New to Doctor Who or returning after a break? Check out our guides designed to help you find your way!



The New World was the first episode of Series 4 of Torchwood. It was written by Russell T Davies, and directed by Bharat Nalluri. It showed the first meeting between Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper since his departure from Earth at the end of TV: Children of Earth: Day Five [+]Russell T Davies, Torchwood series 3 (BBC One, 2009). and introduced new major characters Rex Matheson, Esther Drummond and Oswald Danes, as well as Gwen and Rhys's daughter, Anwen, whom Gwen had given birth to after Jack departed for space.

It was the first Torchwood television story to be mainly set outside the United Kingdom. It was only the third DWU episode (in terms of date of release) to feature first unit principal photography in the United States, following TV: Day of the Moon [+]Steven Moffat, Doctor Who series 6 (BBC One, 2011).. It was also the first episode in the history of the DWU to feature any work done in the state of California.


One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next and the next. People keep ageing, they get hurt and sick, but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight.

With all the extra people, resources are finite. It's said that in four months time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can't be a natural event – someone's got to be behind it. It's a race against time as CIA agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking, “What is Torchwood?”, he's drawn into a world of adventure and a threat to change what it means to be human ... forever.


Oswald Danes is about to be put to death by lethal injection. As he receives the fatal concoction, he thrashes on the gurney. At the CIA, the word Torchwood has appeared conspicuously in numerous places. Esther Drummond is on the phone with Rex Matheson, who keeps asking, "What is Torchwood anyway?" As Esther speaks, he is impaled by metal rods that fall from the truck ahead of him. Suddenly, the word "Torchwood" is wiped from the system. Esther claims it must have been a virus. Gwen Cooper, former Torchwood agent, has woken from a nightmare. Oswald is talking to a governor's assistant. Oswald says he can't be held and executed again because of the Eighth and Fifth Amendments.

In rural Wales, Gwen is telling her daughter, Anwen, about a singing alien she once met. Rhys walks in, upset she is talking to their baby about Torchwood. They complain about the helicopters that fly over their private estate. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. The two pick up guns. Gwen opens the door, concealing her pistol as Rhys hides near Anwen, holding a shotgun. At the door are two hikers, who ask for directions. Gwen dismisses them, ordering they leave, shutting the door in their faces. Rhys quickly placates Gwen as she has a panic attack, telling her the Torchwood days are over. Outside, as the two hikers leave, they glance at the house, almost as if confirming suspicions.

Soon after, Andy Davidson phones to say Gwen's father is in hospital. They rush back to Cardiff, despite Rhys' warnings. Andy escorts them in, informing them about the Miracle. They find Geraint is still alive due to the Miracle but unwell. Gwen's parents tell her that she shouldn't have come, as they're worried someone might have seen her. She insists she had to, leaving Anwen and Rhys with her parents, who haven't seen them since Anwen was born. Gwen and Andy privately research the Miracle, and work out that only humans are affected as the insect population would have already overrun the planet otherwise. They realise that if people aren't dying, it's going to be a matter of months before food runs out and society collapses. Afterwards, Gwen and Rhys talk about the Miracle and the effect it could have on their daughter when she grows up. Although Gwen wants to investigate, Rhys reminds her that being part of Torchwood ruined their lives and now they have their child to consider. Gwen agrees to drop it and the two head home.

Rex Matheson is taken to hospital, and Esther is told by Doctor Vera Juarez that his survival is a "miracle". There have been a lot in the last day. Soon all the headlines are naming this Miracle Day. No-one on the planet has died. Rex is soon recovering and talking to Esther on his mobile. The Torchwood files were uncovered at the exact moment the last person died. Esther looks for hard copies of the lost data, all categorised under 456. She finds the buried hard copies of the data in boxes and files, and pictures of Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen, but is interrupted by Jack, scaring her at his unchanged appearance despite his profile picture in the data stating it was taken during World War II. She runs away and finds that someone has "killed" the archivist and is set upon by an armed man. Jack appears and shoots the man, who opens his coat to reveal bombs strapped to his body, which he detonates. They escape by jumping from a window into a fountain below. Jack tells Esther everything about Torchwood, Gwen and extra-terrestrial lifeforms. He also tells her the virus "Torchwood" was him; a piece of software he setup to get his attention, calling him back to earth to ensure he can protect Gwen, the last living member of his team. He gives her a dose of the "smart drug" retcon — a selective amnesia pill, ensuring she forgets all about him and what she learned.

