|Torchwood: Children of Earth|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||5|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||6 July –|
10 July 2009
Children of Earth is the banner title of the third series of the British television science fiction programme Torchwood , which broadcast for five episodes on BBC One from 6 to 10 July 2009. The series had new producer Peter Bennett and was directed by Euros Lyn, who had considerable experience on the revived Doctor Who . Torchwood is a series about an organization known as Torchwood which defends the Earth against alien threats. The plot of Children of Earth deals with aliens demanding the Earth's children, and a related earlier conspiracy; as such, Torchwood is pitted against the British government when the government attempts to conceal its past actions and concede to the present-day aliens' demands. The first, third, and fifth episodes of the serial were written by executive producer Russell T Davies, who also conceived its overall storyline. The third episode was co-written by James Moran whilst the second and fourth were penned by newcomer John Fay.
Torchwood was shown on the network's premiere channel, BBC One, every weeknight for one week in July 2009. Despite the move to BBC One, the show was cut from a standard thirteen-episode run to just five, something that lead actor John Barrowman felt was almost like a "punishment" from the BBC.Production on the mini-series began in August 2008, and Barrowman along with actors Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd (his final appearance in the show), and Kai Owen (now given co-star billing) all returned. The serial significantly features new actors to the series over the course of its five episodes, most prominently Peter Capaldi. Davies had to substantially rewrite parts of the serial to accommodate the unavailability of actors Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke, whose presence in the serial had been set up in the 2008 Doctor Who finale.
When the series defied expectations by achieving good ratings (peaking at 6.76 million), Davies stated that a surprised BBC Controller rang to congratulate him. Mid-summer evenings are typically considered a graveyard slot for television series.The serial also received very positive reviews, particularly in comparison to the programme's previous two series, as well as a BAFTA Cymru Award, a Saturn Award and Celtic Media Festival Award, all for best serial. A number of fans were upset by the death of Ianto Jones in the fourth episode of the serial, with some campaigning and raising money for charity in an attempt to persuade the writers to bring back the character in future. The success of the series led to a fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day , which was commissioned in conjunction with the US premium cable network Starz.
Over the course of two days, all the children in the world are paralyzed in place several times, and speak in unison, in English, and in temporal order based on the hour, a message revealed in stages, one word at a time: "We are coming back tomorrow." Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher is aware these events are tied to an alien race known as the 456, named after the radio frequency they used to communicate the first time they came to Earth in 1965. At that time, in secret, the 456 had given the British government a cure to a new strain of Indonesian flu which was otherwise destined to wipe out 25 million people—in exchange for twelve children. Captain Jack Harkness had been one of four British agents who were chosen to give the children to the 456, and since public knowledge of the exchange would now be disastrous for the British government, Frobisher orders, through a black-ops department run by an Agent Johnson, the assassination of those four agents. To this end, Agent Johnson plants a bomb in Jack's abdomen, which detonates inside the Torchwood Hub in Cardiff, destroying it. Aware of Jack's regenerative abilities, Johnson's troops also collect Jack's remains from the blast rubble, and lock them in a secure facility, monitoring the regeneration of his body. Torchwood employees Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, and by extension, her husband Rhys, due to the possibility that they might share Harkness's knowledge, are also put on Agent Johnson's "kill" list; thus, as Ianto and Gwen try to flee the base after the bombing, they consequently need to avoid snipers and other assassins.
In the meantime, Frobisher also orders the construction of what will turn out to be an "isolation tank" inside Thames House, decreed by information transmitted to them by the 456 when the children first began to speak of their arrival.
The remaining Torchwood team make contact with Lois Habiba, a new personal assistant in Frobisher's office who has covertly accessed computer information on Torchwood and the assassinations. Lois helps the others to locate and rescue Jack; they, in turn, provide her with special Torchwood contact lenses that will allow them to see what she sees, hoping she will help them learn the cause of these events. Torchwood also identifies and rescues Clement MacDonald, one of the original twelve children sacrificed to the 456, but who successfully escaped then by running away. Clement went mad soon after escaping, and has been institutionalised for over 40 years since; nevertheless, he still remains susceptible to the same paralysis fugue that forces the children to mouth the messages of the new 456 signal. (In addition to going mad, MacDonald also gained a heightened ability to smell: he can use it to tell when people speak truth, and it also makes him smell the 456 for days before they arrive.)
