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Children of Earth: Day Five was the fifth and final episode of Series 3 of Torchwood. It was written by Russell T Davies, directed by Euros Lyn and featured John Barrowman as Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Kai Owen as Rhys Williams

It marked the resolution of the five-day crisis. John Frobisher was driven to kill his respective family in a murder/suicide, after which his co-worker, Bridget Spears, secured the downfall of Prime Minister Brian Green and let Denise Riley take charge of many governmental affairs, while Lois Habiba was exonerated. Additionally, Ianto Jones's sister Rhiannon Davies and her husband Johnny Davies learnt about his death.

Perhaps the most traumatic death on this final day of the conflict was that of Captain Jack Harkness's grandson, Steven Carter, an event that caused his daughter, Alice, to sever all ties with him in grief and disgust. It would be one of the final nails in the coffin for Jack's operations with the Torchwood Institute. Ultimately, he would abandon the Institute after a six month period of travelling alone. Jack departed from Earth, and, as its leader, officially disbanded Torchwood Three, leaving Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams a safe world to raise their baby in, though because this branch was the only one known to still be operational, it meant Torchwood as a whole effectively ceased to exist.


Torchwood is defenceless and Gwen Cooper stands alone. As anarchy prevails, an ordinary council estate becomes a battleground for the future of the human race.


Gwen appears on a camcorder tape, asking why the Doctor has not appeared to save them. She remarks that sometimes he must be appalled at the way humanity deals with times of crisis.

Jack and Gwen are rounded up by the special forces, Johnson arresting Jack to take back. After a tearful goodbye with Gwen, Jack informs her to save as many children as possible.

Meanwhile, Green speaks to the nation, telling the UK about the upcoming "inoculations" and saying it is safe for the children to return to school. Colonel Oduya of UNIT talks with the 456, asking them what they need the children for. He is told that the children are for "the hit": they create chemicals which the 456 use as recreational drugs. They show one of the children from 1965, still alive, conscious and the same age, connected directly to the 456. Despite being horrified at this motive, the government begins to put their plan into action.

John Frobisher is ordered by the Prime Minister to publicly state that his own children will be taken for "inoculation," to portray themselves as much victims as the public and to make the 456 the true villains. Frobisher threatens to reveal to the press the true nature of the inoculations. Green persuades him not to, noting that Frobisher's children would know their fate, and shows him little sympathy. He has Bridget Spears obtain a pistol for him, which he takes to his house. Once he ensures his wife and two daughters are together upstairs, he closes the door and shoots the three dead, preferring that to having his children suffer for a countless number of years at the hands of the 456. After a moment, he commits suicide.

Concurrently, Bridget Spears visits Lois Habiba in prison, where she is being held on charges of espionage. She tells Lois that "John Frobisher was a good man and it wasn't his fault, nor will history remember him this way".

Rhiannon and Johnny, told by Ianto that the government is lying, keep their "creche" service running for the local estate. Gwen, Rhys and Andy Davidson arrive to tell them of Ianto's death and warn them special forces will soon arrive to take the children. While doing so, Gwen learns Ianto had lied about his father's job, upsetting Rhiannon. Gwen also tells Rhys that she has decided to get an abortion, as she doesn't want to bring a child into this kind of world. As Gwen, Rhys and Rhiannon prepare to help the children escape, Johnny informs a nearby crowd of fathers they'll never see their kids again, rallying them against the arriving soldiers. They begin attacking the army, throwing bricks and punching them, who counter with riot shields, leading to a street brawl. Andy tries to call his superiors to learn what is happening. He watches as soldiers break into people's houses and take children away. Realising that what the soldiers are doing is wrong, Andy removes his police jacket and tie and joins the resistance. Despite punching some of the soldiers, Andy, Johnny and the others are overwhelmed by force of numbers and forced to the ground, held down by batons to keep them there.

Rhys, Rhiannon and Gwen take the children to abandoned warehouses at the bottom of a field. After they get the children quiet, Gwen makes the tape. She and Rhys then talk, and she agrees that she won't abort the baby, knowing how much her husband will suffer. They are soon discovered by the troops and have to run again. Rhiannon and Rhys are captured by the soldiers as are many of the children. Gwen and one child keep running.

