Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Connections Doctor Who and Torchwood Connections by Mickie Newton

Doctor Who and Torchwood
By Mickie Newton

For Christmas I got a brilliant book. ‘The TARDIS Handbook’ by Steve Tribe and in it was a picture that triggered an idea. The image was a strange thing, looking like crayons sticking out from a ball. And it was something I’d seen somewhere before. Then I watched an episode of Torchwood and there it was. On the meeting room table!  And then I found myself thinking ‘I wonder how many more things connect the two shows?’ As you will have noticed, there is already an article in this issue that connects the film ‘Hot Fuzz’ with, mostly, Doctor Who and Torchwood. And that was just people. Not things.

So it seems a good idea to start a new column about these connections. Not for TV or films, but between the two shows, Doctor Who and Torchwood. Objects and people who connect both the shows and how.

In this issue’s Connections we shall be looking at the object that started this, the Spiky Ball/Atom Accelerator, Captain Jack Harkness,

Spiky Ball/Atom Accelerator:


The first time we see this object, it’s not in Doctor Who, but in Torchwood. The first time I spotted it was in the episode, ‘Day One,’ when Jack and Carys’ are facing off one another around the ‘light’ table. It’s sat right in the middle. The next time I spotted it was in ‘Random Shoes’ on a different table near Owen and Gwen. So what is it in Torchwood? Some kind of glorified alien paperweight? An odd-ball gadget for adjusting the shower or the hot water on Ianto’s coffee machine? Must be said, your guess is as good as anybody’s as we are never given any kind of idea what it is or where it is from!

Doctor Who:

So now for the Doctor Who connection. Long after the Hub has been blown up, it is spotted on the 11th Doctor’s newly regenerated TARDIS console in the guise of an Atom Accelerator. The Doctor gives it a twist when he is setting the TARDIS’ destination on the Navigation section of the console.

I also made a small discovery about this little gadget when looking for other things. Up to now I never knew exactly what this did on the Doctors TARDIS. Only that it was on the console. Apparently in the episode “The Curse of the Black Spot” the 11th Doctor stated that he uses it to steer the TARDIS.

Captain Jack Harkness:

Doctor Who:

We first meet the Captain in the episode ‘The Empty Child’ in season 01/27 of Doctor Who. His first Doctor being the ninth, or was that the tenth? Goodness it’s confusing! Of course when we see him he’s a conman. A former Time Agent seeking revenge after the Agency had stolen two years of his memory. It’s a very strange thought that the other ‘Torchwood’ Captain Jack is also around in 1941, waiting for his Doctor. And may well have been in London as he was helping Torchwood. His final appearance, as the Doctors other companion is in the episode ‘The Parting of the Ways’ when Jack is killed by the Daleks and resurrected by a Vortex enhanced Rose. The Doctor leaves Jack behind when he realises he’s about to die and regenerate after taking the Vortex from Rose and returning it to the TARDIS.


After being left by the Doctor on the Game Station in ‘the Parting of the Ways’, Jack used his Vortex Manipulator to go to Cardiff, Wales, aiming for the early 21c and missing a little, finding himself in Cardiff in 1869 where his VM promptly burnt up and the time travelling part stopped working. Jack had no choice but to wait and hope he’d find him. At this point Jack didn’t know he couldn’t die. That realisation came some time later. Now as many of you know, the Torchwood Institute didn’t come into being until 1879.

What Jack did between 1869 and joining Torchwood is still a big mystery. We have only discovered just a tiny fragment of information. What we do know is that it was a very long time before Torchwood approached Jack to do some work for them, of which he was paid for his services. And somewhere along the line Jack went from being a ‘hired-hand’ to a field agent.

Jack served in both World Wars, presumably under the umbrella of Torchwood, as well as being a serving officer in Lahore in 1909. After his soldiers killed a young village girl, the soldiers were all killed on a train in mysterious circumstances, and Jack was the only survivor.

Fast forward to the eve of the millennium and we find Jack becomes the head of Torchwood 3 after he took over the position, after, the then head, Alex Hopkins killed his entire team, with the exception of Jack, and then took his own life when he felt there was something coming that Torchwood couldn’t stop. His final words were ‘The 21st century is when everything changes and Torchwood isn’t ready.’

3D Glasses:

Doctor Who:

Belonged to the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant, and appeared in season 28/2 in the end of season story ‘Doomsday’. This is also the second of two stories, the first being ‘Army of Ghosts’, where we encounter Torchwood one again, first encountered in the 10th Doctors first story ‘The Christmas Invasion’ when Prime minister Harriet Jones (yes we know who you are) request they shoot the Sycorax ship out of the skies as a warning to any other beings beyond the stars.

Now back to the 3D Glasses. The Doctor originally used them in the ‘Doomsday’ episode to detect minute particles in the void between the universes. These particles are present on anyone or anything that has time-travelled, as the Doctor demonstrated to Rose. These 3D glasses were never seen again beyond this series.


At some point Jack Harkness has obtained a pair himself. And these hung on the side of his desk lamp. Are these meant to be the same pair as the Doctors? Unlikely as the Doctor keeps everything, usually in his infinitely huge pockets. It is more likely that Jack also knows how useful they are for seeking out these particles.

Unlike in Doctor Who, we have never seen these used.

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