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The Torchwood Files

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CARRYING THE TORCH Gwen (Eve Myles) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) of Earth defence force Torchwood take the battle to the aliens

Torchwood Timeline

Doctor Who viewers have heard the name Torchwood before ...

11 June 2005

In the series one episode Bad Wolf, Torchwood is an answer on Weakest Link with Anne-droid (pictured above).

25 December 2005

In The Christmas Invasion, Prime Minister Harriet Jones reveals she knows about top-secret Torchwood — and orders it to destroy the Sycorax ship.

22 April 2006

In Tooth and Claw, set in Torchwood House, Queen Victoria is so disturbed by the Doctor that she founds the Torchwood Institute.

29 April 2006

In School Reunion, Mickey finds the message "Torchwood Access Denied" on websites.

13 May 2006

On the parallel Earth of Rise of the Cybermen, Torchwood Institute research is mentioned on Rose's phone. Then her "dad" Pete Tyler asks a friend how things are going at Torchwood.

27 May 2006

In The Idiot's Lantern set in 50s London, the police dread getting Torchwood "on our backs".

10 June 2006

In The Satan Pit, the human crew of Sanctuary Base represents the Torchwood Archive.

17 June 2006

We discover Peter Kay has studied the Torchwood files in Love & Monsters.

24 June 2006

London 2012: Newsreader Huw Edwards mentions it in Fear Her.

1, 8 July 2006

Army of Ghosts and Doomsday are set in Torchwood Tower.

It may be a Doctor Who spin-off, but Torchwood is very much its own beast, says Russell T Davies

Jack's back. But he's changed — he's angrier. The last we saw of Captain Jack Harkness, at the tail end of the rejuvenated Doctor Who series one, he'd been exterminated by Daleks (see picture below), been brought back to life and then abandoned by the Doctor to fend for himself. What does a flirtatious, sexy-beast Time Agent from the 51st century, understandably miffed at being dumped, do next? Easy: he joins Torchwood.

Doctor Who fans — and there are a few — will know the name. Torchwood has been referenced repeatedly in the show. Now it comes to life, kicking off with a double bill on BBC3, repeated on BBC2.

"I first had the idea for the series while I was working on Casanova [last year's BBC serial] three or four years ago, before Doctor Who was even mentioned," says creator Russell T Davies. "I'd been watching shows like Buffy and Angel, and I said to Julie Gardner [the executive producer on Casanova, Doctor Who and Torchwood] , 'Why don't we make a series like that?"'

The first incident you see in Torchwood is the one that Davies first outlined to Gardner: policewoman Gwen Cooper comes across a Cardiff crime scene. There's a dead body, cordoned off, around which the Torchwood team is gathered. They bring the corpse back to life. It's not your average crime drama.

When the show was first announced, Davies was widely quoted describing it as "a dark, clever, wild, sexy, British crime/sci-fi paranoid thriller cop show with a sense of humour — The X-Files meets This Life". Now he denies referencing, those two cult hits, perhaps keen to portray Torchwood as its own beast. Instead, he talks of "alleyways, rain, the city". Think bleak.

The Torchwood team is based in Cardiff outside the city's very real Millennium Centre in the entirely fictional underground Hub, more of which overleaf. There are six in the team, each a specialist in their own field. Captain Jack (John Barrowman) is, of course, their leader, and two of the other actors have also appeared in Doctor Who: Eve Myles, who played Victorian maid Gwyneth in The Unquiet Dead; and Naoko Mori continues to play the role of Dr Toshiko Sato, last seen examining a pig in a spacesuit in Aliens of London. As you'll see from the cover and our profile on page 14, they're a glamorous bunch. Or, as Myles puts it, "It's a very sexy world."

Their objective? Nothing less than keeping the world safe from alien threat. There's technology, both real and other-worldly, there are souped-up cars, ostentatious guns, aliens such as the scary-faced Weevils (whom Davies describes as "the sewer rats of Torchwood") and fairies at the bottom of the garden who aren't as cute as you might think.

