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Torchwood Institute

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The Torchwood Institute (or "Torchwood" for short) was an organisation founded in 1879 (TV: The New World) to protect the British Empire (later Great Britain) from extraterrestrial threat, 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 Empire. (TV: Everything Changes, AUDIO: Golden Age) Through 2007, 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)

Overview Edit

After an encounter with the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, Queen Victoria was grateful for their assistance in defeating a werewolf. However, she found their cavalier attitude to the death and destruction surrounding them to be disturbing. She knighted them both, and then promptly banished them from Britain forever. 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 slogan 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.

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 Capt. 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.The Torchwood Charter, 31 December 1879 [src]

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)

By the year 200,100, the Torchwood Institute had become the stuff of trivia questions. (TV: Bad Wolf)

History Edit

19th century Edit

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 menanced 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 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 1899, Torchwood Three, which was based around a rift in space and time, was founded in Cardiff. In 1899 Cardiff, 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 an intelligent blowfish alien; 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 fortune-telling tarot card reader 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) At some point, Victoria also established Torchwood India to collect all things alien in the British Raj. (AUDIO: Golden Age)

20th century Edit

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)

Torchwood was planning to use alien weaponry during World War I, but eventually decided against it. (PROSE: Risk Assessment)

In 1918, Torchwood Three investigated ghost sightings in a hospital in Cardiff. As present and future blended, they caught glimpses of 2009. 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 in only her mid-twenties, died in action. (TV: To the Last Man)

Jack continued to work as an operative throughout the 20th century. In 1909, he was put in charge of a group of soldiers, (TV: Small Worlds) and in the 1920s worked undercover with a travelling circus in pursuit of the Night Travellers, though it would appear the latter mission was unsuccessful as he failed to find them for eighty years. (TV: From Out of the Rain)

In 1923, thanks to a Professor Livesy-Smythe, Torchwood found evidence that an alien race called the Pyroviles invaded Earth at Pompeii in 79 AD. (WC: Captain Jack's Monster Files)

In 1924, Torchwood sent Jack Harkness to India to close down the branch there before the fall of the Raj (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 Brain parasite and change the course of history. With assistance from his lover Angelo Colasanto, Jack succeeded in eliminating the parasite. (TV: Immortal Sins)

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)

In 1965, the government asked five highly ranked officers, including Jack, to give twelve children to the 456 as a gift. 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)

Circa 1984, Torchwood bought the London-based security firm H.C. Clements. (TV: The Runaway Bride)

Circa 1997, Torchwood recovered a Jathaa sunglider and reverse-engineered weaponry from it. (TV: Army of Ghosts)

At the end of 1999, Jack became the leader of Torchwood Three when one of its members, 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. (TV: Fragments)

21st century Edit

Over the next few years, Jack rebuilt the Torchwood Three team, recruiting Suzie Costello, Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper. Disapproving the ethics of Torchwood One, Jack told Tosh of his plans to reform the organisation to greater benevolence. (TV: Fragments) Tosh was sent to London to investigate the alien lifeform recovered from a crashed spacecraft. Unknown to her, she met the Ninth Doctor during this time. (TV: Aliens of London)

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. At the same time, in Torchwood Tower, the Institute examined the Void Ship (though they did not call it by that name), an obviously alien artefact they struggled to understand; it was discovered that tapping into the resonance around it produced massive amounts of what seemed to be free energy. A side-effect of these experiments was the appearance of millions of "ghosts" all over the world: humanoid figures that glowed with an unearthly light.

The Tenth Doctor became involved. He explained to the then-administrator Yvonne Hartman 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 not heeded, and the experiments continued. As a result, a massive invasion force from another dimension came through the "hole", allowing the Earth to be conquered by the Cybermen for approximately an hour.

At the same time, the Void Ship opened, revealing a hidden cadre of four Daleks, (TV: Army of Ghosts) members of the secret Cult of Skaro, come to Earth to help 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 a war against them, despite an offer from the Cyber-Leader to form an alliance.

