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Torchwood (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
The Torchwood Institute (or "Torchwood" for short) was a secret organisation founded in 1879 (TV: Tooth and Claw) to protect the United Kingdom from extraterrestrial threats, (TV: Everything Changes) to capture the Doctor (whom Queen Victoria regarded as one such threat), and to secure alien technology for Britain. (TV: Tooth and Claw, Army of Ghosts)
Torchwood had branches across the British Empire. (TV: Everything Changes, AUDIO: Golden Age) The leading branch was Torchwood One in London. (TV: Army of Ghosts) After the Battle of Canary Wharf, leadership moved to Torchwood Three in Cardiff, which already had a more ecumenical agenda of protecting the world since Captain Jack Harkness had taken over in 2000. (TV: Doomsday, The Sound of Drums, Everything Changes, Fragments)
Owing to a series of crises in the late 2000s, Torchwood lost several bases (TV: Everything Changes, Children of Earth: Day Five) and by 2010 the Institute was defunct. (TV: The End of Time, The New World) A small successor team which formed in the wake of Miracle Day was briefly active in 2011 (TV: Dead of Night, et al.) but its operations were short-lived. (AUDIO: Red Skies, Army of One) However, Torchwood eventually returned in Cardiff by 2017, at which point it was seeking a new permanent facility in the city. (AUDIO: More Than This) Torchwood continued to be active in Cardiff up to at least the year 2069. (AUDIO: Asylum)
As the Torchwood Archive, the Institute would persist into the far future, sending the Walker Expedition to Krop Tor and advising rulers of the Earth Empire. (TV: The Satan Pit, AUDIO: Empire of Shadows) The Archive was finally destroyed by Jeremiah Bash Henderson. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 2.1 19th century
- 2.2 20th century
- 2.3 21st century
- 2.4 Post-21st century
- 3 Torchwood branches
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 External links
- 6 Footnotes
After an encounter with the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, Queen Victoria was grateful for their assistance in defeating a werewolf. However, she was unsettled by their cavalier attitude to the death and destruction surrounding them. She knighted the pair as a reward for their bravery, and then promptly banished them from the British Empire, never to return. The incident had also made her aware of otherworldly threats to the British Empire, prompting her to charter Torchwood to defend against them - specifically, the Doctor. Seeing his power and knowledge, the Queen was wary of his potential danger. The name of the Institute was drawn from the Torchwood Estate, where most of the adventure took place. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
Over time, the Institute accumulated much alien technology, reverse-engineering it and applying it to secret military projects within Britain. Within Torchwood an unofficial motto evolved: "If it's alien, it's ours." Under Yvonne Hartman, one of the objectives of Torchwood was to at some point re-establish the British Empire, for example, finding an alternate power source aside from oil, imported from the Middle East.
Hiding out in the open in Canary Wharf was Torchwood Tower, built to better access a weak point in spacetime that existed above London. The Torchwood Tower was only part of a much larger plan involving free energy (TV: Army of Ghosts) that backfired horribly and resulted in the deaths of many. (TV: Doomsday) This battle marked the end of Torchwood One. (TV: Everything Changes)
As London was home to Torchwood One, Cardiff was home to Torchwood Three, the maverick group led by Captain Jack Harkness. By the time of Gwen Cooper's recruitment into Torchwood Three, at least two other Torchwood branches were known to have existed as well: Torchwood Two and Torchwood Four. Torchwood Two was based in Glasgow, Scotland, and was comprised of one man whom Jack Harkness regarded as "very strange". Torchwood Four had been "lost". (TV: Everything Changes) Torchwood India was based in India and led by the Duchess of Melrose. It was disbanded in 1924, but continued in secret until 2009. (AUDIO: Golden Age)
Captain Jack declared the organisation "outside the government and beyond the police". (TV: Everything Changes) It was indeed different from most British institutions, having been created by royal decree and funded directly by the Crown. However, it was explicitly not "above" the government. HM Queen Victoria ordered:
Torchwood is also to administer to the Government thereof in our name, and generally to act in our name and on our behalf, subject to such orders and regulations as Torchwood shall, from time to time, receive from us through one of our Principal Secretaries of state.
