Torchwood Three — also known as Torchwood Cardiff — was a branch of the Torchwood Institute. Until 2009, it was based in the Hub beneath Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay to monitor the rift located in the city.
It became the only major branch of the institute after the Battle of Canary Wharf and effectively ceased to exist in 2009 after several casualties, although some members continued to use the name "Torchwood" as an informal team. In 2017, Gwen Cooper rebuilt Torchwood Cardiff and it was still in operation by 2069.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Mission profile and operations
- 3 History
- 4 Crew
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Footnotes
Overview[edit | edit source]
For more than a hundred years, Captain Jack Harkness had a close association with Torchwood Three; he became its leader in 2000. (TV: Fragments) Though Torchwood Three was significantly smaller than the London branch, with only a handful of employees, after Torchwood One was destroyed in the Battle of Canary Wharf, it became the largest surviving branch of the organisation. (Torchwood Two was a single operative in Glasgow and Torchwood Four was missing.) (TV: Everything Changes)
Even before the Battle of Canary Wharf, Torchwood Three had severed ties with the rest of the organisation and had become largely autonomous. Captain Jack, who did not share the organisation's fear of or desire to imprison the Doctor, or its policy of placing priority on obtaining alien technology over helping people and saving lives, had by that time vowed to continue Torchwood as the kind of organisation which would make the Doctor proud. (TV: Fragments)
Mission profile and operations[edit | edit source]
Monitoring the Rift[edit | edit source]
Torchwood Three’s primary purpose was to monitor the rift in space and time that ran through Cardiff and deal with the “stuff” that it displaced from other timelines and planets. (TV: Meat) According to Jack Harkness, things that arrived through the Rift included “Creatures, timeshifts, space junk, debris”. (TV: Everything Changes) In addition Torchwood helped humans from different eras, that the Rift had displaced forward in time, adapt to their new time zone. (TV: Out of Time)
While it was obvious that the Rift deposited objects, the Rift also took things in an event known as a negative rift spike. Some humans taken by the Rift were eventually returned to Earth, but they were ravaged by falling through the Rift and incapable of being reintegrated into society. Until the year 2000 these returnees were just locked away in the vaults or cryogenically frozen, and ultimately forgotten. When Jack Harkness assumed command of Torchwood, he found two such returnees in the vaults and decided these people should be looked after. He set up a remote facility on the island of Flat Holm, telling its employees that the people he left in their care were the result of failed experiments. Over the years more returnees were found, and the rate at which people returned increased, "as if the Rift is trying to correct its mistakes". By the end of the year the number of people cared for at the facility had reached 17. (TV: Adrift)
Combatting the Doctor[edit | edit source]
As with the rest of the Institute, Torchwood Three initially regarded the Doctor as hostile and sought to combat him. It was due to him mentioning his association with the Doctor that Torchwood initially captured Jack Harkness in 1899, only releasing him when he confessed to having no knowledge of the Doctor’s current location. (TV: Fragments)
Under Jack’s leadership in the 21st century this purpose was abandoned, to the extent that the Director of Torchwood One, Yvonne Hartman, recruited Barry Jackson to watch for the Doctor, as she did not believe Torchwood Three under Jack would report his arrival. (AUDIO: One Rule)
Weevil containment[edit | edit source]
Weevils were a race of humanoid aliens which frequently turned up in Cardiff thanks to the Rift. They were first documented by Torchwood in the 1950s; by the 21st century, a population of hundreds existed in the sewers. Though Weevils usually kept to the sewers, avoiding human contact, occasionally one developed a taste for human flesh or otherwise became a nuisance. Weevil control was one of Torchwood's major day-to-day operations, and at any time several Weevils were in storage cells in the lower level of the Hub. For the purpose of catching Weevils Torchwood Three also developed an Anti-Weevil spray. (TV: Everything Changes)
Reverse-engineering technology[edit | edit source]
True to the Torchwood motto, "If it's alien, it's ours", Torchwood Three through the years collected and reverse-engineered an impressive amount of alien technology and studying alien artefacts remained central to their operation after Captain Jack took over. He characterised this as “arming the human race for the future”. (TV: Everything Changes)
Much of the technology they possessed found use in the day-to-day operations of Torchwood. For example, Torchwood possessed and operated advanced cryogenic technology since at least the 1900s, (TV: Exit Wounds) and in the first decade of the 21st century was capable of utilising alien computer technology to "scan" all available information sources for information. Around the turn of the 21st century, the team began experimenting with a Resurrection gauntlet, for questioning deceased crime victims, (TV: Everything Changes) and a singularity scalpel, to easily remove inoperable alien organisms from humans. (TV: Reset, Something Borrowed) Other alien technologies utlised by Torchwood Three included portable prison cells (TV: Day One) and a laser saw, for discrete surgical purposes. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
Keeping a low profile[edit | edit source]
