Captain Jack Harkness once show great trust about the Doctor when Gwen Cooper asked in what circumstances would he open the rift of Cardiff and Jack replied :"With the right Doctor."

I assume Ianto Jones and Gwen Cooper knew about him after The Stolen Earth in which they communicated with the 10th Doctor through the archangel network. And Toshiko Sato once met the 9th Doctor but probably didn't know who he was.

3 Answers 3


Torchwood, as an institution, has always known about The Doctor. It was started with the explicit goal of protecting Great Britain from him, and other alien threats. As such, one would assume that the Torchwood Three (the Cardiff branch featured in the series), at least up through the battle at Canary Wharf where Torchwood One was destroyed, knew all about The Doctor.

As far as the staff of Torchwood Three during the course of the series:

  • Jack, of course, had known about The Doctor since his introduction in the Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child", long before Torchwood
  • As a Torchwood member, Tosh (when she appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Aliens of London") has met him, and would likely have known who he was. Even if she didn't recognize him immediately, his knowledge of alien biology should have tipped her off fairly quickly as to his identity.
  • Tosh claims she was "covering for Owen" at that time of that episode, meaning both of them worked for Torchwood prior to Canary Wharf, and thus Owen should also have known of The Doctor, though as far as we know they never met.
  • As best as I can determine, neither Gwen nor Ianto knew anything specific about The Doctor prior to "The Stolen Earth". Jack mentioned him (usually cryptically) a few times, but otherwise there was no recognition for either of them when Ten contacted Torchwood during that episode.

After the destruction of Torchwood One, Captain Jack took control of Torchwood Three and attempted to change its overall attitude about aliens. It's not clear how much of the old Torchwood information about The Doctor would have remained, though it would be entirely in character for Jack to erase as much of it as possible. That would explain how Ianto, who spent a lot of time digging through the computer archives, could remain unaware of him.

  • Actually, just because Torchwood, the organization, knew about The Doctor doesn't mean specific Torchwood operatives knew about him. There was an awful lot Jack knew of that the rest of the team didn't, and Torchwood seems like an organization that likes to keep its grunts in the dark most of the time. Dec 31, 2012 at 6:04
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    given that Torchwoods primary purpose was to protect England from The Doctor, it seems unreasonable that anyone working for Torchwood would be completely unaware of him. I would expect, at a minimum, for everyone to know of the existence of an alien who calls itself The Doctor, is very smart, appears human, and lives in a police box.
    – KutuluMike
    Dec 31, 2012 at 17:23
  • That was perhaps the original purpose in Queen Victoria'a day, but by the time of Torchwood Three, we have quite a variety of extraterrestrial menaces of the day-to-day variety. Also, Torchwood One's Sycorax-destroying giant space cannon thingie doesn't really seem to be the sort of thing designed against the Doctor, but against an invading spaceship (or fleet). I think Torchwood changed quite a bit between Tooth and Claw and the 21th Century (where everything changed) Dec 31, 2012 at 17:52

In addition to the answer by Micheal Edenfield, I think Torchwood was founded on the ruins of the previous Torchwood. Since the previous organization had a database of aliens that they discovered spanning for hundreds of years. The Doctor has frequently visited the 20th century so it would be safe to say that Torchwood(previous) had information on the Doctor.

If the new Torchwood didn't take the information left by the previous organization, then the Doctor probably wouldn't have been known to the other members.

The knowledge of the Doctor would be based on whether Torchwood got its data from the previous organization or started fresh entirely.


Queen Victoria created the Torchwood Institute after the events in the Tooth and Claw story to protect the UK against any kind of alien threat. According to previous episodes of Torchwood and Doctor Who, The Doctor is considered an alien threat.

Torchwood 1 was destroyed in the battle of Canary Wharf, Torchwood 2 is an office in Glasgow, Torchwood 3 is in Cardiff (where Jack set up his little team) and Torchwood 4 is missing. Jack obviously already has information about the Doctor because of his travels with him in series one, this does not necessarily mean that he has told his team about him.

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