On the third day, the ambassador for the 456 arrives in a column of fire over Thames House before appearing in the isolation tank. Frobisher and his staff, including Lois who still wears the Torchwood contact lenses, hold confidential meetings with the 456 to understand why they have returned. The 456 demand that 10% of the world's population of children be handed over to them, or else they will destroy the human race. They reveal one of the children from 1965, now a shrivelled husk despite having not aged. Children around the world begin to chant (still in English) a number equal to 10% of their country's child population. The governments of the world, although disgusted, secretly agree in conference that they have no choice but to comply with the 456.
Torchwood, with Lois's help, announce themselves and insist they intervene in the situation, threatening to reveal the 456's demands and the government's agreement, recorded through the contact lens, to the world. Jack and Ianto storm Thames House, confront the 456 and give them an ultimatum—that they leave the Earth or else they will face a war. In response, the 456 release a lethal virus. Thames House automatically locks down, sealing and killing everyone inside except Mr. Dekker, who successfully puts on a hazard suit in time. At the same time, they send an auditory signal to Clement, killing him. As Ianto collapses and dies in Jack's arms, the 456 gives a final demand for the children before Jack also succumbs to the virus. When Jack revives, he and Gwen mourn over Ianto's lifeless body.
With Torchwood's failure, and Lois in prison for charges of espionage, the governments of the world agree they must deliver the children as promised. Prime Minister Brian Green, along with his Cabinet and one member from both the US military and UNIT, decide to cover up the United Kingdom's actions as inoculation shots given at schools. After refusing a random lottery to select the children out of fear that their own children might be selected, they choose to use the schools at the bottom of the league tables to give to the 456. In discussions the 456 reveal they use the children's bodies to produce a chemical that they use as a recreational drug. Green orders Frobisher to submit his own children as part of those that have been selected, in order to keep up the pretence of random selection to the rest of the country. Frobisher agrees, returns home and kills his two daughters to spare them this fate, then he kills his wife and himself. When some parents keep their children home from school, Green orders military measures to secure the remaining children. While Gwen and Rhys help to protect Ianto's niece and several other local children from capture, Jack, Johnson and Dekker consider a means of stopping the 456. They realise that the audio signal used to kill Clement could be used against the 456. However, it requires that one child act as the focal point for the transmission, likely killing him or her. Jack is left with no choice but to use his daughter Alice's son, Steven, who is the only child immediately available to them. Jack, Johnson and Dekker successfully send the signal, amplified through all the other children, and the 456 suffer in pain before withdrawing from the Earth. Steven dies and Alice severs all contact with Jack.
Green suggests that they cover up the tragedy and place the blame on the United States, but Bridget Spears, Frobisher's direct assistant and Lois's superior, reveals that she is wearing the Torchwood contact lenses and has recorded this conversation and will release it, ending Green's political career. Six months later, Gwen and Rhys meet with Jack, who had been travelling the world trying to rid himself of his guilt over his grandson's death and the loss of Ianto. Jack wants to make a new life for himself and plans to return to space. Gwen gives Jack his vortex manipulator, found in the wreckage of Torchwood, and he teleports away. With Jack gone, Gwen pregnant and the rest of the team dead, Torchwood is effectively no more.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|27||1||"Day One"||Euros Lyn||Russell T Davies||6 July 2009||3.1||6.47|
|28||2||"Day Two"||Euros Lyn||John Fay||7 July 2009||3.2||6.14|
|29||3||"Day Three"||Euros Lyn||Russell T Davies & James Moran||8 July 2009||3.3||6.40|
|30||4||"Day Four"||Euros Lyn||John Fay||9 July 2009||3.4||6.76|
|31||5||"Day Five"||Euros Lyn||Russell T Davies||10 July 2009||3.5||6.58|
Filming for the series started in Cardiff in August 2008, with a week's filming taking place in London.Additional filming took place in the Maindee area of Newport for the pub scene, and on the set of BBC's Casualty in Bristol, which doubled as the fictional St. Helen's Hospital in Cardiff. The set for Floor 13 was the largest ever built at Upper Boat Studios. However, many of the scenes set in the corridors of the same building (supposedly Thames House in London) were shot in the corridors of the Guildhall, Swansea.