Though there are Doctor Who artefacts in the Hub and the show returns the references, this is a very different series. For a start, it goes out at 9pm. If younger Who fans beg parents to let them watch, says Davies, "I think they just have to be honest with them. And kids are so savvy about television; they know what a post-watershed programme is."

Torchwood may not be for children — but it's right up Burn Gorman's street. "It's not every day you get to do an alien autopsy in the morning, get snogged by a gorgeous girl before lunch, and then be transported to another dimension in time for tea," he notes. "That's my kind of job!" Nick Griffiths


Your first glimpse of a Weevil (left) — just one of the aliens encountered by Captain Jack who, the last time we saw him, was being exterminated by Daleks in Doctor Who (below) before his revival

Inside the Hub

Production designer Edward Thomas gives us a guided tour of Torchwood's Cardiff headquarters

THE AUTOPSY ROOM This is where you bring in your alien bodies and hold them in cold storage. If they die they would go on to the morgue, which is another big set we've got.

BASKETBALL HOOP We've got two areas of recreation. This is a movable basketball hoop that they can move around the Hub, and at the back they have a Space Invaders machine.

RAILWAY TUNNEL This area and the autopsy room (right) are remnants of Queen Victoria's Torchwood Institute (referred to in the Doctor Who story Tooth and Claw — see page 10). It was once a secret underground railway tunnel that linked London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

RED WHEEL This is in case the team need to abandon the Hub and flood the entire chamber very quickly.

THE WALLS It took about 11 weeks to come up with the designs and to conceptualise the whole series. Then it took five weeks to build the actual metal structure and about another six to clad it and paint it.

ROUND DOOR A lift brings you here from reception. The big disc door is a floodgate that can be sealed in case of emergency, and beyond that is the metal cage that they use to trap anybody who comes through who they don't want to get into the Hub.

CONTAINER That's the Doctor's hand that the Sycorax leader cut off in the Christmas episode of Doctor Who last year.

TOSHIKO'S WORK STATION Toshiko's the computer and communications expert. She's organised and likes mind games. She's got a Rubik's cube on her desk.

JACK'S OFFICE ... office [which you can see in full in next week's RT) in front of a blocked-up arch, there there used be a railway tube leading to London

BOARDROOM It's built to take bombs and blasts — it's the bunker, if you like. If they were in there they would be totally safe against any rift or invasion. It has an original Art Deco boardroom table.

OWEN'S WORK STATION Owen, the doctor, is much more laid-back than the others. On his desk he's got lots of experiments going on: he's growing things, working with algae ... He's also got a lot of personal props in there: pictures of family, rave posters, and there's a picture of Al Pacino there somewhere.

THE INTERROGATION ROOM There's a two-way mirror looking into it, and a gallery above where you can look down and watch anybody being interrogated — but they can't see you.

PAVING-STONE LIFT This is the lift that comes out directly in front of the fountain outside the Millennium Centre. When you're on it you can't be seen. Only when you step off it do you become visible.

CENTRAL COLUMN There's a mountain inside the Milennium Centre in Cardiff, and it's supposed to go straight down do the Torchwood Hub. There are floorboards, like ecking, by the real ling and already people have been seen, on their hands and knees, trying see if there's anything below it.

SUZIE AND GWEN'S AREA Suzie's an engineer so she has a lot of tools. Being a policewoman, Gwen uses the old police methods so she has lots of paperwork and stuff.

AMMO ROOM There are a lot of Doctor Who props in there: magnet clamps, Cyberman guns, Sycorax staffs...

Suzie Costello (Indira Varma)


Second in command Special skills

"She makes the team's hardware," says Varma. For instance, she makes this special glove [pictured] that can bring people back from the dead. So she's pretty talented. She's a really mean welder."


"She's incredibly ambitious. She seriously does want to rid the world of aliens."