Despite Jack's tendency to stress Torchwood's independence, Torchwood Three, at least, often complied with the spirit of the Charter. He often spoke to the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and to UNIT in both an advisory and operational capacity. (TV: Everything Changes, Children of Earth: Day One, and others) On at least one occasion, an active member of UNIT, Martha Jones, was assigned to Torchwood Three for a time. (TV: Reset, Dead Man Walking, A Day in the Death)
Public knowledge regarding Torchwood seemed to vary depending upon the situation. By the 1950s, it was known by London police; (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) by the late 2000s, the name was known by the general public, at least in Cardiff, (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) and it could be cited with authority in much the way terms like FBI or Homeland Security (or UNIT) were used. (TV: Dead Man Walking) People were aware of the general location of Torchwood Three headquarters by Cardiff Bay. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) By the early 2010s, it was known sufficiently to have the Battle of Canary Wharf called the Battle of Torchwood. (TV: Fear Her) However, as late as 2011 it was unknown to aspects of the United States government and the Central Intelligence Agency. (TV: The New World)
Torchwood's origins dated back to an incident involving the Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler and Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. At Torchwood House in Scotland, a monastic group called the Brethren stored a werewolf, which menaced the countryside and the Queen. With the monarch's assistance, the Doctor and Rose killed the werewolf. Victoria knighted them for their service, then banished them from the kingdom, declaring the Doctor in particular a potential threat to the Empire. Now aware of the reality of alien and supernatural life forms, Victoria ordered an organisation be created to protect the British Empire from the Doctor and threats such as the werewolf. She named the organisation the Torchwood Institute, after the location of the werewolf encounter. (TV: Tooth and Claw) She issued a royal decree establishing the Institute on 31 December 1879. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
In 1889, agents Eliza Cooper and Robert Lewis attempted to capture the Tenth Doctor when they realised he had been stranded in London. They came across H. G. Wells, and interrogated him about the Doctor. Wells led them to the TARDIS, which disappeared, apparently leaving the Doctor behind for them to arrest. (COMIC: The Time Machination) The man was found not to be the Doctor when he was dissected. (COMIC: Final Sacrifice)
By the 1890s, Torchwood had technology to detect inter-dimensional disturbances. Queen Victoria used this technology to investigate disturbances killing academics in Cambridge ahead of a vote on whether to award women degrees. (AUDIO: Infidel Places)
In 1897, Archie began the Torchwood Archive at Torchwood House. Object 1, a gift from the Committee to Tsar Alexander and then passed onto Victoria, was the first entry to the Archive. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
By 1899, a branch of Torchwood had been founded in Cardiff, which was based around a rift in space and time. In 1899, Jack Harkness was recruited by two of this branch's operatives, Alice Guppy and Emily Holroyd as a freelance agent of the Institute. His first mission was to apprehend a Blowfish; he succeeded, but was greatly disturbed when Guppy summarily executed the creature before his eyes. He continued to work for Torchwood largely against his will, having been told by a young girl who could see the future using tarot cards that he would have to wait more than a century before seeing the Doctor again. Meanwhile, he needed money to live. He continued to work for the organisation over the decades that followed, although he remained disturbed by the Institute's callous disregard for alien life forms. (TV: Fragments) Later that year Jack was seconded to Torchwood London. (AUDIO: The Victorian Age)
On 17 May 1899, the Life-stealer escaped from Torchwood London's base at the National History Museum and proceeded to feed on the youth of Londoners starting with Torchwood London director, Archie, who was left permanently incapacitated as he was rapidly aged, at the same time Torchwood was visited by Queen Victoria for her annual inspection of the Institute, resulting her sharing an adventure with Jack Harkness as she took to pursuing the creature. After Victoria killed the creature by exploiting its weakness against the elderly, both she and Jack declined their offers to each other to take command of Torchwood London, with the Queen retiring from public life while Jack returned to Torchwood in Cardiff. (AUDIO: The Victorian Age) Archie would recover from the attack, but never got his looks back and appeared not to age any further. He later left Torchwood London to found Torchwood Two in Glasgow. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
After years of study, Torchwood concluded that Object 1 was a bad luck device which had caused significant strife in Russia whilst Alexander owned it, negatively affecting infantry mortality, crop yields and political dissatisfaction. Upon being presented this evidence by Jack, Victoria ordered him to dispose of it in the Cardiff Rift. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
In 1901, Alice Guppy and Charles Gaskell dug up a future version of Jack Harkness that had been taken from the 21st century and buried in 27 AD Cardiff. He told them to freeze him in the cryo-chambers so he could defeat his brother Gray. Subsequently, Jack's future self resided in the cryo-chambers even as his younger self continued to work nearby. (TV: Exit Wounds)
In 1906, Eliza Cooper and Robert Lewis used a machine they commissioned Professor Alexander Hugh to build to travel to another planet thousands of years into the future. Neither Cooper nor Lewis returned; the former remained on the planet while the latter was killed. Professor Hugh was returned home by the Tenth Doctor. (COMIC: Final Sacrifice)
In 1918, Torchwood Three investigated ghost sightings in a hospital in Cardiff. As present and future blended, they caught glimpses of the 21st century, receiving instructions from future Torchwood to take shellshocked soldier Tommy Brockless from the hospital and keep him in cryogenic suspension. At this time they had a team of five, the leader being a man called Gerald Carter. They already had equipment capable of detecting disturbances in time. (TV: To the Last Man)
Circa 1919, Harriet Derbyshire, one of the investigators of the hospital sightings and only in her mid-twenties, died in action. (TV: To the Last Man) Gerald stood down as leader of Torchwood Three as a result. (COMIC: Rift War!)