Torchwood had to keep not only itself but also the very existence of aliens from the public. Though greatly facilitated by the human tendency to just ignore everything that was too much out of the ordinary, keeping the secret was still no easy job. Torchwood under Jack Harkness' leadership preferred a more diplomatic approach — contacting clueless spaceship pilots and telling them that they were "spooking the locals". (TV: Cyberwoman) Torchwood Three made use of Retcon, a powerful amnesia drug, to wipe the memories of people who encountered aliens. (TV: Everything Changes, Something Borrowed)
Still, many Cardiff residents, even laymen, seemed to be more or less aware of all the strange things that kept happening, again and again, though often they weren't at all impressed. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) Many police officers were aware of and quite frustrated by what they often saw as a "regular" secret ops unit disturbing their operations or taking them over entirely. Under the command of Jack Harkness the team developed a very relaxed approach to secrecy, ordering pizzas to their top secret underground lair and having a tendency to stamp large Torchwood logos on their field equipment. (TV: Everything Changes) As a result even the general location of Torchwood’s base became fairly common knowledge, with the team acknowledging that locals tended to direct people towards the bay when asked about Torchwood. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
Human resources[edit | edit source]
Under the leadership of Jack Harkness, Torchwood Three personnel were encouraged to treat their work as a job, not an obsession, with Jack often seen encouraging his colleagues to go home and rest. Maintaining personal relationships outside of the Torchwood team was not discouraged (as long as secrecy was maintained) but this proved difficult, with most Torchwood members turning to fellow team members for companionship (i.e. Jack and Ianto, Owen and Tosh). An exception to this was Gwen Cooper, who maintained a relationship with her husband Rhys Williams, although ultimately Rhys was made aware of Torchwood's existence when he was recruited for one case that dealt with alien meat. (TV: Meat)
Certain protocols were in place when a team member died of any cause. His or her body was to be stored permanently (possibly for future study), and his or her worldly possessions were to be confiscated by Torchwood and held in storage permanently. This is known to be the case with Suzie Costello. (TV: Everything Changes, They Keep Killing Suzie) Jack breached these protocols to allow Toshiko Sato to take Sebastian Vaughan’s body back to his family home, as per his wishes, (AUDIO: The Vigil) and later allowed Tosh to have a proper burial and funeral that her mother attended. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
It was possible for Torchwood members to resign, though Owen Harper believed that they would be required to take a retcon pill to forget their involvement with the team, willingly or not. (TV: End of Days) Lucia Moretti and her daughter entered a protection program after Lucia left Torchwood in 1977. She ultimately died of natural causes, which Agent Johnson noted was rare for Torchwood personnel. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
Other tasks[edit | edit source]
Torchwood was also responsible for monitoring other potential sources of otherworldly trouble in the vicinity of Cardiff. They monitored the local trade in alien artefacts (such as Dogon sixth eyes) (TV: Random Shoes) and locals known to be involved in aliens or alien artefacts, such as collector Henry Parker. (TV: A Day in the Death) Torchwood also monitored conspiracy theorists such as George Wilson and Sam Hallett. (AUDIO: The Conspiracy)
History[edit | edit source]
19th century[edit | edit source]
Torchwood operated in Cardiff from 1885 onwards. (PROSE: Slow Decay) It was founded under the suggestion of Agnes Havisham, who believed that the Rift posed a threat after its recent activation. (PROSE: Risk Assessment)
By the end of the 19th century, Emily Holroyd and Alice Guppy were Torchwood operatives. The Torchwood headquarters in Cardiff at that time consisted of little more than a few rooms and a holding cell. They had a policy of executing hostile aliens immediately as they had no way of returning them home. Over a period of more than a year, the pair monitored Jack Harkness, who made mention of "the Doctor". (TV: Fragments) As the Torchwood Institute was founded largely to combat the Doctor, (TV: Tooth and Claw, Army of Ghosts) the two women captured Jack, discovered his ability to return from the dead and recruited him as a field agent. Despite his dislike of Torchwood’s ruthlessness, Jack reluctantly accepted after a little girl told him he wouldn’t meet the Doctor again for over a hundred years,
Jack continued to sporadically work for the Institute until the end of the 20th century, while also undertaking other activities such as fighting in the world wars. Not long after, Torchwood would begin to physically expand into the underground and to build the Hub. (TV: Fragments)
Later in 1899, Jack was temporarily seconded to Torchwood London. (AUDIO: The Victorian Age) He later returned to Cardiff with orders from Queen Victoria to throw Object 1 into the Rift. However he neglected to do so, hoping that Object 1 might attract the Doctor. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
20th century[edit | edit source]
In 1901, an older version of Jack Harkness was discovered buried alive below Cardiff, having been left there in 27. In order to prevent a paradox, this older Jack, at his request, was cryogenically frozen, his body kept in storage (unbeknownst to his younger self or later Torchwood staff) until the 21st century. (TV: Exit Wounds)
In 1918, Torchwood Three, under the command of Gerald Kneale, already had access to sophisticated cryogenic suspension technology. Kneale and another operative, Harriet Derbyshire, investigated supposed hauntings (in fact time shifts from the future) at St Teilo's Hospital. Following instructions from Torchwood from the future, they took shellshocked soldier Tommy Brockless away from the hospital and put him in cryogenic suspension. Tommy was awoken annually for a single day to check his health.
