Bill Nighy as Henry Cratchett in 'The Cleansing'

'The Cleansing' was the third episode in the DWO mini-series 'Torchwood: The Fence'. It was published on 27th September 2011 and was written by Jockie. It was notable for delving into the backstory of villain Henry Cratchett and featuring the shock death of a central character.


The full implications of the Fence are felt nationwide as Cratchett initiates his plan to cleanse the country. However, his decision to begin Cleansing earlier than originally planned does not appear to go down well with all of his Cabinet and Foreign Secretary, Ruth Herridge, begins questioning her allegiance with the Prime Minister, prompting old wounds to be re-opened.

For Torchwood, this new scheme causes suspicion and intrigue, whilst Bryce faces emotional turmoil when he realises his elderly, sick father is eligible for Cleansing. As Bryce and a distraught Gwen return to Cardiff, the rest of the team infiltrate the London Cleansing Facility, but nothing can prepare them for the horrors they find inside.

Elsewhere, in the heart of the Houses of Parliament, Cratchett receives a surprise visitor, causing him to re-live his actions of April 2011, before coming to a life-changing and tragic decision...


Several weeks after the events of the 'The Faithful', convicted murderer Oden Bergstrom (Kari Mölder) meets with Prime Minister Henry Cratchett (Bill Nighy) to discuss Oden's eligibility for 'Cleansing'. Cratchett determines that the severity of Oden's crime means he is to be automatically enrolled onto the Cleansing system. Cratchett relishes in making Oden relive his crime - the murder of his grandchildren - before assuring him he will find Cleansing 'beneficial'. Outside, Cratchett assures the media that justice is being served.

Outside the Bureau de Change office, Bryce Owen (Joseph Morgan) and Jenny Cratchett (Rita Simons) discuss the impending opening of the Cleansing facilities. Bryce tells Jenny that they will be assessing his father to determine whether or not he will be eligible. Jenny tries to convince Bryce that her father is not a monster but Bryce wants to go to Cardiff to make sure his father is alright.

In an alleyway, Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) emerges with shopping, giving it to Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles). As they discuss the Cleansing system, Jack tells Rhys about the Holocaust, and Rhys is worried that he - and the rest of the country - cannot remember such an event taking place. In the Houses of Parliament, meanwhile, Brendan Rose (William Roache) attempts to reassure Cratchett, who seems to be feeling guilty over the death of Mary Cooper (Sharon Morgan).

The next morning, lorries arrive at prisons across the country to escort prisoners to Cleansing facilities, leading to protests and anger from both the prisoners and the public. The co-ordinator, Donald Drymen (Ralph Fiennes) shows particular contempt for the prisoners. The Torchwood team watch as the lorries move through the city, whilst Jenny uses information from Cratchett's computer to locate the nearest Cleansing facility.

The team agrees the best way to infiltrate the facility is if some pose as the Faithful and others as prisoners. Jack and Domitila (Penelope Cruz) agree to act as prisoners. Bryce surprises the team by telling them he is not coming, instead opting to go to Cardiff to see his father. Still upset over her mother's murder, Gwen agrees to go with him.

At Parliament, Ruth Herridge (Annette Badland) meets with Cratchett, voicing her concerns about the way in which Cleansing is being run, citing the fact that her aunt has been declared eligible, despite the fact she is a law-abiding citizen. Cratchett refutes this, saying she clearly no longer adds to society. Herridge is disgusted but Cratchett reiterates the fact he needs the full support of his Cabinet.

In Cardiff, Gwen and Bryce arrive at Bryce's father's care home, only to find it already smashed up. As they look around, they stumble across a distraught man, Jeremy Wright (Nicholas Gleaves), an employee of the care home who has lost his mind. Bryce is horrified to discover that the care home residents did not go through the correct assessment procedure and were taken away regardless. Jeremy then mentions the men with skeletal masks and Gwen realises they are in the middle of a trap. As the Faithful close in, they manage to escape by hijacking the Faithful's truck. The Faithful manage to alert Cratchett, whilst a deranged Jeremy shoots himself to avoid being taken to Cleansing.

Back in London, the Torchwood team have managed to gain entrace into the Cleansing facility, with Jenny and Rhys posing as Jack and Domitila's captors. However, Jenny and Rhys are soon separated from the other two as they are told to do a shift in Central Control. In Cardiff, Bryce and Gwen also come across a Cleansing facility and dress as members of the Faithful to gain access.