In 1924, Torchwood sent Jack Harkness to India to close down the branch there, led by the Duchess, before the fall of the Raj. He arranged the transportation of all their alien artefacts back to Britain (AUDIO: Golden Age) except Object 1, which the Duchess had sent to him anyway. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) Torchwood India would secretly persist for decades by using a time store to prevent the passage of time in their former headquarters. (AUDIO: Golden Age)
In 1927, Jack Harkness was sent on a mission to New York City in order to thwart a plot by the Trickster's Brigade to infect Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a Brainspawn and change the course of history. With assistance from his lover Angelo Colasanto, Jack succeeded in eliminating the parasite. (TV: Immortal Sins)
World War II and the 1950s
During World War II, artefacts belonging to the Torchwood Archive were relocated to a Welsh coal mine to protect them from bombings. (AUDIO: Curios) In the early 1940s, Torchwood operative LeDuc travelled to occupied Paris with his lover Gabriel seeking information on the location of Torchwood's German counterpart, by then renamed Project Hermod, whilst using Gabriel's abilities to unleash a mutagenic plague on Nazi soldiers. In Paris they stayed at a hotel which was secretly a front for Torchwood. Oppenführer Hans Grau took over the hotel and interrogated LeDuc, who manipulated the situation in order to get the information on Project Hermod before Grau fell victim to Gabriel's abilities. LeDuc subsequently invited Berber, who he'd used as a cover, to join Torchwood, which she agreed to. (AUDIO: The Dying Room)
In 1941, Torchwood Three was led by Tilda Brennan, who was manipulated by Bilis Manger into vivisecting "A. Neil", an alien child Jack had brought in to the Hub, overpowering the rest of the team when they objected. Jack confronted her in the Vaults and she held a gun to the head of teammate Greg Bishop, who was Jack’s lover. The Light briefly possessed her, enabling Jack to shoot her. (PROSE: The Twilight Streets)
According to Norton Folgate, in the 1950s Torchwood had to deal with a large amount of black market trading in alien artefacts as a result of the number of spacecraft shot down during World War II. However, they were mostly called out to the sites of unexploded bombs. (AUDIO: Ghost Mission) Torchwood helped the development of the Good Thinking virus, however it began to spread out of control after being tested on death row inmates in the United States. Norton and Jack sought to remove all trace of the virus and devised contingencies should it resurface. (AUDIO: Outbreak)
By 1953, the London branch was influential enough that London police feared its involvement when investigating the strange occurrences provoked by the activities of an alien entity known as the Wire. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) Torchwood One agent Lizbeth Hayhoe had ordered for the Wire’s victims to be kept in cages. (AUDIO: Parasite)
At one point on the 1950s, Norton came under suspicion by Torchwood One’s leader, the Vicar, for dealings with gangsters and was allowed to summon an assessor to clear his name, choosing to bring Andy Davidson back in time. Norton manipulated events to trick gangster Fat Kim into taking control of an alien war machine whilst the Vicar led Torchwood against her. In the ensuing confrontation Andy killed Kim by passing on the key to the machine to her mind and the Vicar was killed when the disabled war machine fell on him. This eliminated the only two people aware of Norton’s criminal dealings and left a vacancy at the head of Torchwood One. (AUDIO: Goodbye Piccadilly) Reginald Rigsby became the new director of Torchwood One. (AUDIO: Parasite)
During the 1950s, Adam Smith took over Torchwood One using his memory manipulation abilities and rallied the organisation for war against the approaching Kernaz fleet, which was actually seeking him. Norton, who had been tricked into allowing Adam into Torchwood in the first place, and Lizbeth eventually worked out what had happened, despite numerous setbacks as Adam kept altering their memories. They disabled Torchwood’s weapons on the day the Kernaz arrived, preventing war and allowing the Kernaz to send Adam into the Void. (AUDIO: Madam, I’m)
In the 1950s, Norton arranged for Lynne Sharman and Freddie Talbot to launch on a rocket, the Viola, to investigate the "Black Knight" object that Lynne speculated was causing the destruction of British rockets, accompanying them via hard light projection. They found her theories were correct, discovering a dead alien aboard an automated craft with Freddie dying trying to steal technology from. Reluctantly following his orders from Torchwood, Norton subsequently sabotaged the Viola so Lynne would die of radiation poisoning, ensuring the object remained secret. (AUDIO: The Black Knight)
In 1965, the government asked five highly ranked officers, including Jack, to give twelve children to the 456 as a gift in return for an anti-virus for a mutated form of Indonesian influenza. It was decided that the children would be taken from a Scottish orphanage as they wouldn't be missed. Despite eleven children being taken, Clem McDonald managed to escape. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
In the 1970s Torchwood setup a branch in Los Angeles, wanting to monitor alien phonmena in a former colony, with a trio of agents, Marlow Sweet, Gabriella Martinez, and Charlotte Du Bujeau, being recruited and given instructions by a contact in Britain. After Charley died thwarting a man selling actresses to aliens as dolls, Valerie Fox joined the trio and they stopped taking their orders from the contact. (AUDIO: The Dollhouse)
In 1987, Torchwood sent Doctor James Greco to investigate Gabriel Tyler and his psychic powers, hoping to find a breakthrough in understanding the human mind. His experiments were discovered by the Seventh Doctor, who claimed he’d never heard of Torchwood when Greco revealed his employers’ name. (AUDIO: Damaged Goods)
In 1991, (AUDIO: Locker 15) the Torchwood Tower, known publicly as Canary Wharf, was built to reach a radar blackspot, which Torchwood began experimenting on, and became the headquarters of Torchwood One. The Institute examined the Void Ship (though they did not call it by that name), an obviously alien artefact they struggled to understand which had come through the anomaly. It was discovered that tapping into the resonance around the anomaly produced massive amounts of what seemed to be free energy, however in doing so Torchwood were weakening the barriers between their universe and another. (TV: Army of Ghosts)