Esther wakes up and finds a bruise on her body from jumping from the CIA building into the fountain with Jack. In pain from his fall, Jack checks the bruise he suffered and discovers it hasn't healed — an indicator he has lost his immortality. Jack goes to the hospital Rex is in, where they have the remains of the suicide bomber. He poses as FBI Agent "Owen Harper" for the exam, also attended by Vera. The man is still alive even though his whole body was burnt in the explosion. At Jack's suggestion, the doctor heading the exam tries to take off his head to see if he will live. Rex secretly watches the operation, hacking into the security cameras at Vera's instigation. Meanwhile, Esther is granted the last file on Torchwood by her co-worker, given she was asking about it yesterday. However, the retcon causes Esther to dismiss the file.

Once done, Rex gets in touch with Esther, asking about Torchwood. Esther tries to dismiss it, vaguely believing it connected somehow. Intrigued, Rex asks for more information on the organisation, leading her to check the file. He soon pieces Torchwood and the currant Miracle phenomenon are connected as the Torchwood malware was triggered at 22:36pm - the last time in days a human died on Earth. He jumps to action, telling Esther to book him a flight to the UK. He begins to unplug himself from the hospitals monitors and gets dressed. He struggles through the hospital, as staff and Vera insist he get back to bed. However, Rex has had a revelation: he can't die. Once out the hospital, he commandeers a taxi using his CIA badge. He reaches the airport, his neighbour having delivered his passport for him. He gets on the flight as he instructs Esther to find out what she can about Torchwood. He also requests a requisition 15 - clearance to take a handgun on a plane - but the airport refuse, but they agree to provide one once he lands. On the plane, he demands Esther find out all she can on agent Gwen Cooper as Jack Harkness' file is practically lost. One air hostess informs him he can't engage calls while in flight. Despite using his ID, a man next to him takes his phone, enforcing the hostess' order.

Hours later, Rex arrives in Britain, where Esther informs him about what she learned and Rex retrieves his pistol from the airport security. Through Esther's digging, they learn Gwen was put on the witness protection scheme with Andy Davidson as her liaison; they trace the call he made the day before - Rex locates Gwen and Rhys's house in Wales. He hires a car and drives there and demands they tell him about Torchwood, holding them at gun point, Gwen refusing to comply despite him being CIA. However, his wound overwhelms him and he passes out. Not long after, Rex awakes tied to a radiator, Gwen and Rhys preparing to flee the house, frantically packing their bags. He breaks free from his restraints but Gwen holds him at gunpoint. Not long after, a helicopter flies up and the pilot fires a missile at the house. Protecting her daughter, Gwen engages the helicopter, shooting out the gunman, forcing it to retreat. The three flee outside, finding Jack firing at the helicopter atop an open-head army jeep. Befuddled, Rex recalls Jack as the man on the plane who took his phone, realising he was following him. As they drive away on the nearby beach, Gwen shoots the helicopter down with a bazooka. The helicopter goes down in flames and goes belly-up in the sky as it falls down to the beach below, its spinning rotors forcing the group to duck to the floor of the Jeep. Jack and Gwen gaze at their victory with relief and nostalgia, but Rhys and Rex look a bit unravelled.