Taken by Johnson to a warehouse full of equipment to try to stop the 456, Jack, with the help of Dekker and Johnson, devises a way to defeat the 456 using a reconstitution wave of the same wavelength the 456 used to kill Clem, using the children as one vast transmitter. Mr Dekker tells him that for it to work, the wave needs to be sent via one child, who will "fry". They only have one child available to them: Steven.

Jack saves the world at a terrible price.

Ignoring his feelings and his own daughter's protests, Jack uses his grandson as the prime transmitter. Alice tries to tell Steven to escape. Steven, still thinking that Jack is his uncle, does not run but asks Jack what he is doing. Jack ignores the question and transmits the signal. Oduya, monitoring the 456, watches as it smacks the tank edges, screeching. Blood splatters on the glass. There is an explosion of blood and the tank fills with bright light. Jack and Alice watch in horror as Steven spasms, the signal killing him stone dead. The pillar of fire appears and moves up through the sky, vanishing, taking with it any remains of the 456 ambassador. The group look sombrely as Alice runs to her son. She weeps over his corpse, screaming "why?" Jack too is tearful, as are Dekker and Johnson. Gwen, the only one from the estate left still free, happily embraces the liberated children; the soldiers stand down.

Meanwhile, Green, once the cabinet in the COBRA meeting have dispersed (save Bridget and Denise Riley) immediately makes plans to blame the day's events on the Americans, claiming they acted without authorisation. Disgusted that despite everything Green is only interested in saving his own skin, Bridget reveals she recorded everything he said during the days session with the contact lenses, having learned how to use them from Lois. She now intends to release everything they've recorded to the public, partly as revenge for what he did to Frobisher. When Green threatens Bridget with arrest, Riley takes charge and allows Bridget to leave while also promising to have Lois released. Riley also makes it clear to Green that one way or another, his days as Prime Minister are almost over.

Sometime later, Jack grieves as he waits for Alice in a corridor, but, when she arrives, she glares at him, quickly turning around. Understanding, Jack gets up and leaves through the other exit.

Six Months Later

Jack leaves Earth.

Jack has travelled the world for six months, but this is not enough to rid himself of his guilt. He arranges a meeting with Gwen — now heavily pregnant — and Rhys on a hilltop in a remote location. Once reunited, Gwen returns Jack his vortex manipulator as requested; the only thing not destroyed when the hub was bombed. Jack confesses his guilt at having lost everyone close to him, save Gwen. He tells them that there is a cold fusion freighter near the edge of the Sol System. He intends to get onboard for further travels. Gwen tearfully tells him he can't just run away. He replies, "Yes I can. Watch me". He uses his vortex manipulator to signal the freighter, which teleports him off Earth.

Gwen is left sobbing in Rhys' arms. They both walk away in forlorn, knowing that Torchwood is finished.


Uncredited roles[]


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.

This episode did not have a "created by Russell T Davies" credit.



The Doctor[]



Story notes[]

  • Russell T Davies originally wrote a role for Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith in both Day Four and Day Five, but these scenes were cut when Clarke became unavailable due to a film commitment. (REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter)
  • Originally, the final shot of the episode was to have been of a computer screen reading "TORCHWOOD STATUS: TERMINATED," referring to the cessation of all Torchwood operations in the UK by the end of the miniseries. This was taken out at a late stage, as Davies did not wish to give the impression that the series had been cancelled, even though he knew that Children of Earth might very possibly be the last-ever instalment of Torchwood. As it turned out, Children of Earth would indeed prove to be the finale of the show's original incarnation, but the series continued as a British-American co-production starting in 2011. (REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter)
  • This is the last Torchwood episode to use the original closing theme from Series 1, as Miracle Day would use a new arrangement for the closing theme. The same is for the opening credits, which was a new arrangement for the series.
  • Even though Colonel Oduya is in the episode in a major role, his actor, Charles Abomeli, was not credited.


  • 5.8 million BBC One viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures
  • 6.58 million viewers, according to final official BARB viewing figures[1]
  • AI of 90%
  • 12th most-watched programme in Britain during the week of transmission

Filming locations[]

  • Rupert Brooke Drive
  • Thames House - London
  • Maindee Police Station - Newport
  • Cefn Coed Road - The Frobisher residence
  • M.O.D Caerwent

Production errors[]

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.
  • While Alice is rocking her son's dead body, he moves his hands.


Home video releases[]

  • Children of Earth: Day Five was released on DVD along with the rest of Children of Earth on 13 July 2009.
  • It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)