John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David Lloyd, Kai Owen and Tom Price all reprise their respective Torchwood roles for the serial. David-Lloyd had first concluded that Ianto was being killed off when his agent told him he was only needed for four out of five episodes.
Peter Capaldi and Nick Briggs had both previously been involved in Doctor Who productions prior to Children of Earth. Capaldi, who portrays Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher, previously played Lobus Caecilius in the Doctor Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii", and would return to Doctor Who in 2013 to play the Twelfth Doctor. Briggs, the voice actor who provides voices for several creatures in the revived series of Doctor Who, including the Daleks, appears as Rick Yates, a member of Brian Green's Cabinet. He had also previously played many roles in the Big Finish range of officially licensed audio dramas. Having been set up to do so by the conclusion of their storylines in "Journey's End", Doctor Who alumni Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke were due to reprise their roles as Martha Jones and Mickey Smith respectively, but were unable to participate due to "scheduling issues".Davies explained that Agyeman was cast in Law & Order: UK before Children of Earth had been officially commissioned. Because Law & Order offered her thirteen episodes a year, she went with that over Torchwood which had been reduced to five. In response, Davies introduced the character of Lois Habiba, played by Cush Jumbo, to be a "kind of a Martha figure", one with added innocence who is out of her depth. Agyeman didn't rule out returning to the show at a later date, however, and Davies also expressed interest in her returning to the role. Jack and Gwen explain Martha's absence by saying that she is on her honeymoon, and the Doctor Who serial "The End of Time" reveals that she married Mickey rather than her previous fiancé Thomas Milligan (Tom Ellis).
Children of Earth featured a largely new supporting cast for the duration of the five-episode serial. Further new characters included Clem McDonald (Paul Copley), senior Home Office official Bridget Spears (Susan Brown), Prime Minister Brian Green (Nicholas Farrell), and ruthless operative Agent Johnson (Liz May Brice). Katy Wix and Rhodri Lewis play Rhiannon and Johnny Davies, Ianto's sister and brother-in-law respectively.Lucy Cohu plays Captain Jack Harkness's daughter Alice.
A preview of Children of Earth was screened at the National Film Theatre on 12 June 2009.
Children of Earth was first broadcast on BBC One over five nights from 6 to 10 July 2009.It was the programme's first transmission on BBC One, after its first series debuted on BBC Three in 2006 and its second series moved to BBC Two in 2008.
Internationally, it was broadcast in Australia from 7 July 2009on UKTV Australia, and was shown from 20 July 2009 on Space in Canada and BBC America in the U.S. (the air date was set to coincide with the launch of BBC America's HD simulcast).
Silva Screen released the soundtrack via MP3 on 10 July, and CD on 27 July. The CD features 40 tracks, 38 tracks divided between the five 'days' of the programme, the other two being the opening and closing theme.
The Region 2 DVD release was released on 13 July 2009, followed by the Region 1 release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 28 July 2009. The Best Buy limited edition included the CD for the audio drama Lost Souls. Music for the fifth episode differed from the original broadcast version. The Region 4 DVD release became available on 1 October 2009.
Reviews of the third-season serial have been predominantly positive. Metacritic, an American review aggregator website, gives Children of Earth a normalised rating of 80 out of 100 (based on a sample of 12 reviews), indicating "generally favourable reviews", with the highest score being a 91 from Time and the lowest a 60 from The New York Times .