In Central Control, Drymen talks to Jenny and Rhys about 'Containers', telling them not to do anything until they are at full capacity. He shows them the button to press and Jenny is worried about what it does. When the time comes, she is unsure whether she can press it but Rhys assists her. They are horrified to discover Cleansing involves the use of gas chambers on those in society who are deemed 'unsuitable'. Jenny is broken-hearted when they are forced to watch the demise of the prisoners. As Rhys tries to find a way to shut the facility down, Jenny grabs a pistol and slips out of the facility.

Jack and Domitila are now trapped inside one of the Containers which is soon to be gassed. Rhys, posing as one of the Faithful, locates their Container and tries to convince the guards that Cratchett wants to deal with the Torchwood fugitives himself. He manages to get them released, but the guards insist on taking them to Parliament themselves. They battle their way out but Jack is alarmed to discover that Jenny is missing. They manage to blow up Central Control before they leave, alerting Drymen to their presence.

At the Cardiff Cleansing facility, Gwen and Bryce find themselves in the mortuary, full of bodies of those who have been gassed. Bryce is devastated to find his father's body and turns on Gwen, highlighting Torchwood's incompetence. Gwen suggests filming everything they have found so they can expose the government as murderers.

Jack works out where Jenny has gone and heads towards Parliament, with Domitila is hot pursuit. In Cratchett's office, Jenny walks in, pointing the pistol at her father and demanding answers. Meanwhile, in the village of Barnes, Herridge sits at the gravestone of her late husband, Samuel Herridge (Stephen Bent) and tells him she is ready to talk. Back at Parliament, Cratchett is cold with Jenny and has her locked up. Jack is captured and is taken up to Cratchett, who decides to tell him a story from April 2011. At the same time, Herridge recounts the same story to her late husband.

They reveal that Samuel Herridge and Meryl Cratchett (Glynis Barber) had an affair, which was uncovered on 22nd April 2011 when Cratchett walked in on them. Cratchett then informed Herridge and the two plotted their revenge, though Herridge and Cratchett's accounts differ as to who instigated the revenge plot. Cratchett opted to shoot Meryl dead, whilst Herridge poisoned her husband. Cratchett buried Meryl underneath a cottage in the village of Barnes, whilst Samuel's death was held to be suicide. Cratchett then recounts how, on the same night as the murder, he saw a bright red light in the village which took over his body. Jack asks what is was and Cratchett reveals that the Fence is not of human origin. He tells Jack 'they' need a child born of war and require Gwen's permission in order to get it.

At that moment, Jenny bursts in, pointing a large gun at Cratchett. They escape from the office, but Cratchett alerts the Faithful, picking up Jenny's pistol and telling them he wants Jenny alive. In the building, Jack and Jenny attempt to flee but are forced to split up. Domitila gets in touch with Jack and tells him to head round the back of the building to some automatic doors. Jack phones Jenny to tell her, but Cratchett orders that the building be quarantined.

Jack manages to get out of the building just in time but the building is sealed just after, leaving Jenny trapped inside. She gets to the door and Jack tries to get her out, but with no luck. As guards converge on Jack and Domitila, Jenny shouts at them to go. Jack realises he has no option and promises Jenny they are coming back for her. Cratchett soon catches up with Jenny and tells her to look at him, but she refuses. Cratchett then declares her criminal activity holds only one sentence - execution.

As Jack and Domitila run away from the building, a gunshot rings out and a horrified Jack turns round. Cratchett shoots Jenny twice more and she begs him for mercy as she lies dying, but Cratchett disowns her before she takes her final breath. Fleeing from the scene, Jack is distraught and informs Domitila that their plans must move forward - the revolution against Cratchett begins tonight.


  • Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
  • Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
  • Domitila - Penelope Cruz
  • Bryce Owen - Joseph Morgan
  • Henry Cratchett - Bill Nighy
  • Jenny Cratchett - Rita Simons
  • Ruth Herridge - Annette Badland
  • Donald Drymen - Ralph Fiennes
  • Brendan Rose - William Roache
  • Rhys Williams - Kai Owen
  • Jeremy Wright - Nicholas Gleaves
  • Oden Bergstrom - Kari Mölder
  • Meryl Cratchett - Glynis Barber
  • Samuel Herridge - Stephen Bent
  • News Reporter - Kate Silverton
  • Female Prisoner - Wendi Peters
  • Woman - Cathy Murphy
  • Voice of the Faithful - Silas Carson


The episode received an AI of 97.