On New Year’s Eve 1999, Jack became the leader of Torchwood Three when its current leader, Alex Hopkins, killed the rest of the team and himself after being driven insane by an alien artefact that revealed the events of the coming years. During his rampage, he phoned Torchwood One, with Yvonne Hartman answering. Yvonne listened to his murders and rambling about Torchwood not being ready, and the experience inspired her to rise through the ranks to make Torchwood ready. (TV: Fragments, AUDIO: One Rule, The Torchwood Archive)
Over the next few years, Jack rebuilt the Torchwood Three team, recruiting Suzie Costello, Toshiko Sato, Sebastian Vaughan (AUDIO: The Vigil) and Owen Harper. Disapproving the ethics of Torchwood One, Jack told Tosh of his plans to reform the organisation to greater benevolence. (TV: Fragments)
Yvonne Hartman’s leadership
Sometime between 2003 and March 2005, Yvonne became Director of Torchwood One (AUDIO: Locker 15) and rebuilt the Institute. (AUDIO: Poker Face) Investigations of the anomaly and sphere continued under Doctor Singh, (TV: Army of Ghosts) with Yvonne personally travelling to Torchwood Three to obtain a Drahvin scanner for use on the sphere. It was lost when Barry Jackson burnt down her hotel to embroil her in his scheme to kill his rivals for Cardiff mayor on behalf of the Committee. (AUDIO: One Rule) Under Yvonne’s directorship, Torchwood One investigated Blind Summit, (AUDIO: Blind Summit) was briefly taken over by Rachel Allan who wanted a war against Planet XXX, (AUDIO: New Girl, Through the Ruins, Uprising) created the Law Machines for the Mayor of London, (AUDIO: The Law Machines) and shutdown Temporary Solutions. (AUDIO: 9 to 5)
On Christmas 2006, the alien Sycorax invaded Earth, using blood control and a ship built from an asteroid which hovered over London. (TV: The Christmas Invasion) Torchwood had developed a weapon for just such a contingency, based on alien technology scavenged from a Jathaa sun glider. (TV: Army of Ghosts) Prime Minister Harriet Jones ordered them to shoot the Sycorax down, despite the Doctor having convinced them to retreat. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
In 2007, a side-effect of Torchwood’s continued experiments with the anomaly was the appearance of millions of "ghosts" all over the world: humanoid figures that glowed with an unearthly light. These events became known as “ghosts shifts”. (TV: Army of Ghosts) During this time Atif, a journalist for The Examiner, began looking into Torchwood. The Institute arranged for his story to be abandoned and took Atif away. (WC: Tardisode 12)
Fall of Canary Wharf
The Tenth Doctor investigated the ghost shifts and traced them to Torchwood. He explained to the then-administrator Yvonne that their experiments were weakening the barrier between dimensions, which would eventually lead to drastic problems in their own world, perhaps resulting in the collapse of their dimension. His warnings were too late however, as the experiments had already allowed an advance guard of Cybermen from a parallel world through, who had infiltrated Torchwood. They opened the breach fully, allowing a massive invasion force from another dimension to come through the "hole" and materialise around the world.
At the same time, the Void Ship opened, revealing a hidden cadre of four Daleks, (TV: Army of Ghosts) who sought to restore the Dalek race with a stolen piece of Time Lord technology called the Genesis Ark. They promptly killed a Torchwood technician while stealing his knowledge of current events. They saw the Cybermen as an impediment to their own return and began hostilities against them, despite an offer from the Cyber-Leader to form an alliance. This began the Battle of Canary Wharf, with Torchwood militia caught in the middle. This turned Torchwood Tower into a battleground. Many of Torchwood One’s staff were either killed or cyber-converted, including Yvonne herself.
The "hole" in space time created by the Void Ship also allowed a resistance army from the Cybermen’s dimension to cross over, initially with the intention of stopping the Cybermen, who joined forces with the Doctor to stop both invaders and close the breach. The fighting did not end until the Doctor found a way to reverse Torchwood's power machinery and open the breach to pull the Daleks and Cybermen into the Void. The reversal sealed the breach between N-Space and the parallel world. (TV: Doomsday)
Torchwood Three independent
Torchwood One was considered fallen after the Battle. (TV: Everything Changes) With the old regime gone, Jack decided to rebuild Torchwood better in the Doctor’s honour. (TV: The Sound of Drums) He later recruited Canary Wharf survivor Ianto Jones after Ianto kept seeking his attention and proved himself by helping capture a pterodactyl. (TV: Fragments) Some time later, Sebastian was killed by a cortex leech. (AUDIO: The Vigil) Suzie shot herself after being exposed as a serial killer, after which Jack hired Gwen Cooper. By the time of Gwen's recruitment, Torchwood Four had disappeared. (TV: Everything Changes)
In Gwen’s first months at Torchwood Three they encountered a sex gas, (TV: Day One) Fairies, (TV: Small Worlds) Scorchies, (AUDIO: Broken) Major Kreg, (AUDIO: The Great Sontaran War) cannibals, (TV: Countrycide) an Arcateenian criminal, (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts) and the Saviour. (AUDIO: Broken) They also investigated the Committee. (AUDIO: The Conspiracy, The Torchwood Archive, Fall to Earth, Uncanny Valley) Later in the year they were tricked into briefly resurrecting Suzie. (TV: They Keep Killing Suzie) tried to helped three temporally-displaced people adjust to the 21st century (TV: Out of Time) and shutdown a Weevil fighting club. (TV: Combat)
Torchwood Three was manipulated by Bilis Manger to open the Cardiff rift, resulting in massive temporal displacements and the release of the demon Abaddon. Jack stopped the demon by overloading him with his infinite lifespan. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness, End of Days) Shortly after, team leader Captain Jack Harkness mysteriously disappeared. (TV: Utopia) Subsequently, Prime Minister Harold Saxon sent Torchwood Three on a "wild goose chase" mission away from Great Britain to the Himalayas. (TV: The Sound of Drums)
