Torchwood (BBC and Channel 10 TV) Review

Torchwood BBC ABC TV

Series 2 of Torchwood will air on ABC2 from Friday, 18 Sept 2009 and begins with Captain Jack and the Torchwood team reuniting to fight a rogue Time Agent Captain John Hart (James Marsters from Buffy). With fearsome new aliens, compelling new storylines, and amazing guest stars, the second series takes the close-knit Torchwood team through dare-devil action, temptation, heartache… and a life-changing event for one of the team.

ABC2 has picked up repeat broadcast rights for Series One and Two of Torchwood after they were shown on CH10 and then shunted to TEN HD. In addition ABC2 will also screen Torchwood Declassified, the “behind the scenes” extras.

The third series of Torchwood is a 5 episode mini-series called “Children of Earth” which aired in Australia on Pay TV in July 2009. No word on whether Ch10 or ABC TV will broadcast it on free to air TV or when.

The second series of Torchwood was filmed in Spring 2007 and premiered on BBC Two in Jan 2008. Episode plotlines included Torchwood’s encounter with a rogue Time Agent, a time-slip from World War One; and a memory-thief who uncovers long-forgotten secrets among the entire team.

Guest appearances will be made by James Marsters (Spike, the punk-goth vampire, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel) in the first episode and Doctor Who’s companion Martha Jones halfway through the series.

Channel Ten had assured fans that Torchwood series two would still return to air – but delayed for a long time. Ten committed to two series of the British sci-fi when it acquired the show, but it had a chequered scheduling history when it didn’t attract strong ratings.


Realising that they were losing younger viewers whose parents might not allow them to watch Torchwood, the BBC created an alternate family-friendly version of Torchwood from series 2 onwards. If Season 2 episode 1 is a good example the swearing was cut and replaced with other lines, some of the violence removed, and the camera cuts away from s*x scenes faster. Overall 3 minutes were cut from the full-length episode.

For series 1 Channel 10 pushed Torchwood series 1 from prime time on Mondays nights into a late night slot where it stayed until they finished the remaining episodes. I hate to say I told you so … but I told you so. Commercial TV is not the place for science fiction shows and Ten stuffed up anyway by making it look like a cop show in their promos. Ten should have let ABC TV buy the show and show it in conjunction with Dr Who.

Fans who want to watch Torchwood ad-free and uncut can buy the DVD set from Chaos DVD’s for a competitive price

Original review:To the dismay of fans, the hit new Dr Who spinoff series Torchwood will be broadcast on the commercial Network 10 channel in Australia despite an earlier report by Michael Idato in the SMH TV Guide saying it would be on ABC TV.

Sci-fi series have traditionally been poorly scheduled on Australian commercial TV and Ten is likely to broadcast it late at night and will probably move it around on different days or pull the series altogether if it doesn’t rate well in the first few weeks.

I have had it confirmed that the ABC was very interested in Torchwood because it holds rights to the sister series Dr Who, but was unable to outbid Channel 10 due to cuts to the ABC budget made by the Liberal/National Federal government.

John Barrowman’s Captain Jack [editor: he was last seen in the 2005 Christopher Eccleston series of Dr Who] plays the dashing leading man in this alien-technology-equipped spin-off to the BBC’s successful Dr Who franchise. It has sexy toys, CSI-style production values, an engaging cast and ripper stories. In short a winner.

“Torchwood is a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour,” [said creator Russell T. Davies [RTD]]

“It’s dark, wild and sexy, it’s the X Files meets This Life. It’s a stand-alone series for adult audiences which will have its own unique identity.”

The cast includes John Barrowman as the enigmatic Captain Jack Harkness – the ever watchful heart of the Torchwood team, guarding against the fragility of human kind.

Eve Myles plays Gwen Cooper – initially an outsider whose first meeting with Torchwood sparks a burning curiosity to get to the truth, throwing her into an unfamiliar but exciting world.

Burn Gorman plays the raw but charming medic Owen Harper and Naoko Mori is Toshiko Sato, the team member who specialises in all things computer, surveillance and technical.