In 1941, Torchwood Three was led by Tilda Brennan. She heavily distrusted Jack who was still serving as a freelance agent. In August, Jack brought an alien child, “A. Neil”, to the Hub and then took a few days off. During this time Tilda was manipulated by Bilis Manger, exploiting her hatred of Harkness, into following the instructions in File TW3/87/BM . She vivisected "A. Neil", overpowering the rest of the team when they objected. When he returned 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)
The Torchwood team of the 1950s were thought by Jack Harkness to be "rotten apples". They were known to sell alien artefacts in secret auctions until Harkness flooded the market with fakes. (PROSE: The Beauty of Our Weapons)
In 1967, a KVI substation was discovered in Cardiff. Kenneth Valentine defected from Torchwood and helped the KVI find Michael Bellini. The Vondrax attacked the KVI substation and wiped out everyone inside. On the orders of a Captain Turner, Lucy and Charles Cromwell were sent in on a cleanup operation with a group of men. (PROSE: Trace Memory)
In 1967, a 17-year-old Leonardo da Vinci got swept up in a Rift storm and ended up deposited in the Torchwood Hub. It took the team a while to work out who he was. The team sent him back using the Rift Manipulator, giving him a Rift Key. (PROSE: Cultural Firsts)
Lucia Moretti served with Torchwood Three between 1968 and 1977. She and Jack were lovers and had a daughter, Melissa, in 1975. In 1977, Lucia left Torchwood and went into a protection programme with her daughter. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
Alex Hopkins was head of Torchwood Three in the 1990s. He received an offer to become an agent of the Committee, but he declined. However, the Committee had another agent in the team. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) Jack was working as a field agent at this time. The team included Karen Baldwin, James Unsworth (TV: Fragments, AUDIO: Red Skies) and Ariana. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
21st century[edit | edit source]
New Year’s Eve massacre[edit | edit source]
On New Year's Eve 1999, Alex was approached by the little girl in Newport after hunting an alien. She gave him Object 1, promising it would reveal who on the team couldn’t be trusted. He prepared for Torchwood's New Year's party and opened Object 1 whilst waiting for the others to arrive, tempted by the desire to know who worked for the Committee. He saw visions of the 21st century, including the Committee's deals with the British government, the 456 and Miracle Day. His team arrived and, as a mercy killing, Alex shot them all, Ariana last, (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) whilst on the phone to Torchwood One agent Yvonne Hartman. (AUDIO: One Rule) Jack returned to the Hub to discover the massacre and Alex handed command over to him before shooting himself. (TV: Fragments) Alex was added to the Red List. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
Jack's team[edit | edit source]
Jack Harkness was left with the job of recruiting a new team and leading it. He decided to reform Torchwood into a more humane organisation, inspired by his admiration of the Doctor. (TV: Fragments) As a result, eventual Director of Torchwood One Yvonne Hartman deemed him not proper Torchwood. (AUDIO: One Rule)
Shortly thereafter, Harkness discovered two humans whom the rift had returned and had been locked away in the Hub's cells, since Torchwood had deemed them unable to reintegrate into society. He founded a facility on the island of Flat Holm to care for them and others who were later returned. Subsequently, he chose not to inform certain members of his staff. (TV: Adrift)
In the early 2000s, Jack headhunted Suzie Costello and summoned her to Cardiff. (AUDIO: Moving Target) He arranged Toshiko Sato’s release from a UNIT prison to return for her joining Torchwood for five years. (TV: Fragments) During her first years at Torchwood, Tosh developed Rift equations, which were to be used as guidelines to more safely operate the Rift Manipulator. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness)
In 2004, Torchwood Three shutdown an Ovid factory in South Wales which had been producing duplicates of the population of a nearby village. Suzie found Object 1 in the factory, which Jack told her to pass on to Torchwood One. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
In March 2005, Yvonne Hartman had the Hub placed in a time bubble for a day, freezing the Torchwood Three team, consisting of Jack, Suzie and Tosh, in time so she could recover a Drahvin scanner. (AUDIO: One Rule)
Jack later hired Sebastian Vaughan, whose recruitment had been arranged by his father, a Cabinet minister, (AUDIO: The Vigil) and employed Dr Owen Harper as the team’s medical officer after he witnessed the death of his fiancé due to an alien parasite. (TV: Fragments)
In March 2006 Tosh filled in for a hungover Owen on his second week on the job (TV: Exit Wounds) and went to London to examine the occupant of an alien spacecraft which had crashed in the Thames. She encountered the Ninth Doctor, who was investigating the crash too. (TV: Aliens of London) Later in 2006, Torchwood Three responded to the crash of an Elyrian spaceship, unaware that Suzie had actually caused it. (AUDIO: Sync) In September, Jack kept the team in lockdown in the Hub to prevent them meeting his past self who was travelling with the Ninth Doctor. (PROSE: The Twilight Streets) In November, Suzie became caught up in an alien hunt when her experiments with a alien device prevented her being frozen in time along with the rest of the world. She attempted to help the target, Alex, survive the alien hunters but gave up after some days and killed Alex herself to finally end the hunt and unfreeze the world. (AUDIO: Moving Target)
In 2007, after the Battle of Canary Wharf, Ianto Jones, a survivor of the fallen Torchwood One, began asking to work for Torchwood Three. Jack initially rejected him out of hand, not wanting any ties to the old regime, but eventually accepted him after he helped capture a pterodactyl which had come through the Rift. (TV: Fragments) Ianto’s true reason for joining Torchwood Three was in hopes of reversing the partial cyber-conversion of his girlfriend Lisa Hallett, who he transported to and hid in the Hub. (TV: Cyberwoman)
