process. Another Cyberman was immediately upgraded into a replacement Cyber-Leader, though the distraction enabled Jackie to escape cyber-conversion. After learning more about the invasion from Pete Tyler, the Doctor "surrendered" to the Cybermen to form a temporary alliance,
The Cybermen established a reluctant alliance with the human forces and some armed themselves with newly modified energy rifles. The Doctor entered the sphere chamber to learn about the Daleks' intentions and distract them. Using his sonic screwdriver, he triggered the doors to blast open, allowing the Cybermen-Preacher alliance to rush into the Sphere Chamber. The Daleks began to panic as the Cybermen were overcoming them with the enhanced weaponry, enabling the Doctor and the humans to flee the skirmish though Mickey accidentally made contact with the Genesis Ark in the process. However, shortly thereafter the Cult of Skaro adapted to the parallel Earth energy weapons and their firepower was restored. With the attacking Cybermen dead and the Ark now primed, the Cult declared victory and began moving the Ark to give it sufficient room to open.
The Cult travelled to the main chamber in Torchwood Tower, barging through a door and shouting "exterminate!", where they were met by Cybermen and armed Torchwood personnel. A huge, though one-sided, battle ensued, with the Cybermen opting to use their long-range weaponry to little effect and bullets and lasers flying all over the place. With heavy Cyberman casualties following the clash, the Cyber Leader called for all troops in the greater London area to report to Torchwood Tower.
Dalek Sec overrode the roof mechanism and elevated with the Genesis Ark. Above the London skyline the Ark opened, releasing millions of Daleks. These flew over the city in droves and were spotted by the Cyberman forces summoned by the Cyber Leader, who opened fire on them from below. Dalek Sec retaliated by ordering the extermination of all life-forms below, regardless of whether they were humans or Cybermen. In the streets, terrified humans scattered and ran for cover as the battle raged above and around them, with many being exterminated by stray Dalek blasts. (TV: Doomsday)
As the battle in the Tower raged, Ianto Jones searched for Lisa Halley and encountered Kieran Frost, head of Torchwood One’s security, who had been partially cyber-converted. Kieran gave him Object 1, which he had been ordered to throw into the Void by Yvonne. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
The Doctor devised a plan to reopen the breach to expose the Void, which would draw in all the Cybermen and the Daleks which had been exposed to “Void stuff” whilst travelling between universes and eventually seal the breach by saturating it with the “stuff”. As the Doctor set his plan in motion, sending the Preachers back to the safety of the parallel Earth, the Cyber-Leader decided the Cybermen would retreat back to their original Earth and begin again there. The Cybermen’s march to the top of the Tower was blocked by the converted Yvonne Hartman, who had resisted cyber conditioning and opened fire with a Preacher gun, killing the new Cyber-Leader.
Knowing she’d be separated from the Doctor for good, Rose refused to stay in the parallel Earth and returned to the Doctor’s side. He reluctantly let her help and they initiated the particle guns to open the breach, resisting the pull of the Void themselves with magna-clamps. Sec detected his activity and dispatched Daleks to stop him but was too late to prevent the opening of the breach.
The breach sucked in all the Daleks and Cybermen who had passed through the Void except the Cult who escaped via emergency temporal shift, (TV: Doomsday) ending up in New York in 1930. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan) One Dalek struck the Torchwood equipment as it was pulled in, forcing Rose to manually reactivate the particle gun. She nearly fell into the Void however was saved by Pete Tyler who teleported from the parallel Earth, grabbed her and teleported back to his parallel Earth. The breach sealed moments later, trapping her on the parallel Earth.
The battle had lasted less than a day, but the Doctor commented on the aftermath that "so many" people had died that day and that the effects on Earth had been devastating. Rose and Jackie were listed among the dead. (TV: Doomsday)
Impact on Torchwood
Torchwood One was annihilated, resulting in the destruction of the "old regime". There were subsequently only half a dozen remaining Torchwood staff. (TV: The Sound of Drums) Members of Torchwood Three, including Jack Harkness, salvaged all the alien technology from the ruins of Canary Wharf. (TV: Fragments) Torchwood Three became the main base of all Torchwood operations. (TV: Everything Changes) Jack cleaned up the aftermath (AUDIO: Poker Face) and read the battle's list of the dead, finding the name of Rose Tyler. However, he was later made aware that she had survived and was living in a parallel universe. (TV: Utopia)
Known Torchwood One survivors included Lisa Hallett and Ianto Jones, although Hallett's survival, partially converted into a Cyberman, was not immediately known to anyone save Jones. (TV: Cyberwoman) Jones (presumably hiding Hallett) subsequently travelled to Cardiff where he eventually ingratiated himself into Jack Harkness' Torchwood Three. (TV: Fragments) Jones hid Hallett in a secret area of the Torchwood 3 Hub for months, hoping to reverse her conversion, but was unsuccessful. She was finally terminated, making her the last known victim of the battle. (TV: Cyberwoman) Another Torchwood One survivor was Stephen Heinz. (AUDIO: Torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor)
