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Children of Earth: Day One was the first 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, Kai Owen as Rhys Williams and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.

It marked the beginning of the end for the Torchwood Institute as it had been established over the course of two series by eliminating almost all of its technological resources. It saw the destruction of the Torchwood Three headquarters and the theft of their trademark vehicle. Gwen also discovered she had recently become pregnant.

This story featured the second appearance of Peter Capaldi portraying a character within the Doctor Who universe. He previously had the role of Caecilius in the story The Fires of Pompeii and would later play the Doctor himself in his twelfth incarnation.


When all children on Earth stop and start chanting "We are coming", the Torchwood team investigates. Could this be the start of a global crisis?


One night in Scotland, 1965, young children are driven in a school bus to an undisclosed location. When the bus stops, the children exit and walk towards a light. It grows brighter as they draw closer. One hesitates, then flees as the light covers a large area.

Forty-four years later, in Cardiff, September 2009, at 8:40 am GMT, Gwen Cooper is withdrawing money from a cash machine when she notices two children standing completely still and unresponsive. In fact, all the children all over the United Kingdom freeze. After a minute, the children start moving again, acting as if nothing has happened. Gwen goes to the Hub and begins to investigate the incident.

At a hospital, Dr Rupesh Patanjali fails to save a man's life. Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones, whom Dr Patanjali believes are the man's neighbours, ask to see the body alone. Jack uses a laser saw to open the corpse and extracts an alien organ. Dr Patanjali re-enters, sees the alien organ and asks if the men are Torchwood. Jack quickly denies it. Dr Patanjali tells them the bodies of five ethnic males have vanished over the past two months. Jack tells him it's a problem for the NHS. Ianto and he drive away. Back at the Hub, Gwen tells them what has happened with the children.

A woman named Lois Habiba begins her first day at work for her new boss, Bridget Spears, assistant to the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, John Frobisher. Frobisher is visited by UNIT Colonel Oduya, who tells him children "stopped" at the exact same time all over the world, as the Torchwood team also discovers. Oduya says UNIT has gone to yellow alert, although they don't know if the phenomenon is extraterrestrial in origin.

Dr Patanjali wanders in the plaza outside the Hub. Gwen goes to meet him, as the self-appointed "recruitment officer," since, as Jack says, the team needs a doctor. While they talk, all the children again suddenly stop at 10:30 am. They scream, then chant in unison: "We are coming." The Torchwood team later discovers that an adult patient in a mental institution in East GrinsteadTimothy White — also stopped and spoke the same words. Every child in the world said the same words.

Mr Dekker, head of MI5's technology division, who is also in charge of alien monitoring, tells Frobisher the aliens called the 456 have re-established contact for the first time since 1965. Frobisher meets with the Prime Minister, Brian Green, and suggests, "It might be best if certain historical events were taken off the record." Green agrees, but refuses Frobisher's request he issue a "blank page"; he doesn't want his name attached. Green puts Frobisher in charge of the crisis so Green can have deniability if things go wrong.

Lois fields a phone call from Jack Harkness. When she logs it, the computer flags Torchwood as classified. Curious, she logs on as Bridget Spears and finds Torchwood was established to defend the Earth against extraterrestrial threats.

Back at the Hub, Jack and Ianto agree they need to question a child. Jack visits his daughter, Alice Carter, and her son Steven, his grandson. Alice refuses to let Jack use Steven. Ianto visits his sister, Rhiannon Davies. He tries to talk her into letting him take one of her children on an "outing", but she refuses. She also asks Ianto about his having been seen out to dinner with a man. Ianto admits his feelings for Jack. He explains he doesn't have an inkling for men, but Jack has affected him differently, so he isn't broadcasting his sexual choices. Rhiannon promises him that she will not tell anyone about his relationship. However, it becomes evident she gossiped to her husband Johnny when he walks in and thoughtlessly calls Ianto a "gay boy" who, according to his wife, has been "taking it up the arse". Feeling humiliated, he takes the riffing with a grain of salt and puts up with Johnny to save face.

Suddenly, a car alarm begins wailing. Johnny looks out the window and asks whom the "black car" belongs to. Ianto confirms it as the Torchwood SUV. Ianto ignores Johnny's warning that his car is a target on their estate. He puts too much faith in the vehicle's triple deadlock, a costly mistake. Johnny alerts him a few hooligans have broken into the company car with ease. Panicked, Ianto bursts outside to find the SUV nowhere in sight. Johnny says the local thieves always do a victory lap to parade around in their stolen ride and takes the opportunity to pelt them with bricks on the pass around, rather than calling the authorities as Ianto requests. Surely enough, the Torchwood SUV blazes back into view one last time. The joyriding jokers cheer and whoop as they drive off with the car, one of them mooning the group as they pass by. David cheers the joyriders on from his bedroom window, which earns him a scolding from Rhiannon. An exasperated Ianto watches the car disappear around a corner as Johnny chases the thieves with an armload of bricks.

