The climactic stand-off in 'The Day That Britain Burned'

'The Day That Britain Burned' was the fourth episode in the DWO mini-series 'Torchwood: The Fence'. It was published on 29th September 2011 and was written by Jockie. It was notable for featuring the first appearance of the alien adversaries in the series, the Cryzlacs.


As the team reels from the devastating events of the night before, Domitila is forced to rescue Jack from the brink of destruction, but a suspicious package brings yet more heartache for the Captain.

In Cardiff, two figures stand upon Garth Hill, lighting a candle for those they have lost. But the reflection soon turns into a plan of action, as Gwen prepares to expose the government live on air. Are the people of Britain really ready to hear the truth about the Cleansing?

Deep within the Parliament walls, Henry Cratchett has a different way of dealing with tragedy, whilst Ruth Herridge delivers her final crippling blow which sends the Prime Minister over the edge. How will he cope with the discovery that Jenny Cratchett is back in London? And can he restore peace and order to his country on the day that Britain burns?


On Garth Hill in Cardiff, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Bryce Owen (Joseph Morgan) bury Bryce's father and light a candle in his memory. In London, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) attempts to sleep with a young man (Kieron Richardson) as part of his grief over the death of Jenny Cratchett (Rita Simons). Domitila (Penelope Cruz) manages to make him see sense. They return to the Bureau de Change, where a large package is waiting outside for them. Jack, Domitila and Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) investigate the package and, upon opening it, discover it contains Jenny's body.

Back in Cardiff, Gwen and Bryce meet with Sgt. Andy Davidson (Tom Price) in order to transfer the footage they obtained from Cleansing onto DVDs. Andy agrees to distribute the DVDs to every police station in the country. At the Bureau de Change, Jack is distraught about Jenny's body, but Domitila argues they need to move out as the government clearly knows where they are hiding. In Parliament, Brendan Rose (William Roache) informs Henry Cratchett (Bill Nighy) that the body has been disposed of. Cratchett informs him that there is something he requires Torchwood to do for him.

Brendan gets in touch with Ruth Herridge (Annette Badland) who tells him she wishes to meet with the Prime Minister regarding a private matter. Meanwhile, Gwen and Bryce return to London and reunite with the others. Bryce is devastated to learn of Jenny's murder and breaks down when he sees her body. He and Jack agree to go and bury Jenny, whilst the others find a way of broadcasting Gwen and Bryce's footage. Before they leave, they blow up the Bureau de Change building.

In Parliament, Brendan informs Cratchett of Torchwood's movements and introduces him to his new PA, Tracy Campbell (Angel Coulby). Cratchett is furious that Brendan has hired a new PA but warms to her when he discovers her tea-making abilities.

Jack and Bryce arrive in Barnes to bury Jenny and Jack goes to investigate the cottage of Meryl Cratchett (Glynis Barber). As he does, Bryce walks round the graveyard and stumbles across Herridge. Herridge promises to keep their meeting secret and Bryce urges her to join Torchwood in bringing Cratchett down. Herridge is horrified to learn that Cratchett murdered his own daughter, but refuses to help them, saying she needs retribution rather than redemption for her actions. She then takes Bryce's car and heads back to London.

Back in London, Cratchett prepares for a major television broadcast to be screened across the country. In a van in the middle of the city, Domitila manages to hijack the signal. During Cratchett's speech to his country, Gwen interjects and reveals the true nature of Cleansing. Tracy informs Cratchett of the interference and Brendan manages to cut her off, but not before Domitila broadcasts the footage. Cratchett orders that the Faithful take to the streets in order to find Gwen.

In Barnes, Jack arrives at Meryl's cottage. A worried neighbour (Eileen Derbyshire) tells Jack that Meryl hasn't been seen for over a year. Jack investigates and discovers Meryl's remains have been dug up in the kitchen. He realises too late that it is a trap and is stabbed to death by a member of the Faithful.

At the London Cleansing Facility, protestors rally outside in the wake of Gwen's revelations. Donald Drymen (Ralph Fiennes) orders his men to hold their ground until Cratchett gets emergency powers passed which will allow them to shoot any protestors dead. Making the most of the distraction, Gwen and Rhys infiltrate the Cleansing Facility. On the streets of London, Bryce returns and aids Domitila in leading a huge protest movement.