Daniel Martin ran a day-by-day review of the show on The Guardian 's website guardian.co.uk which culminated in a positive assessment of the mini-series as a whole: " ... what an incredible week. From its hideous Sex Alien vs Cyberwoman beginnings, Torchwood has become a true treasure." He speculated on the programme's thematic implication that "as people realise their potential in this world, they die", and remarked: "If the same thing does happen to the series it would be awful. But God, it would be poetic."
Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy gave a very favourable pre-review to the first three episodes of the serial. He particularly praised Davies' script for its "economical" and "seamless" re-establishment of the show's returning trio for new viewers whilst not alienating fans. The inter-weaving of the stories for "credible and appealing" supporting characters Rupesh, Clement and Lois was praised; as were the performances from Paul Copley and Liz May Brice. He did however feel that the second episode paled after the explosiveness of the first episode, on which they "failed to capitalise".Summing up the series, Rawson-Jones described Children of Earth as "a powerful human drama, reliant not on special effects but incredible acting, direction and writing" that was a "massive success."
IGN writer Ahsan Haque gave the miniseries a rating of 9.5 out of 10, also awarding it their Editor's Choice Award. John Barrowman's performance was highly praised, saying that he handled "these gut-wrenching moments with poise, yet manages to give us just enough to know how much his choices are tearing him up inside. He might not be able to die physically, but emotionally, what Jack has to suffer and live with is a fate far worse than death." Also, Haque felt that the additions of Rhiannon and Johnny "supply a lot of the grounded humanizing moments that really help the story stay grounded to the human condition, and not turn into a mindless sci-fi action-fest." However, Haque pointed out the "slightly campy feel" as well as technobabble as faults. The review ended with: "Best. Torchwood. Ever. Really, we mean it!"
Mike Hale of The New York Times was more mixed in his review, noting that the mini-series pays tribute to the 1960 British sci-fi film Village of the Damned , and sums up by saying "Children of Earth is still good fun, if not good, exactly."Hale also mentioned the problem with maintaining a 5-hour mini-series over 5 nights, a sentiment echoed by Los Angeles Times reviewer Robert Lloyd who felt that the format led to an inevitable lag in the middle.
Not all reviews were positive. Jim Shelley of The Daily Mirror gave the mini-series an unfavourable review, commenting that "Torchwood is the modern-day Blake's 7 : ludicrous plot, hammy acting, an adolescent penchant for 'Issues'. This week's plot was plagiarised from 50s sci-fi classic, The Midwich Cuckoos . Contrary to its scheduling, Torchwood always seems to me like Dr Who lite." He went on to say that he felt a large part of the problem was with lead actor John Barrowman: "Unlike David Tennant's Doctor, Barrowman's endless appearances on friendly drivel like Tonight's the Night , The Kids Are All Right and Any Dream Will Do , is so over-exposed, 'Captain Jack' is about as intriguing or alien as a Weetabix and twice as irritating. Unlike Tennant, as an actor he is just not good enough."
The death of Ianto Jones in Children of Earth triggered protests from fans of the show, including the "Save Ianto Jones" campaign, which collected more than £10,000 for the Children in Need charity.Other fans resorted to abuse and threats, causing writer James Moran to fire off an angry missive in a blog post. Showrunner Russell T Davies made no apologies for the decision to kill off the character, saying, "I'm just delighted that the fans are so wrapped up in the character to have that reaction." Writer John Fay, in executing Davies' vision, noted that Ianto's death was a means for the viewer to see the price of Jack's immortality and seeing those he cares for die around him. Ianto's death led several fans to accuse the show's creators of subscribing to homophobic narrative conventions. AfterElton, one of the websites critical of the decision, later published an opposing view that analysed the death in view of the character's earlier refusal to admit to his relationship, and claimed that, instead of being an expression of homophobia, the death was a sign that the LGBT community was leaving behind its image of victimhood.
