- You may wish to consult
Torchwood (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
|Affiliation:||Torchwood team (successor)|
Torchwood Archive (very likely; future successor)
|Notable members:||See below|
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 such) in his tenth incarnation and to secure alien technology for Britain. (TV: Tooth and Claw, Army of Ghosts)
It had branches across the Empire. (TV: Everything Changes, AUDIO: Golden Age) Before 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: Children of Earth: Day Five) but its operations too were short-lived (AUDIO: Red Skies, Army of One).
Queen Victoria was grateful for the Tenth Doctor and Rose's assistance in defeating the werewolf. The incident made her aware of otherworldly threats to the British Empire, and she chartered Torchwood to defend against them -- specifically the Doctor. Seeing his power and knowledge, the Queen was wary of his potential threat to the Empire. 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. 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 cell of the Institute was abandoned afterwards. (WEB: Torchwood website)
Torchwood operated in cells. London was Torchwood One, and Cardiff was home to Torchwood Three, the maverick group led by Capt. Jack Harkness. At least two other Torchwood cells were known: Torchwood Two, based in Glasgow, Scotland, and a Torchwood Four, the nature of which was unknown except that it had some how gotten "lost" (TV: Everything Changes). Torchwood India was based in India and led by the Duchess of Melrose. It was disbanded in 1924, but later continued until 2009. (AUDIO: Golden Age)
Captain Jack declared the organisation "outside the government and beyond the police". (TV: Everything Changes) It was different from most British institutions, being created by royal decree and funded directly by the Crown. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One) The royal hold over Torchwood was later demonstrated when HM Queen Elizabeth II closed down Torchwood One after the Battle of Canary Wharf. (WEB: torchwood.org.uk)
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.
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 British cabinet 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) though this may have been due to the friendly relations between Martha Jones and the head of Torchwood Three, Captain Jack Harkness. (TV: Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords)
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, (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 remained unknown to aspects of the United States government and the Central Intelligence Agency. (TV: The New World)
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/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 1880, Colonel Edmund Ross was a special agent, investigating extraterrestrial activity in Dartmoor, under the command and authority of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It isn't confirmed that the investigation was on the behalf of Torchwood, but it is coincidently very similar to a typical Torchwood investigation, and possibly, one of Torchwood's earliest recorded activities. (PROSE: Evolution)
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)
After discovering a spacetime Rift in Cardiff, Queen Victoria founded a third branch of Torchwood (after the first and second in London and Scotland), Torchwood Three. (WEB: torchwood.org.uk) 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. Guppy reportedly died sometime thereafter. (WEB: torchwood.org.uk)
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)
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 and, based on a photo, were very possibly already based out of the Hub. They already had equipment capable of detecting disturbances in time. (TV: To the Last Man)
Harkness continued to work as an operative throughout the 20th century, For reasons unknown, he was put in charge of a group of soldiers in 1909 (TV: Small Worlds), and in the 1920s worked undercover with a travelling circus in pursuit of the Night Travellers (TV: From Out of the Rain), though it would appear the latter mission was unsuccessful as he failed to find them for eighty years.
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, referencing TV: The Fires of Pompeii)
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, Harkness 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 Harkness, 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)
At the end of 1999, Harkness 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, Harkness rebuilt the Torchwood Three team, recruiting Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper. Disapproving the ethics of Torchwood One, Harkness told Sato of his plans to reform the organisation to greater benevolence. (TV: Fragments) Sato was sent to London to investigate the alien lifeform recovered from a crashed spacecraft. (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. (TV: Army of Ghosts)
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, 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 Normal Space and Pete's World. (TV: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday)
With the vast majority of the Torchwood administration in London killed or 'upgraded' by the Cybermen, the organisation was crippled. Jack Harkness worked to reform the remainder of Torchwood into a more humane organisation, recruiting Canary Wharf survivor Ianto Jones and other members (including, ultimately, Gwen Cooper). (TV: Everything Changes,TV: The Sound of Drums)
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, The Master under the guise of Harold Saxon, sent the crew of Torchwood Three on a wild goose chase in the Himalayas to look for him, but actually, the Master just wanted them out of the way. (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 Cooper 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 Harkness 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 and Day Two) The fate of Torchwood Two is unclear, but files held by the British government indicated it had been disbanded.
After the defeat of The 456, Torchwood was left with only two surviving operatives: Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper, the latter pregnant. Torchwood's activities immediately following the incident are unknown, but six months later Harkness, having spent an unknown amount of time travelling the world and beyond on his own, made the decision to leave Earth, leaving Cooper -- 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 Harkness resisted CIA efforts take control. Following the resolution of the crisis (which resulted in the death of two team members, including Drummond, and the apparent transformation of Matheson into an immortal like Jack). Shortly after, 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)
Post-21st century Edit
The Great Cobalt Pyramid was built on the ruins of Torchwood (although it's unclear which branch this refers to). (TV: Bad Wolf) In the same period (the year 200,100), Big Brother contestant Strood lists his home as "Torchwood", implying it to have grown into a sovereign state.
