Children of Earth
Updated: Apr 15
Dystopian tales from Torchwood & Doctor W.H.O.
If you haven’t heard of Torchwood then you are missing out. Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who and started out as a spin-off series with a time traveller from an episode of Doctor Who, who became immortal in the episode and later appears in his own tv show.
Torchwood Institute is an elite clandestine unit under Cardiff in Wales that follows alien mysteries.
I won’t go into the characters in detail or the more adult natured theme of the Doctor Who show but the reason I bring it up is because some of their seasons turned quite dark, often regarding the unimaginable bureaucratic nature of allowing mass casualties of their citizens.
Torchwood is a more grown-up version of Doctor Who with a bi-sexual lead character and was originally shown past the watershed when younger viewers should be in bed.
Season One was fine for nerds like myself but the show didn’t really gain traction until Season Two and then Season Three and Four blew me away. In Season Three, Children of Earth an alien being wants 10% of the Earth’s children or the world will be destroyed.
The creature demonstrates its power over people by getting children all over the world to speak in one unison voice but only the British government has the means of tracking the alien as they have dealt with them in the past.
The immortal leader of Torchwood Institute has a dark secret to hold throughout the season as he was responsible for bringing the alien species the six children, some 50-60 years earlier.
Bureaucrats agreed on the cost of six lives and took them from orphanages and that was the end of that until the alien creature returned decades later wanting significantly more sacrifices.
10% of the Earth’s children was the new price to be paid and after much discussion, it was agreed upon which left for some bone-chilling tv as the British army went into schools and rounded up children and put them on buses to be transported away.
It looked like a modern-day holocaust with colourful yellow school buses replacing German trains.
The maths was difficult to digest but yet here we are in 2020 and we are having to decide on large swaths of people dying to appease the economy where "Do not resuscitate" signs are put on patients' files and doctors have to make difficult and unethical decisions.
The economy is hungry once again and it will take many more lives than in the 2008 Financial Crisis.
The poor and the old and the sickly, it almost sounds Darwinian but when have we sacrificed children in the past? When have we kicked out the poor and the old before?
The Trump administration has talked a lot about the sacrifice that people will have to make and some Republicans have disgustingly said that the elderly are happy to sacrifice their lives for Wall Street and the economy but the Trump administration has been far too quick to target children in the past and has sacrificed more than six lives in the pursuit of a Zero Tolerance immigration policy.
We are told that America can’t afford to have any more immigrants coming to the States and that they are taking American jobs and bringing drugs across the border. In Europe, we have a crisis in the Mediterranean where people are drowning at sea because we are afraid of immigration.
The reality, of course, is that immigrants often work very hard and pay taxes and are needed as nurses and fruit pickers and carers. Even Boris Johnson has acknowledged that immigrants aren't so bad.
Six children died in Concentration camps while Melania Trump wore a jacket saying, "I really don't care, do you?" while visiting these monstrous detention centres.
Republicans, on the other hand, investigated Hillary Clinton until they were blue in the face about four people dying in an embassy in Benghazi.
It is strange how little a life is worth one minute and then worth killing millions for another.
Less than 3,000 people died in Pearl Harbour and less than 3,000 people died on 9/11 yet both attacks resulting in wars that killed hundreds of thousands.
In a second, the nuclear bomb Little Boy killed an estimated 89,000 Japanese lives and nobody has a clear number of the casualties of George W Bush’s war in Iraq.
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Figures range from 100,000 to one million lives were lost in a conflict started by a Saudi Arabian in Afghanistan. A million lives may have been lost in Iraq but you will rarely see that in any headlines.
The headlines today have focused significantly on Boris Johnson’s recovery and Donald Trump’s press conferences which seem only to confuse and distract the public from the actual truth.
Thousands have died as a result of their in-action yet we turn on the television to see their lies.
If we cannot condone six children’s deaths than we might just find that we will not condone a million avoidable deaths either. The maths is disturbing in a sci-fi show but somehow acceptable in reality when leaders talk about “Herd Immunity” and “Opening up the Economy by Easter.”
FAMILIAR FACE: Actor Peter Capaldi played the lead bureaucrat in Season Three despite already having a cameo in a Doctor Who episode called The Fires of Pompeii. The same actor played a W.H.O. doctor in the film World War Z before becoming the new face of Doctor Who in 2013.
Torchwood focused on the bureaucratic and callous number crunchers and a monster that wanted to feed on our children. Today the monster is all of us, prepared to sacrifice millions to keep the economy going when it should have been closed much sooner.
Torchwood Season 4 Miracle Day kicked off with the execution of a prisoner who managed to survive the lethal ejection.
He was a sick pedophile played by Bill Pullman who became immortal that day as did the rest of the planet.
With no death rate to keep down the population and the promise of living forever, things didn’t end so well and again the government had to make sure that things didn’t get out of hands.
I am sorry if a silly Science fiction show isn’t the best example to explain the world we are living in today but it is the only example I can think of where we have rolled over and said,
“Okay, 10% of the population isn’t that much, to maintain our way of life.”
There are dark days ahead when we count the lives lost to Coronavirus and incompetent governments and I think I prefer the image of Bill Pullman as President of the United States showing leadership against an alien species in the film Independence Day than the image of him in Torchwood where he played a convicted criminal trying to bring down the morally bankrupt government.
We will no doubt be left with difficult choices after Coronavirus and some of them could bring us closer to a dystopian future where civil liberties could be lost and governments make terrible decisions and just like the spin-off show Torchwood, this all started with a Doctor from the W.H.O.
HIGHEST RATINGS: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wishes he could travel back in time as Donald Trump lashes out at the World Health Organisation for not warning him sooner about that thing we have all been talking about since the start of the year. You know the thing that has been killing thousands of people in China, Iran, Italy, France, Spain and now the US and the UK.