Torchwood Three began encountering cortex leeches which were appearing through the Rift in greater and greater numbers and attacking the homeless population of Cardiff. During this investigation Sebastian was killed by a leech. Jack gave Tosh permission for his body to be returned to Rockfell Hall per his request, which was against the usual protocol. (AUDIO: The Vigil)
Suzie committed a series of murders with an alien artefact, the Life knife, in order to test out the Resurrection gauntlet. She committed suicide when her activities were discovered. Jack took in Gwen Cooper, a Cardiff Police Constable who had helped him to solve the case. She was the only member of the team aware of his immortality, having witnessed him resurrect after Suzie had shot him. (TV: Everything Changes) When Gwen joined, she found the team somewhat distrustful of Jack, due to his secrecy. Her first mission with the team concerned an alien gas which had escaped a meteor and possessed Carys Fletcher. During the incident Gwen was concerned by the team’s attitude towards Carys and attempted to make them care more. (TV: Day One) Torchwood Three next acquired a quantum transducer from small-time criminal Bernie Harris, (TV: Ghost Machine) defeated the Bruydac (PROSE: Another Life) and shutdown Scotus Clinic, which had been using alien tapeworms as a weight-loss treatment. (PROSE: Slow Decay)
The team’s trust in Ianto was broken when they were attacked by Lisa, who had been overtaken by Cyberman conditioning. They were eventually forced to kill her, to Ianto’s horror. (TV: Cyberwoman) Afterwards Ianto felt increasingly depressed and lonely and took to going to The Ferret to confide in the bar maid, Mandy, there. (AUDIO: Broken) The team’s trust in Jack was further damaged when he surrendered a child, Jasmine, to the Fairies rather than oppose them. (TV: Small Worlds) Jack and Ianto dealt with an incursion of Scorchies in the Millennium Centre together and began improving their friendship. (AUDIO: Broken) After reports of disappearances on the Brecon Beacons, the team feared the Rift may be expanding. They instead discovered a village of cannibals in the middle of their harvest which they held every ten years. The team nearly fell victim to the cannibals, however Jack managed to disable the cannibals by firing a shotgun after driving a tractor through a wall. (TV: Countrycide) The team was traumatised by the experience, with Tosh having nightmares. Ianto considered attempting suicide, the incident having shattered his already fragile mental health, but was saved by the intervention of Mandy. (AUDIO: Broken) Gwen began an affair with Owen, feeling increasingly disconnected from her boyfriend, Rhys, who was unaware of Torchwood’s true nature. (TV: Countrycide)
Not long after the cannibal incident, Tosh was seduced by Mary, an Arcateenian criminal, who eventually convinced her to let her into the Hub to retrieve her transporter which had been recovered in an archaeological dig and seized by Torchwood. Jack had pre-empted her, having noticed Tosh’s odd behaviour, and pre-programmed it to take Mary into the Sun. His ruthlessness was another blow to the team’s trust in him. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts) That night Jack went to investigate disappearances at The Ferret and encountered Ianto. They discovered Mandy was working with an alien slave-driver posing as “the Saviour” to send people through the Rift. Feeling unable to trust anyone, Ianto left Jack to the Saviour however changed his mind and came to his rescue. Afterwards he confessed his troubles to Jack and they began a relationship. (AUDIO: Broken)
Jack began looking into the Committee after becoming aware of conspiracy theorist George Wilson and recognising his theories as actually accurate. A Committee member posing as George’s adopted daughter framed Jack for George‘s murder, so he decided to disappear for a while, leaving a recording for the rest of the team. (AUDIO: The Conspiracy) The team began investigating the Committee. Gwen interviewed a conspiracy journalist, Madeline, who was forced to fatally overdose by a Committee member in her mind, (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) and Ianto investigated Ephraim Salt by infiltrating the SkyPuncher. (AUDIO: Fall to Earth) Jack rejoined the team after exposing Neil Redmond’s duplicate, created by the Committee. (AUDIO: Uncanny Valley) Tosh used information gained from that to bargain with the KVI so she could investigate the Pulse in Zone 10. (AUDIO: Zone 10)
After a grisly triple murder with the killer leaving “Torchwood“ as a calling card, the team used the resurrection gauntlet on the victims. During their two minutes of revival, one of the victims revealed their killer, Max, and that he had been close to Suzie Costello. They resurrected Suzie only for her to seemingly come back for good. She was actually draining life from Gwen, who had been wielding the gauntlet, and had arranged Max’s killings in advance for Torchwood to resurrect her. The team destroyed the gauntlet before the transfer was complete, killing Suzie again and saving Gwen. (TV: They Keep Killing Suzie)
In December, Torchwood Three tried to help three travellers from the 1950s, who had been displaced in time on the Sky Gypsy by the Rift, adjust to life in 2007. Ultimately one decided to commit suicide and another took off in the Sky Gypsy again in hopes of travelling back through the Rift, breaking Owen‘s heart as he’d fallen for her. (TV: Out of Time) A few weeks later, Torchwood Three shut down a Weevil fighting ring. (TV: Combat)