Unknown Date Edit
- By the early 21st century, when Gwen Cooper joined, Torchwood Four had disappeared. (TV: Everything Changes)
Torchwood Branches Edit
The Torchwood Institute was known to have four offices across Britain and an international branch. In 2007, Torchwood One was lost. By 2009, Two and Three and had also ceased operations. Torchwood Four ceased operations, by virtue of disappearance, at an earlier time. 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 One, headquartered Canary Wharf, destroyed during the battle with the Cybermen, and consequently abandoned. Last director was Yvonne Hartman. Had properties and bases across London.
- Torchwood Two, run from above a bank in Glasgow by a "very strange man" called Archie. Closed down prior to summer 2009. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Two)
- Torchwood Three, in Cardiff, set above the Cardiff rift. Lead by Captain Jack Harkness since 2000. Cardiff headquarters destroyed on orders of the UK government circa 2009. After the defeat of The 456, (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) Torchwood Three ceased, though two of its members continued operations. (TV: The New World)
- Torchwood Four, lost, but in the words of Captain Jack Harkness, "We'll find it someday". It's believed to have been located under a golf course in Inverness. (TV: The Torchwood Archives)
- 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: Doomsday).
Known staff Edit
Torchwood One Edit
- Eliza Cooper (disappeared 1906)
- Robert Lewis (disappeared 1906)
- Yvonne Hartman (Director of the Torchwood Institute, deceased 2007)
- Doctor Rajesh Singh (deceased 2007)
- Adeola Oshodi (deceased 2007)
- Matt Crane (deceased 2007)
- Gareth Evans (deceased 2007)
- Lisa Hallett (underwent partial cyber-conversion in 2007, later deceased)
- Ianto Jones (joined Torchwood Three following the Battle of Canary Wharf; deceased 2009)
- Rupert Howarth
- Carlie Roberts (AUDIO: Submission)
Torchwood Two Edit
- Archie (unknown)
Torchwood Three Edit
Surviving staff of Torchwood Three later represented just "Torchwood", no numerical designation.
- Captain Jack Harkness (leader of Torchwood; de facto leader of the Torchwood Institute following the Battle of Canary Wharf, hired 1899; effectively resigned circa 2010)
- Gwen Cooper, (liaison with regular police, temporary leader during Jack's absence, hired in 2007)
- Philip Lyle (active 1897)
- Alice Guppy (1897-1901)
- Emily Holroyd (circa 1897)
- Charles Gaskell (1901)
- Gerald Carter (leader 1918)
- Harriet Derbyshire (physicist; died 1919)
- Douglas Caldwell (active 1918)
- Lydia Childs (active 1918)
- Charles Quinn (active 1918)
- Tilda Brennan (leader; died 1941)
- Llinos King (active 1941)
- Greg Bishop (active, vanished 1941; returned, died 2009)
- Rhydian (active 1941)
- Kenneth Valentine (active mid 20th century)
- Lucia Moretti (active 1968-1977, deceased 2006)
- Charles Cromwell (active 1945 to 1974)
- Alex Hopkins (leader; deceased 31 December 1999)
- Several unidentified members of Torchwood Three were killed by Hopkins on 31 December 1999.
- Suzie Costello (weapons specialist, second-in-command prior to death, deceased 2007, though later temporarily revived.)
- Martha Jones (medical officer, temporary, 2009)
- Owen Harper, (medical doctor, second in command; deceased 2009)
- Toshiko Sato, (computer specialist, reverse engineering of alien artefacts; hired 2004, deceased 2009)
- Ianto Jones, (administrator and general support, moved from Torchwood One, hired 2007, deceased 2009)
- Eric Lawson (21st century, alternate universe)
Torchwood India Edit
- Eleanor, Duchess of Melrose (leader; frozen in time 2009)
- George Gissing (strategist; frozen in time 2009)
- Mr Das (butler; frozen in time 2009)
- Mahajan (support staff) (escaped destruction, 2009) (AUDIO: Golden Age)
Parallel Torchwood on Pete's World Edit
- Stevie (worked at Torchwood during the creation of the Cybermen, circa 2007) (TV: Rise of the Cybermen)
- Rose Tyler (hired due to experience with aliens, circa 2010)
Behind the scenes Edit
- 'Torchwood' was a code name for the new series 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'.
- Torchwood is also the name of a spin-off series from the BBC set in the Doctor Who universe.