"She can be a bit possessive, which is a weakness. And her strengths? When Captain Jack's not around, Suzie's Number One, so she has leadership qualities. And probably the welding!"

Reaction to Weevils

"I think she takes it in her stride. She's ultra-efficient"


"There's something about Jack, but I don't think she fancies him. I think she's jealous of him."

Ianto Jones

(Gareth David-Lloyd)



Special skills

"Ianto's brilliant with figures," says David-Lloyd, "at applying maths and logic to problems."

Personality "He tries to be the strong silent type, but he's probably more childlike than he likes to show."

Strengths/weaknesses "He can give in to temptation in one way or another. And there's a secret he's hiding from the Torchwood team. Strengths: efficiency. Ianto's always there when needed."

Reaction to Weevils

"He sees them as lab specimens, nothing to be loved or to feel sorry for."


"Ianto has a partner, which I'm not allowed to talk about. But there's definitely an attraction there, for Jack. And possibly for Gwen."

Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles)


The "heart"

Special skills

"Gwen's a copper," says Myles. "She brings that police background into Torchwood."


"She's lots of fun. But she's very strong-minded and feisty, and incredibly empathetic with the people she's working with. She's a good girl."


"Strengths? Her outlook on life: she's very focused and quite powerful. Gwen's weakness is that she always has to push the boundaries."

Reaction to Weevils

"The first time I encounter a Weevil, I think it's a man in a mask. Why on earth would I think it's an alien?"


"Gwen's in a long-term relationship, but she can't help herself. The team are all incredibly individual and so talented — she finds them all very sexy. It's a very sexy world."

Capt Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)



Special skills

"Jack's the glue that keeps everybody together," explains Barrowman. "Suzie's second in command, Gwen is the heart of the organisation, Toshiko is the brains, Owen is the doctor, and Ianto is the piece of tart on the side."


"He's still fun, still loves action, he's still flirtatious and sexy, as he was in Doctor Who, but he's also darker. He was brought back to life and he ran to be with the Doctor and Rose — but they left without him. Really upset, really angry!"


"Strengths: he deals with situations on the spot and gets the job done. Weaknesses: doesn't listen to people very much, and does his own thing." Reaction to Weevils

"Jack has already met the Weevils [pre-Torchwood]. They're no big deal to him. He knows how to contain and control them."


"I think Captain Jack fancies everybody."

Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori)



Special skills

"Anything to do with surveillance, gadgetry or computer technology," says Mori. "She really is up there at the cutting edge."


"Tosh is the geekiest and most reserved member of the team. Actually, she's just professional and she's a private person."


"Problem-solving: she loves using her mind and logic to solve things.

Weaknesses? She's just a little bit too guarded." Reaction to Weevils "First, there's obviously fear, but she has a very open mind. They have such personality and although they're scary-looking and threatening, there's actually a lot more to them. I think she recognises that."


"She has a real soft spot for Owen. It's a love/hate thing."

Owen Harper (Burn Gorman)



Special skills

"Owen's a trained doctor," says Gorman. "He will look after anything brought in that's living — alien or otherwise."


"He likes the ladies, he likes a good drink, he lives fast. But actually he's a deep thinker and is affected by a lot that he sees."


"Owen has a temper ani an attitude. He's incredibly inappropriate. But he's also bloody hard-working and has an open mind. And he's loyal to the Iasi Reaction to Weevils "In a sense, he's their zookeeper; he's the one trying to find out where they're from. He has a love/hate relationship with them."


"Owen's pretty cocky. He'll try it on with whoever comes along."

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  • APA 6th ed.: Griffiths, Nick (2006-10-21). The Torchwood Files. Radio Times p. 10.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Griffiths, Nick. "The Torchwood Files." Radio Times [add city] 2006-10-21, 10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Griffiths, Nick. "The Torchwood Files." Radio Times, edition, sec., 2006-10-21
  • Turabian: Griffiths, Nick. "The Torchwood Files." Radio Times, 2006-10-21, section, 10 edition.
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