When Tosh and Jack were transported to 1941 Cardiff by the machinations of Bilis Manger, Owen, out of desperation, used the manipulator and Tosh's Rift equations to try and return them, Ianto disagreeing with his attempts and shooting him in the shoulder to try and stop him, however he failed and Owen succeeded. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness) Owen's actions would have wide-ranging consequences, as the use of the Manipulator made the Rift splinter and caused temporal shifts to occur all over Cardiff and the Earth. After a series of visions by Bilis, the team revolted against Jack and decided to open the Rift fully to end the crisis. Jack still refused to yield so Owen shot and killed him. Opening the Rift released the ancient demon Abaddon, briefly causing havoc in central Cardiff. Jack revived, revealing his immortality to the team, and defeated Abaddon by overloading him with his lifespan. After some weeks, Jack revived and reconciled with the team. (TV: End of Days) Shortly afterwards, Jack suddenly and without warning left Torchwood, when the Tenth Doctor came to refuel the TARDIS at the rift and Jack chased him off-world. (TV: End of Days, Utopia) Under Torchwood guidelines Tosh should have assumed leadership as the second longest serving member, however Gwen became leader after taking charge during an incident where Tosh was unfit to command due to exposure to an alien artefact. (PROSE: Kaleidoscope)
In Jack’s absence, 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) Jack reunited with them after their return to Cardiff, intervening in time to kill a Blowfish who had taken hostages. Captain John, an old colleague of Jack’s, came to Cardiff and embroiled Torchwood Three in a complex scheme. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) In the following months, the team uncovered and wiped out an alien sleeper cell, (TV: Sleeper, AUDIO: Serenity) awoke Tommy and sent him back through time to resolve the temporal crisis at St Telio’s Hospital, (TV: To the Last Man) stopped a Water Hag reproducing via infections (PROSE: Something in the Water) and shutdown Harries & Harries, during which Gwen’s husband Rhys became aware of the true nature of her job. (TV: Meat) Torchwood Three also tried to help Michael Bellini escape the Vondrax, (PROSE: Trace Memory) resolved a telesensual field being broadcast by a crashed alien spacecraft, (AUDIO: Everyone Says Hello) were embroiled in the conflict between the Light and the Dark by Bilis Manger, (PROSE: The Twilight Streets) stopped Patrick Jefferson trapping people he deemed sinners in another dimension, (AUDIO: In the Shadows) and were briefly infiltrated by Adam. (TV: Adam) Tosh went to London after being contacted by a Torchwood One survivor, Stephen Heinz, about mysterious disappearances and discovered the cause was an alien computer virus. (AUDIO: torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor) Ianto led the shut down of Oliver Milne’s business, which was run using brain augmentation technology supplied by the Committee. Torchwood’s actions accidentally led to the deaths of all the office’s staff. Ianto covered up Torchwood’s involvement from the subsequent inquiry and retconned himself to forget it. (AUDIO: The Office of Never Was)
UNIT medical officer Dr Martha Jones came in briefly at Jack’s request in order to provide support during an investigation of a series of unusual murders, which they connected to experiments with Reset at the Pharm. Owen died after being shot by the Pharm’s Director during the shut down of the organisation. (TV: Reset) He was resurrected but without signs of life via a second Resurrection gauntlet, which Jack had assumed would be temporary. This led to a personification of Death manifesting through Owen, which he eventually defeated. (TV: Dead Man Walking) This lead to Dr Jones staying with Torchwood somewhat longer than anticipated whilst Owen recovered from his undeath. Owen returned to duty as the only one who could infiltrate alien collector Henry Parker’s residence, due to him being undead and expelling no heat, to investigate a mysterious energy surge. It transpired the energy surge was simply a harmless alien artefact which was delivering a message. Content Owen was ready to return to work, Martha departed. (TV: A Day in the Death)
Following Owen’s undeath, the team faced creatures being unleashed by Gareth Portland via MonstaQuest, (PROSE: Pack Animals) killed a pair of Nostrovites, (TV: Something Borrowed) stopped a thought-form feeding on residents of SkyPoint, (PROSE: SkyPoint) investigated the Church of the Outsiders (AUDIO: Believe) and stopped the rampage of the Night Travellers. (TV: From Out of the Rain) Ianto was lured back to Oliver Milne’s abandoned office block as Oliver sought his revenge. Ianto tricked Oliver, leaving him trapped on the top floor, and the retconned his memories of the incident again. (AUDIO: The Office of Never Was)
After the Rift started returning more and more humans who had previously been taken away in negative rift spikes, Jack arranged for the victims to continue to be transferred to the Flat Holm facility without telling the rest of the team. With the help of Tosh and discrete tip-off from Ianto, Gwen discovered the facility’s existence whilst searching for a missing boy who it turned out had been taken and then returned, decades older, by the Rift. Jack reluctantly let Gwen take the boy’s mother to meet him however she was horrified by the experience and told Gwen not to do it to anyone else. (TV: Adrift)
After they collaborated on Corpse Day, (AUDIO: Corpse Day) Owen began working with Gwen’s former partner PC Andy Davidson on various investigations, forming an unlikely partnership. (AUDIO: The Hope, The Three Monkeys) Caite, an alien of the Threshold, became Andy’s girlfriend in an attempt to infiltrate Torchwood to let her people invade through the Rift and ingratiated herself with Owen using her abilities to drain life from other people to revive him briefly, however they pushed it too far and killed an old woman. Owen tried to use Torchwood’s resources to cover it up however Andy continued to be suspicious. Eventually Caite convinced Owen to let her connect her transport device to the Rift Manipulator so she could go back in time and prevent the death, however Owen realised what she was truly doing. Andy, who had followed them into the Hub, used her device to send Caite away and ended his friendship with Owen. (AUDIO: Gooseberry)
