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Children of Earth: Day Three was the third episode of Series 3 of Torchwood. It was written by Russell T Davies and James Moran, 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 notably introduced the 456 after the buildup in the previous two episodes. Torchwood Three also established a new temporary base of operations and pilfered a new car to replace their stolen SUV.


The eyes of the world turn to Britain. The 456 announce: "We are here," as the new Torchwood adventure continues. A pillar of fire descends upon London and Torchwood must battle to protect their own families as the fight gets personal. Will Clem's memories destroy everything?


The team, including Rhys, have set up a base in an old factory once used by Torchwood One for storage. As a former police officer, Gwen knows all the tricks of the criminal trade, including stealing mobile phones, debit cards and laptops from people off the street. Jack makes off with a car. Soon the base is stocked with creature comforts; coffee, electricity, access to the Torchwood server, toiletries, and new clothes for the group, including replacement World War II era apparel for Jack, thanks to an Army Surplus special. When he researches the other people targeted for assassination, Jack is shocked. He seems to recognise them and he runs off.

In Cardiff, Jack's daughter Alice is still trying to contact him; she goes outside and borrows a girl's mobile to phone the Cardiff police, but the government's scanners pick up Jack's name and try to find the connection between them. Agent Johnson gets word of this. Her team take Alice and her son away to "help" them. Suddenly, Steven points southeastwards to London as all the children on Earth are pointing towards London.

A pillar of fire descends from the sky and enters Thames House. Fiery energy fills the gas containment system. John Frobisher and Mr Dekker meet with the aliens, who instruct the humans to call them "456". During the discussion, Frobisher extracts a promise from the 456 that it will not mention its previous visit to Earth in 1965.

Gwen surprises Lois Habiba at a cafe and asks her to wear some special contact lenses to allow Torchwood to see what is going on. Lois protests but takes the contacts. Gwen phones PC Andy to bail Clem McDonald out from police custody and brings him to the base.

Jack sneaks into Frobisher's house and steals his wife's mobile. He phones Frobisher, having made the connection between the children and the events of 1965. He threatens Frobisher with "blow[ing] this thing sky high". Frobisher tells Jack they have taken his daughter and grandson into custody and will kill them if he does. Jack threatens to do the same, but Frobisher knows he would never do such a thing.

That night, Frobisher, Bridget Spears and Lois Habiba enter the gas chamber room, which is being transmitted to a conference room where UNIT, an American general and Brian Green are watching. Frobisher demands the 456 cease using human children to communicate; in return the 456 demand a gift: 10% of the children on Earth.

Back at the warehouse base, Clem tells Gwen he can smell the man who brought the children to the aliens. When Jack walks in, Clem recognises him as the man who gave the twelve children up to the aliens in 1965. When Gwen protests that Jack is a "good guy" who fights aliens, Jack informs them that in this instance, he had done what was asked. He gave the 456 the children... "as a gift."



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.


Story notes[]


  • 5.9 million BBC One viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures
  • 6.4 million viewers, according to final official BARB viewing figures[1]
  • AI of 90%
  • 14th most-watched programme in Britain during the week of transmission

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.
  • During the first scene in the warehouse, when Jack "lets slip" he knew about the pregnancy, Gwen mutters, "You promised, John," instead of, "You promised, Jack". This was corrected in home media and streaming releases to "Christ, Jack."
  • When Lois Habiba wears the contact lens, she puts them both in the same eye (her left eye).
  • The green goo sprayed on the front of the tank disappears and reappears in different shapes several times between shots.
  • When Gwen is demonstrating the lenses to Lois, several times she looks in different directions and moves her head, but the display on the laptop doesn't move. Also, when Gwen blinks, the display is unaffected (although the computer program may be able to compensate the blinking).
  • When Torchwood accesses the (production mock-up) BBC News website, the word Minister is misspelled as "Minster".
  • Torchwood, like many BBC-produced shows in the 21st century including Doctor Who, is shot digitally at 50fps, and a film effect is introduced in post to remove every other frame, creating the illusion of more cinematic 25fps footage. However here are two moments in this episode where the film effect has not been applied to the footage. The first occurs during the high-wide shot of Frobisher addressing the 456, and is subtle enough to miss. The second occurs during the shot of the TV screen showing the news feed in the scene immediately afterwards, as well as close-up shots of the news feed later in the episode (particularly, after Frobisher receives the call about becoming the point-of-contact for the 456, and Jack leaves his daughter's house).
    • Of note, this error is noticeable because the BBC required production houses to provide material in 720p50 for broadcast purposes at the time Children of Earth was produced. The end credits of almost all BBC-produced or commissioned series are seen to scroll at 50fps. This is what allows this error to become apparent - if the material had been output at 25fps, it would go unnoticed.


Home video releases[]

  • Children of Earth: Day Three 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.)