RTD, acclaimed creator and writer of such television programs as Queer As Folk and Casanova, brought roaring back to life (and huge ratings) a much beloved U.K. series, when his version of Doctor Who took to the airwaves in 2005.

Torchwood BBC ABC TV

From the beginning he knew he needed a ‘swash-buckling’, ‘matinee-idol’ type for the character of Captain Jack Harkness. RTD knew of only one man in the U.K. who fit that bill, John Barrowman.

John was such a huge success in only five episodes of the series, that when RTD started developing a spin off series from Doctor Who, Torchwood, it seemed a matter of course that it would center around the character of Captain Jack and the man who portrays him.

The Torchwood Institute: Established by Queen Victoria after an extra-terrestrial incursion on British soil in 1879.

Based deep within the Hub, housed under 21st century Cardiff Bay, Torchwood is a repository for the accumulation and safe keeping of alien artefacts and beings that emerge via the Rift – an invisible but powerful tear in the fabric of reality.

Earth’s first line of defence, the Torchwood team protects humanity from dangers threatening it, both from beyond the Rift and closer to home in a century where everything changes. Torchwood is led by Captain Jack Harkness, who knows that everything they discover is invaluable for mankind to survive what he believes is coming…

The name came from the Doctor Who production team’s habit of using an anagram – Torchwood – when sending sensitive tapes between buildings.

The announcement that the show would be adult in nature startled everyone. With the programme’s creator mocking the idea of “CSI: Cardiff”, no one knew whether to expect a quirky cop show or an adult twist on Doctor Who.

Starring rampant omnisexual Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and ex-policewoman Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), the show was almost stolen by its location. Torchwood’s Cardiff is a foxy and brutal city, infested with aliens, psychopaths and wideboys. Never formulaic, the series moves from sex vampires to fairies, cybernetic girlfriends to cannibals.

Debuting on BBC Three, Torchwood gave the channel its highest-ever audience.

28 thoughts on “Torchwood (BBC and Channel 10 TV) Review”

  1. Love your review.
    Been waiting to see Torchwood on TV ever since seeing the episodes on the internet.
    It is a winner, no doubt, and your review sums it up perfectly.

    It isn’t your run of the mill Sci-Fi show; l think it contains lots for all people to enjoy.
    Extremely fast moving, and each episode is totally unique from the previous one.

    I hope the Oz public gets behind it, and enjoys it half as much as l have and will again, and again. It is that type of show.


  2. Great review. I was hope the ABC was going to show it so i email them to see when it would be on.
    I just got an email back from the ABC about Torchwood and it looks like it had been reported wrong the ABC has not got the right for torchwood (not yet anyway)

    So it looks like we have to wait and see now.


    EDITOR: please see the previous comment

  3. I’ve just found your chat site through a search for Torchwood in Australia. I’m about to watch episodes 12 & 13 (as usual, 12 continues into 13 for the final) I have really enjoyed this spin off from Doctor Who and am very pleased to hear it will be in Australia soon. I have been watching them on my laptop but that is hard to share with others so it will be good to watch them on the telly. My Dad spoilt us by taping them off BBC3 and sending them to us. For those who are waiting, it is very good and worth the wait!


  4. Heres an interesting titbit of information while you wait to find out when Torchwood will be broadcast in Australia:

    The Torchwood Institute was founded by Queen Victoria in 1879, following the events of the Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw. While staying at Torchwood House, the Scottish estate of Sir Robert MacLeish, the Queen was attacked by a werewolf, in reality an alien intelligence that planned to infect her with its consciousness by biting her. The werewolf was ultimately dispelled, thanks to the efforts of the Tenth Doctor and the sacrifice of Sir Robert.

    Having discovered that Great Britain had enemies “beyond imagination”, Victoria decided to establish the Torchwood Institute in memory of Sir Robert. She also decided that the Doctor was dangerous, and declared that if he ever returned, Torchwood would be waiting. The Doctor’s name was written into the Torchwood Foundation’s charter as an enemy of the Crown.

  5. Very glad to hear Torchwood will be coming to the ABC. Just one question – will that be ABC or ABC2? I hope it will be the analogue channel because I haven’t gone digital yet – and I don’t plan to do so for some time.

