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John Frobisher (1958-2009) was the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office and Torchwood Three's liaison to the British government. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two) He was later appointed informal ambassador to the 456. His job became increasingly difficult when everyone around him began to shirk any responsibility for the disaster that was unfolding.
John Frobisher started working for the Civil Service in 1980, according to his service biography. He worked in various departments within the Home Office, including as Director General for Schools and under-secretary at the Crime Reduction and Community Secretary Group. He was promoted to become Permanent Secretary to the Home Office in 2003. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
Frobisher had a wife named Anna and two daughters, Holly and Lilly. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) His assistant Bridget Spears implied that he had had at least one extramarital affair with other members of his staff. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
As Permanent Secretary to the Home Office
As Permanent Secretary, Frobisher chaired the Home Office Board and sat on the Civil Service Steering Board. He was also a member of the Senior Leadership Committee. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
As a civil servant, he followed the Prime Minister's orders. In 2009, then-Prime Minister Brian Green thought of Frobisher as a tool to absolve himself of blame should the British government's past dealings with the 456 become known. He considered Frobisher "expendable" and made no secret of his unconcern for his wellbeing.
Based on his comments to UNIT's Colonel Oduya, Frobisher had prior experience with aliens; comments made by Gwen Cooper suggested that Frobisher, or his office, oversaw Torchwood Three. Jack Harkness tried to contact him early in the 456 incident. In order to keep secret the 1965 deal with the 456, Frobisher ordered a "blank page" assassination order against everyone involved, including Jack Harkness. This led to the bombing by Johnson and her team of the Hub under Cardiff Bay. Other individuals were also murdered, and at least two people (one of whom appeared to have been collateral damage) were killed in the implanting of a bomb into Harkness. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
Brian Green wanted a scapegoat in case events went badly. He persuaded representatives to have Frobisher, an unelected civil servant, serve as representative to the 456. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two) Frobisher witnessed the 456 arrival on Earth in Thames House along with Dekker. He represented Earth in diplomatic arrangements with the 456 as an expendable middleman. Jack Harkness contacted Frobisher for access to Thames House. Frobisher declined and told him that he would harm his daughter Alice Carter and his grandson Steven Carter if he went public. Harkness suggested he would kidnap Frobisher's wife, but Frobisher knew that Harkness was a better man than he and would not carry out his threat. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
During an emergency meeting of COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) to determine the handover of one tenth of British children, Green tasked Frobisher with the selection and transport for the children, although the method by which children were selected was decided by the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Frobisher invented the cover story suggesting the children would be inoculated against 456 control. The government actually took them to hand over to the 456. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Four)
The next day, the Prime Minister told Frobisher that his children would be publicly handed over for "inoculation". This was an attempt by the government to portray themselves as victims, reassure the public regarding their cover story and implicate the 456 as the true villains. Frobisher threatened to reveal to the press the true nature of the inoculations. Green dissuaded him from this, noting that Frobisher's children would know their fate. Wanting to spare his daughters their fate at the hands of the 456 and his wife the grief, Frobisher decided to murder his family and commit suicide. He kissed his ever-loyal PA Bridget Spears on the cheek when they met for the final time. Spears, realising Frobisher's intentions, made clear to Lois Habiba, that "John Frobisher was a good man," and that "it wasn't his fault." Spears then proceeded to record incriminating evidence against Green. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five)
Behind the scenes
- John Frobisher was portrayed by Peter Capaldi, who previously portrayed Lobus Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii and later became the Twelfth Doctor.
- In the Torchwood Declassified episode Cracking Children of Earth, Russell T Davies suggested that, since they are played by the same actor, Frobisher may be a descendant of Caecilius, and goes on to note that, in a sense, Frobisher's killing of his family brings closure to the saving of Caecilius' family in the earlier episode. This was confirmed by Steven Moffat who stated that Frobisher's suicide was time's way of "reasserting itself."
- Russell T Davies named the character after Frobisher from the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, a shape-shifting penguin and companion of the Sixth Doctor. (DWMSE 39)
- For the German broadcast, Frobisher was dubbed by voice actor Peter Reinhardt.