Meanwhile, Herridge arrives back at Parliament and meets with Cratchett. She tells him about her meeting with Bryce and informs him that she has found Jenny's body in boot of Bryce's car. She is disgusted at Cratchett for shooting Jenny and says she no longer wishes to be pardoned for her own crimes. She informs Cratchett that she has confessed to the murder of Samuel Herridge (Stephen Bent) and will be taken to Cleansing imminently, with Cratchett's corrupt system giving her a speedy arrival there. As she is taken away, Cratchett is clearly shaken.

Reeling from Herridge's actions, Cratchett takes his anger out on Tracy, accusing her of spying for Torchwood. Tracy denies his allegations but he loses his temper and viciously attacks her. He dismisses her from her job and, as she leaves, orders for her to be executed. At the Cleansing Facility, Drymen receives word that emergency powers have been granted and they can now shoot the protestors.

Inside, Gwen and Rhys try to think of a way to set the prisoners free. Gwen heads up to Central Control whilst, outside, Domitila and Bryce face a blockade of police officers and the Faithful. Across London, Cratchett's followers open fire on the demonstrators. In Central Command, Gwen receives a communication from one of the Containers. She promises the prisoners that she will free them but is stunned when she sees that one of them is brutal killer, Oden Bergstrom (Kari Mölder).

The blockade in front of Domitila and Bryce opens fire and the protestors soon disperse. Bryce manages to drag Domitila to safety. In Parliament, Jack comes round and finds himself with Cratchett, who has also got hold of Jenny's body. Cratchett demands to know where Gwen is.

Gwen tries to sever communications with Oden, arguing that he does not deserve freedom as a result of what he did to his grandchildren. As they talk, three members of the Faithful burst in. One of them shoots at Gwen but misses, slicing through the controls and activating all Containers, gassing all of the prisoners. As Gwen screams in horror, one of the Faithful members presses her face against the screen to force her to watch.

Meanwhile, Tracy drives away from Parliament, with a guard attaching a bomb to the underside of her car as she does. As she drives out, a protestor throws a rock at the car, smashing the windscreen. Tracy breaks and gets out of the car, only to be thrown to the ground as it explodes behind her.

Inside Parliament, Jack questions Cratchett on why he needs Gwen. Cratchett explains that the Fence was not a punishment, but a blessing in order to save the entire country. Cratchett explains that the planet outside is being ravaged and destroyed but Britain is protected by the Fence. He says that he made a deal with the alien race known as the Cryzlacs, as they can only feed off children born out of battle. Cratchett promised them the 'perfect' child and in return, they agreed to spare Britain whilst hunting the rest of the world for 'temporary children'. Cratchett explains that this 'perfect' child is the only thing that can give the Cryzlacs enough power to leave the planet, since they were stranded here.

Cratchett tells Jack that the creatures are brutal but noble and will not take a child without the consent of the mother, hence they require Gwen's permission to take Anwen. Cratchett reveals Anwen wired up to a large machine in his office and forces Jack to acquire Gwen's permission, otherwise the entire world will fall. In Central Control, Rhys is captured and locked up with Gwen. The Faithful demand Gwen's permission but she refuses to let them have Anwen. Enraged, the Faithful shoot Rhys in the leg before torturing him, demanding Gwen's permission.

The plight of the planet is then revealed as it is showed that the Cryzlacs - huge crab-like creatures - are ravaging the entire world in the hunt for temporary children. The only thing that can stop them is access to their 'perfect' child - Anwen.


  • Captain Jack Harkness - John Barrowman
  • Gwen Cooper - Eve Myles
  • Domitila - Penelope Cruz
  • Bryce Owen - Joseph Morgan
  • Henry Cratchett - Bill Nighy
  • Tracy Campbell - Angel Coulby
  • Jenny Cratchett - Rita Simons
  • Ruth Herridge - Annette Badland
  • Donald Drymen - Ralph Fiennes
  • Brendan Rose - William Roache
  • Rhys Williams - Kai Owen
  • Andy Davidson - Tom Price
  • Oden Bergstrom - Kari Mölder
  • News Reporter - Kate Silverton
  • Neighbour - Eileen Derbyshire
  • Young Man - Kieron Richardson
  • Voice of the Faithful - Silas Carson


The episode received an AI of 95.2.