    EDITOR: It will definitely be on ABC1 TV because the show will be high rating

  6. Hi (again), a UK friend has heard that neither the ABC nor SBS (!!) would be buying Torchwood. Sorry, I don’t know the actual source, but it’s very bad news if it’s true. Is this just a rumour or is there some truth in it?

    EDITOR: Yes, sadly you’re right. The ABC wanted it and initially the Sydney Morning Herald reported that ABC TV had bought the rights, but due to budget cuts the ABC wasn’t able to afford it in the end 🙁

    I suggest true fans buy the series on DVD and watch it that way because Ch10 is bound to muck up the scheduling and make edits to fit it in 1 hour including ads

  7. Good review of an excellent show, however, you forgot to describe Ianto. The delightful teaboy, who may be much more than that… (to be discovered?)

    EDITOR: yes, his role is somewhat ambiguous. perhaps in series 2 it will be broadened

  8. I love Torchwood, it’s surprisingly more adult than doctor who, its great to see the beeb making something with a bit more edge to it.

    Shame that its going to 10 though, can’t believe they are allowed to cut things down just to fit the time slots (show more ads basically I guess)!

    EDITOR: that’s my guess based on 10 and other commercial networks cutting other shows to fit in ads. Regardless of that the fact that it’ll be interrupted by ads will spoil the flow anyway

  9. I really hope 10 doesnt outbid the ABC for series 3 because then the Australia doctor who fan base will be in an uproar. I’d know because i live here.

    EDITOR: I hope so too.

  10. The rumour about the ABC wanting to buy Torchwood, but failing because of budget reasons has been confirmed by an email I just received:

    Dear Neerav

    Thank you for your email. I apologise for the delay in responding to your enquiry.

    Unfortunately, the ABC has not acquired the broadcast rights to Torchwood. As far as I am aware this was solely due to budget constraints. I believe that a commercial network has purchased the rights.

    Thank you for taking the time to write to the ABC.

  11. Sorry to see Torchwood going to a Commercial Station but then again it will probably get a bigger Audience on Channel 10 as it will get a lot more Publicity to drag in that Audience.

    I certainly hope that the Doctor is staying with the ABC for now.

    I also predict a resurrection of the Army Great Coat as a Fashion item when everyone see how great Captain Jack looks in his.

  12. when does Torchwood air on channel 10? is it known yet?

    EDITOR: It hasn’t been scheduled by Ten yet and is unlikely to start before beginning of May

  13. any idea if channel ten might air it at 8:30 on friday or saturday night cos every monday night i hav to go to basketball at 8:30 🙁 please respond!

    EDITOR: It looks like 18th of June at this stage at 9:30pm, but being commercial TV they could change their minds at any moment

  14. I fear for this. Channel 10 will kill it before it’s even grown legs down here. I mean, I watch it ( avoiding fta wherever possible, tbh) but it’s not the highlite of my week. And the way Ch10 is making it appear in its lead up, is ENTIRELY misleading.

    They’re making it so much stronger and enhanced than it is. They did the same with Battlestar galactica. For weeks, we had enthralling adverts for it with groovy music, action packed scenarios, and out of context scenes to make it appear bigger than it was.

    When it turned out to be a bit slower then they hyped it up to be, and a lot more story orientated, and when viewers didn’t tune in, it got moved to a late (11:30pm-after midnight range) time slot. Then it got moved to alternating weeks. Then vanished, to return whenever the football wasn’t being played.

    Yet BsG is one of the BEST sci-fi’s around, myself having watched every episode as it was released. Channel 10 pretty much dont care about sci-fi. Nor do 9, who are FAR more notorious for ruining a sci-fi, with missing episodes and just general ignorance of the viewer. 7 does have some grace, but smalleville, lost and heroes, are hardly sci-fi by comparison.

    7, 9, and 10 here cannot even hold the Stargate franchise in a stable timeslot. Im watching episodes after midnight that I watched 16 months ago. Viva la TorrentTV.

    Now you wait, one of these lame stations with snap up painkiller jane and hype it as the new female rambo hero queen amazon superhero goddess wah wah blah blah.. 3 eps in it will be canceled, you mark my words.