After a few months had passed for Torchwood Three (and about a year for Jack, who had lived through the Year That Never Was) Jack returned to Torchwood Three. Although Gwen had taken charge during his absence, Jack resumed command. Perhaps due to their influence during alien invasion, by this point the late 2000s, Torchwood was beginning to be known by the public in Cardiff at large, although more by name and reputation than by actual purpose. An old Time Agent colleague of Jack’s, Captain John Hart, came to Cardiff at the same time and embroiled Torchwood in a scheme. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) Under Jack’s renewed leadership, Torchwood Three encountered an alien sleeper cell, (TV: Sleeper, AUDIO: Serenity) helped Tommy Brockless fulfill his purpose and travel back in time to 1918, (TV: To The Last Man) shutdown Harries & Harries, (TV: Meat) were briefly infiltrated by Adam, (TV: Adam) and investigated the Pharm with the aid of UNIT medical officer Martha Jones. After they shut down the Pharm, it’s director Aaron Copley shot Owen dead (TV: Reset) however he was resurrected using the second Resurrection Gauntlet. After battling a manifestation of Death, Owen became permanently undead (TV: Dead Man Walking) and returned to duty at Torchwood. (TV: A Day in the Death) During his undeath, Torchwood killed a pair of Nostrovites, (TV: Something Borrowed) investigated the Church of the Outsiders, (AUDIO: Believe) and stopped the Night Travellers’ rampage. (TV: From Out of the Rain) After they collaborated on Corpse Day, Owen worked with PC Andy Davidson on a series of investigations (AUDIO: Corpse Day, The Hope, The Three Monkeys) until they fell out when Owen used Torchwood’s resources to cover up a death accidentally caused by him and the alien Caite. (AUDIO: Gooseberry)
Torchwood Three was depleted by the final death of Owen and Tosh who were killed during Jack’s brother’s vengeful scheme in Cardiff. The three survivors resolved to keep Torchwood going. (TV: Fragments, Exit Wounds) Not long after Owen and Tosh’s deaths, Jack served as surrogate parent for the next Ruler of the Yalnix (AUDIO: Expectant) and the trio were invited to CERN by Martha, who suspected at conspiracy at work there and couldn’t trust UNIT personnel at the site. (AUDIO: Lost Souls) During the Dalek invasion of Earth, Torchwood Three were contacted by Harriet Jones through the Sub-Wave Network and helped send a signal to the Doctor, with Jack rushing to his side to help fight the Daleks whilst Gwen and Ianto defended the Hub. After the Daleks’ defeat, Torchwood helped the Doctor restore the Earth to its original location. (TV: The Stolen Earth, Journey's End)
In the following months, the trio helped Freda, a half alien asylum seeker sent back in time from 2069, (AUDIO: Asylum) discovered the continued existence of Torchwood India in Delhi and foiled their plan to reset the world to 1926 using their time store (AUDIO: Golden Age) and investigated a series of phone calls leaving people in comas. (AUDIO: The Dead Line) After helping a Keranium repair its spaceship, they faced the outbreak of the Good Thinking virus in Cardiff and stopped Heights Pharmaceuticals inoculating people with Provictus. (AUDIO: Outbreak) Torchwood Three responded to a spaceship crash at the same time as UNIT and found a body that UNIT had missed. Gwen brought it to Martha at a UNIT victim-retrieval station and they discovered it was actually a chameleon, and destroyed the base to kill it. (AUDIO: Dissected) The trio investigated Joanna Carew’s miraculous recovery and discovered she was working with an alien entity, Fitzroy, (AUDIO: The Devil and Miss Carew) and worked with UNIT to investigate an underwater call originating from the Mariana Trench. (AUDIO: Submission)
Fall of Torchwood Three
During the 456 Incident in 2009, the Institute was left in disarray due to an intentional effort by the British Prime Minister Brian Green to destroy Torchwood to prevent the revelation of previous dealings between the UK and the 456 in 1965, which Jack had been involved, after the 456 returned to Earth. The Cardiff Hub was destroyed by a paramilitary unit headed by Agent Johnson. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) Files held by the British government indicated that by this point, Torchwood Two had been disbanded. After the destruction of the Hub, Johnson’s team pursued Gwen and Ianto and attempted to imprison Jack by entombing him in concrete. Ianto and Gwen rescued him and the team made their way to London. (TV: Day Two) With the aid of Lois Habiba, the trio used their few resources to infiltrate the British government’s discussions on how to respond to the 456’s demands for 10% of each country’s children and blackmailed them into allowing them to confront the 456 ambassador in Thames House. The ambassador rejected Torchwood’s threats and unleashed a deadly virus, killing everyone in the building including Ianto. (TV: Day Three, Day Four) When Jack revived he surrendered to the government and let them take Gwen back to Cardiff, telling her to protect Ianto’s family. Johnson rescued him and worked with him to defeat the 456 to prevent the Earth’s governments complying with their demands, at the cost of Jack’s grandson. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five)
After the defeat of the 456, Torchwood was left with only two surviving operatives: Jack and Gwen, the latter pregnant. Jack spent six months travelling the world on his own, (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) eventually returning to Cardiff to seal the Rift by destroying The House of the Dead. (AUDIO: The House of the Dead) Afterwards he decided to leave Earth, using his vortex manipulator which Gwen had retrieved from the ruins of the Hub. Gwen — now heavily pregnant — was the last known Torchwood operative. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) It was at this point that the Institute was considered disbanded. (TV: The New World)
Technology from the ruins of the Torchwood Three Hub was recovered by the British government (PROSE: Long Time Dead) who sold it on. (PROSE: The Men Who Sold the World) Billionaires Joshua Naismith (TV: The End of Time) and Angelo Colasanto acquired technology salvaged from Torchwood. (TV: End of the Road) Torchwood's money was stolen by banks and laundered. (AUDIO: Smashed)
In 2011, during the events of Miracle Day, Jack returned to Earth, and while the Institute was no more, he and Gwen, along with several new members, formed a new team that continued to use the name "Torchwood". During the crisis the team established a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency (for whom newly recruited members Rex Matheson and Esther Drummond were agents) though Jack resisted the CIA's efforts take control. Shortly after the resolution of the crisis, which resulted in Esther's death, (TV: Miracle Day) Jack left Earth and Rex returned to work as CIA agent, (AUDIO: Red Skies, Army of One) and Torchwood once again ceased to exist. In the absence of a team, former Torchwood ally Sergeant Andy Davidson decided to do what he could to investigate the "weird stuff" still happening. (AUDIO: Cadoc Point)
