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.
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
Caring for Rift returnees Edit
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 in Earth society.
Until the year 2000 these returnees were just locked away in the vaults or cryogenically frozen, and ultimately forgotten. When Captain Jack 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)
Weevil containment Edit
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
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. 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 key technologies were portable prison cells and Retcon, a powerful amnesia inducer. (TV: Everything Changes, Day One)
Keeping a low profile Edit
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)
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)
Human resources Edit
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 deliberately broke the rules at least once to allow Toshiko Sato to have a proper burial and funeral that her mother attended. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
Other tasks Edit
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)
19th century Edit
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 then recruited him as a field agent.
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)
20th century Edit
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)
The younger Jack returned to Cardiff from Torchwood London per Queen Victoria's order for him to throw Object 1 into the Rift. However, he neglected to do so and forgot about it, remaining at Torchwood Cardiff. In 1914, after becoming aware of the Weevils and Object 1's likely involvement, he threw it into the Rift. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)
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. Derbyshire shortly afterwards died in action in an unrelated case. (TV: To the Last Man)
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)
21st century Edit
Alex's team Edit
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 other agents in the team. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) Jack was still working as a field agent at this time. The team included Karen Baldwin and James Unsworth. (TV: Fragments)
On New Year's Eve 1999, Alex was approached by the little girl in Newport after hunting an alien. She gave him Object 1. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) He prepared for Torchwood's New Year's party and opened Object 1 whilst waiting for the others to arrive, wanting to know which worked for the Committee. (TV: Fragments) He opened it and saw visions of the 21st century, including the Committee's deals with the British government, the 456 and Miracle Day. His team arrived and he shot them all, Ariana last. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive) He handed command over to Jack before shooting himself and joining the Red List. (TV: Fragments)
Jack's team Edit
Jack Harkness was left with the job of recruiting a new team and leading it. (TV: Fragments) 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 2000s he recruited civilians Suzie Costello and Toshiko Sato in an attempt to reform Torchwood into a more humane organisation inspired by his admiration of the Doctor. He later employed Owen Harper and, with much persuasion at first, took in Ianto Jones, a survivor of the Battle of Canary Wharf who had worked for Torchwood One. (TV: Fragments)
Agent Suzie Costello 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. (TV: Everything Changes) As well as internal distrust, at times, of Jack himself, Torchwood Three subsequently braved an attack by Lisa Hallett, a partially converted Cyberman who had survived their defeat at Torchwood One. (TV: Cyberwoman)
Tosh had begun to experiment with using the Rift Manipulator. With Tosh and Jack transported to 1941 Cardiff, Owen and Ianto, out of desperation, used the manipulator and Tosh's Rift equations to return them. (TV: Captain Jack Harkness) This 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. The team revolted against Jack and shot and killed him and the ancient demon Abaddon was released from the Rift, briefly causing havoc in central Cardiff before Jack defeated him. (TV: End of Days)
At or around this date, Saxon sent Torchwood Three on a "wild goose chase" mission away from Great Britain to the Himalayas. (TV: The Sound of Drums) Jack returned some months later, finding that Gwen had taken over as team leader. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
The Rift started returning more and more humans who had previously been taken away in negative rift spikes. In the words of Jack Harkness, "it is almost as if the rift is trying to correct its mistakes". Victims continued to be transferred to the Flat Holm facility. (TV: Adrift) Another trend in recent years was an increase in Weevil activity. (TV: Everything Changes)
Torchwood Three stopped a Weevil fighting ring, (TV: Combat) uncovered and wiped out an alien sleeper cell, (TV: Sleeper, AUDIO: Serenity), unilaterally closed down an official research facility (TV: Reset) and stopped a powerful being, a personification of Death. (TV: Dead Man Walking)
UNIT medical officer Dr Martha Jones came in briefly in order to provide support. Very shortly after her arrival, Torchwood doctor Owen Harper died (TV: Reset) and was resurrected but without signs of life via another Resurrection gauntlet. (TV: Dead Man Walking) This lead to Dr Jones staying with Torchwood somewhat longer than anticipated. Torchwood Three later lost two members of the team. Owen Harper was trapped in a nuclear meltdown that decomposed his already dead body and Toshiko Sato died of a shot to the stomach. (TV: Exit Wounds)
In mid-2009, Torchwood Three was called upon by former Prime Minister Harriet Jones via subwave network along with Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones in an effort to contact the Tenth Doctor after Earth was transported into the Medusa Cascade by Davros, 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. (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 carry the Earth back to its regular orbit. (TV: Journey's End)
In September 2009, the entire Torchwood Three Hub was blown up by the government in a ploy to kill the Torchwood team in relation to the 456 crisis as it was believed that Jack's immortality was tied to Torchwood and the Rift. The bomb was inserted into Jack's abdomen. When it detonated, Jack was blown apart. Gwen and Ianto luckily escaped. The explosion was reported on the news and it left a gaping hole where the Hub was. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One, Children of Earth: Day Two)
Despite the destruction of the Hub, the surviving members of the team, aided by Lois Habiba and Rhys Williams, continued to operate throughout the 456 crisis, aided by the fact that some of Torchwood's software survived on the server which was not destroyed with the Hub. The crisis cost the life of Ianto Jones when the 456 ambassador released a deadly virus into Thames House. After defeating the 456 required the sacrifice of his grandson, Jack left Earth, leaving Gwen Cooper the last remaining member of Torchwood Three. With the death of Ianto and the departure of Jack, Torchwood Three effectively ceased to exist. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two, Children of Earth: Day Three, Children of Earth: Day Four, Children of Earth: Day Five)
The ruins of the Hub and the technology within were choice pickings for various agencies. 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. (PROSE: Long Time Dead) Due to the recession, the British government also sold many at high prices internationally. (PROSE: The Men Who Sold the World)
In the interregnum period following the 456 incident, a time in which Torchwood was described as fallen, (TV: The End of Time) 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)
Between 2011 and 2017, former members of Torchwood Three – Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper – continued to operate as an informal team still using the name "Torchwood", most notably 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. (TV: Dead of Night, AUDIO: Forgotten Lives)
By 2017, Torchwood 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 had shown 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). 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, (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)
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)
Sources need to be provided to paragraphs.
Emily Holroyd's team Edit
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
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
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
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
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, doctor Owen Harper, factotum Ianto Jones and police liason, field agent, and de facto second in command Gwen Cooper. (TV: Everything Changes et al.)
Gwen Cooper's team Edit
Gwen Cooper, as acting director, restarted Torchwood Three in 2016. At this time the team consisted solely of herself and Rhys Williams. However by 2017 Jack Harkness returned to the team in a leadership capacity and civil servant Mr Colchester was appointed to oversee the restoration of the hub. At some point Gwen was possessed by an alien known as Ng, and Sexual psychomorph Orr joined the team not long after.
Yvonne Hartman’s team Edit
Jack Harkness was deposed by Yvonne Hartman After the rest of Torchwood became dismayed by his secretiveness. 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. Tyler Steele finally joined the team in an official capacity after being offered a place to live in the Hub by Yvonne.
Members of other teams Edit
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
Torchwood website Edit
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".
- ↑ 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.