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Children of Earth: Day One was the first episode of the third series of Torchwood. It saw to the destruction of the Torchwood 3 HQ and the theft of their trademark vehicale.

Synopsis

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

Plot

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 an ATM 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 torch to open the corpse. He 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. The Torchwood S.U.V is stolen during Ianto's visit.

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 Rupesh to stop Jack from finding him and learning why he was shot. Jack revives again and returns to the Hub.

JackinHubCOE

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".

Cast

Crew

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



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.  This episode was not broadcast with thanks to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In its place is a Sound editor credit for Matt Cox.


References

Real world

  • There is a humourous nod to the BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey, "What's occurring?!" Ruth Jones, one of the creators of Gavin and Stacey, guest starred in the series 2 episode Adrift.
  • Gwen calls Jack and Ianto "the Chuckle Brothers".
  • One of the people on Frobisher's hit list is a Colonel Michael Sanders. This may be a reference to the founder of fast food restaurant KFC.

Restaurants

Individuals

  • Frost Lynch, the company owned by Mark Lynch in Combat, is the realty agency promoting the house Rhys is visiting.
  • A photo of Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper is in Gwen's workspace.
  • Although in a relationship with Jack, Ianto establishes he has never felt this way for another man.
  • Jack dies (and revives) three times.

UNIT

  • UNIT is mentioned many times and a UNIT officer meets with Frobisher. 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.

Companions

Music

  • When Jack mentions Martha Jones, the musical motif "Martha's Theme" from Doctor Who is heard.

Story notes

Ratings

  • 5.9 million viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures. 6.47 million viewers, according to official viewing figures.

Filming locations

to be added

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.

Continuity

  • Martha Jones has gone on honeymoon (September 2009). She married Mickey Smith, confirmed in December 2009. (DW: The End of Time)
  • 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 in DW: Journey's End. By The End of Time, Martha will have left UNIT and be working freelance together with Mickey.
  • Colonel Mace has been relocated to Vancouver by UNIT.
  • 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 estate agency from the episode Combat, which Mark Lynch owned alongside running the Weevil fight club.
  • The "Gizmo" which Gwen uses to turn off the CCTV appears to be the same device that Dr Tanizaki used to examine Lisa Hallett in Cyberwoman.
  • The "blank page" resembles psychic paper.
  • Torchwood is still supposed to be a "secret" organisation, but public awareness of it is referenced in several scenes, most notably when Gwen says if you ask people about Torchwood, they usually send people towards Cardiff Bay (where the Hub is located); at one point Gwen exchanges humorous words about her job with a man outside the main entrance. This isn't the first time Torchwood's "secrecy" is called into question; see, for example, TW: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and BBCR: Lost Souls.
  • When Lois reads up on the history of Torchwood, the text on screen references the events of DW: Tooth and Claw.
  • Rupesh states that due to recent events (not specifically referenced but likely to include things like the Webstar attack (DW: The Runaway Bride) and the relocation of Earth (DW: The Stolen Earth)), half the world now knows of or believes in the existence of alien life, while the other half is in denial. Suicide rates have risen, which Rupesh ascribes to crises of faith. This may also be reflected by the insanity and suicide of Alex Hopkins, who learnt about upcoming events in 1999. (TW: Fragments)
  • The destruction of the Hub in a massive explosion leaves open the question of the fate of artefacts and creatures in the facility, including any imprisoned Weevils and Jack's brother, Gray, last seen in stasis. It is shown in DW: The End of Time and TW: End of the Road that at least a few items were recovered by individuals for personal use.
  • When John Frobisher mentions informing the Prime Minister, Mr Dekker notes elected officials "just come and go," a reference to Britain's recent frequent change of prime ministers including Harriet Jones through 2006/2007, (DW: The Christmas Invasion) Harold Saxon through 2008 (DW: The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords) and Aubrey Fairchild through to spring 2009. (NSA: Beautiful Chaos)
  • Brian Green refers to how it all comes "raining down from the skies, made of metal, and stinking green," referencing in particular the Daleks in their 2009 Invasion of Earth. (DW: The Stolen Earth / Journey's End)

Timeline

Home video releases

  • This episode was released on DVD along with the rest of Children of Earth on 13 July 2009 in the UK.

Footnotes

ImagesAvailable
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