By 2012, the name (if not necessarily the function) of Torchwood was widely known to the public, to the extent that the Battle of Canary Wharf had come to be known as the "Battle of Torchwood". (TV: Fear Her)
In 2015, Gwen and Rhys decided to restart Torchwood after helping Jack stop the Evolved experiment at Bryn Offa Nursing Home. (AUDIO: Forgotten Lives) To raise money for Torchwood, Gwen took a job as an independent witness at a fracking site in Glynteg, discovering an alien pathogen had accidentally been released there. (AUDIO: Smashed)
Gwen’s new Torchwood had to deal with temporary holes in space time which brought through new alien phenomena in Cardiff despite the apparent closing of the Rift years prior, which they weren't sure was a sign of the Rift reopening or simply the position in Cardiff being vulnerable. At this point, Gwen, who dealt with most of these incursions with assistance from PC Andy Davidson while Rhys looked after their daughter Anwen, approached Roger Pugh, Planning Officer for Cardiff City Council, in order to establish a new Torchwood facility in Cardiff which would replace the long-gone Hub. After Gwen showed Roger a day of her work first hand, he gave her his support. (AUDIO: More Than This) Gwen later investigated the Darkness in Talmouth, (AUDIO: Made You Look) encountered an entity with Rhys, (AUDIO: We Always Get Out Alive) and battled the Fendahl. (AUDIO: Night of the Fendahl) At Gwen's suggestion, Rhys had his mother Brenda Williams go undercover on Torchwood's behalf at a nursing home to monitor the Sonny robots being tested there. (AUDIO: Sonny)
By 2017, Jack Harkness had returned to his old role as leader, and a civil servant, St John Colchester had been assigned to the team to assist with Torchwood's reestablishment. The team moved back into the ruins of the Hub and owned a Smart Car. After the government funding for Torchwood's reestablishment was cut following a report that stated the Rift was no longer a threat, the team was left with limited resources, even having to leach power from a nearby fusion restaurant. (AUDIO: Changes Everything) At some point Gwen became possessed by Ng unknown to rest of the team, who continued her role at Torchwood. (AUDIO: Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy)
Torchwood investigated 3Sol, being aided by disgraced journalist Tyler Steele who they considered recruiting. They confirmed 3Sol was being run by aliens to take over Cardiff discreetly, however in the process Tyler caused numerous hostages to be killed so Jack refused to let him join Torchwood. (AUDIO: Changes Everything) Taking advantage of an alien hen night, Ng and Colchester learnt the identity of the aliens taking over Cardiff - the Sorvix. (AUDIO: Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy) Torchwood subsequently dealt with many repercussions of the Sorvix's presence, including freeing an alien slave of theirs, Orr, who joined Torchwood, (AUDIO: Orr) investigating a Sorvix-run hotel for aliens which had started killing its customers, (AUDIO: Superiority Complex) and an alien parasite that had arrived with them. In return for giving Torchwood the cure to the parasite, the Sorvix who had become Mayor of Cardiff, Ro-Jedda, demanded the team investigate terrorists targeting Sorvix. (AUDIO: Love Rat) Around this time Jack worked with Jo Jones to investigate Proper Grub, (AUDIO: The Green Life) and Colchester encountered Bilis Manger at Ritz Tower. (AUDIO: A Kill to a View)
After foiling Ro-Jedda's attempt to control the Rift through Deliverables, (AUDIO: Zero Hour) Torchwood investigated Andy Davidson's murder of a refugee. At this time the team began to be sceptical of Jack as he spent weeks absent, during which he made contact with the terrorist group, Red Doors. Discovering Andy's actions were due to Quantum splices implanted in police officers to discredit the force, Ng confronted Ro-Jedda and threatened to expose the scheme publicly. Jack interrupted and overruled her to compromise with Ro-Jedda to install 3Sol in policing as she'd planned without further bloodshed. The team angrily confronted Jack afterwards, prompting Yvonne Hartman, (AUDIO: The Empty Hand) from a parallel universe arrived. Framing Jack as a terrorist by exposing his dealings with Red Doors, Yvonne took over Torchwood. (AUDIO: Poker Face)
Under Yvonne's leadership Torchwood dealt with the Meme, (AUDIO: Tagged) and a deadly Escape Room run by a Sorvix. (AUDIO: Escape Room) Yvonne struck a deal with Ro-Jedda for the Sorvix to benefit the country, in return helping 3Sol move against Red Doors. At the same time Colchester struggled to keep the Rift under control, briefly allowing it open on Jack's instructions to split Ng and Gwen. Whilst Tyler and Orr took Colchester to hospital after he was shot by a Sorvix assassin pursuing Tyler, Gwen told Jack she'd decided to leave Torchwood to start a new life. After the City Hall was bombed, (AUDIO: Herald of the Dawn) Yvonne imprisoned Ro-Jedda next to Ng, using Ng to pump her for information. Colchester succumbed to his injuries and a memorial was held, during which the team encountered a Plasmic psychovore. After discovering the Sorvix had fled Cardiff, Yvonne killed Ro-Jedda. (AUDIO: Future Pain)
God in Cardiff
With the Sorvix God on the loose in Cardiff, Torchwood faced the predator, (AUDIO: See No Evil) and the Night Sun's influence, during which a resurrected Colchester surfaced and Orr disappeared. On a recruitment drive, Yvonne attempted to make a hard-light projection of Ianto Jones, but Norton Folgate appeared instead. (AUDIO: Night Watch) After working with Yvonne and Andy Davidson to retrieve the Lens from Flight 405, Norton joined the team. (AUDIO: Flight 405) Torchwood subsequently investigated alien mold in the reservoir, took in Tyler Steele after he forced them to help him stop Oblation, (AUDIO: Hostile Environment) and were tested by God using stolen Evolved body-swapping technology. (AUDIO: Another Man's Shoes)
Yvonne and Norton worked for the Committee to use the Sorvix power plant to stabilise the Rift for good however, with the discrete aid of God, Norton realised his actions would actually destroy Earth so defied them, trapping himself back aboard Flight 405 in the process. God's actions in helping Torchwood resulted in a tsunami headed for South Wales to restore the balance, as the Committee had truly planned. Tyler convinced Yvonne to abandon the Committee's orders and she attempted to mitigate the disaster by raising the alarm in Cardiff and opening the Rift to absorb as much of the tidal wave as possible. (AUDIO: Eye of the Storm) The tsunami resulted in severe damage to Cardiff, which the Committee exploited to take control through the Disaster Recovery Committee, whose inquiry into the disaster pinned the blame on Torchwood after Yvonne's efforts to cover up their involvement with Retcon failed. (AUDIO: A Mother's Son) Unknown to the Committee the DRC's director, Andy Davidson, was secretly working for Jack Harkness who had let Torchwood be discredited, believing it needed to be buried. (AUDIO: Thoughts and Prayers)