In 2010, Children of Earth won the BAFTA Cymru award for best drama series,a Saturn Award for Best Television Presentation during the 36th Saturn Awards and a 2010 Celtic Media Festival Award for best drama series. It was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards and for a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. Lead actress Eve Myles won the 'Best Actress" award in the SFX Reader's awards poll, and was crowned best actress in the 11th annual Airlock Alpha Portal Awards. Myles was also nominated for a 2010 BAFTA Cymru Best Actress award, whilst John Barrowman made the shortlist of the 2010 TV Choice Awards, where he was up against Eleventh Doctor actor Matt Smith.
Captain Jack Harkness is a fictional character played by John Barrowman in Doctor Who and its spin-off series, Torchwood. The character first appears in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" and subsequently features in the remaining episodes of the first series (2005) as a companion to the series' protagonist, The Doctor. Subsequent to this, Jack became the central character in the adult-themed Torchwood, which aired from 2006 to 2011. Barrowman reprised the role for appearances in Doctor Who in its third, fourth, and twelfth series, as well as specials "The End of Time", and "Revolution of the Daleks".
Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies, a spin-off from the 2005 revival of Doctor Who, which aired four series between 2006 and 2011. The show shifted its broadcast channel each series to reflect its growing audience, moving from BBC Three to BBC Two to BBC One, and acquiring US financing in its fourth series when it became a co-production of BBC One and Starz. Torchwood is aimed at adults and older teenagers, in contrast to Doctor Who's target audience of both adults and children. As well as science fiction, the show explores a number of themes, including existentialism, sexuality and human corruptibility.
Gwen Cooper is a fictional character portrayed by Welsh actress Eve Myles in the BBC science-fiction television programme Torchwood, a spin-off of the long-running series Doctor Who. The lead female character, Gwen featured in every episode of the show's 2006–11 run, as well as two 2008 crossover episodes of Doctor Who. Gwen appears in Expanded Universe material such as the Torchwood novels and audiobooks, comic books and radio plays.
The Torchwood Institute, or simply Torchwood, is a fictional secret organisation from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. It was established in 1879 by Queen Victoria after the events of "Tooth and Claw". Its prime directive is to defend Earth against supernatural and extraterrestrial threats. It is later revealed in "Army of Ghosts" that the Torchwood Institute has begun to use their findings to restore the British Empire to its former glory. To those ends, the organisation started to acquire and reverse engineer alien technology. Within Torchwood an unofficial slogan evolved: "If it's alien, it's ours". According to one base director, Yvonne Hartman, its nationalist attitude includes refusing to use metric units.
Doctor Owen James Harper is a fictional character played by Burn Gorman, and a regular in the BBC television series Torchwood, a spin-off from the long-running series Doctor Who. The character last appeared onscreen in the Series 2 finale, "Exit Wounds".
Martha Jones is a fictional character played by Freema Agyeman in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who and its spin-off series, Torchwood. She is a companion of the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, after Rose Tyler and before Donna Noble. According to the character's creator and executive producer Russell T Davies in his non-fiction book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, the character was developed from the beginning with the intention of appearing for a whole of the 2007 series, and to later make guest appearances in subsequent series and crossover appearances in the show's two spin-offs; Martha subsequently made guest appearances in Torchwood series two and in Doctor Who series four in 2008 and special episode "The End of Time" in 2010. Martha was also intended to make guest appearances in the 2009 series of Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, but could not due to the actress's other work commitments.
Ianto Jones is a fictional character in the BBC television programme Torchwood, a spin-off from the long-running series Doctor Who, played by Welsh actor Gareth David-Lloyd. A regular within the show, Ianto appears in every episode of the programme's first three series excluding the finale of series 3, as well as two crossover episodes of Torchwood's parent show, Doctor Who. Additionally, Ianto appears in Expanded Universe material such as the Torchwood novels and audiobooks, comic books and radio plays. Within the narrative of the series, Ianto begins as general support officer for Torchwood Three, a team of alien hunters stationed in Cardiff, and develops into an active field agent. Initially the regular character with the least screen time, Ianto's role expanded in response to growing cult appeal.