    I know for certain that the sad truth is, Channel 10 will kill Torchwood in Australia for FTA.

    Maybe when they have released their hold of it, maybe then ch2 will snap it up…. But by then, sad to say, most of Australia will have seen it anyway, as it’s aired, from downloading it.

    Shame on you channel 10. You are a sports orientated empire, why steal from ch2, who thrive on unique and non-standard shows, which makes them so much a better alternative. It almost seems like a move to become a monopoly.


    EDITOR: You’ve obviously become completely cynical about commercial TV, can’t say that I blame you because I have similar beliefs.

    Incompetent scheduling, unrealistic promotions and blatant overruns into other scheduled program times are only the beginning, what about the reluctance of commercial FTA TV to offer a proper EPG on their digital TV channels. At least 1 day ahead would be good rather than the poor “Now & Next” implementation they use at present.

    A prime example is Jericho which Ten stuffed the scheduling for and now the show has been axed by CBS even before most Australians have the chance to see the end of Season 1 🙁

  15. Well unfortunately I missed the ending of Mondays episode of Torchwood as it ran over time and I was away that night, I am particularly annoyed as I actually set the video for it to run an extra 20 minutes over scheduled conclusion and that wasn’t enough… pathetic really the way they misalign the timings of everything…

    EDITOR: I know its annoying and they’re doing exactly as I predicted. It was a really good episode too

    If you want to know what happened there are Torchwood transcripts available and FYI this was Season 1 Episode 5: SMALL WORLDS

  16. Watched Torchwood on ten till the first adbreak then turned it off.Downloaded the series and have watched 10 episodes in 7 days.The continuity of this show is not made for commercial tv.It doesnt have cliffhanger ad breaks like yank stuff. I hope the BBC got heaps out of 10.
    for it .Shows you dont need brains to work in commercial tv, just the contacts to get a job.

  17. Thanks to the ABC shop now have my full quota of season 1 of Torchwood, what a shame this brilliant show is not on the ABC, instead wasting away on the Ten network, looks like I will just keep heading to the ABC shop for my Torchwood dvd’s. One of the best shows on television this year, had the lot except the backing of Channel 10.

    EDITOR: yes its a shame Ch10 didn’t appreciate it. Lets see what happens to season 2

  18. i read somewhere that it will be bk in march but am doubting it coz i cant read it anywhere else..

    people are saying that it will be in June Because that when doctor who will be starting in Australia (=

  19. it is a shame that ch 10 got the right to broadcast such a great show like torchwood, give it back to abc now, these are the kind of shows that work best on the abc……….

  20. Here in Tassie where half the place hasn’t got digital tv cos they havent bothered to put up the transmission things we totally missed out. I got to see a few episodes when my brother stayed up to press record. The same with charmed didnt see last season and its not shown on southern cross. Give torchwood to abc

  21. Lets face it. When it comes to ruining good television channel 10 is clearly in the lead. It used to be a good channel a long time ago in the distance past but now days its very formulaic. I hope they do give the program to abc but I doubt it. Rather they would ask ABC to pay more for it or they will just keep it locked up. Im so damn sick of Reality television,crime and medical shows. Cmon stations lift your game and bring on shows we actually want to watch.

  22. you are so damn right, i”m know whats going happen but i haven’t seen the epsiodes yet, all channel do it. nine with farescape, and seven with stargate and stargate alantis. Abc is the only channel give sci-fi a decent go. last year i miss half show when they change i could find it again so i end buying the dvd. i so damn watch.

  23. My boyfriend and I miss Torchwood. Please bring it back toon. I really enjoy good SciFi series and it is definitely one. It’s is right up there with Doctor Who, Stargate Atlantis, etc. We’re waiting…..

  24. i don’tlike this why is the new series of TORCHWOOD going to channel ten and not ABC for and with the ads in it would be CRAP ok so please put it on ABC or you will loose WATCHER ok and the raiting will go down ok by wayde sorensen

  25. Torchwood is good and best science fiction television programme. I have seen all season 3 of this show online. And its season 4 Episode 1 is ready to aired on television on 8th July 2011.

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