Ng and Colchester continued Torchwood's work despite the DRC sealing off the Hub, investigating ScrapeJane. (AUDIO: ScrapeJane) When Cardiff ran out of drinking water, Torchwood tried to defuse the situation after Orr resurfaced producing clean water. Their efforts failed with Orr disappearing and Yvonne being arrested whilst Jack was shot. (AUDIO: Day Zero) As God's energies began to destroy the world due to so many conflicting prayers, Tyler helped Yvonne escape and reach the Hub whilst Jack met God, who revealed she'd given her powers to Orr. Orr was found by Colchester and Ng and brought to the Hub by Andy. In the Hub they discovered the Committee had setup a new Rift Manipulator to transport their final form along a dimension bridge to Earth from Erebus. Yvonne and Orr used the Lens to redirect God's energies through the bridge, destroying Erebus and the Committee in Earth's place and causing the Hub to collapse again.
Andy informed the team that the government were blaming Torchwood for the recent disasters and surviving Committee members on Earth were seeking revenge. Jack, Ng, Orr, Tyler and Colchester fled Cardiff however Yvonne stayed behind, forcing Andy to arrest her. (AUDIO: Thoughts and Prayers) Torchwood was subsequently shut down again. (AUDIO: Dead Time)
By the beginning of the 2020s, the British government had shut down Torchwood, alongside UNIT (TV: Spyfall) and other similar organisations, seemingly over funding concerns (PROSE: Preternatural Days) but actually because of the manipulations of the Grand Serpent. (TV: Survivors of the Flux) The Preternatural Research Bureau did not lose its funding for reasons that Giles did not know. As such, PROBE was tasked with many of the jobs that its fellow agencies had once completed. (PROSE: Preternatural Days)
In the altered 2020 created by the crashlanding of the Doctor's TARDIS, (AUDIO: Crossed Lines) Tania Bell was unaware of the shutdown of Torchwood, (AUDIO: Dead Time) and continued reporting to them when the Eighth Doctor began living at 107 Baker Street. (AUDIO: Lost Property) Andy Davidson later went to visit her, claiming Torchwood had become concerned about her lack of reports and became embroiled in events at Baker Street. He and Tania concealed Torchwood’s true name from the Doctor, aware this was too early for him to know about the organisation. (AUDIO: Must-See TV, Divine Intervention) After he and Tania accompanied the Doctor, Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair on a test flight to the future, Andy finally confessed to Tania that Torchwood had been shutdown months ago after the incident in the bay. (AUDIO: Dead Time) Tania and Andy continued travelling with the Eighth Doctor on and off as he repaired his TARDIS and investigated alterations to the timeline, which had resulted in the future of humanity being a dictatorship ruled by Divine Intervention. (AUDIO: UNIT Dating, Baker Street Irregulars, The Long Way Round, Patience, Twisted Folklore, Snow, What Just Happened?, Crossed Lines, Get Andy) With the guidance of the Curator, Andy and Tania helped restore the proper timeline, (AUDIO: The Keys of Baker Street) and retained memories of the alternative 2020. (AUDIO: Best Year Ever)
Later in the 2020s Torchwood appeared to be once again operational, with Andy travelling back in time by vortex manipulator to the 1950s after the Torchwood computer warned of Norton Folgate's timeline unravelling, (AUDIO: Parasite) Yvonne leading efforts to respond to a photon cloud unleashed in Britain by a Quarshi spaceship that had been shot down by the government, (AUDIO: The Five People You Kill in Middlesbrough) and Mr Colchester being asked to offer Torchwood's aid to another country where the Unity attempted to brainwash him. (AUDIO: The Red List)
Late 21st century
The Institute still existed, as the Torchwood Archive, in the 42nd century. (TV: The Satan Pit) It was consulted by the rulers of the Earth Empire, though came to be sidelined. The Archive warned the empress of a coup against her, however she ignored their advice and ultimately fell victim to the coup. (AUDIO: Empire of Shadows)
The Walker Expedition to Krop Tor was sent by the Archive with Zachary Cross Flane as its representative. (TV: The Satan Pit) Zachary and Chloe were sent by the Archive to Emperor Merdiven, who had reclaimed the throne after the coup that killed his mother had fallen, for the opening of his mother's library. Zachary and Chloe discovered Merdiven was an imposter, in actuality being the soldier who had killed the empress and her children, and had arranged the event to kill those in the court who might realise the truth. Citing that Torchwood's loyalty was to the empire, not the emperor, Zachary left Merdiven trapped in late empress' library. (AUDIO: Empire of Shadows)
The Archive eventually came to be on a space station which drifted outside of human space. The Archive, by then long forgotten, was visited by Jeremiah Bash Henderson. He used it to learn about Object 1 and gave the Archive a fake copy of it. When the computer core attempted to open the fake, the Archive was destroyed. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
The Torchwood Institute was known to have four offices across Britain and an international branch. In 2007, Torchwood One was destroyed. (TV: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday) By 2009, Two, Three and India had also ceased operations. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Four, AUDIO: Golden Age) Torchwood Four ceased operations, by virtue of disappearance, prior to 2007. (TV: Everything Changes) From 2011, the Institute's two surviving Torchwood agents simply represented "Torchwood". As fugitives, or self-styled "freedom fighters", the name Torchwood was simply a word which connected its team members. (TV: The Categories of Life)
Torchwood One, headquartered Canary Wharf, was destroyed during the battle with the Cybermen, and consequently abandoned. Last director was Yvonne Hartman. (TV: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday) Had properties and bases across London. (TV: The Runaway Bride, Children of Earth: Day Three, et al.)