The "hole" in space time created by the Void Ship also allowed a resistance army from another dimension to cross over, initially with the intention of stopping the Cybermen. With the advance of the Cybermen and Daleks, a rather sudden and uneasy truce began, with Torchwood militia and the Preachers fighting together against the Daleks and Cybermen. This turned Torchwood Tower into a battleground. The fighting did not end until the Doctor found a way to reverse Torchwood's power machinery and send the Daleks and Cybermen into the Void. Rose Tyler was recruited by the version of Torchwood that existed on the parallel Earth nicknamed Pete's World, having been trapped there after the reversal sealed the gap between N-Space and Pete's World. (TV: Doomsday)

With the vast majority of the Torchwood administration in London killed or 'upgraded' by the Cybermen, the organisation was crippled. [additional sources needed] Following the battle, Jack recruited Canary Wharf survivor Ianto Jones (TV: Fragments) as well as Gwen Cooper. By the time of Gwen's recruitment, Torchwood Four had disappeared. (TV: Everything Changes)

In 2008, a major event occurred with the opening of the Cardiff rift, resulting in massive temporal displacements and the release of the demon Abaddon. (TV: End of Days) Shortly after, team leader Captain Jack Harkness mysteriously disappeared. (TV: Utopia) Subsequently, 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. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) Some months later, the Torchwood Three team was depleted by the deaths of two members (TV: Exit Wounds) and the survivors became involved in helping the Tenth Doctor restore the Earth to its original location after it was moved by the Daleks to the Medusa Cascade. (TV: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)

Perhaps due to their influence during alien invasion, by the late 2000s, Torchwood was beginning to be known by the public at large, although more by name and reputation than by actual purpose. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)

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 alien race known as the 456, in which Jack had been involved. The Cardiff Hub was destroyed by a paramilitary unit headed by Agent Johnson, and attempts were made on the lives of the surviving members of Torchwood Three. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One, Day Two) Files held by the British government indicated that by this point, Torchwood Two had been disbanded. [source needed] Despite this, Torchwood was instrumental in the defeat of the 456 with Jack finding a way to defeat them with help from Johnson.

After the defeat of the 456, Torchwood was left with only two surviving operatives: Jack and Gwen, the latter pregnant. Six months later, Jack, having spent some time travelling the world and beyond on his own, made the decision to leave Earth, leaving Gwen — now heavily pregnant — as the last known Torchwood operative. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) It was at this point that the Institute disbanded. (TV: The New World)

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". At one point 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: The Blood Line) Jack left Earth and Rex returned to work as CIA agent, (AUDIO: Red Skies, Army of One) and Torchwood once again ceased to exist.

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)

The Torchwood Institute reformed or was reestablished at some point, because by the 2060s, Torchwood Three was capable of controlling the Rift. (AUDIO: Asylum)

Post-21st century Edit

The Institute still existed, as the Torchwood Archive, in the 42nd century. (TV: The Satan Pit)

The Great Cobalt Pyramid was built on the ruins of the Torchwood Institute. (TV: Bad Wolf)

Torchwood branches Edit

The Torchwood Institute was known to have four offices across Britain and an international branch. In 2007, Torchwood One was lost. [source needed] By 2009, Two, Three and India had also ceased operations. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Four, AUDIO: Golden Age) [additional sources needed] 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 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)

Torchwood One also had a base under the Thames Flood Barrier and owned the security firm "H.C. Clements" used to recreate Huon particles. (TV: The Runaway Bride)

The parallel Earth, Pete's World, also had a version of Torchwood. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen, Doomsday)

Known staff Edit

Yvonne1

Yvonne Hartman

Torchwood One Edit

Torchwood Two Edit

Torchwood Three Edit

Surviving staff of Torchwood Three later represented just "Torchwood", no numerical designation.

Torchwood India Edit

Parallel Torchwood on Pete's World Edit

Other individuals are known to have used the parallel Torchwood's facilities, including Pete Tyler and Mickey Smith.

Behind the scenes Edit

Torchwood website Edit

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." [1]

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". [2]

Other websites Edit

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". [3] 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,[4] 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.

Other matters Edit

  • "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".[4]
  • Torchwood is also the name of a spin-off series from the BBC set in the Doctor Who universe.

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

  1. Report: Closure of Torchwood One. Torchwood website. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
  2. Harper, O. Episodes - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Mission Report #2008/043. BBC - Torchwood. Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
  3. Front page for the episode Bad Wolf. BBC - Doctor Who (June 2005). Retrieved on 24 July 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Doctor Who spin-off made in Wales. BBC News (17 October 2005). Retrieved on 24 July 2013.

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