Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Doctor Who/Torchwood/The Sarah Jane Adventures Crossover Guide

Doctor Who has spawned three spin-off series' since its return in 2005. Doctor Who sits at the heart of the franchise, with The Sarah Jane Adventures, Class and Torchwood catering for the children, teenager, and adult markets respectively. The question is: how does it all fit together? Below is a chronology of the show's main crossover episodes. It's by no means exhaustive, but what follows should be enough to give the new viewer a rough idea of what to expect, and the order in which to expect it.

Please note that this crossover article hasn't been updated since 2016.

DOCTOR WHO: Season One (March-June, 2005)

1.4 Aliens of London (1)

Toshiko Sata appears as an undercover pathologist. Her presence is explained in the Torchwood episode 'Exit Wounds' (2:13).

1.9 The Empty Child (1)
1.10 The Doctor Dances (2)

A cool two-parter—firstly, because it's Captain Jack's first appearance in Doctor Who, and secondly, because it's future showrunner Steven Moffat's first Doctor Who script. (Excluding spoof 'Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death')—and what a belter it is. Are you my mummy?

1.11 Boom Town
1.12 Bad Wolf (1)
1.13 The Parting of the Ways (2)

Also featuring Captain Jack, 'The Parting of the Ways' is particularly significant as it documents an essential event in Captain Jack's history.

DOCTOR WHO: Season Two (December, 2005 - July, 2006)

Although Captain Jack doesn't physically appear, there are numerous Torchwood references.

2.2 Tooth and Claw

Queen Victoria orders the formation of the Torchwood Institute—its purpose to defend the United Kingdom from alien attack.

2.3 School Reunion

Not a series crossover per se, but an example of Classic Who crossing over with Nu-Who. Third/Fourth Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith makes her first appearance—and totally steals the show. Tin mutt K9 also has a cameo.

2.12 Army of Ghosts (1)
2.13 Doomsday (2)

Our first glimpse of the Torchwood Institute. Also worthy of mention is Freema Agyeman's first appearance as Adeola Oshodi, cousin of Martha Jones. Freema later (and some would say bizarrely) goes on to play Martha Jones in season three.

TORCHWOOD: Season One (2006-2007)

Torchwood's first season proper! Surprisingly, there are no Doctor Who crossovers: just lots of swearing and sex. Unless, of course, you count the TARDIS as a character—and after 'The Doctor's Wife,' who's to say she isn't ? The sexy beast!

1.13 End of Days

The TARDIS materialises, Jack runs towards it, and ends up in season three of Doctor Who.

DOCTOR WHO: Season Three (December, 2006 - June, 2007)

3.11 Utopia.

Jack finally catches up with the Doctor and confronts him about the events of 'The Parting of the Ways'.

3.12 The Sound of Drums (1)
3.13 Last of the Time Lords (2)

Jack and Martha leave the TARDIS.

TORCHWOOD: Season Two (January - April, 2008)

2.6 Reset
2.7 Dead Man Walking
2.8 A Day in the Death

Martha Jones joins the Torchwood team as Medical Officer following the death of a team member, and sticks around for three episodes.

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES: Season Two (September-December, 2008)

2.11 Enemy of the Bane (1)
2.12 Enemy of the Bane (2)

A Classic Who crossover, with the Brig himself, Nicholas Courtney, turning up to give the Bane a ruddy good kick up the bottom. This was originally intended to be a Nu-Who crossover featuring Martha Jones, but Freema was too busy working on Law & Order: UK, and was subbed at the last minute.

DOCTOR WHO: Season Four (December, 2007-January, 2010)
TORCHWOOD: Children of Earth (July, 2009)
THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES: Season Three (October-November, 2009)

All three shows intermingled during 2009. The chronology starts off with Doctor Who, jumps to Torchwood, then The Sarah Jane Adventures, before returning to Doctor Who.

Doctor Who

4.2 The Fires of Pompeii

Notable for Karen Gillan's first appearance as a soothsayer. Karen returned in season five as the Eleventh Doctor's companion, Amy. Not exactly a crossover, I just felt compelled to mention it.

4.4 The Sontaran Strategem (1)
4.5 The Poison Sky (2)
4.6 The Doctor's Daughter

Martha Jones returns for a three episode story arc, before vanishing again, only to reappear in the two-part season finale.