Torchwood Two was run from above a bank (PROSE: The Twilight Streets) in Glasgow by a "very strange man" (TV: Everything Changes) called Archie. (PROSE: The Twilight Streets) Closed down prior to summer 2009. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two)
Torchwood Three operated in Cardiff, primarily to monitor the Cardiff rift, and was run from the Hub beneath Roald Dahl Plass. (TV: Everything Changes, et al.) Led by Captain Jack Harkness since 2000. (TV: Fragments) Headquarters destroyed on orders of the UK government circa 2009. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) After the defeat of the 456, (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) Torchwood Three ceased to exist, though its two surviving members later resumed operations in an unofficial capacity during Miracle Day in 2011. (TV: The New World) One of those survivors, Gwen Cooper, later re-established Torchwood Three (AUDIO: Forgotten Lives, More Than This) and by 2017 it had resumed operations in its old headquarters. (AUDIO: Changes Everything)
Torchwood India, operating in Delhi to collect all artefacts in the Raj. Closed in 1924 by Captain Jack Harkness, though the facility, and some of its members, continued to survive, unageing due to an alien artefact, until 2009. (AUDIO: Golden Age)
Pete's World, a parallel universe's version of Earth, also had a version of Torchwood. It’s experiments were used by the Cybermen of that universe to crossover to N-Space. Afterwards the People’s Republic of Great Britain discovered what Torchwood had been doing and took full control of the Institute. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen, Doomsday) President Harriet Jones eventually merged Torchwood with the Preachers to create UNIT. (AUDIO: The Siege of Big Ben)
Behind the scenes
On the series 1 version of the Torchwood website, a case file outlined the fall of Torchwood One. It suggested after a massive loss in life and technology, that it was recommended to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for "the immediate closure of Torchwood One, together with the formation of a steering committee to fully examine future options."
On the series 2 version of the Torchwood website, Owen Harper did a report on the "wild goose chase" Torchwood Three went on that was mentioned by Harold Saxon during TV: The Sound of Drums. At 5am, Ianto Jones picked up a phone call telling Torchwood about "[s]omething funny going on in the Himalayas", which Ianto specified was in Pakistan. Ianto claimed to Owen that the call came from UNIT, who were "already there", calling for "all four of us" — Owen, Ianto, Toshiko Sato and Gwen Cooper, and that according to them it was connected to Abaddon.
Torchwood were briefed that there was apparently another space-time rift, halfway up K2. While Tosh was setting up rift-detecting equipment at the location on K2 that was given, a humanoid doll resembling their missing leader, Captain Jack Harkness — described by Owen as "quite a good likeness" — was rigged to jump out of the snow from a spring at the moment the equipment was activated. Owen dubbed it a "Jack-in-the-box", adding, "How bleeding hilarious." The team realised it was a set-up. After two days waiting for transport, Torchwood Three headed back home.
On the trip back, they learnt Saxon had won the election, murdered the American President and was himself murdered by his wife. Owen noted from this that "a week really is a long time in politics".
To promote the broadcast of Bad Wolf in 2005, the BBC Doctor Who website was redesigned, resembling what websites of United Kingdom reality shows like Big Brother looked like at the time. It ostensibly showed the profiles of surviving housemates of the Big Brother house, including Strood. Strood stated his "home" in the year 200,100 as "Torchwood". In Bad Wolf, "Torchwood" was briefly mentioned as the answer to a question on The Weakest Link. "Torchwood" was also what the Doctor Who production team labelled tapes as "as a security measure" while they went from Cardiff to London, but the name had yet to be properly established as an Earth-defending institute or as the TV series starring John Barrowman the following year.
- "Torchwood" was a code name for series 1 of Doctor Who when it was in production, partly to keep it secret, partly to keep people from absconding with videotapes before it was produced. The word "Torchwood" itself is an anagram of "Doctor Who".
- Torchwood is also the name of a spin-off series from the BBC set in the Doctor Who universe.
- Report: Closure of Torchwood One. Torchwood website. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
- Harper, O. Episodes - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Mission Report #2008/043. BBC - Torchwood. Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
- Front page for the episode Bad Wolf. BBC - Doctor Who (June 2005). Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
- Doctor Who spin-off made in Wales. BBC News (17 October 2005). Retrieved on 24 July 2013.