The group arrive in Cardiff, where Gwen instructs Rhys to take their baby Anwen to her mother's home so she can be safe, and asks Jack if they'll be rebuilding Torchwood. Gwen still has the Eye-5s, but all their other technology was obliterated with the Hub. Rhys grows testy with Gwen's choice to follow "Captain Jack Bollocks", and Gwen reprimands him, saying, "What choice do I have?" However, Jack is not in the nostalgic mood like Gwen is. He makes her pay attention to the wound on his forearm that has not healed. While the Miracle Day has made the world immortal, Jack has become mortal again, a normal human being after centuries of never-ending deaths. Rex, completely in the dark, doesn't comprehend the apparent nonsense. Jack snaps at him for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, and notices Rex has popped his stitches, bleeding profusely. Rex knows he cannot die, making little effort to abide by Jack's concerns to get it checked. His attention is more focused on a cluster of wailing sirens from the distance.

A cavalcade of police cars surround the group, with the officers filing out before them with guns and rifles drawn. Andy steps out among the crowd and apologises to Gwen, having been forced to do this by orders from above. Rhys states Rex has no jurisdiction on British soil to make an arrest. Rex corrects him — this is not an arrest, but a rendition. Torchwood's services are being legally handed over to America.



General production staff

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Make-up and prosthetics

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


UK crew
General production staff
Camera, lighting and sound departments





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.

The Starz broadcast carried a final credit of "Originally Developed and Produced by BBC Cymru Wales. The BBC One broadcast says, instead, "BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC Cymru Wales and STARZ Originals".  The BBC One credits were different from the Starz credits inasmuch as the UK unit were concerned. The BBC One credits noted the grips, whereas the Starz credits noted the UK camera operators. BBC One credited unit manager Paul Davies, while Starz did not.


Story notes[]

  • Unlike broadcasts of Doctor Who, and the previous series of Torchwood, Miracle Day was broadcast in the United States, Canada and Australia before the United Kingdom.
  • According to old American frontier legend, anyone who survives an execution, such as Oswald Danes, is automatically set free. As this legend is actually untrue, the episode depicts a series of legal arguments — including unlawful imprisonment and force majeure arguments — that lead to Danes's release.
  • The picture Esther sees of Jack during WWII is actually a publicity still from TV: The Empty Child, in which he was introduced.
  • Rendition is when an individual is taken from one legal jurisdiction to another. Rex justifies his rendition of what remains of Torchwood Three by citing US Code 3184. In real life, this section of code actually does have to do with taking fugitives from another country to the United States.
  • Gwen is said to have joined Torchwood in October 2006, the month that the first episode of Torchwood aired. This clashes with and contradicts dates given in several other stories.


  • 1.51 million (Starz)
  • 4.83 million (BBC)
  • 6.59 million (Final BARB ratings)[1]

Filming locations[]

to be added


Date Time Channel Notes
Thursday 14 July 2011 21:00 BBC One First broadcast.
Monday 18 July 2011 23:20 BBC HD & BBC Two

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.
  • When Senior Professor Santini decides to take off the head, he is seen without eye protection. In the next shot, focused on Vera and Jack, Santini is seen not putting on eye protection. In the next shot, the eye protection is mysteriously already on Santini's face.
  • The first time Rex has his phone taken from him on the plane, the arm is bare. However, during the flashback, the arm is covered with Jack's vortex manipulator and sleeve. This is apparently deliberate, to keep Jack's identity hidden.
  • Rex Matheson's line "Get down!" and the yelling he does as he fires the automatic rifle in the Jeep has evidently been added in post-production, as it does not match up with the lip movements of Mekhi Phifer when that dialogue is spoken.


  • The Hiking Couple who came up to Gwen's were going to play a major factor in the series. They were operatives of an as yet unknow agency there to confirm Gwen's location/identity, thus confirming Rhys and Gwen's paranoia.


Home video releases[]

  • This episode was released worldwide in a box set containing all ten episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In the United Kingdom, it was released on Region 2 DVD and Region Free Blu-ray on 14 November 2011.[2] In Australia, it was released in Region 4 DVD and Region B Blu-Ray on 1 December 2011.[3] In New Zealand, the same sets were released on 7 December 2011.[4] In North America, it was released on Region 1 DVD and Region Free Blu-Ray on 3 April 2012.[5]
  • It was also released in the Series 1-4 boxset (Region 2 release: 14 November 2011.)