Torchwood Three lost two members of the team during Gray’s vengeful crusade against his brother, Jack. Owen was trapped in a room containing a nuclear meltdown, which decomposed his already dead body, and Tosh died of a shot to the stomach by Gray, who was attempting to stop her guiding Owen in containing the meltdown. Jack finally imprisoned Gray in cryogenic suspension in the Hub. (TV: Fragments, Exit Wounds)
A trio[edit | edit source]
Reduced to just three, Torchwood Three resolved to carry on. (TV: Exit Wounds) In the weeks following Owen and Tosh’s deaths, Jack served as surrogate parent for the next Ruler of the Yalnix (AUDIO: Expectant) and Martha invited the team to CERN to investigate a series of disappearances amongst UNIT personnel. The team discovered Dr Harrington was responsible, having been tricked by an alien entity posing as his dead wife. (AUDIO: Lost Souls)
In mid-2009, Torchwood Three was called upon by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones via the sub-wave network along with Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones in an effort to contact the Tenth Doctor during the Dalek invasion of 2009. Jack, Gwen and Ianto used the Rift Manipulator in conjunction with Sarah Jane's supercomputer Mr Smith to amplify the signal of Martha's superphone to break the signal barrier and reach the Doctor. Jack left the team behind to assist the Doctor, whilst a Dalek saucer traced the signal to the Torchwood Hub. (TV: The Stolen Earth) Gwen and Ianto were saved from Dalek extermination by the time-lock invented by Tosh before she died along with the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor blowing up the Dalek fleet's dalekanium casings on the Crucible. The two were later called upon by the Doctor himself to help assist his TARDIS via Rift Manipulator in its effort to move the Earth back to its regular orbit. Afterwards Jack returned to the team. (TV: Journey's End)
Together the trio stopped an alien swarm which fed on human guilt, having to sacrifice the Sea Queen in the process, (AUDIO: The Sin Eaters) helped a half-alien asylum seeker sent back in time by Torchwood from 2069 (AUDIO: Asylum) and investigated an alien energy field, which they traced to Delhi. There they discovered that Torchwood India was still active, led by the Duchess, having been in a time store since Jack shut them down in 1926. They foiled their plan to turn Earth back to 1926, freezing Torchwood India in time. (AUDIO: Golden Age) Back in Cardiff, the team investigated a series of phone calls putting those who answered in comas (AUDIO: The Dead Line) and discovered the Department of Curiosities at the same time as rival institution Firestone Finance. (AUDIO: Department X)
After helping repair a Keranium spacecraft, Torchwood Three faced the outbreak of the Good Thinking virus in Cardiff. Whilst Jack was infected in the Hub, Ianto used soft light projection to contact Norton Folgate for information on the original outbreak in the 1950s. After he died, Jack was collected by Heights Pharmaceuticals and taken to the Emergency Response Centre, being followed by Ianto. They discovered Heights had leaked the virus accidentally and were now vaccinating with Provictus, an improved variant of the virus capable of uploading people’s thoughts to a Data Core. Jack activated a trojan horse in his data, which had been uploaded to the Date Core when he died of Good Thinking, to shut down Provictus whilst Gwen helped distribute a true cure developed from his blood. (AUDIO: Outbreak)
Torchwood Three responded to the scene of a spaceship crash at the same time as UNIT and found a dead body that UNIT had missed. Gwen took it to a UNIT victim-retrieval station in Hereford for Martha to autopsy, whilst Jack and Ianto found chamelon technology at the crash site. Gwen and Martha discovered the corpse was actually a live chameleon and destroyed the base to stop it. (AUDIO: Dissected)
Torchwood Three investigated Joanna Carew‘s remarkable recovery and discovered she had been helped by an alien entity, Fitzroy. They stopped her disabling human technology with a virus to allow Fitzroy to arrive on Earth. (AUDIO: The Devil and Miss Carew) Torchwood pursued an alien with a plasma cannon on the Severn Bridge. Jack shooting him caused a massive hole in both the alien and the bridge, causing the SUV to fall underwater where Torchwood heard a parasite’s call. They traced the call to the Mariana Trench and collaborated with UNIT to investigate, being supplied with the USS Calvin and Octopus Rock and accompanied by Carlie Roberts. They discovered the source was an alien parasite seeking a new host and killed it. (AUDIO: Submission)
Destruction[edit | edit source]
In September 2009, Torchwood Three was targeted by Agent Johnson’s team on behalf of the British government to stop them exposing Britain’s past dealings with the 456 after they returned to Earth. Using Rupesh Patanjali as a lure, Johnson’s team inserted a bomb into Jack's abdomen. When it detonated the Hub was destroyed, as the government had believed that Jack's immortality was tied to the Hub, whilst Jack himself was blown apart. Gwen and Ianto escaped, avoiding snipers waiting by the Hub. The explosion was reported on the news and it left a gaping hole where the Hub was. Jack’s remains were retrieved by Johnson’s team and she decided to entomb him in concrete after his body pieced itself back together. Ianto, Gwen and Rhys managed to rescue him and the team made their way to London. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One, Children of Earth: Day Two)
