It won’t be long until Torchwood, the spin-off series from Doctor Who, begins to air over here in the UK. You can find great amounts of speculation on the internet – who will star in the series?, what’s the basic premise?, do the producers get kickbacks from the Cardiff tourist board? – but it takes a special kind of person running a special kind of website to go one step further. Many people say I’m special so I recently caught up with series producer Russell T Davies to ask him a few questions …
… but he wasn’t very forthcoming. However, one Rohypnol later and a thorough rummaging through his drawers has turned up a wealth of exclusive news and information and insider gossip about the new science fiction series which I’m happy to divulge here. Again, because I’m special.
Please be warned: the following article contains episode guides to the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood and plot spoilers so if you’re a true Whomaniac you’ll probably want to pay very close attention and ruin the programme for your friend/both of your friends.
Torchwood Background Information
The premise for Torchwood is that a group of renegades in modern-day Come To Cardiff, We’ve Got A Millenium Stadium investigate alien and human crimes and make use of alien technology that has fallen to Earth thanks to clumsy extraterrestrials forgetting to lock their doors properly on launch.
We first heard about Torchwood during the Doctor Who episode "The Christmas Invasion" when the prime minister ordered the London Orbital Laser (LOL) integrated into the M25 by Torchwood to shoot down aliens who were leaving Earth anyway. The story satirised many of the events of the Falklands War when Margaret Thatcher did the same thing to the Argentine ship Belgrano. She never recovered from learning we didn’t really have a laser back then.
Warning! The previous paragraph contained an episode spoiler if you’re behind on your Tivo/Sky+ recordings.
The new series promises to blend a darker-than-Doctor Who theme with a hint of sexiness, a psychological sauce dressing, and a sprig of free I Love Cardiff t-shirts to the first 1000 viewers who write into the BBC and demand more.
Fans of Doctor Who will be pleased to see the return of bisexual ex-con man Captain Jack from the Christopher Eccleston episodes but he’s not the only familiar face who’s going to make an appearance:
- Tegan Jovanka, airline stewardess and companion to the fourth and fifth doctors will also appear in the series. After being left on Earth in 1984 Tegan will have suffered many nervous breakdowns, often mistaking recycling bins for Daleks. Eventually, she hears of Torchwood, works out that it’s an anagram of Doctor Who, and tries to join them so that she can meet up with her former Tardis commander once more. The renegades will find new ways each week to not let her in, mainly because her voice is annoyingly nasal. Even for an Australian.
- K9 will be the focus of the first Torchwood episode tentatively titled "Torchwoof". A meteor shower lands the Torchwood renegades with a piece of otherworldly technology called the Redogginator. When it is used on the Doctor’s trusty but rusty companion he finally becomes a real dog and, thanks to his high intelligence, is made leader of the group.
Jackie Tyler, mother of current companion Rose, is the regular office cleaner employed by the Cardiff, What A Wonderful Place To Work employment agency after deciding to get away from the trauma of her daughter’s mobile phone bill.
The makers of the Doctor Who spin-off series are trying to keep the episode guide under wraps as far as possible and in some cases have shot multiple endings to prevent Torchwood storylines leaking onto the internet. However, what we do know for certain, among the thirteen parts already commissioned, is:
- Torchwood Episode 2: Strike A Light · England’s capital suffers a series of bizarre burglaries and eerie, nightly goings-on and Torchwood learn from an insider in the British government that there is evidence pointing to non-terrestrial creatures being responsible. Episode Spoiler Warning! The aliens are an aquatic species rescuing jellied eels and seeking revenge on their incarcerators. At the end of the episode they leave the Earth but are shot down over London by the LOL.
- Torchwood Episode 3: Ach Y Fi! · During a reconnaissance mission the renegades discover the city centre of Welcome To Friendly Cardiff, The Heart Of Britain devoid of any activity and their mission turns into one of investigation and contemplation. Many of the characters recount how they joined the organisation during flashbacks. Episode Spoiler Warning! It’s half day closing in the city on Wednesdays you fool.
- Torchwood Episode 6: A Spoonful Of Suspense! · A disaster at an airshow is the precursor to an invasion by flying creatures from an alternate dimension. Taking human form they propel themselves using devices consisting of collapsible, circular canopies mounted on central rods and openly cause havoc in the skies above England as they brazenly seek out a missing companion. Torchwood are asked to deal with the terrifying situation. Episode Spoiler Warning! Captain Jack explains that Mary Poppins left of her own volition in 1964 and hasn’t been seen since. The aliens leave and are shot down by the LOL as they clear the rooftops.
- Torchwood Episode 10: The Spectre Of War · A series of high-profile murders among the aristocratic, military, and governmental ranks of Britain has everyone worried as the murderers appear to be invisible and able to walk through walls leaving no way to apprehend them. K9’s canine senses are the key to solving the mystery and Torchwood realise that England has been infiltrated by the ghosts of Nazi spies given power by a secret experiment conducted in 1943. Episode Spoiler Warning! Unable to make the German spooks understand the Queen’s Welsh and explain the situation, the crew of Torchwood are resigned to firing the LOL randomly in the air when they luckily hit the ghost Zeppelin tethered to the Millenium Wheel.
- Torchwood Episode 13: The Approaching Time · Some newly-found, apparently-alien technology starts to emit strange readings and Captain Jack recognises a temporal signal among the noise that could indicate an approaching corridor through time is opening somewhere near Visit Cardiff, The Gateway To Wales. Is it the Doctor, another Time Lord, or something else? Whatever the case, it offers a chance for the members of Torchwood to hop back in time and rewrite the David Tennant series so that it doesn’t feature Rose and overly-sentimental storylines so much, making the world a better place. The cliff-hanging series finale sees the renegades explore their deepest fears and greatest hopes over what is to come. Episode Spoiler Warning! The alien device is an eight-fingered child’s musical toy from the Crab Nebula. Jackie Tyler knocked it off the shelf when she was dusting, setting it off.