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17 Oct 2005Doctor Who spin-off made in Wales
17 Oct 2005Captain Jack to get his own series in new Russell T Davies drama for BBC Three

A "sexy, funny" spin-off from the Doctor Who television series, is to be made by BBC Wales and set in Cardiff.

The 13-part sci-fi drama will be called Torchwood - an anagram of Doctor Who. Russell T Davies will also write and co-produce the "paranoid thriller".

Torchwood, which is aimed at adults, stars John Barrowman as Captain Jack - one of the main characters from the recent Doctor Who series.

The drama features investigators solving human and alien crime.

Mr Davies, from Swansea, said the series would be sexy, funny and very different to Doctor Who.

"Doctor Who has a completely different feel to this kind of thing. This is set in the same place every week. It's a different sort of fun to Doctor Who," he said.

"It's an urban series, very much set on earth. It's a Welsh series that I'm very, very proud of."

He said Cardiff would be used more often as a location than in Doctor Who, and that he hoped the series would provide work for Welsh actors and directors.

"With Doctor Who we often had to pretend that bits of Cardiff were London, or Utah, or the planet Zog," he said,

"Whereas this series is going to be 'honest-to-god Cardiff'. We will happily walk past the Millennium Centre and say "Look, there's the Millennium Centre".

"It's nice to be able to say this is the city, and this is how good it looks."

Mr Davies said the name Torchwood was used as a security measure during the production of Doctor Who to disguise preview tapes of the first episodes.

"When we were making the first Doctor Who series, television pirates were desperate to get their hands on a tape," he said.

"One of the people in the office had the idea of calling the tapes of episodes, as they went form Cardiff to London, Torchwood, instead of putting Doctor Who on it.

"I thought: 'That's clever!' I've had that taped away at the back of my head for a good six months, and now here it is as a show."

Although Doctor Who inspired Torchwood, no stories will cross over between the two series.

Actor John Barrowman said he was thrilled: "It's going to be a dark, wild and sexy roller-coaster ride...I can't wait to explore Captain Jack even more".

Filming is due to start early in 2006, with transmission for a post-watershed BBC Three audience in the autumn.

LinkCredit: BBC News Online 

Russell T Davies is to write a sci-fi paranoid thriller in a major new drama commission for BBC Three, it was announced today by Stuart Murphy, Controller of BBC Three.

Torchwood is a 13-part drama series aimed at a post-watershed audience and has an organic link to Doctor Who.

"Torchwood is a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour," says Russell T Davies.

"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.

"I have just begun working on the scripts with a team of writers and cannot wait to see the results."

Set in modern-day Cardiff, Torchwood stars John Barrowman as Captain Jack from Doctor Who; it's in the Christmas special and second series of Doctor Who that the story of Torchwood – a renegade group of investigators – is seeded.

However, no stories will cross over between Torchwood and Doctor Who.

The drama series is produced by BBC Wales and will be transmitted later next year.

Stuart Murphy says: "The renegades investigate human and alien crime, as well as alien technology that has fallen to Earth.

"Torchwood is sinister and psychological – Russell was really keen to play with your head – as well as being very British and modern and real.

"But at the centre of the drama are warm, human relationships and the overcoming of adversity."

John Barrowman says: "I'm absolutely thrilled about Torchwood. It's going to be a dark, wild and sexy roller-coaster ride.

"Working again with Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and the BBC is like hooking up with family again. I can't wait to explore Captain Jack even more."

Murphy adds: "Torchwood is a massive coup for BBC THREE, and a major commitment – it's the biggest drama we've ever had on the channel.

"It introduces a different tone into our drama, just as Russell's Casanova earlier this year brought warmth and humour.

"He's an absolute genius – you look at what he has done with Doctor Who - we said to him, 'What would you do with a post-watershed sci-fi?' Its subject and tone is a perfect fit for BBC Three."

Filming on the 13 self-contained episodes will begin early next year in Cardiff; other writers so far confirmed include Chris Chibnall and PJ Hammond.

The executive producers are Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner, Head of Drama in BBC Wales.

Torchwood follows the success of Casanova (which attracted a record audience for a drama on the channel), Bodies, Conviction and Outlaws, with which the channel has begun to establish a reputation for cutting-edge British drama.

Torchwood is a BBC Wales commission for BBC Three.

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office