The Torchwood Institute (usually referred to simply as Torchwood) is a fictional secret organization from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. It was established in 1879 by Queen Victoria after the events of "Tooth and Claw". Its prime directive, is to defend the earth against extraterrestrial threats. It is later revealed in "Army of Ghosts" that the Torchwood Institute has begun to use their findings to restore the British Empire to its former glory. To those ends, the organization started to acquire and reverse engineer alien technology. According to one base director, Yvonne Hartman, its nationalist attitude includes refusing to use metric units.
While described as "beyond the UN", the Torchwood Institute is seen to cooperate with UNIT (the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, formerly known as the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) to some extent. There appears to have been some rapport with the Prime Minister, They appear to maintain this illusion by using false witnesses, or by sectioning any journalists who threaten to expose the truth, and via the use of memory altering drugs. Jack Harkness rebuilds Torchwood to become less confrontational and more secretive in honour of The Doctor.
The phrase "Torchwood", an anagram of "Doctor Who", was used as the codename for the new 2005 series of Doctor Who while filming its first few episodes and on the 'rushes' tapes to ensure that they would not be intercepted. At the end of the first series, Russell T Davies confirmed that the arc word for Series 2 would be an anagram which had been used before (the "Old Earth Torchwood Institute" had been mentioned in the episode "Bad Wolf").
The Torchwood arc ran the length of the second series, either mentioned just in passing ("Rise of the Cybermen", "The Idiot's Lantern", "Fear Her", "Love & Monsters'), or providing backstory about the Institute: its inception in 1879 ("Tooth and Claw"), its access to alien technology ("The Christmas Invasion"), and an expedition to a planet orbiting a black hole ("The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit"), until the first contemporary appearance in "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday". Following the conclusion of the Torchwood arc, ancillary media and the Torchwood spin-off itself would contribute towards defining and expanding upon the Institute's fictional history.
Read more about Torchwood Institute at Wikipedia ...
Official Site: BBC
Links: Wikipedia SHannonsullivan Dr. Who Wiki