A group of eight Cybermen who were converted humans from Earth were not pulled into the Void as a result of them having never been there worked to reopen the Void and release their army, something the Doctor stated was impossible even for him. Even using teleportation equipment stolen from Torchwood and electronics equipment stolen from a store and government labs, the Cybermen were unable to reopen the Void so they worked to capture the Doctor who had been drawn to their activities while visiting Earth with his new companion Martha Jones. The Cybermen kidnapped Martha to force the Doctor to help and attacked a military base in an attempt to capture him, but the military destroyed five of the six attacking Cybermen, forcing the last to retreat after telling the Doctor to help them or lose Martha. The Doctor tricked the Cybermen into believing he was opening the Void but really opened a space-time portal to the Jurassic period where a Tyrannosaurus Rex came through the portal and destroyed two of the surviving Cybermen before returning to its time. The Doctor then used a power cable to destroy the Cyber-Leader and left the deactivated equipment to the arriving military. (PROSE: Made of Steel)
As a result of the Reality Bomb weakening barriers between universes, some Cybermen who had been sent into the Void escaped to London in 1859 where the Doctor battled them with the help of Jackson Lake who was deluded into believing he was the Doctor himself. The Doctor destroyed the Cybermen, sending their remains along with their Cyber-King into the Time Vortex to harmlessly disintegrate. (TV: The Next Doctor) However, others apparently escaped the Void at the same time. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) with one ending up on another parallel universe, (COMIC: The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who) though any that remained in the Void along with the surviving Daleks were destroyed as a result of the reality bomb. (TV: Journey's End)
Survival of the Cult of Skaro
Stranded in 1930 after their emergency temporal shifts, the Cult of Skaro began experiments to ensure the survival of the Daleks. Their initial attempts to create new Dalek mutants failed so the Cult turned to combining genetics, first creating the primitive Pig men and embarking on the Final Experiment to create Human-Daleks. The Doctor and Martha became embroiled in the experiments just as Sec turned himself into the first Human-Dalek hybrid. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan) Inspired by his new experiences, Sec decided to alter the genomes to turn the hybrids more human which he convinced the Doctor to assist with. As the Doctor had suspected, the rest of the Cult turned on Sec for this idea with Caan seizing control and altering the genome to make the hybrids more Dalek instead. The Doctor got in the way of the beam of gamma radiation that the Cult used to awake the hybrids, giving them an element of Time Lord DNA that enabled them to question their masters. When ordered to kill the hybrids turned on the Cult, killing Thay and Jast. Now the last survivor, Caan terminated the hybrids and fled via a second emergency temporal shift. (TV: Evolution of the Daleks)
Caan’s second temporal shift brought him back into the Time War, where he rescued Davros from his fate at the jaws of the Nightmare Child. Together they founded the New Dalek Empire, leading to the Dalek invasion in 2009. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
Remembrance of the Battle
The governments of the Earth denied the battle had ever happened and blamed the reports on mass hallucination caused by terrorists polluting the water supply with psychotropic drugs. (TV: Everything Changes) It appeared life on Earth returned to normal. London would endure several more major high-profile incidents involving aliens in the coming months and years (TV: The Runaway Bride, Voyage of the Damned, Partners in Crime, The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, Children of Earth); by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the existence of alien life had become common knowledge to a large percentage of the populace, although there were many who refused to accept this reality. (TV: The Last Sontaran, Children of Earth: Day One)
Remembrance of the Battle of Canary Wharf was implied when a new army of Cybermen appeared on Earth several years later; a news report noted that the newly-arrived metal men were known as a Cybermen but now had the ability to fly "unlike the accounts [they had] on file". (TV: Death in Heaven)
In February 2021, “GH” commented on Into The Unknown suggesting the Battle as an example of the Mandela Effect, as his friends were unable to recall the incident unlike him and dismissed his claims about it as whimsy. (PROSE: The Mandela Effect, Or Monsters on the Streets of London)
In 43K2.1, the Beast told Rose, who had yet to experience the Battle of Canary Wharf at that point, that she would "die in battle so very soon", which the Tenth Doctor insisted was a lie. (TV: The Satan Pit) As it turned out, though Rose survived the Battle of Canary Wharf, she was officially declared dead on her Earth. (TV: Doomsday)
Behind the scenes
- The online video game Daleks v Cybermen allows gamers to attempt an alternate version of the Battle of Canary Wharf. In this game, the player controls the Cybermen, who are locked in combat against Torchwood, the Preachers and Daleks. The player wins by killing Dalek Sec.
- "Battle reports" — for lack of a better term — were given in Battles in Time. This wiki treats these descriptions with some suspicion, since Battles in Time is, save for its comic strip, a non-narrative source. Nevertheless, the following summarises the things claimed about the actual battle by the editorial staff of DWBIT:
- Battlefronts included Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, along with the town of Southwark. Although the Daleks only had a presence for several minutes, they reached as far as Aberdeen, where a group of Cybermen decided to change their tactics and ambush the Daleks. A single Cyberman was used as bait; when a group of Daleks arrived, the Cybermen attacked. However, this advantage was short-lived as more Daleks turned the tables. While they were vastly superior to the Cybermen, the Daleks did suffer some casualties, mostly due to Cyberman ambushes. There were some sightings of Daleks friendly fire. One Dalek was caught in an explosion caused when another Dalek blaster blew up a car. (DWBIT 17, Daleks vs Cybermen Special, Dalek Wars)
- Battles in Time also claimed that, after the battle concluded, a single Cyberman ended up deep in the oceans of Philjax III, in the year 9000 during the Daleks' battle with the Squeeth. (DWBIT 9)