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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’ debuts on BBC One on Monday!

And runs all week.

Rumor had it that it was going to air almost simulanteously in the U.S., but clearly, this is not happening: it debuts on BBC America on July 20th.

I shan’t be waiting that long to check it out, of course. Not that my stupid cable company carries BBC America anyway. And I’ve already preordered my DVD… from the U.K., where it’ll be out two weeks earlier, too. (The Region 2 DVD will be released on July 13; the Region 1 DVD will be released on July 28.)

The first teaser trailer is here; the second longer preview trailer is here.)

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  • Caro

    Can’t wait.
    Can’t wait.
    Can’t wait.

    There have also been three audio stories or Radio Play’s on BBCRadio 4 this week. Without spoiling anything, they each have some interesting information on the team and what they have been up to since the end of season two.

    Can’t wait.

  • Barb

    I’ll wait for my Blu-ray of the show to arrive (at least I’m enjoying the three new radio plays which just aired this week). Sorry, I just can’t watch shows like Torchwood with commercials spliced into them (plus, until BBCA dumps the majority of their reality TV programming, I ain’t flipping to that station which has been two years and counting). That’s why it was nice when HD-Net also got the shows and aired them uncut and commercial free.

  • Dianne A

    The Children of Earth is also being shown next week in Australia on cable. Yey!!! so excited to be able to see it. I also been listening to the radio plays on BBC Radio 4 – these can be listened to by anyone in any country. Fun.

  • Keith Z-G

    Ah, piracy, what can’t it do better than “legitimate” means? The system is permanently broken, but it seems like it’ll take forever for the studios to realize that people will buy things if they like them and respect the creators; it’s no longer possible to *force* people to pay to see entertainment.

    Relatedly, while sorting through a shelf I noticed that my copy of THX-1138’s Director’s Cut (which I specially ordered as it was unavailable in my city) is still shrink wrapped.

  • Carey

    MJ, when are you going to do reviews?

  • Les Carr

    Last night was episode three and I’m still in shock. Good shock, that is! There was a piece on io9 that suggested that Torchwood is now better than Doctor Who, and I am having trouble disagreeing. No-one beats “the Doctor” but the sustained and growing tension and the credibility of the threat in CoE is unprecendented in the Whoniverse. This is proper, grownup Doctor Who!

  • Les Carr

    More shock after day 4, and this time I’m not so sure it’s good shock. Either there’s a big RESET button lurking somewhere, which will destroy the credibility of season 3, or we have to live with the consequences of last night’s episode, which may very well destroy the whole show. Just what is going on?

  • Carey

    I can’t decide which would be worse- the reset or leaving it as it is.

  • Martin



    That had to be the best series ending RTD has ever written.

    I can’t think of a single pulled punch or easy cop out that brings things to a neat little conclusion.

  • I’m thinking about rescheduling my vacation for July 20-24th. BBCA is going to be all-Torchwood all the time, per their schedule. Not just the series, but some sort of special about the Hub and then the TW equivalent of DW Confidentials, I guess. All repeated ad infinitum across the week.

    I haven’t watched but have read reviews from across the pond so I’m not unspoilered, and I’m amazed at what happened last night and that there was no reset. Simply amazed.

  • Carey

    So is this officially the end of the series?

  • Les Carr

    Harrowing. That’s what Children of Earth was. I think my cosy understanding about the constraints of Torchwood drama has been blown wide open. My head is full of questions about how we can protect the ones we love in the face of threat, about how we can become monsters to others when we do so, and about what we become if we give in. RTD really is prepared to do anything to his characters to make a drama. For that I love and hate the man.

  • Lisa

    awesome show

    gives you hope for the Dr Who finale but odds on Torchwood will have topped it

    never a huge fan before but have been converted

    Barrowman can really act !!! which was a pleasant discovery

  • Martin

    @ Carey; We just don’t know. There could be a new series but I really can’t see how it would work (really trying hard to avoid spoilers here).

    @ Les Carr; And that’s why I love it. It’s completely morally ambivalent. The “bad guys” are making the wrong choices for the right reasons. They have made horrible decisions but I can’t, in good conscience, say I wouldn’t make the same (well, not exactly the same).

  • Ralph

    Dear god that was some incredible television.

    Of the many, many things I found myself pondering after the finale: how would the Doctor have handled Jack’s final decision?

    In the latest incarnations of the Doctor we’ve seen his certainty challenged – but nothing has approached the morally grey morass that Jack dealt with in Children of Earth.

  • gb

    I think Jack will need some time to talk to The Doctor like he did in Utopia. I think some problem that The Doctor needs him for would be the one thing that would bring him back.

    I need to go back and watch Empty Child and Doctor Dances to see a little happy Jack after this.

  • Les Carr

    @gb Don’t forget that in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances, Jack had just put hundreds of people into hospital and set up stage for the eradication of the human race.

  • Jack is reportedly in the Doctor’s finale. CoE was done long before RTD wrote the finale. If Jack is in it, then, it’s a post-CoE Jack.

