Children of Earth: Day Five was the fifth episode of the third series of Torchwood. It marked the conclusion of the 456 arc and the departure of Jack Harkness from Earth.


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.

The Prime Minister speaks to the nation, telling the UK about the upcoming "innoculations" 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. The government, although horrified at the reason, begins to put their plan into action.

Rhiannon and Johnny, told by Ianto that the government is lying, keep their "creche" service running for the local estate. Gwen, Rhys and Andy arrive to tell them of Ianto's death and warn them special forces will soon arrive to take the children. Gwen, Rhys and Rhiannon prepare to help the children escape, whilst Johnny goes to stop the soldiers. He warns a nearby crowd of fathers they'll never see their kids again. They begin attacking the army. After downing a few soldiers, the gang are rounded up. 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 one by one punches the soldiers to the ground. He is soon forced to the ground and a baton is placed round his neck to keep him there.

Rhys, Rhiannon and Gwen take the children to abandoned warehouses at the bottom of a field. After they get the children quiet, Gwen is shown making the tape shown at the beginning of the episode. 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.

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. Frobisher decides to murder his family and commit suicide.

Ms. 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". Spears takes the Torchwood contact lenses to record evidence against Green.

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's Sacrifice

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 is shown with the 456 as it smacks the tank edges, screeching. Blood appears. There is an explosion of blood and the tank fills with bright light. The beam of fire appears and moves up through the sky, vanishing. Steven, as predicted, is killed.

Gwen, the only one from the estate left uncaptured, happily embraces the liberated children. Jack is left grieving, and Alice severs all contact with him.

Jack leaves Earth

Jack leaves Earth.

Six Months Later
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. Jack 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 (which Gwen had retrieved from the ruins of Torchwood) to signal the freighter, which teleports him off Earth.

Gwen is left sobbing in Rhys' arms — with Jack gone, the other members dead, the base destroyed and Gwen heavily pregnant, Torchwood Three ceases to exist.



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

  • The Doctor is referenced by Gwen, touching on a theme first mentioned in DW: The Christmas Invasion regarding the fact that the Doctor is not always around when a crisis occurs.


  • Reversing a transmission/signal for defence was previously used on the Ood in the Doctor Who story The Satan Pit.


  • When Gwen returns to Cardiff and meets Andy Davidson, he says the words, "Croeso i Cymru", which is Welsh for "Welcome to Wales."

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)
  • Even though Colonel Oduya was in this episode, he was not credited.
  • This is actually not the first time a canonical Doctor Who franchise story has dealt with the subject of converting sentient beings into drugs. DW: Nightmare of Eden dealt with a similar topic, although in that case the drugs were harvested from the corpses of Mandrels rather than from living humans.
  • 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)


5.8 million viewers (overnight, BBC1)


  • The Tenth Doctor was rumoured to appear. However, he was only mentioned by Gwen when she was recording a message.
  • Speculation started over Ianto's death in TW: Children of Earth: Day Four, with many fans believing he may be resurrected. This was not the case, however.
  • It was rumoured that Gwen would die. She did not.
  • It was rumoured that Steven would have inherited Jack's healing factor and come back to life after his death. This was not the case.

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.
  • With Day Five being set on a Saturday (if the newspaper Ianto picked up is anything to go by), then why are the children at school? Obviously the government told them to but why would they go?
  • When the 456 was destroyed it splattered blood all over the glass. Yet when it's gone the glass is spotless.
  • While Alice is rocking her son's dead body, he moves his hands.



For Jack Harkness:

For Gwen and Rhys:

Home video releases

  • Children of Earth: Day Five was released on DVD along with the rest of Children of Earth on 13 July 2009.


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