4.12 The Stolen Earth (1)
4.13 Journey's End (2)

This should have been a crossover made in heaven: Captain Jack makes his now customary cameo, and is joined by Sarah Jane Smith for a triple show collision. Even Martha shows up. Unfortunately, it's all a bit of a lame duck.

Torchwood: Children of Earth

This five part spectacular sits between Doctor Who's 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars', but there's no essential continuity, so its placing is pretty much unimportant.

The Sarah Jane Adventures

3.5 The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith (1)
3.6 The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith (2)

David Tennant shows up for one last hurrah. As with 'Children of Earth', chronologically this sits between 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars', and features Tennant's final scenes as the Doctor.

Doctor Who

4.18 The End of Time (2)

Jack turns up for a quick cameo alongside Russell Tovey (AKA the improbably named Midshipman Alonso Frame). Sarah Jane Smith also makes an appearance.

DOCTOR WHO: Season Five (April-June, 2010)

Russell T. Davies left Doctor Who, in 2009, and was replaced as showrunner by Steven Moffat. As a result, both Doctor Who and Torchwood essentially became separate shows. There was one final crossover with The Sarah Jane Adventures, however.

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES: Season Four (October-November, 2010)

4.5 Death of the Doctor (1)
4.6 Death of the Doctor (2)

Matt Smith turns up in an episode also featuring Katy Manning. (One of Worzel's ex-companions.)

TORCHWOOD: Miracle Day (July-Sept, 2011)

Torchwood season four appears chronologically after 'A Good Man Goes to War', and runs concurrently with 'Let's Kill Hitler', 'Night Terrors' and 'The Girl Who Waited'. But as mentioned above, as with season five of Doctor Who, apart from an occasional reference to the Doctor, there's no real continuity or crossover. In fact, the catastrophic global phenomenon at the centre of 'Miracle Day' passes by unnoticed in Doctor Who, highlighting the first significant incompatibility between shows.

CLASS: Season One (October 2016)

With the demise of both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, all crossover potential appeared to be over. Then in 2016 came the Doctor Who spin-off Class, and crossover shenanigans resumed in earnest.

1.1 For Tonight We Might Die

Features an appearance by Peter Capaldi.


  1. I started to watch DW once and it really didn't grab my attention, but Torchwood seems like a show I'd like. Is it possible to watch it without knowing the DW mythology?

    1. Yes, the aliens and things are explained.
      Also, #Janto for life!

  2. Gus, you don't need to watch Doctor Who to follow Torchwood. I started with Torchwood myself, mostly because James Marsters guest stars in a couple of season two episodes and people were writing to me telling me I had to try Torchwood. At a certain point, though, I just got so curious about Jack's background that I tried Doctor Who. That might not happen to you.

  3. Hey Billie love all 3 shows, hugh Dr fan. Im not sure if you mentioned this one or not but in the episode The Unquiet Dead (Series 1 episode 3) Eve Myles, who plays Gwyneth, subsequently stars in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood as Gwen Cooper. In "Journey's End" the Doctor alludes to a connection between Gwyneth and Gwen by asking Gwen about her family history.

  4. Officially, the first mention of Torchwood in Doctor Who was the "Christmas Invasion" special, opening the second series. It's when the newly regenerated Doctor (Tennant) loses his hand (the one that Jack Harkness uses as a "Doctor locator"), during the invasion of the Sycorax. Torchwood is referenced throughout the episode, as a special force team not even the UN acknowledges, and at the end of the story they use one of their weapons to take down the Sycorax spaceship.

  5. There's actually a continuity PROBLEM regarding Torchwood; Miracle Day- because as the article says, it sits between Good Man Goes to War and Let's Kill Hitler but the events of Miracle Day doesn't occur to the human race in the DW episodes.

    Another fun fact is the Jack Harkness was meant to be in the Battle of Demons Run (Episode GMGTW) but he was too busy filming TW. People speculate that if he had appeared, he would have been decapitated by the Headless Monks and remain as a head, eventually becoming the Face of Boe- which would have been fantastic continuity but it never happened. :(

  6. In the first episode of torchwood, when Gwen first walks into the main room of Torchwood, the camera focuses on the Doctor's hand.

  7. it be great to watch DW. at first i didnt like it but when David tennant became doctor i really jumped into it.

  8. Toshiko from TW appears in Aliens of London as the Doctor who examines the pig (its cannon)


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.