    Maybe he isn’t seeking the Doctor out for solace but for revenge. Maybe he’s really angry that the Doctor didn’t turn up to save the planet this time. Maybe he’s a bit off his head with grief and stress and he’s looking to avenge a certain loss.

    Maybe JACK is the one who kills the Tenth Doctor!

    Would RTD be that twisted? More importantly, could they keep that a secret? They certainly kept their secrets about CoE well!

  • gb

    I know, but he helped at the end when he realized what was happening. As far as he was concerned it was a harmless con. Even at the end when he thought he was going to be blown up he was drinking his drink and was more light hearted then he was in COE.

  • Keith

    Children of Earth seems to have been a great success for the Torchwood series. Last week’s viewership for the series averaged about 6 million viewers for the week. This is around a 50% increase in the number of viewers Torchwood season 2 had at its peak.

    RTD recently told The Daily Express, the abbreviated seasons of Dr Who and Torchwood this year are due to the economic downturn. The BBC is out to reduce its budget by $2 billion over the next five years. Apparantly this was incentive for him to move to Hollywood. Who knows how much worse the world economic situation is going to get and what kind of future impact it will have on the various aspects of the future Whoverse.

  • Gee

    I just went to amazon.co.uk to check what special features there are on the DVD (don’t seem to be many, sadly) and it’s temporarily out of stock. It must be selling well.

    What amazed me was how well the viewing figures held up through the week, coupled with high AIs (starting at 88 for day 1 and 90/91 for the other days.) I know a number of people who don’t normally watch TW gave it a try and were hooked.

    Even if we don’t get a s.4, I hope its success means that we will get more good drama instead of generic police/medical/detective programming. TW CoE shows there is an appetite for it. I thought I’d read somewhere that “Being Human” will be repeated on BBC1 but I can’t find anything to confirm that. I think that is just the sort of intelligent programme to also have a wide appeal.

  • Angelica

    Children of Earth for me is the most brilliant and at the same time the most awful thing I’ve seen. It made me sick to my stomach watching it but I could not stop watching. I actually had to take a few break while watching because it was having such a great emotional effect on me.

    And at the end I was thinking oh god, someone give that man a hug and a sandwich!

    I’m curious to see how much of it will be edited out of the American Broadcast.

  • Matthew

    RTD recently told The Daily Express, the abbreviated seasons of Dr Who and Torchwood this year are due to the economic downturn. The BBC is out to reduce its budget by $2 billion over the next five years. Apparantly this was incentive for him to move to Hollywood. Who knows how much worse the world economic situation is going to get and what kind of future impact it will have on the various aspects of the future Whoverse.

    RTD said nothing of the sort. You can read the Daily Express article here:


    There’s nothing to suggest that Doctor Who or Torchwood had shorter runs this year for anything other than creative reasons. RTD has said elsewhere that Doctor Who will escape the worst of the budget cuts, which will most likely affect mid-budget dramas. He’d have no problem getting work and budgets in the UK, he’s moving because he admires US TV and wants to learn about how things are done in the US – and it’s a new challenge.

    For the record, the BBC’s funding difficulties result from the TV Licence Fee agreement of 2007 and are not too badly affected by the recession. Their Licence Fee income (which accounts for most of their expenditure) is still increasing by 1.2% a year – which is much better than the situation faced by commercial broadcasters. Once talent contracts come up for renewal they have a lot of scope for saving money – as their rivals are in no position to start a bidding war for talent.

    There will probably be some reduction of programming on the BBC but Doctor Who will be fine – as will Torchwood, if they want to make some more (its ratings last week were spectacular).

  • Matthew

    Slight correction of what I said above, the pre-inflation increase in the BBC’s Licence Fee income is actually 1.4%, not 1.2% I’ve also no idea where the $2 billion figure comes from. Based on the BBC’s estimate of a net loss of 1.1% after inflation (which is currently running lower than it was expected in 2007), then the yearly Licence Fee income will be about £250m less, in real terms, in 2014 than it was in 2007. That’s still a lot of money, but it’s not billions.

    For more details of the cost saving plan see:


    For the BBC’s Annual Report see:


  • Keith

    I got my information from an article I saw while looking through news on IMDB the other day. The link for the article it came from is: http://www.doorq.com/blog.aspx?b=2816.

    Thanks for the info, Matthew. You are a lot more interested in this sort of detail than I am. I was only curious if it would affect future production of Dr Who, Torchwood, etc. My interest is sci-fi, not working for the BBC.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Keith. The slightly less anal answer is that production will probably be fine, as far as anyone can tell – and that we’re unlikely to see a drastic cut in the number of episodes in any given year for anything other than creative and/or logistical reasons.

    The guy who wrote the article you linked to has jumped to the wrong conclusions, I think. The article that he was basing his guess about cuts is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jun/19/bbc-tv-networks-budget-savings

    Russell T Davies was interviewed for the BBC Radio arts programme Front Row on June 29 and talked about going to the US then. He made no mention of budgets being a reason for this. You can still listen to it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00l9s0x

    He also makes is clear that he will still be working on The Sarah Jane Adventures (they’ve started working on series four). So I think he’s still planning to stay involved. I think he’ll do at least one more Torchwood outing as well.

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