Gwen visits Timothy White. He tells her that when he was a child he was put on a bus and taken away with a group of children; they were told they were going to a new home. He watched the other children approach a bright light, which took them. He escaped; he got scared and ran away. His real name is Clem McDonald. He has an unusually heightened sense of smell. Clem tells Gwen the aliens are coming back, that he has been smelling them for months — and that she is three weeks pregnant. Gwen calls Ianto, now back at the Hub, and tells him to start a search for information about MacDonald, missing children, and Scotland. Ianto's research triggers an alarm at an unidentified military monitoring station.

At the Home Office, Frobisher orders Bridget Spears to issue a blank page, an order to kill. Four people are on the list. One is Captain Jack Harkness. The others are Colonel Michael Sanders, Ellen Hunt and Captain Andrew Staines. Lois sees Bridget is distressed. She goes into Bridget's e-mail account and finds the blank page order, recognising Jack's name from his earlier phone call.

Jack returns to Cardiff hospital, hoping to question a child in the children's ward. Dr Patanjali tells him that another ethnic man has died; when Jack goes with him to examine the body, Dr Patanjali shoots him. A young woman named Johnson comes in and waits until Jack revives, proving the rumours about his immortality. She kills Jack again, then orders her men to surgically implant a bomb in his body. Patanjali is a spy, under orders to infiltrate Torchwood. Johnson kills Patanjali to stop Jack from finding him and learning why he was shot. Jack revives again and returns to the Hub.

Jack looks up to Ianto before the Hub blows up.

Gwen uses a scanner at Torchwood. Clement's claims are true; she is pregnant. Jack arrives and places his hand on hers, inadvertently scanning himself, finding the bomb in his stomach. He tells Gwen and Ianto to get out. He kisses Ianto, watches him rise on the elevator, and tells him, "I'll come back...I always do." The Hub blows up in a massive explosion, knocking the running Gwen to the ground.

Meanwhile, all of the children chant, "We are coming, we are coming, we are coming ... back".



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.


Real world[]




  • The children first stop at 8:40AM GMT, and then again at 10:30AM GMT. Rhys recognises both times as being when kids are more out in the public in Britian due to being dropped off at schools and on playtime, respectively.


Story notes[]

  • Freema Agyeman was originally expected to appear as Martha Jones throughout the mini-series. When her casting in the TV series Law & Order: UK made her unavailable for the whole production, Davies wrote a cameo appearance for her in Day One, but her schedule prevented her from appearing for the cameo. The cameo was featured in script form in Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter. Martha appears to still be with UNIT, as Jack bemoans that a sergeant is his contact with UNIT instead of Martha. This means that Martha did not take Jack's implied job offer from TV: Journey's End.
  • The hospital seen in this episode is the same as seen in the BBC hospital drama Casualty.
  • Despite the real-life decision to remove the "United Nations" name from the UNIT acronym, dialogue establishes UNIT is still under the command of the UN, which orders UNIT to yellow alert.
  • There is a humorous nod to the BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey by quoting "What's occurring?!". Ruth Jones, one of the stars and creators of the show, guest starred in the series 2 episode Adrift.


  • 5.9 million BBC One viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures
  • 6.47 million viewers, according to final official BARB viewing figures[1]
  • AI of 88%
  • 13th most-watched programme in Britain during the week of transmission

Filming locations[]

to be added


  • When Gwen says Martha Jones is on her honeymoon, it meant she married her fiancée Thomas Milligan and was on her honeymoon with him. It is later revealed that she married Mickey Smith and was actually on her honeymoon with him.


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.


  • Gwen calls out for Ianto and Jack in the Hub when the light is turned off, asking them what they are doing, referring to when she walked in on them in Jack's office. (TV: Adrift)
  • Jack and Ianto's toying with Rupesh Patanjali when he finds their base mirrors what the team did when Gwen stumbled upon their organisation, something Gwen picks up on. (TV: Everything Changes)
  • Lois reads up on the history of Torchwood, such as its founding by Queen Victoria in 1879. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
  • When Frobisher mentions informing the Prime Minister, Dekker notes elected officials "just come and go", a reference to Britain's recent frequent change of prime ministers including Harriet Jones through 2006 and early 2007, (TV: The Christmas Invasion) Harold Saxon through 2008 (TV: The Sound of Drums) and Aubrey Fairchild through to spring 2009. (PROSE: Beautiful Chaos)
  • When Rhys calls Gwen about a house that he has seen up for sale, the estate agent sign outside it says "Frost and Lynch", the same one which Mark Lynch owned alongside running the Weevil fight club. (TV: Combat)
  • The SUV has been stolen before. (TV: Countrycide, Fragments)
  • Jack previously wondered what would happen if his body were totally destroyed. (PROSE: Bay of the Dead)

Home video releases[]

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