"Cyberwoman" is the fourth episode of the first series of the British science fiction television series Torchwood. Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by James Strong, the episode was first broadcast on the digital channel BBC Three on 5 November 2006, and later repeated on terrestrial channel BBC Two on 8 November.
Science fiction program Torchwood discusses many themes in its narratives, specifically dealing with LGBT themes associated with its homosexual and bisexual characters and their problems, with various characters portrayed as sexually fluid. Certain characters offer varying perspectives on orientation, although the nature of Jack, Ianto and Toshiko's sexual flexibility is not discussed explicitly.
"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" is the first episode of the second series of British science fiction television series Torchwood, which was broadcast on BBC Two on 16 January 2008.
"Something Borrowed" is the ninth episode of the second series of the British science fiction television series Torchwood. It was first broadcast on BBC Three on 5 March 2008 and repeated on BBC Two one week later. The episode was written by Phil Ford, directed by Ashley Way and produced by Richard Stokes. The episode featured the five initial series regulars John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David Lloyd plus recurring actor Kai Owen in a central role.
"Lost Souls" is an original BBC Radio 4 audio play written by Joseph Lidster and is a spin-off from the British science fiction television series Torchwood, itself a spin-off from Doctor Who. It aired on 10 September 2008 in the Afternoon Play slot as part of Radio 4's Big Bang Day which celebrated the switching on of CERN's Large Hadron Collider that same day. Andrew Marr introduced the audio play live from CERN. An mp3 version of the audio play was freely available until 18 September, when the play was released on CD and as a purchasable download.
Andy Davidson is a fictional character in the BBC television programme Torchwood, portrayed by Tom Price. Andy, an officer with the South Wales Police, is a supporting character who first appears in Torchwood's premiere episode "Everything Changes" and recurs regularly from thereon. Though initially only credited as 'PC Andy', the character's surname 'Davidson' was given in novels and online media and eventually confirmed by dialogue in Children of Earth, "Day Three" (2009). Like Gwen's partner, Rhys, Andy is used by the production team as an everyman character who grounds the series in a recognisable real-world setting. The character had originally been slated to be killed off in the first series, though the production team had a change of heart, believing him to work well as a supporting character. Both cast and crew, as well as professional reviewers have spoken of the character's role in providing comic relief and an outsider's perspective on the Torchwood Institute.
"Golden Age" is an original radio play written by James Goss and is a spin-off from the British science-fiction television series Torchwood, itself a spin-off from Doctor Who. This episode aired on 2 July 2009 on BBC Radio 4. It stars John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones and Jasmine Hyde as The Duchess.
Rhys Alun Williams, portrayed by Kai Owen, is a fictional character in the BBC television programme Torchwood, a spin-off from the long-running series Doctor Who. The character is introduced in the premiere episode as the co-habiting boyfriend of principal character Gwen Cooper. Initially a recurring character, Rhys' role is increased after the second series; actor Kai Owen is given star billing from the show's third series — a five-part serial subtitled Torchwood: Children of Earth— onwards. The character has gone on to appear in expanded universe material such as the Torchwood novels and audiobooks, comic books and radio plays.
Torchwood: Miracle Day is the fourth series of the British science fiction television programme Torchwood, a spin-off from the long-running show Doctor Who. In contrast to the first three series, which were produced by the BBC, the fourth series was a British–American co-production involving the BBC's drama production house BBC Cymru Wales for BBC Worldwide and the U.S. premium network Starz. It was broadcast in ten episodes beginning on 8 July 2011 (U.S.) and 14 July 2011 (UK).
Captain John Hart, played by James Marsters, is a fictional character from the BBC science fiction television programme Torchwood. He is introduced in the episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"—the first episode of Torchwood's second series. Whilst the character has not featured subsequently to the second series finale, he went on to appear in a Torchwood Magazine comic strip and Marsters has stated his interest in reprising the role on more than one occasion.
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