Despite the destruction of the Hub, the surviving members of the team continued to operate in an abandoned Torchwood One holding facility, aided by the fact that some of Torchwood's software survived on the server which was not destroyed with the Hub. With the help of Lois Habiba, they recorded Cabinet meetings discussing how to meet the 456’s demands for 10% of each country’s children and blackmailed the government into allowing Jack and Ianto to confront the 456 ambassador in Thames House. The ambassador rejected their threats and unleashed a virus, which killed everyone in the building including Ianto. When he revived, Jack surrendered to the government and told Gwen to go to Ianto's family, to tell them what had happened and protect their children. He was rescued by Johnson, who had turned against the government after seeing the recordings, and worked with her to kill the ambassador at the cost his own grandson’s life. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three, Children of Earth: Day Four, Children of Earth: Day Five) After the crisis the 456 Regulation was enacted, declaring Jack and Gwen officially deceased. (TV: The New World)
In October, the ruins of the Hub were excavated and the technology within became choice pickings for various agencies. (PROSE: Long Time Dead) British billionaire Joshua Naismith, (TV: The End of Time) Italian-American billionaire Angelo Colasanto, (TV: End of the Road) and the British government all successfully pilfered its ruins for alien artefacts. During the excavation, a piece of alien technology revived Suzie for a second time. She began a murder spree, with Jack calling her to warn her that he was coming for her. Ultimately she was tracked down to the ruins of the Hub by PC Tom Cutler and they died together in a bomb explosion. (PROSE: Long Time Dead) Due to the recession, the British government would later sell many of the relics salvaged from Torchwood Three at high prices internationally. (PROSE: The Men Who Sold the World)
Interregnum[edit | edit source]
In the interregnum period following the 456 incident, a time in which Torchwood was described as fallen, (TV: The End of Time) former Time Agent John Hart teamed up with Gwen's husband Rhys to travel back in time roughly a year, in lieu of Jack and Gwen. (COMIC: Shrouded) Six months after the fall of Torchwood Three, having travelled the world, (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) Jack returned to Cardiff and sealed the Rift by destroying The House of the Dead. (AUDIO: The House of the Dead) He met up with Gwen who gave him his salvaged vortex manipulator, enabling him to leave Earth. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five)
In 2011, Jack and Gwen reunited and began operations as an informal team still using the name "Torchwood", working to stop the event known as the Miracle, when people all over the world stopped dying. Other members of this unofficial team included CIA agents Rex Matheson and Esther Drummond, doctor Vera Juarez and Gwen's husband Rhys Williams. After the event’s resolution, at the cost of Vera and Esther’s lives, Gwen asked Jack if he intended to restart Torchwood (TV: Miracle Day) however the team ultimately disbanded with Rex returning to the CIA (AUDIO: Army of One) and Jack leaving Earth for on a holiday away from humanity. (AUDIO: Red Skies) Whilst in Washington DC shortly after the Miracle, Gwen and Rhys encountered an alien cuckoo (AUDIO: Army of One) and Jack later returned to Cardiff to help investigate Mr Invincible. (AUDIO: Mr Invincible) He returned to Earth again in 2012, working with Gwen and Rhys to combat the Helix Intelligence. (PROSE: Exodus Code)
Return[edit | edit source]
Four years after the Miracle, after helping Jack stop the Evolved experiment at Bryn Offa Nursing Home, Gwen and Rhys decided to officially restart Torchwood. (AUDIO: Forgotten Lives) To help fund the new Torchwood, Gwen took a job as an independent witness at a fracking site in Glynteg. She discovered the drilling had unwittingly unleashed an alien infection and neutralised it. (AUDIO: Smashed)
By 2017, Torchwood had officially returned 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 Cardiff facility 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 became the acting head of Torchwood Cardiff. (COMIC: World Without End) She investigated Talmouth after the town went quiet for some time and discovered an alien entity had decimated the town, (AUDIO: Made You Look) was targeted by another alien entity whilst with Rhys (AUDIO: We Always Get Out Alive) and encountered the Fendahl. (AUDIO: Night of the Fendahl) At some point Jack Harkness returned to his old role as leader and a civil servant, St John Colchester was assigned to the team to assist with Torchwood's reestablishment. (AUDIO: Changes Everything)
After the government funding for Torchwood's reestablishment was cut following a report that stated the Rift was no longer a threat, the team moved back into the ruins of the Hub and owned a Smart Car. They were often assisted by disgraced journalist Tyler Steele, a rejected potential recruit. (AUDIO: Changes Everything) An alien, Orr, also joined Torchwood. (AUDIO: Orr; AUDIO: Superiority Complex) An Yvonne Hartman from a parallel universe arrived and took over Torchwood, framing Jack as a terrorist. (AUDIO: Poker Face) After being split from Ng, who had been in control of Gwen’s body, Gwen left Torchwood to start a new life. (AUDIO: Herald of the Dawn)
Following the flight of the Sorvix, (AUDIO: Future Pain) Torchwood covered up the invasion using Brent Hayden. (AUDIO: The Man Who Destroyed Torchwood) Norton Folgate joined the team (AUDIO: Flight 405) after Yvonne attempted to make a hard-light projection of Ianto. (AUDIO: Night Watch) The two both worked for the Committee but later attempted to stop their plan to create a tsunami, (AUDIO: Eye of the Storm) resulting in severe damage to Cardiff. (AUDIO: A Mother's Son) As a result of this, Torchwood was discredited and Jack, Ng, Orr, Tyler and Colchester fled the city whilst Yvonne was arrested. (AUDIO: Thoughts and Prayers) Torchwood was shut down again following this incident. (AUDIO: Dead Time)
Late 21st century[edit | edit source]
By the 2060s, Torchwood had become more accepting of aliens, attempting to protect them instead of just stop them. They were also able to control the Rift to an extent. In 2069, when Freda's house was destroyed by anti-alien groups, a member of Torchwood was able to save her and sent her back in time to 2009, trying to cause the development of Torchwood's alien policy. (AUDIO: Asylum)
Crew[edit | edit source]
Sources need to be provided to paragraphs.
