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TorchwoodThe full extent of Jack’s involvement in the original 1965 contact with the 456, and the resulting abductions, is revealed: he was sent to deliver a dozen children, including young Clement McDonald, to the 456, in exchange for the antidote to a virus with which the 456 had infected humanity. Clement escaped, unsuitable since he was on the cusp of puberty, but was left with a residual psychic link to the 456. Through Lois’ contact lens cameras, the team sees, hears and records deliberations among the Prime Minister and his cabinet, debating not how to save the children, but precisely which children should be handed over to meet the aliens’ demands. It is eventually decided that “lower class” children in “lessser” schools will be sacrificed. Jack vows to fight back, setting a plan into motion: Rhys will go into hiding and stand by for a signal to release the evidence gathered by Lois’ contact lens cameras to the public; since this act would topple the British government, it’s a last-ditch bargaining chip. Gwen and Clement will remain in Torchwood’s London warehouse and wait for the government shock troops to arrive, which they inevitably will after Ianto places a phone call to Gwen. Lois is instructed to deliver Torchwood’s terms to the Prime Minister directly, which she does just as Jack and Ianto arrive to begin a more aggressive form of negotiation with the 456. But while Jack may be able to bring Britain’s government to a stunned stand-still, he may not be persuasive enough to drive the 456 from Earth.

Order the DVDsDownload this episodewritten by John Fay
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Ben Foster

Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Peter Capaldi (John Frobisher), Paul Copley (Clement McDonald), Nicholas Farrell (Brian Green), Susan Brown (Bridget Spears), Lucy Cohu (Alice Carter), Ian Gelder (Mr. Dekker), Cush Jumbo (Lois Habiba), Liz May Brice (Johnson), Colin McFarlane (General Pierce), Deborah Finlay (Denise Riley), Nicholas Briggs (Rick Yates), Patric Naiambana (Defense Secretary), Charles Abomeli (Colonel Oduya), Katy Wix (Rhiannon Davies), Rhodri Lewis (Johnny Davies), Hillary Maclean (Anna Frobisher), Sophie Hunter (Vanessa), Luke Perry (David Davies), Aimee Davies (Mica Davies), Bear McCausland (Steven Carter), Julia Joyce (Holly Frobisher), Madeleine Rakic-Platt (Lilly Frobisher), Simon Poland (456 voice), Gregory Ferguson (young Clem), Ben Loyd Holmes (Operative), Louise Minchin (Newsreader), Anthony Debaeck (French Newsreader), Lachele Carl (Trinity Wells)

Notes: Nicholas Briggs, seen on-screen as Rick Yates, has already provided Dalek, Auton, Cyberman and Judoon voices for the series, but is perhaps better known to Doctor Who fandom as the current producer of audio Doctor Who for Big Finish Productions; prior to that, Briggs was one of the leading figures in a number of fan-made direct-to-video releases in the 1990s. The fan videos and Big Finish may well have been factors in keeping Doctor Who alive for both fandom and the public at large, and arguably may have been vital stepping stones to the show’s return to TV and its swarm of spinoffs, including Torchwood. This is Briggs’ first on-screen appearance “in universe” for the BBC itself. Since Clement McDonald was unsuitable for the 456 due to the approach of adolescence, presumably the young lead characters of The Sarah Jane Adventures were also immune to the 456’s effects during this crisis. The location of the abandoned Torchwood One warehouse is narrowed down to Shoreditch – appropriately enough, a location close to the junkyard at 76 Totter’s Lane in which the TARDIS first landed when the first Doctor and Susan escaped Gallifrey. Given Torchwood’s original mandate – to track the Doctor’s activities – this location may or may not be mere coincidence.

LogBook entry by Earl Green