Small Worlds was the fifth episode of Series 1 of Torchwood. It was written by Peter J. Hammond, directed by Alice Troughton and featured John Barrowman as Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Burn Gorman as Owen Harper, Naoko Mori as Toshiko Sato and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.
It also established a storytelling convention used in every subsequent series of Torchwood. From here forward, Jack's past would occasionally be teased through the use of extended flashbacks that demonstrated how his history tied in to a present-day problem that Torchwood was fighting.
Jack encounters monsters from his past: fairies, with the ability to choke people and change the weather, make a series of killings centred around a little girl, the Chosen One. He also reunites with an old friend, but will Estelle Cole be safe when she starts to get a little too close to these fairies? And how can Torchwood stop a force from the dawn of time, masters of Earth, their domain? More importantly, what is so crucial about a little girl named Jasmine, for whom these creatures will gladly tear the world apart?
At the Torchwood Hub, Jack wakes from a nightmare of dead soldiers in a train carriage with rose petals spilling out of their mouths. He finds a single rose petal atop his desk. Ianto, still in-office, informs Jack about strange weather patterns in the area.
The next day, Jack takes Gwen to visit an old friend of his, Estelle Cole, give a talk on fairies. Estelle shows them the Cottingley fairy photos, then compares them to photographs she had taken the day before. She claims to have found proof of the fairies' existence.
After her presentation, Jack and Estelle discuss the photographs and the nature of fairies at her home. Gwen asks Estelle and Jack about an old photograph she found of Jack. They both claim it is of Jack's father, and say that he had a relationship with Estelle during World War II. Estelle mentions that Jack looks and walks just like his father. Jack interrupts that thought, and asks Estelle to let him know if she encounters any more fairies.
On the way back to Torchwood, Jack explains to Gwen that the fairies are creatures from the dawn of time and are not bound by linear time. He says that the fairies can be very dangerous. Jack instructs Toshiko to watch for strange weather patterns in the area in order to locate the creatures.
Meanwhile, a young girl, Jasmine Pierce, decides to walk home from school alone as her mother's boyfriend, Roy, did not arrive on time to pick her up. She encounters a man, Mark Goodson, who tries to lure her into his car. When Goodson makes a grab for Jasmine, a strong wind kicks up, accompanied by strange, ethereal voices. Goodson retreats into his car while Jasmine continues to skip home to play with her fairy friends in the nearby woods.
Later, a tense Goodson, still hearing the voices, stumbles through the Cardiff market, attacked by something unseen by the other shoppers. He starts to cough up rose petals. He gets himself arrested to seek the safety of a jail cell, but continues to be attacked by unknown forces. He is found the next day, dead by asphyxiation. Torchwood arrives and find Goodson's mouth filled with rose petals. Jack confirms that Goodson was killed by the fairies as part of their protection of a "Chosen One", a child who will soon become the fairies' if Torchwood cannot find her in time.
Late at night, Estelle hears the strange voices. She calls Jack to alert him. However, before Torchwood can arrive, she drowns in a rainstorm although everything around her is completely dry. Jack mourns her loss, and Gwen makes him admit that it was he who had a relationship with Estelle long ago. Jack explains that he has seen the rose petals before, on a train in Lahore in 1909. Some of his troops had drunkenly run over a little girl. A week later, all of his men died, their mouths stuffed with petals, and he realised that the young girl had been a Chosen One. Gwen returns home to find her own flat in disarray, with leaves and rock patterns on the floor. The team understand that the fairies are becoming more protective and aggressive.
At her school the next day, Jasmine is bullied by two girls and the fairies make a gale sweep over the area. Torchwood arrives. Jasmine's teacher says that no-one was harmed, but the only one not affected by the storm was Jasmine.
Meanwhile, Jasmine's mother Lynn and Roy are celebrating five years together with a backyard barbecue party. Jasmine helps her mother with the food, and gives disturbing answers to her mother's questions. When Jasmine goes outside, she finds that the backyard has been fenced off by Roy to prevent her from going to the woods. Angry, she bites him. He slaps her and calls her a bitch. A sudden wind rushes up and the fairies make themselves visible to everyone, attacking and killing Roy.
Torchwood arrives in time to prevent harm to other guests, but Jasmine and the fairies race off to the woods. Jack catches up with her and demands that the fairies not take her away. They refuse, stating that she is their Chosen One and if she is prevented from going, many more people will die. Admitting he has no other choice, Jack requests a promise that Jasmine will not be harmed. The fairies respond that she will live forever. Jack lets Jasmine go, and she skips away, surrounded by glowing fairies. Lynn, seeing this, cries angrily and hits Jack over and over. The only thing Jack can do is apologise. Lynn has lost both her boyfriend and her only daughter in one afternoon.
The Torchwood Three crew return to their transport vehicle with tension in the air. Gwen, Owen, and Toshiko are evidently disturbed by Jack's concession to the fairies' demands, but all proceed silently. None of them speak a word about what just transpired, afraid to set off a powder keg, but they make little effort to hide their disapproval. Jack notices a few dirty looks from his peers, leaving him to defensively respond, "What else could I do?"
Back at the Hub, Gwen sorts through the pictures in the case. A Cottingley Fairies photograph from 1917 appears on the board room monitor screen. Spotting something, she zooms in on the photograph until the face on one of the fairies becomes clear. It is Jasmine, frozen in mid-dance, smiling. A fairy voice whispers: "Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand." ("The Stolen Child", by William Butler Yeats)
- Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
- Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
- Owen Harper - Burn Gorman
- Toshiko Sato - Naoko Mori
- Ianto Jones - Gareth David-Lloyd
- Estelle - Eve Pearce
- Jasmine - Lara Phillipart
- Lynn - Adrienne O'Sullivan
- Roy - William Travis
- Goodson - Rodger Barclay
- Kate - Heledd Baskerville
- WPC - Ffion Wilkins
- Custody Sergeant - Nathan Sussex
- Man in Street - Paul Jones
- Bullies - Sophie Davies and Victoria Gourley
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|General production staff|
Camera and lighting department
|Make-up and prosthetics
General post-production staff
Special and visual effects
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
Foods and beverages
- Roy is drinking St Nicholas Welsh Lager beer during the party.
- Owen claims that Harry Houdini believed in the Cottingley fairies. In reality, he didn't and got into frequent discussions with his friend Arthur Conan Doyle over them.
- Gwen also states that the girls who took the photos admitted the whole incident was a hoax in their later years. While it is true that they confessed to faking the photos, both women went to their graves insisting that they really did see fairies.
- 1.3 million viewers
to be added
- When Roy is putting up the fence, the overhead view shows him nailing the third post. The view from the side shows him nailing in a different post, however.
Home video releases
- This episode, with four others, was first released on a DVD entitled Torchwood: Series 1, part 1 on 26 December 2006. It was later released in Torchwood: The Complete First Series on 19 November 2007.
- Small Worlds at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Small Worlds at The Locations Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Small Worlds at The Whoniverse