Emily Holroyd's team[edit | edit source]
Emily Holroyd led a team from 1897-1901. She burned one unknown agent, who later succumbed to a mutative infection and became new queen of a snake-like race. Known members included Alice Guppy, (active circa 1899-1901) Charles Gaskell, (active circa 1899-1901) and Jack Harkness. (TV: Fragments, Exit Wounds)
Gerald Kneale's team[edit | edit source]
Gerald Kneale led his team from 1907-1919. Physicist Harriet Derbyshire was a member from 1918 to 1919 until she was killed in active service. Douglas Caldwell was on the team from 1914 to 1930. Secretary Lydia Childs was active from 1918 to 1941, later dying in 1941, before August. Charles Quinn was a member between 1939 and 1945, killed in a World War II air raid. (TV: To the Last Man) Jack Harkness remained on the team as a freelance agent. (TV: From Out of the Rain, Immortal Sins, Small Worlds)
Tilda Brennan's team[edit | edit source]
Tilda Brennan, the new leader was active during 1941. She was killed by Jack Harkness, who shot her. Members included Greg Bishop, Llinos King, Rhydian and Jack Harkness, as a freelance agent. (PROSE: The Twilight Streets)
Alex Hopkins' team[edit | edit source]
Alex Hopkins led his team prior New Year's Eve 1999. He later killed members Karen Baldwin, James Unsworth, Ariana and the others after opening Object 1. Only Jack Harkness remained given his immortality. (TV: Fragments; AUDIO: Red Skies, The Torchwood Archive)
Jack Harkness' team[edit | edit source]
Jack Harkness made and led a new team throughout the 2000s. Members consisted of weapons expert and former second-in-command Suzie Costello, technological genius Toshiko Sato, action enthusiast Sebastian Vaughan, (AUDIO: The Vigil) doctor Owen Harper, factotum Ianto Jones and police liaison, field agent and de facto second-in-command Gwen Cooper. (TV: Everything Changes etc.)
Whilst Jack headhunted Suzie, (AUDIO: Moving Target) Tosh and Owen, Ianto (TV: Fragments) and Gwen (TV: Everything Changes) approached him themselves whilst Sebastian's hiring was arranged by his father. (AUDIO: The Vigil)
Gwen Cooper's team[edit | edit source]
Gwen Cooper, as acting director, restarted Torchwood Three in 2016. At this time the team consisted solely of herself and Rhys Williams. (AUDIO: More Than This, Made You Look) However by 2017, Jack Harkness had returned to the team in a leadership capacity and civil servant Mr Colchester was appointed to oversee the restoration of the Hub. (AUDIO: Changes Everything) At some point, Gwen was possessed by an alien known as Ng (AUDIO: Herald of the Dawn) and sexual psychomorph Orr joined the team not long after. (AUDIO: Orr)
Yvonne Hartman's team[edit | edit source]
Jack Harkness was deposed by Yvonne Hartman after the rest of Torchwood became dismayed by his secretiveness. (AUDIO: Poker Face) Yvonne's team consisted of herself, Mr Colchester, Orr, Ng and later Jack himself. They were later briefly joined by Norton Folgate while Orr disappeared for a while. (AUDIO: Flight 405) Tyler Steele finally joined the team in an official capacity after being offered a place to live in the Hub by Yvonne. (AUDIO: Hostile Environment) By 2020, Tania Bell was also a member of Torchwood Three, while Andy Davidson continued to work closely with the group. (AUDIO: Must-See TV)
Members of other teams[edit | edit source]
Other miscellaneous members included Philip Lyle (active circa 1898), Kenneth Valentine (active ????-1967; died 1967), Charles Cromwell (active circa 1945-1975; died 2006), Lucia Moretti (active 1965-1977; died 2006) and Martin Gibbons (active circa 1987).
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Torchwood website[edit | edit source]
The series 2 version of the Torchwood website showed a diary entry describing how Alice Guppy (unnamed in the text) became a member of Torchwood Three. It said that Emily Holroyd, whom had previously been married, had a husband, whose situation in late 1898 was "complex".
After the death of one of Emily's team, Alice, expecting a reprimand for having wounded Mrs Hailsham in the laundry room on 12 September 1898, was given a contract on the 13th to be employed as an Investigations Agent for Torchwood by the governess, and have her charges dropped by signing it.
The following day, Emily collected Alice for the trip to Cardiff. She informed her of the death of Emily's previous partner in Torchwood, whom had succumbed to a "mutative infection", becoming the new queen of a snake-like race. Emily was "obliged" to burn her partner to death. She also told Alice what the Torchwood Institute was about.
On the 15th, she noted her diary would become "less comprehensive" from then on, due to the sensitive information her experiences with Torchwood would entail. Her diary entry for that day also notes that as early as 1898, Torchwood Three's underground base was already "sprawling and untidy, but [...] filled with curious & sometimes wondrous equipment". She says her patrol begins on the night of the 16th.
The series 1 version of the Torchwood website had a "rift memo", dated 13 April 1913. It alerted the "chief" that on that day there was a sudden increase in Rift activity that manifested as "a series of small ground tremors". It was concerned about Robertson's conclusions from the data: it seemed to be a ripple from a "much bigger" event, or "[a]n aftershock washing back to towards us through time – call it a preshock, if you will." Robertson calculated that it orginated at some point in the 21st century. The memo claimed that Cardiff has "got about a century to go before the rift tears it apart." It said it "might be an idea" to increase safeguards on the rift manipulator.
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 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".
Doctor Who: Legacy[edit | edit source]
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Episodes - Fragments - Diary. BBC - Torchwood (13-15 September 1898). Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
- End of Days - Rift memo, 1913. Torchwood website (13 April 1913). Archived from the original on 27 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.